Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Puerto Rico's Act 22: A Tax Oasis with Mixed Blessings

 tax incentives

Puerto Rico's Act 22, also known as the Individual Investors Act, has become a hot-button topic. Enacted in 2012, the Act aims to stimulate the island's economy by attracting high-net-worth individuals with significant tax breaks. But has it been a boon or a bane for Puerto Rico? Let's dive into the Act's impact and how Puerto Ricans themselves view it.

The Allure of Act 22: Tax Breaks Galore

Act 22 offers substantial tax incentives to individuals who establish bona fide residency in Puerto Rico. These incentives include a 100% exemption on capital gains taxes and interest and dividend income earned from sources outside Puerto Rico. This makes the island an attractive tax haven, particularly for entrepreneurs, investors, and retirees from the mainland US.

The Economic Impact: A Double-Edged Sword

Proponents of Act 22 argue it has boosted the Puerto Rican economy in several ways. Firstly, it injects new capital into the island's financial system. New residents invest in real estate, businesses, and local ventures, creating jobs and stimulating economic activity. Secondly, increased spending by these residents benefits local businesses and the service industry. Finally, the Act generates additional tax revenue through property taxes and sales taxes paid by new residents.

However, critics point out potential downsides. Some argue that wealthy newcomers displace local residents from the housing market, driving up property values and rents, making it harder for Puerto Ricans to find affordable housing. Additionally, concerns exist that Act 22 benefits don't always trickle down to all sectors of the economy, primarily favoring tourism and high-end services.

The Likes: A Glimpse of Hope

Many Puerto Ricans view Act 22 with cautious optimism. They appreciate the potential for economic growth and job creation. The influx of new residents can revitalize struggling communities and provide much-needed investment. Additionally, the Act can attract skilled professionals who can contribute to the island's development.

The Dislikes: Concerns and Skepticism

However, skepticism also exists. Some Puerto Ricans worry about potential gentrification and a widening gap between the rich and the poor. There are concerns that the tax breaks primarily benefit the wealthy newcomers rather than the broader population. Additionally, some question whether the Act attracts genuine residents who contribute to the community or simply tax haven seekers with little interest in Puerto Rico beyond its financial offerings.

The Road Ahead: Finding the Right Balance

The future of Act 22 remains uncertain. The program has been amended in recent years to address concerns and ensure compliance. It's crucial to find a middle ground that attracts new residents while ensuring the benefits reach all Puerto Ricans. Increased transparency and accountability can help ensure Act 22 fosters sustainable economic development that benefits the entire island.

Beyond the Act: A Call for Diversification

Ultimately, Act 22 should be seen as one piece of a broader economic development strategy. The island needs to focus on fostering a diversified and resilient economy that doesn't solely rely on tax breaks. Investing in education, infrastructure, and local businesses can create long-term growth that benefits all Puerto Ricans.


Act 22 presents both opportunities and challenges for Puerto Rico. Recognizing both perspectives of Puerto Ricans living on the island is crucial. Striking a balance between attracting new residents and ensuring local communities thrive will determine the ultimate success of this controversial tax act.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Paradise Lost? Act 22, Airbnbs, and the Struggle for Affordable Housing in Puerto Rico

 affordable housing

Puerto Rico, a vibrant island territory of the United States, faces a complex challenge: a shortage of affordable housing. This issue has intensified in recent years, fueled by two factors: Act 22 and the rise of Airbnb rentals. Let's delve into how these seemingly disparate forces are contributing to the housing crisis in Puerto Rico.

Act 22: A Double-Edged Sword

Act 22, also known as Act 60, is an economic development program designed to attract investors and entrepreneurs to Puerto Rico. The program offers significant tax breaks to individuals who relocate to the island and establish a business there. While Act 22 has undoubtedly boosted the island's economy, it's not without its downsides in the housing market.

Here's How Act 22 can Impact Affordability

Increased Demand: Act 22 beneficiaries tend to have higher incomes. Their arrival creates a surge in demand for housing, particularly in desirable tourist areas. This competition with local residents drives up prices, pushing affordable options further out of reach.

Limited Inventory: Some Act 22 participants choose to buy properties as part of the program's requirements. This removes potential long-term rentals from the market and shrinks the pool of available housing, especially for middle-income earners.
The Airbnb Effect: Hospitality Over Habitability

The popularity of Airbnb has transformed the tourism landscape in Puerto Rico. While short-term rentals can offer economic benefits for some homeowners, their widespread presence can exacerbate the housing crisis:

Reduced Long-Term Rentals: Property owners, lured by the potentially higher income from short-term rentals, convert long-term rentals into Airbnbs. This reduces the number of apartments and houses available for year-round residents.

Gentrification on Steroids: The influx of tourists seeking trendy Airbnb stays can lead to gentrification. Local residents are pushed out of certain neighborhoods as property values and rents rise due to the increased demand for short-term rentals.
A Perfect Storm: Act 22 and Airbnbs Working in Tandem

The combined effect of Act 22 and excessive Airbnbs creates a perfect storm for affordable housing. With increased demand from Act 22 participants and a shrinking pool of long-term rentals due to Airbnbs, competition for the remaining housing stock becomes fierce. This pushes prices even higher, leaving many Puerto Ricans struggling to find a decent and affordable place to live.

Finding Solutions: A Path Towards Balance

The situation isn't without potential solutions. Here are some ways to address the housing crisis:

Act 22 Reform: Consider requiring Act 22 beneficiaries to purchase properties in designated areas outside of high-demand tourist zones. This could help distribute the impact and prevent gentrification.

Airbnb Regulations: Implement stricter regulations on short-term rentals. Limiting the number of nights a property can be rented per year, requiring licensing, and increasing taxes on multiple listings are potential options.

Investment in Affordable Housing: Increase government investment in building and subsidizing affordable housing units. This can provide much-needed options for low and middle-income residents.

Conclusion: A Sustainable Future for Puerto Rico

The dream of owning a home or finding a decent rental apartment is becoming increasingly difficult for many Puerto Ricans. By acknowledging the impact of Act 22 and Airbnbs on the housing market, policymakers and stakeholders can work together to create a more balanced system. Striking a balance between economic development, tourism, and the needs of the island's residents is crucial for a sustainable future where everyone has access to affordable housing. Only then can Puerto Rico truly be a paradise for all.

Friday, March 15, 2024

the Rainforest Inn Bed and Breakfast

 Nestled within the lush greenery of El Yunque Rainforest in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, the Rainforest Inn Bed and Breakfast stands as a serene oasis, offering an unforgettable escape for nature enthusiasts and tranquility seekers alike. This charming retreat is more than just a place to rest; it's an immersive experience that allows guests to connect with the vibrant ecosystem surrounding them.

A Unique Retreat

The Rainforest Inn is not your typical bed and breakfast; it's an eco-friendly haven that seamlessly blends luxury with sustainability. Guests are greeted by the soothing sounds of the rainforest and the refreshing scent of tropical flora as they step onto the property. The inn consists of six uniquely designed rooms, each offering panoramic views of the lush landscape.

The rooms at Rainforest Inn are designed to provide comfort while maintaining a close connection to nature. The eco-friendly architecture ensures that each room is well-ventilated and naturally lit, reducing the need for excessive artificial lighting and air conditioning. From the private balconies, guests can enjoy breathtaking views of the rainforest, creating a perfect setting for relaxation.


For those seeking adventure, the Rainforest Inn provides a gateway to the wonders of El Yunque Rainforest. Guests can explore hiking trails, discover hidden waterfalls, and observe the diverse flora and fauna that call the rainforest home. The inn offers guided tours, providing valuable insights into the ecology and cultural significance of this unique environment.

The El Yunque National Forest, where the inn is situated, is home to countless species of birds, insects, and plants. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the opportunity to spot rare and exotic species right from their balconies. The inn also arranges special birdwatching tours for enthusiasts eager to explore the diverse avian life.

The Rainforest Inn is committed to environmental sustainability and conservation. The property employs eco-friendly practices such as rainwater harvesting, composting, and energy-efficient technologies. The owners actively participate in local conservation efforts, supporting initiatives aimed at preserving the delicate balance of the rainforest ecosystem.

Culinary Delights

The inn's culinary offerings are a highlight for guests. The on-site restaurant sources fresh, local ingredients to create a menu that reflects the vibrant flavors of Puerto Rican cuisine. From traditional dishes to modern culinary creations, the chefs at Rainforest Inn showcase their passion for sustainable and locally sourced food.

Beyond providing a unique and immersive experience for guests, the Rainforest Inn is deeply involved in the local community. The owners collaborate with nearby businesses, artisans, and farmers to support the regional economy. Guests have the opportunity to participate in cultural excursions and interact with the vibrant communities surrounding the rainforest.

The Rainforest Inn Bed and Breakfast in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, offers more than just a place to stay – it provides an opportunity to connect with nature, support local communities, and contribute to the conservation of the precious rainforest ecosystem. Whether you're an avid nature lover or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, the Rainforest Inn invites you to embrace the beauty of El Yunque and create lasting memories in this enchanting corner of the world.


Contact Information


Email Bill & Renée:

Direct line: (925) 391-3131

Toll free1 (800) 672-4992

Our physical address (not USPS) is:

Rainforest Inn 019 Cam Caribe, Rio Grande, 00745 (El Yunque National Forest)

Opening hours: 8am to 7pm

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Rio Grande Puerto Rico


La Coca Waterfall

A Tapestry of History and Culture

Nestled on the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico, the town of Rio Grande stands as a testament to the island's rich history and vibrant culture. With its founding dating back centuries, this town has evolved into a captivating blend of tradition, natural beauty, and community spirit.

Rio Grande's roots trace back to its official founding on July 16, 1840. However, the area's history predates this significant date, as indigenous Taino communities once inhabited the region. The Taino people, with their rich culture and agricultural practices, left an indelible mark on Rio Grande's landscape.

Early History

The town's early history is marked by a tapestry of influences, including Spanish colonization and the sugarcane industry. The founder of Rio Grande, Don Jose Francisco Rivera, played a pivotal role in shaping the town's destiny. Rivera's vision for a thriving community centered around agriculture and trade laid the foundation for Rio Grande's growth.

The colors of Rio Grande symbolize the town's identity and spirit. Vibrant hues of blue and green dominate the town's official color palette, reflecting the natural beauty that surrounds Rio Grande. The blue represents the nearby Atlantic Ocean, while the green signifies the lush landscapes and tropical vegetation that thrive in the region.

Local Sites of Interest

Rio Grande boasts a myriad of sites that captivate both residents and visitors alike. One of the town's crown jewels is the El Yunque National Forest, a lush tropical rainforest that stands as a haven for biodiversity. With its cascading waterfalls, dense foliage, and unique wildlife, El Yunque provides a breathtaking backdrop to Rio Grande's everyday life.


The town square, a focal point of community life, encapsulates Rio Grande's cultural and religious significance. The central plaza is adorned with a statue of Don Jose Francisco Rivera, paying homage to the town's founder. The Catholic church, a cornerstone of the square, stands as a testament to the enduring religious traditions that have shaped Rio Grande.

Rio Grande's patron saint, Saint Anne, holds a special place in the hearts of the townspeople. Celebrated annually on July 26, the Feast of Saint Anne brings together residents in a vibrant display of religious devotion and cultural festivities. The streets come alive with processions, traditional music, and local cuisine, creating an atmosphere of joy and unity.

Patron Saint Church and Town Square

The Catholic church in the town square, dedicated to Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Carmen, serves as both a place of worship and a cultural landmark. The architecture reflects a blend of colonial and Caribbean influences, creating a visually stunning testament to the town's enduring faith. The church's interior is adorned with religious art and artifacts, providing a glimpse into Rio Grande's spiritual heritage.

Beyond its religious significance, the church square serves as a gathering place for the community. Locals and visitors alike come together to share moments of reflection, celebration, and connection. The church square is not just a physical space; it is a living testament to Rio Grande's sense of community and cultural pride.

In conclusion, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, stands as a vibrant tapestry woven with threads of history, culture, and faith. From its Taino roots to the vision of its founder, the town has evolved into a unique blend of tradition and modernity. The colors, sites of interest, patron saint, and the Catholic church in the town square all contribute to the rich narrative of Rio Grande. As residents continue to celebrate their heritage and welcome newcomers, Rio Grande remains a shining example of Puerto Rico's enduring spirit.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Emancipation Day in Puerto Rico: Celebrating Freedom and Cultural Resilience



Emancipation Day in Puerto Rico is a significant and deeply rooted celebration that commemorates the abolition of slavery in the island territory. This day holds profound cultural and historical importance, reflecting the resilience and strength of the Puerto Rican people in their pursuit of freedom and equality.

Historical Background

Emancipation Day in Puerto Rico traces its roots back to March 22, 1873, when the Spanish government, which then controlled the island, enacted the Moret Law. This historic legislation granted freedom to enslaved individuals born after September 17, 1868. The law aimed to gradually abolish slavery in Puerto Rico, aligning with a global shift towards recognizing the inherent rights of all individuals.

The Moret Law, named after Spanish politician Segismundo Moret, represented a crucial step towards dismantling the oppressive system of slavery that had plagued the island for centuries. However, it's important to note that full emancipation did not occur until March 22, 1873, making this date a pivotal moment in Puerto Rican history.

Cultural Significance

Emancipation Day is not merely a historical event; it is a celebration of resilience, cultural identity, and the enduring spirit of the Puerto Rican people. The abolition of slavery marked a turning point, paving the way for a new era of freedom and self-determination.

Throughout the years, Emancipation Day has become a day of reflection and remembrance, honoring the struggles of those who fought against the chains of slavery and acknowledging the contributions of Afro-Puerto Ricans to the island's rich cultural tapestry. The day is marked by various cultural events, including music, dance, art, and traditional ceremonies that pay homage to the African roots embedded in Puerto Rican heritage.

Celebrations and Traditions

Bomba y Plena

Emancipation Day is celebrated with a blend of historical reverence and cultural festivities across Puerto Rico. Communities come together to organize parades, concerts, and art exhibitions that showcase the diversity of Puerto Rican culture and the resilience of its people.

One of the prominent features of the celebrations is the Bomba and Plena music and dance. These traditional Afro-Puerto Rican art forms serve as a powerful means of expression, connecting individuals with their African ancestry while celebrating the triumph over oppression. The vibrant rhythms and movements of Bomba and Plena embody the spirit of freedom and unity, providing a unique and captivating experience for both locals and visitors alike.

Moreover, various educational initiatives take place during Emancipation Day, fostering awareness about the island's history and the ongoing efforts to preserve and promote its cultural diversity. Schools, museums, and community organizations collaborate to organize workshops, lectures, and exhibitions that highlight the significance of Emancipation Day in shaping Puerto Rico's collective identity.


Emancipation Day in Puerto Rico serves as a poignant reminder of the island's journey towards freedom and equality. Beyond its historical roots, the celebration embodies the strength, resilience, and cultural richness of the Puerto Rican people. As the island continues to navigate the complexities of its history and identity, Emancipation Day stands as a beacon of hope and a testament to the enduring spirit of a community that has overcome adversity to embrace its diverse heritage.

Friday, March 1, 2024

The Jones Act: A Legacy of Protectionism and its Impact on Puerto Rico


Enacted in 1920 as part of the Merchant Marine Act, the Jones Act remains a contentious cornerstone of US maritime policy. This law mandates that all goods transported by water between US ports must be carried on US-built, owned, and crewed vessels. While proponents hail it as a vital tool for national security and maritime industry support, critics point to its significant economic and social burdens, particularly on Puerto Rico and other non-contiguous territories. Exploring the Act's history, rationale, and impact on Puerto Rico reveals a complex interplay of economic protectionism, national security considerations, and the welfare of island populations.

Birth of a Nation's Maritime Ambition

Emerging from the ashes of World War I, the United States witnessed a decline in its once-mighty merchant marine. Senator Wesley Jones, concerned about national security and economic competitiveness, championed the Merchant Marine Act, with the Jones Act forming a crucial section. The Act aimed to revitalize the US maritime industry by reserving domestic waterborne commerce for US vessels, effectively barring cheaper foreign competition. The rationale rested on national security concerns, emphasizing the need for a robust domestic shipbuilding industry and trained American crews in times of war.

Puerto Rico: Caught in the Crossfire

Puerto Rico, acquired by the US in 1898, became subject to the Jones Act. However, the island's unique status as a non-contiguous territory presented challenges. Under the Act, goods shipped between Puerto Rico and the mainland had to be transported on US vessels, significantly raising shipping costs compared to foreign alternatives. This inflated the price of everyday goods for Puerto Ricans, impacting their cost of living and overall economic competitiveness.

Short-Term Effects: A Rising Tide of Prices

The immediate impact of the Jones Act on Puerto Rico was a surge in consumer prices. Studies estimate that the Act increases goods prices in Puerto Rico by 15-20% compared to the mainland. This price hike affects all aspects of life, from basic necessities like food and fuel to construction materials and manufactured goods. The higher cost of living hinders economic development, discourages investment, and disproportionately burdens low-income communities.

Long-Term Consequences: A Ripple Effect on Development

Beyond immediate price increases, the Jones Act hinders Puerto Rico's long-term economic growth. The inflated cost of imports makes it challenging for local businesses to compete with mainland counterparts, stifling entrepreneurship and innovation. Additionally, the Act limits the island's ability to attract manufacturing and other industries due to the higher cost of importing raw materials and exporting finished goods. This stagnation impedes job creation and overall economic diversification, perpetuating a cycle of dependence on mainland imports.

Challenges and Debates

Over the years, the Jones Act has faced numerous challenges and debates. Critics argue that the economic costs outweigh the national security benefits, especially in the era of globalized trade and modern naval capabilities. Proponents counter that a strong domestic shipbuilding industry remains crucial for wartime contingencies and that the Act guarantees high-paying jobs for American seafarers. The debate reflects a complex tug-of-war between economic efficiency and national security priorities.

Seeking Solutions: Balancing Interests

Finding a solution to the Jones Act conundrum requires navigating a delicate balancing act. While recognizing the Act's potential national security benefits, exploring options to mitigate its economic burdens on Puerto Rico and other territories is crucial. Potential solutions include waivers for specific goods, exemptions for non-contiguous territories, or subsidies to offset shipping cost increases. Ultimately, policymakers must weigh competing interests and design a policy that fosters both economic prosperity and national security for all US territories.

The Jones Act serves as a case study in the complex interplay of protectionist policies, national security concerns, and the economic well-being of specific populations. As Puerto Rico grapples with its economic challenges, finding common ground between competing interests remains essential to ensure a brighter future for the island and its residents.