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Públicos: Rustic Road Trips Around Puerto Rico

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Not quite the "Greyhound" of Puerto Rico, públicos are independently owned and operated passenger vans that travel all over the island. If you're looking for a poor man's guide to small-town Puerto Rico, or you want to mingle with a diverse crowd of blue-collar Puerto Ricans, folk from the countryside, and people who work in San Juan but live outside the city, then this is the way to go.

They are cheap and safe, but the major drawback of these passenger vans is time. Because they make frequent stops, a one-hour drive in a rental can take three hours on a público. Still, you're virtually guaranteed of seeing a Puerto Rico that isn't in the hotel brochure. Consider it a low-risk, low-budget adventure.

On Vieques and Culebra, públicos are an excellent way to get around if you don't want to, or can't afford to, rent a car. While they won't get you to some of the harder to reach beaches in Vieques, the vans are cheap and reliable.

Públicos can be identified by yellow license plates ending in "P" or "PD." Here are some of the companies and routes operating out of San Juan:

  • Blue Line (787-765-7733) - goes to Aguadilla, Moca, Isabela, and the northwest coast.
  • Chóferes Unidos de Ponce (787-764-0540) - goes to Ponce and nearby destinations.
  • Línea Boricua (787-765-1908) - goes to Lares, Ponce, Utuado, and San Sebastián, among other destinations.
  • Línea Caborrojena (787-723-9155) - goes to Cabo Rojo, San Germán, and the southwest coast.
  • Línea Sultana (787-765-9377) - goes to Mayagüez and the West Coast.
  • Terminal de Transportación Pública (787-250-0717) - goes to Fajardo and the East Coast.

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