Masks Required (updated 13 Jan 2022)
😷 Indoors - Masks covering mouth & nose are required for everyone 2 years old and older, regardless of vaccination status, in public indoor spaces 😷 Outdoors - Masks covering mouth & nose are required for everyone 2 years old and older, regardless of vaccination status, in public outdoor spaces where you cannot socially distance, or where there are 50 or more people
Busness Closure & Dry Law (updated 13 Jan 2022)
πŸ›’ All businesses that serve the public must remain closed from midnight until 5am. Exceptions to closure include supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies, health facilities, hospitals, among others. Restaurants, clubs, bars, etc ARE closed midnight to 5am. Effective through at least 02 February 2022, per executive order EO-2021-086, and extended by EO-2022-002.
🍺 Dry Law (no sale nor public consumption of alcohol) is in effect from midnight until 5am. Effective through at least 02 February 2022, per executive order EO-2021-086, and extended by EO-2022-002.
Restaurants, Bars & other Food Establishments (updated 13 Jan 2022)
πŸ” ALL CUSTOMERS (2 years old and older) must show proof of vaccination or negative COVID test results - In order to be admitted to food establishments you are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test (molecular or antigen) results of test administered by an authorized health provider no more than 48 hours prior to arrival at the restaurant, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. Effective through at least 02 Feb 2022, per executive order EO-2021-081.
πŸ‘ͺ The capacity of "any place that serves (and people consume) drinks or prepared food" will be limited to 50% if indoors, or 75% if outdoors/open-air. This applies to restaurants, bars, theaters, food courts, etc. Effective through at least 02 February 2022, per EO-2021-085 and extended by EO-2022-002.
Stores, Offices & similar places that serve the public indoors (updated 13 Jan 2022)
πŸ›’ The capacity in all facilities that "serve the public indoors" will be limited to 75%. This applies to stores, malls, offices, etc. Effective 17 Jan 2022 through at least 02 Feb 2022, per EO-2022-002.
Hotels, Resorts & other Lodging (updated 13 Jan 2022)
🏨 In order to check-in to any lodging facility (short-term rentals, AirBNB, hotels, resorts, etc), all members of your party (5 years old and older) are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test (molecular or antigen) results of test administered by an authorized health provider no more than 48 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. This applies to all people 2 (two) years old and older. If you are unvaccinated and staying more than a week, you are required to show new negative test results weekly. Per executive order EO-2021-062 and EO-2021-075.
Tours & Excursions (updated 13 Jan 2022)
β›΅ 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 13 Jan 2022)
🏟️ All attendees at group activities of less than 250 people at facilities that encourage crowding, indoor or outdoor, must show proof of vaccination OR negative test (molecular or antigen) results of test administered by an authorized health provider no more than 48 prior to arrival at the event. Facilities include theaters, amphitheaters, stadiums, conference and activity centers, and any other place where events are held. This applies to everyone 5 years old and older. Kids under the age of 5 are not permitted to attend these events at all. Effective 22 December 2021, per EO-2021-080, and modified by EO-2022-002
πŸ‘ͺ The capacity of "event or activity venues" will be limited to 50% if indoors, or 75% if outdoors/open-air. This applies to stadiums, coliseums, convention centers, theaters, etc. Effective through at least 02 Feb 2022, per EO-2021-085 and extended by EO-2022-002.
Cruise Ship Passengers (updated 30 Dec 2021)
🚒 All cruise ship passengers and crew who wish to disembark in Puerto Rico must be fully vaccinated, and 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 20 Dec 2021)
✈️ DOMESTIC TRAVELERS (effective 27 Dec 2021, per EO-2021-081)
All DOMESTIC travelers (2 years old and older) arriving in Puerto Rico are are required to show BOTH
  1. negative COVID test results from test administerd by an authorized health provider no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in PR AND
  2. either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery.
  • If you do not have your test results upon arrival, you have 48 hours to produce those results, or you will be fined $300 per person.
  • If you are un-vaccinated, you are required to quarantine for 7 days, even if you have negative test results.
✈️ 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.
πŸ“„ ALL TRAVELERS arriving in Puerto Rico are required to submit a travel declaration upon arrival via the PR Government Travel Safe website. This is where you will upload your COVID vaccination card and/or negative COVID test results.

Caparra Ruins: Remains of the First Spanish Settlement

Caparra Ruins

Due to COVID- This museum is only open by appointment.

Puerto Rico has a long and interesting history. The Spanish settlers made this their home more than 500 years ago, and you can see the archaeological evidence of the first settlement at the Caparra Ruins Museum and Historic Park. Now, before you get all excited, this is not what I call a must see place. But if you are in the area and have a few minutes to spare, you could stop in and check it out.

The Caparra Ruins (formally the Museo y Parque Histórico Ruinas de Caparra) is located in Guaynabo, a town just south of San Juan. It is a small but important spot that has been set aside for its historical significance.

Some History

Juan Ponce de León arrived with the first settlers from Spain in 1508. They created the first permanent Spanish settlement in this "Caparra" area in Puerto Rico. They decided on this site because it was close to fresh water springs and gold mines. Most of the town buildings were constructed of wood. But Ponce de León’s residence was more of a fortress (to protect townspeople from attacks), so it was made from rock.

Caparra Ruins

It didn’t take too long before they realized that this location was not as ideal as first envisioned — it wasn’t close enough to the coast. Travel to and from the port for supplies was through swampy areas, where they were easy targets for the natives. Also, being near the swamps, they were subjected to mosquitoes (and the malaria they carry). In 1519-21, they moved the settlement to a site originally called "Puerto Rico" (rich port). Today, we call that area Old San Juan.

In 1917, during the construction of Route 2, the ruins of Caparra were uncovered. But it wasn’t until 1935, when a real archaeological excavation at the settlement was done, that foundations of the Ponce de León house were discovered. All the other town structures, being constructed of wood, had long since disappeared.

Caparra Ruins

Nothing was done with these discoveries until 1958, when the land was given to Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, at which point excavation continued and other archaeological pieces were found.

Today, the foundation of the house and grounds are maintained, and a museum displays some of the items they found at the site. Additionally, other historic and archaeological objects and documents related to the conquest and colonization of Puerto Rico are on display. This park was listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Our (short) Visit

The ruins of Caparra have been on our to do list for a long time. Every time we drive past it we say "We should really stop in there" … so we finally did.

Caparra Ruins

The ruins and museum are right along Route 2 in Guaynabo, so it is easy to find and there is a parking lot right at the museum.

As you walk in the gates, you see a large placard that describes the rock foundation of Ponce de León’s house. The placard is in Spanish, but luckily the guard came over with a Spanish/English brochure. It is less than thrilling to visit, but it is historical.

After walking around the foundation, we went into the museum. It is very small (one room) but there is a lot of information on what they believe the original settlement looked like (based on similar settlements in the Dominican Republic). All of the written descriptions inside the museum are in Spanish. The guards/curator tried to help with the explanations in English.

Caparra Ruins

There were a number of historical documents, and some of the items that were excavated from this site and other places around the island. Items on display included broken pottery, ceramic tiles, metal items (buttons, buckles, nails, etc), and implements of war (swords, armor, etc).

The guide that was there only spoke Spanish, but sometimes there is a bilingual guide on duty.

Back outside, next to the museum, is a plaque designating the location of the first church in the Americas, established in 1512. Since the church was constructed from wood, the archaeological excavation did not reveal any remains from this building.

Details

Caparra Ruins

Admission to the grounds and museum is free.

The grounds and museum are open Monday- Friday from 8am to noon and 1pm to 4:00pm.

This is a quick stop … allow maybe 30 minutes.

You can call 787-781-4795 or maybe 787-669-1866 for more information (might only be in Spanish).

They have restrooms.

The Ruins of Caparra are located in the Villa Caparra sector of Guaynabo on Route 2 westbound, around KM 6.4, just west of the intersection with Route 20. From Route 22, you would take Exit 6.

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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