Mask Requirement (updated 18 Apr 2022)
😷 Masks are not required, neither indoors (with some execptions) nor outdoors. Masks are recommended in indoor situations where you cannot be certain of the vaccination status of other people
😷 Masks are required inside airports, per Federal/CDC mandates
😷 Masks are required at events/activities where 1000 or more people are gathered, effective 18 Apr 2022
😷 Masks are required indoors in places like hospitals, emergency rooms, nursing homes, medical offices, health centers, clinics, labs, pharmacies, and on public transportation (including taxis and buses). The Department of Health may make masks mandetory in other situations where their use is deemed necessary.
😷 Owners and operators of public and private establishments may, at their discretion, implement health measures that they deem necessary - including requiring the use of masks.
📄 These changes go into effect 10 Mar 2022, per Executive Order EO-2022-019
Restaurants, Bars & other Food Establishments (updated 08 Mar 2022)
👪 The capacity limit has been removed, as has the requirment to check for vaccination card or negative test result
😷 Owners and operators of public and private establishments may, at their discretion, implement health measures that they deem necessary - including requiring the use of masks, and screening for vaccination status or negative test results
📄 These changes go into effect 10 Mar 2022, per Executive Order EO-2022-019
Hotels, Resorts & other Lodging (updated 08 Mar 2022)
👪 The requirment to check for vaccination card or negative test result has been eliminated
😷 Owners and operators of public and private establishments may, at their discretion, implement health measures that they deem necessary - including requiring the use of masks, and screening for vaccination status or negative test results
📄 These changes go into effect 10 Mar 2022, per Executive Order EO-2022-019
Tours & Excursions (updated 08 Mar 2022)
⛵ Tour operators may require proof of vaccination or negative test results to participate. Check with the operator to make sure you have what they require.
Events, Stadiums & Theaters (updated 18 Apr 2022)
👪 The capacity limit has been removed, as has the requirement to wear a mask (if less than 1000 people are gathered)
😷 Masks are required at events/activities where 1000 or more people are gathered, effective 18 Apr 2022
🏟️ All attendees at group activities of 1000 or more people at facilities that encourage crowding — indoor or outdoor — must show proof of vaccination with booster (if eligible), OR negative test (molecular or antigen) results of test administered by an authorized health provider no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at the event. Facilities include theaters, amphitheaters, stadiums, conference and activity centers, and any other place where events are held. Effective 10 Mar 2022, per executive order EO-2022-019 and administrative order OA-2022-533
😷 Owners and operators of public and private establishments may, at their discretion, implement health measures that they deem necessary - including requiring the use of masks, and screening for vaccination status or negative test results
📄 These changes go into effect 10 Mar 2022, per Executive Order EO-2022-019
Cruise Ship Passengers (updated 08 Mar 2022)
🚢 All cruise ship passengers and crew who wish to disembark in Puerto Rico must be fully vaccinated, OR must have a negative molecular or antigen COVID test performed within 48 hours before disembarking in PR. All passengers and crew who test positive, or have been in close contact to someone who has tested positive, will not be permitted to disembark in Puerto Rico, regarless of vaccination status.
Air Travelers Arriving in Puerto Rico (updated 08 Mar 2022)
📄 The requirement to complete the travel declaration has been eliminated for ALL travelers arriving in Puerto Rico
✈️ DOMESTIC TRAVELERS (effective 10 Mar 2022, per EO-2022-019)
• The requirement to present a vaccination card or negative test results has been eliminated for DOMESTIC travelers
✈️ INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS (effective 06 Dec 2021, per CDC)
• All INTERNATIONAL air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show (before boarding flight to the US) a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the US. This applies to all travelers, 2 years old and up, flying from INTERNATIONAL (outside of the US) destinations. Flights between Puerto Rico and the States are domestic flights, so this does not apply to travelers arriving in Puerto Rico from the States.

More Exploration in Guánica Dry Forest

2/22 If the main entrance to the forest/parking lot is closed, I suggest you just use the trail heads on the outside of the park- RT 333 and go from there.

The Guánica Dry Forest has loads of hiking and biking trails, and it offers a number of different sights and opportunities for viewing nature. Our most recent hike on the Ballena Trail was no exception. Besides the amazing cactus and easy bird viewing, we found small cave, ruins, and a 700-year old tree.

Some Background

The Guánica Dry Forest (Bosque Seco de Guánica) is an amazing forest reserve on the south west coast of Puerto Rico. It is a dry forest, meaning that the plants and animals living there have adapted to the dry, arid environment. So, instead of lush green forest, you will see cactus and small-leaved shrubbery. The soil is primarily limestone. The air is hot, dry and salty from the proximity of the sea. The forest has many miles of trails to explore. It is such a special and unique place that it has been designated by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve.

Guanica Dry Forest

Our Visit

First off I have to admit, this hike was an accident … We had planned to hike a different trail off of Road 333. But when we saw the gate at the Ballena Trail, we assumed that we had found the trail we planned to hike. That’s what happens when you assume! Regardless, I was not disappointed in the hike we actually took.

Guanica Dry Forest

We have done a few hikes in the Guánica Dry Forest in the past and have enjoyed them, and this time was no exception. We got there early (8am) parked at the gate on Route 333, and started walking up hill. The trail is rock/stone/earthen, so it was easy walking in sturdy shoes (sneakers). It is a pretty steep path up-hill. Along the way, there are great bird-watching opportunities. We took our time walking up the hill, checking out the cactus and other plants along the way.

As we approached the top, we found a nice, well-maintained trail that went off to the right, so we took it. It led us up to the lime caves (cueva del cal) and the sugarmill ruins that are right next to the parking lot.

Guanica Dry Forest

NOTE – If you don’t want to hike up-hill, and you just want to see the cave and the ruins, simply drive up Road 334 to the main entrance, park, and then take the short walk from the parking lot.

We explored the caves a little. Many parts of them have fallen in. At one time, lime was mined in these caves. We also spent a little time at the sugermill ruins. The caves were pretty neat, and you can get some nice photos there.

NOTE – The caves are closed and off-limits. It is not permitted, nor safe, to enter the limestone caves.

Guanica Dry Forest

When we finished looking around, we started back downhill toward our car. We got to a point where there was a sign for the side-trail to the Guayacán Centenario (many centuries old Guayacan tree), we took this little side hike.

The sign says it is 200 meters to the tree. This side trail starts out flat, but then gets more tricky with ups and downs and scrambling over rocks. It was the longest 200-meter trail that I have been on (it seemed much longer!). But it was worth the effort. The tree was beautiful. You can see how it has struggled to survive in this harsh environment. The roots are like artwork around all the rocks.

Once we were done with the tree, we backtracked to the main trail and continued downhill to our car. By this time, it was getting pretty hot and sunny, so we restocked our water supply. Bring plenty of water … more than you think you will need. It gets hot and thirsty here.

Guanica Dry Forest

Across the street from where we parked was the gate to the lower part of the Ballena Trail that leads to Punta Ballenas. The walk to the beach was about ½ mile long, and I have to say I wasn’t too impressed with the beach. We walked almost to the end of the beach on the west end of the cove, picking our way through the floatsam and trash. After a while of this, we decided we were done, gave up, and walked back to the car.

Afterward, we come to find there is a really nice clean, calm beach just a little past where we stopped. If we had just walked a little further around the end of the point. DUH! We were so close. Guess we will have to go back!

The main entrance/parking area is open Tuesday-Sunday 7:30a-4pm.

Click on a placename below to view the location on Google Maps ...

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

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Coqui's Hideaway Rainforest Villa in Rio Grande Located in the Foothills of El Yunque