We live in a world where drones have become an extension of ourselves. Among other things, we use them to shoot videos, take photos, and keep track of people. That’s why it’s more desirable than ever to take a drone with you on vacation.
Having said that, are you wondering if you can bring your drone with you on your upcoming trip to Puerto Rico?
As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico does permit visitors to bring drones onto the island. If you plan to bring a drone to Puerto Rico and fly it while there, it’s important to know the rules you have to follow.
Get familiar with all those rules before you go. In this article, we explain whether drones are legal in Puerto Rico. Here are some things you should be aware of when bringing a drone.
Can I bring a drone to Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico doesn’t have any particular restrictions on drones, so you are free to bring your drone with you if you’re planning a trip to this island territory.
However, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires LiPo batteries to be transported in carry-on luggage, so make sure not to put any spare batteries in checked baggage. Also, specific to flights coming into Puerto Rico, all drones must be in carry-on luggage only.
Aside from that, you will also need to ensure that your drone is registered before you travel with it.
Flying a drone in Puerto Rico is pretty much the same as in the rest of the United States, being a US territory, after all. In case you’re not sure what that means, we’ll brush up on the requirements.
Who can fly a recreational drone in Puerto Rico?
If you don’t know what a recreational drone is, here’s a simple explanation: A recreational drone is a drone that you will usually use for personal interest and enjoyment.
If you want to learn more about the differences between recreational and commercial drone use in the United States, check out this article.
Here are some basic FAA rules you should follow:
- Fly your recreational drone within a visual line of sight.
- You only fly your drone for a hobby or recreation (not earning any income from the flight).
- Additionally, you should register your drone on FAADroneZone (link) with the FAA.
- Observe community-based safety guidelines and follow the AMA’s (link) programming.
- Your drone must weigh under 55 pounds unless certified by a community group.
- Never fly near other planes.
- You may fly in Class G airspace. You need airspace authorization to fly in Class B, C, D, or E-controlled airspace. You can learn more about the LAANC authorization process in our LAANC authorization guide.
- Never fly near emergency response efforts.
Who can fly a commercial drone in Puerto Rico?
Commercial drones are subject to the same general rules as recreational drones in Puerto Rico. The only difference is that you will be using your commercial drone for commercial purposes.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Get your drone registered with the FAA at FAA Drone Zone.
- Your drone must weigh less than 55 pounds, including the payload.
- You have to fly in Class G airspace.
- Keep your drone within your visual line of sight.
- You have to fly below 400 feet.
- Fly during daylight or civil twilight.
- You have to fly under 100 mph.
- You have to give human-crewed aircraft the right of way.
- The FAA requires a Remote Pilot Certificate for commercial flying.
- You can’t fly your drone directly over people.
- You can only fly a drone from a moving vehicle in a sparsely populated area.
Taking a drone through customs in Puerto Rico
You can only fly a drone in Costa Rica if you import it legitimately.
You may need to place your drone’s batteries in a fireproof case during your flight, depending on the airline.
Before bringing your drone to Puerto Rico, you need to register it with the FAA. To register, you need to have the following:
- An email address
- A mailing address
- Telephone number
- Your drone’s model information
- Remote ID, if applicable, or serial number supplied by the manufacturer
- Credit or debit card for the $5 Fee
The best places to fly your drone in Puerto Rico
It is crucial to keep in mind that you can only fly in Class G airspace in Puerto Rico. If you do want to fly in Class B, C, D, or E-controlled airspace, you must obtain airspace authorization.
To learn more about the LAANC authorization process, please refer to our LAANC authorization guide.
1. Mar Chiquita Beach
Mar Chiquita is one of the most recognizable beaches on the island. Bring your drone here to explore this most beautiful beach and get some stunning photos.
You must drive a long way to get to this beautiful beach sheltered from the wind. The water is crystal clear, calm, and slippery rocks slide into it.
Take a hike on the not-so-slippery rocks to see both sides of the beach, and note the urchin colony. Wonder if they’re edible?
There are also some vendors in the parking lot and port-a-potties when nature calls.
Address: Playa Mar Chiquita. Manatí, PR, 00674.
Coordinates: 18.4727° N, 66.4854° W
Airspace class: C
2. San Juan
San Juan is less than a half-hour away from Balneario Punta Salinas, a reasonably quiet beach. It is a popular surfing spot because of its enormous waves. You can safely fly a drone in the beach area because, let’s face it, beaches are a fascinating sight.
Remember, LAANC authorization is required since it is within the controlled airspace of the LMM airport.
Address: 160 Chardon Avenue Hato Rey, 00918, Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18.4671° N, 66.1185° W
Airspace class: C
3. Ria Bayamon Lineal Park
A 5-mile-long trail in Rio Bayamon park is popular with bikers and runners. But even if you’re not a biker, you will always find something to do in this place.
You can also bring your drone and explore the area. The only thing you can’t do is fly your drone over the trail. The open space on either side of the runway is sufficient for safe flight.
A drone-friendly section of the park also runs alongside the Rio Hondo river.
Address: CR5W+5M8, Bayamón, 00961, Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18.4671° N, 66.1185° W
Airspace class: G