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.

Caparra Ruins: Remains of the First Spanish Settlement

Temporarily closed- 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 →

Ads & Sponsors

Other Puerto Rico Resources …

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