There has been a travel hiatus for many of us due to one reason or another in the recent past.
Nevertheless, the world has begun to get back into the rhythm of traveling again in 2022, and many people are choosing to get on planes and fly to their favorite destinations.
Getting cell phone coverage when you land is one of the biggest concerns in today’s connected world.
How does Verizon work in Puerto Rico?
Verizon provides service to Puerto Rican customers. Verizon’s coverage map indicates good service coverage across the entire island, but expect it to be less reliable than you are accustomed to. Puerto Rico is considered a domestic service by Verizon and therefore shouldn’t incur any additional charges.
If you will be using your phone or mobile network while in Puerto Rico, there are a few things you need to do.
The majority of us will rely on our phones in some capacity, and there are steps you can take to make sure that you have service even when there is spotty coverage and some other options available.
Can Verizon Wireless customers use Puerto Rico?
Many Verizon customers’ monthly plans include Puerto Rico, which is listed as domestic, not international.
If you have a Verizon online account, you can check this under My Plan.
If you have purchased Verizon’s Prepaid TravelPass, your phone will still work on Verizon’s network in Puerto Rico if you use Verizon’s prepaid option or want to buy a prepaid plan just for traveling.
When you use your data in Puerto Rico, it costs $5 per 24 hours.
This is in addition to what you have already paid, so it can add up quickly depending on how long you are traveling and how often you need to reload your pre-paid data.
How Does Roaming Work?
We have all experienced the dread of discovering that we are roaming and wondered how our monthly bill will be affected.
Because Verizon classifies Puerto Rico as domestic, you may find yourself roaming domestically.
You may notice that your phone might show a different network icon or communicate an “Extended” message. What this means is that your phone is connected to a non-Verizon cell tower and is using their data network instead of Verizon’s.
Verizon will not charge you for Puerto Rico because it is a domestic destination.
This icon can also be seen when traveling in the United States.
It is likely that if you travel to an area where Verizon does not have coverage, you will be able to connect to another major network.
As previously mentioned, you will not be charged for this data.
Traveling Destinations Matter
In Puerto Rico, not all areas of coverage are equal, just as when you travel within the United States.
Everyone who has traveled through mountainous terrain has experienced the feeling of losing a signal and then suddenly receiving all of their notifications at the same time after connecting to a tower.
If you are planning to go on an adventure to more rural or mountainous regions of Puerto Rico to go hiking, ziplining, or visit a coffee hacienda, you should expect your service to drop out as it would in other mountainous areas.
When you return to range it will resume, but keep in mind that coverage may be slower or less comprehensive than in the United States.
Verizon Phones Can Be Used in San Juan?
Even in metropolitan areas, coverage will be spotty during your trip to Puerto Rico, especially in light of recent natural disasters.
It may also be difficult to obtain the speeds you are accustomed to backing at home.
You may not even be able to access 4G or 5G even when you travel to the capital and largest city of the island.
Other options while traveling
More often than we would like to admit, we are all glued to our smartphones.
There are even cases where we may need to access things like our email or work on our iPads while we are at the pool.
I do not mean to offend you, but if you rely solely on Verizon data, you may encounter difficulties.
Your best option will be to make sure you have access to WiFi at your resort if you absolutely must have access to your smartphone and data while you are traveling.
You can find lists of hotels with the strongest WiFi on sites such as TripAdvisor.
During your trip, if you require access to maps or if you want to listen to a podcast, make sure you download these items to your smartphone before you leave.
Today, most smartphones come with the option of adding an SD card so you can expand your storage capacity.
As an alternative, you can determine what apps you will not use while you are on vacation and delete them from your phone.
After you return home, go through all of those items you downloaded and delete them, and reinstall the apps if you find that you will need them when you are not on vacation.
Local SIM Cards
The airport or a small shop near your hotel should be able to provide you with a prepaid SIM card when you arrive.
Simply insert your SIM card, and ensure that you do not lose your original one while you are traveling. The prepaid SIM cards will connect you to the island’s networks and you should be able to use your phone as usual.
If you need to call or text someone, remember to introduce yourself. You will be given a new telephone number.
Apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger should, however, continue to function as they did before.
Does Verizon have a store in Puerto Rico?
There are times when our vacations do not go according to plan. Although we all hope that this will be the case, it is not always the case.
It may be that you dropped your phone while taking a selfie in the ocean, or that it fell out of your pocket while you were ziplining.
Puerto Rico does not have a physical store where you can go for assistance if this occurs.
The entire process would have to be conducted online from another individual’s computer.
Earlier this year, Verizon sold its Puerto Rican operations to a company named Claro. As part of that deal, Verizon users were granted access to its towers in Puerto Rico.
Despite this, all Verizon stores in Puerto Rico have been rebranded to become Claro stores, so they are of little help.
You may want to consider purchasing a prepaid burner phone and dealing with getting a new phone when you return to the United States if this happens.