Condado Puerto Rico

My Review of Puerto Rico

Living in a high rise in downtown San Diego for 7 years, I love my lifestyle of everything in walking distance, safety, perfect weather, good group of friends, bars, gyms, restaurants, etc.  My girlfriend and I went to visit Puerto Rico to look at potentially moving there because of the tax benefits.  Our thoughts before going down were let’s just suck it up and live in there for 6 months per year to save money then we will run back to San Diego as quickly as possible.  After spending a week in Puerto Rico, I like it as much or better than San Diego and I would consider not moving back to San Diego.  

Currency is the USD, and you don’t need to go through customs/immigration.  The average temperature is 75 degrees although it can be a bit humid.  I thought it would be “cheap” but prices are about the same as San Diego.  Construction stopped in the 90’s so a lot of the high rises are dated, it looks a lot like Waikiki.  Overall, the main areas feel a bit beat up but not like a 3rd world country, it is much nicer than any of the South American cities I’ve visited.  I was extremely impressed with the people, everyone is smart, speaks perfect English, very nice and respectful.  We took an Uber everywhere the 1st day for safety until we could feel out the area.  By the 2nd day, we walked everywhere and felt very safe.  PR does have a high crime rate but I do not see evidence of this in the city, I think the majority of crime is in the ghettos which I would never venture to.  San Juan is very touristy but the beautiful old town and has every chain restaurant you can imagine.  Condado has more of a downtown San Diego feel with young professionals, lots of boutique bars and restaurants. Dorado is a resort town.  I will explore more areas next time but these seem to be the goto spots.  I think I would go nuts if I lived here all year but I think if you lived here part-time and then NYC or LA, you would have a great mix.

Puerto Rico Tax Incentives

I have put months of research into the Puerto Rican tax benefits and it sounded too good to be true. I am still learning and obviously, am not a lawyer or CPA but here is how I would sum it up.  This program is 100% legit and accepted by the IRS.  Puerto Rico created an economic incentive program to get businesses to move there and boost their economy.  Cities/Counties/States do this all the time by reducing payroll taxes, local income tax, etc.  The key to all of this is that Puerto Rico is a territory of America but PR residents do not pay federal income tax to the US Government, however they do pay income tax to PR. This program is basically saying, you personally move to Puerto Rico and become a “bona fide resident” then start or move your business down and you will be put in a 4% tax bracket for 20 years if you stay compliant.  There are 2 acts – Act 20 and Act 22.  Act 20 is the corporate level and Act 22 is the personal level.  There seem to be very minimal costs to this program, maybe $5k/yr to maintain.  To set this up, there is a great video on how to do it yourself online for about $5k.  The CPA I spoke with quoted about $10k, the lawyer quoted $25k.  I have completed most of the application myself but I am going to ask the lawyer to review and make sure I haven’t messed anything up.  There are many other tax havens such as St. Thomas/St. John have almost the exact same program but the cost is about $150k/yr to maintain.  UK/Hong Kong are another but I would not understand how to repatriate that money for investments and it seems much more expensive to maintain and could be considered a very gray area.  

The biggest concern I have with this program is the economic stability and future or PR.  This does come with a 20-year decree which basically is a contract that grandfathers you in.  I do not know how valid this is.  My theory to take advantage while you can and if it lasts that’s great and if it doesn’t you just move back stateside.  There have been 500+ people now who have taken advantage of this and several ultra-wealthy.  If this was canceled, I would imagine there would be a massive lawsuit to keep it.

 

Towns I Enjoyed in Puerto Rico

Condado/San Juan

20 minutes or so from the airport you will find Condado which is lined with high rises on the beach with beautiful water.  There are tons of restaurants and bars.  If you are familiar with San Diego I would call it downtown meets PB meets but without the college kids.  The nicest hotel is The Vanderbilt, we did not stay here but we did go for a great outdoor brunch and then came back at night for great cocktails and live music.  We stayed at the AC Marriott which is newly remodeled and maybe $200/night.  We took an Uber to San Juan and did the tasting menu at one of the best restaurants I have ever been to Marmalade.  We visited Old San Juan and went to tour the old fort Castillo de San Cristobal, this is a must-see.  One day we rented a car and drove an hour or so out to see the amazing Camuy Caves.  We basically ate all day and bar hopped all night here than met with lawyers, friends or explored during the day.  

 

Dorado

If you know me well, you know that I would hate living on a resort.  I hated the idea of this place but did not want to pass up the opportunity to check it out.  A friend drove us, the trip was about 25 minutes from Condado.  You cannot enter the property unless you are with a realtor so we set a time to meet her.  This is one of the safest and most secure places I have seen. They do not mess around.  Dorado is probably the most amazing property I have ever seen, Rockefeller built it in the 50’s.  There are only 4 Ritz Carlton “Reserves” in the world and 1 is located on this property.  When you enter the gates you will see beautiful homes, palm trees, golf courses and everyone driving around on golf carts.  They have the #1 rated spa in the world, 4 18 hole PGA golf courses, 2 miles of private beaches (average of 80 degree water temp and clear blue water), a huge gym, pools, a waterpark (with lazy river), a helipad for easy travel, 5 or so great restaurants and many many more things.  It is insane.  There is no school on site but apparently, there is a good school 10 minutes away > Tasis. They have everything from condos to townhouses to 30k square foot mansions.  Prices start at $7k/mo+ rent or $1.2/sale+ > Available Homes.  A membership to the club is $40k plus $500/mo or I believe $500/mo if you are renting.  I’ve heard if you buy multiple memberships (with friends) then the price is reduced to about $30k. Watch this video > Dorado Beach.  This took at least a half day and us at lunch there.  I thought I would get bored and go crazy here but this is a very nice and large community.  There appears to be many successful people, young/old, female/male, single/families, that I would love to network with so I don’t think you would get bored.  The only downside is the lack of restaurant options and living in a “bubble”.

 

Puerto Rico Economic Stability

Puerto Rico seems to always get their asses kicked.  They just declared a massive bankruptcy and I am not sure what the outcome of this will be.  Highly educated people seem to be leaving to move stateside.  I do not think we will allow them to become a state.  They have had many horrible politicians.  They ended a similar Pharmaceutical economic development program and a lot of large companies moved out.  They have to follow the US minimum wage but their economy is much smaller so they cannot keep up with the wages.  They have to follow the Jones act which kills them on imports/exports.  It seems the US keeps them around just to make sure we have a Caribbean/South America/Panama Canal presence for our military.  I have not learned enough to really form an opinion on the future of PR but there are a lot of great educational videos I have watched on youtube.

Peter Schiff on Puerto Rico bankruptcy

Puerto Rico: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

How US Is CRUSHING Puerto Rico

Speculating on Puerto Rico Bankruptcy, History, & the Future of Act 20/22

 

Puerto Rico Resources

Puerto Rico Facebook Groups

Act 20 / 22 Puerto Rico Tax Incentive Forum

Act 20/22 Puerto Rico – Internet Marketing

Puerto Rico Act 20/22 Resource Group Service Providers and Jobs Board

Act 20/22

Act 20/22 – Puerto Rico Real Estate Guide

Puerto Rico Act 20/22 – Resource Group

Act 20/22 Club of Puerto Rico

Act 20 & 22 Group

 

Puerto Rico Reddit for Act 20/22

ACT 2022

 

Puerto Rico CPA Firms

Lance Talkington

President and CEO at Century Capital Advisors, Inc.

lance@talkington.cc

 

 

Real Estate Agents in Puerto Rico

Dorado:

Cristina Villanueva-Meyer Beale

USA: +1 (305) 519-0332

Puerto Rico: +1 (787) 565-8171

www.vmbstudio.com

 

Condado:

Sylvia de Jesús Real Estate

Dejesus22@gmail.com

787-448-1365

Legal Firms in Puerto Rico

Raúl Vidal y Sepúlveda

Omnia Economic Solutions

787.649.5111

raul@omniaeconomics.com

 

Federico Hernandez 

Fortalia

646-468-0738

 

Puerto Rico Restaurant Recommendations

  • Voodoo at Vivo Beach Club – You are right on the sand looking directly at the waves. Part of an upscale beach club (located in Isla Verde).
  • El Madre – The best Mexican food I’ve had in Puerto Rico.
  • Fogo de Chao – A familiar steakhouse with great service. Sometimes needed when you get sick of slower island life service (located in Paseo Caribe).
  • Morton’s Steakhouse – the best steakhouse I’ve found, not to mention ocean views. Very overpriced but worth it (located in Paseo Caribe).
  • Louisa 2015 – Healthy pizza. High-quality ingredients. A hidden gem in Condado that only locals know about. Only open on the weekends.
  • Marmalade – A high-end restaurant in Old San Juan with the highest reviews on Yelp.
  • Serafina – The main spot in Condado. It’s where a lot of people hang out on the weekends. Good food and great atmosphere.
  • Ba Juice – A small breakfast spot in Condado.  Nothing special to look at but great food and cheap prices.  Located near the resorts so is a great option compared to all the overpriced spots.
  • Lemongrass – The coolest spot I’ve seen in Puerto Rico and located behind Paseo Hilton. Food is nothing special but the place looks like a cabin in the jungle with peacocks, swans and other animals around. Best to go at night at the sun is going down.
  • Oceano – A high-end spot right on the sand in Condado.

 

Fun Things to do in Puerto Rico

  • Hiking El Yunque Rainforest – 20 miles of trails with a few waterfalls throughout.
  • Cavernas de Camuy – A cave tour about an hour drive from San Juan. This was one of the highlights of my trip.
  • Mall of San Juan – While I don’t care much about a mall it’s worth taking a look so you realize how nice some things are. At first glance the ghetto areas make it look like the island is run down but when you go to good areas you’ll see places that are much nicer than anything in San Diego.
  • Liv Fitness at Gallery Plaza – If you are one of those people that can’t go a day without a gym check out this place. Nicest gym in Puerto Rico.

 

If you have anything to add to the list or any questions, feel free to Email me.