Do You Need A Dedicated GPS Unit To Visit Puerto Rico?

Dedicated GPS units are quickly going the way of the dodo bird.

Dedicated GPS units are quickly going the way of the dodo bird.

The other day I received an email from one of our readers asking which was the best GPS unit to visit Puerto Rico. Although most mayor brand GPS units include Puerto Rico in the US maps, I guess the real question should have been: do you actually need a dedicated unit at all?

With the emergence of smartphones during the last five years dedicated GPS units are going the way of the dodo fast. And I know this for a fact because my son worked several years at a mayor big box retailer and he was a witness to this phenomenon.

Many people look at their Androids or iPhones and they just see a phone. But these units are so much more than that. They’re actually pocket-sized computers that happen to make phone calls.


Since the announcement of the first iPhone on January 10, 2007 many product categories that were once very profitable have all but disappeared from the marketplace. Case in point pocket calculators, digital point-and-shoot cameras and dedicated GPS units.

Why? Because a simple app, which in many cases is even free, can do the same job or even better.

But let’s suppose that for some reason you still would like to have a separate GPS unit for your car. Well, I did some investigating and found the best deal for you.

Garmin nüvi 52LM

The Garmin nüvi 52LM has all the bells and whistles that you’ll ever want in a GPS unit and it comes in at around $120 street price. It comes preloaded with City Navigator® NT, which includes data with street maps of the lower 48 states, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelme and Jamaica.

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It also includes Lifetime maps (which is indicated by “LM” after model number on the box).


And finally, the Garmin nüvi 52LM comes equipped with a vehicle suction cup mount, a lighter socket power cable, a USB cable to connect the unit to your computer and the Quick Start Manual.

If you want you can order the Garmin nüvi 52LM straight from Amazon right now by clicking on the image on your right.

Now, if you own a smartphone there are two excellent choices that you can use for free.

Google Maps for iPhone

Google Maps for iPhone

Google Maps

The first and original smartphone App was Google Maps and it’s available for most smartphone platforms including Apple and Android. It offers:

• Comprehensive, accurate maps for 200 countries
• Voice-guided GPS navigation for driving, biking, and walking
• Transit directions and maps for over 800 cities
• Live traffic and incident reports
• Detailed information on more than 100 million places
• Street View and indoor imagery for restaurants, museums, and more

Google Maps is what we use on Puerto Rico by GPS and it works like a charm.

Apple Maps on iPhone

Apple Maps on iPhone

Apple Maps

The other popular app is Apple Maps, and like the name clearly specifies it only works with Apple products like the iPhone, iPod and iPad. It offers:

• Turn-by-turn spoken directions
• Interactive 3D views
• Flyover, which lets you select major metro areas from the air with photo-realistic, interactive 3D views.
• Vector-based interface that scales and zooms with ease.
• Real-time traffic information to calculate your ETA
• Siri integration

This app originally got a bad rap because it stranded a group of tourists in the Australian Outback and led another across an airport landing strip in Alaska. But Apple has put a lot of hard work and resources into Apple Maps and the latest reviews have been great.


One additional benefit that smartphones offer over dedicated GPS units is that they can double as portable GPS units for walking and hiking. For example, the maps on Puerto Rico By GPS ask you if you are driving, cycling or walking. Why? Because they always show you the shortest route. However, the shortest route on foot could go against traffic if you were driving or cycling.

Puerto Rico By GPS

And finally you have Puerto Rico By GPS. Our site is based on Google’s popular Google Map service. But we take things a step further. Puerto Rico By GPS has hundreds of photos, detailed information, audio, video and the Google Map service. And we add new destinations constantly.

All this is based on my 50+ years of local knowledge. Why? Because I live on the Island and I know it inside out. And my commitment is to always steer you in the right direction.

Oh, and one last thing. Many rental car companies rent GPS units separately when you pick up your car. But with the steep charges you’ll soon discover that you’ll be better off buying your own.


So there you have it. You can buy, rent or just use your smartphone. And no matter what you decide, be sure to use Puerto Rico By GPS as well.

Enjoy your stay in sunny Puerto Rico.

©2014,Orlando Mergal, MA

Bilingual Content Creator, Blogger, Podcaster,
Author, Photographer and New Media Expert
Tel. 787-750-0000, Mobile 787-306-1590


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on a link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

3 thoughts on “Do You Need A Dedicated GPS Unit To Visit Puerto Rico?”

  1. I wondered if Verizon has good service in Puerto Rico? That is where I have service with my smart phone and I would hate to get there and have spotty service…do you notice any troubles with that? We are planning a trip in May 2015. Thank you.

  2. Hi Kristina:

    I am glad that you are planning a trip to Puerto Rico.

    I am sorry to say that Verizon does not operate in Puerto Rico. They used to, but they sold their network to America Mobile, who in turn operates in Puerto Rico as Claro.

    That said, cellular service on the Island is quite good, There are several companies that you should know like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. So your phone would probably work in roaming mode.

    Another option would be to switch over to AT&T, take a national long distance plan and then it would be like being on the mainland; you wouldn’t pay any additional charges. The national plan is only about $10 more than the regular plan, so you will make it back in the roaming charges that you’ll save.

    I hope these little inconveniences will not detract you from visiting sunny Puerto Rico. It’s a beautiful place, the food is great and the people are nice.

    And of course, whatever you do, don’t forget to bring a smartphone so you can take advantage of Puerto Rico By GPS.

    Have a great day!

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