The Puerto Rican Amazon was described by Dutch ornithologist Pieter Boddaert in 1783. It belongs to the large Neotropical genus Amazona, commonly known as amazons; these birds have also been given the generic epithet of 'parrot' by the American Ornithologists' Union, hence Puerto Rican Parrot is an alternative common name in North America. The indigenous Taíno people called it the Iguaca, an onomatopoeic name that resembled the parrots' flight call.
There are two recognized subspecies:
A. v. vittata is the nominate and only extant subspecies, inhabiting Puerto Rico and formerly nearby Vieques Island and Mona Island.
A. v. gracilipes inhabited Culebra Island and is now extinct. It is unclear whether it was substantially different from the nominate subspecies.