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)
🛒 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)
🍔 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.
👪 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)
🛒 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)
⛵ 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
👪 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.
📄 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.

Chikungunya – What You Need to Know

Aedes aegypti mosquito

On 29 May 2014, the Puerto Rico Department of Health (Departamento de Salud) reported the first case of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus in Puerto Rico.

Just a few months later, cases are greatly diminished, but the virus is still around but chances of acquiring it are very low.

Chikungunya was primarily found in Africa and Asia, but started spreading in the Caribbean in 2013.

If you have plans to travel to Puerto Rico you might be concerned. But, before you get all freaked out, do a little research, and understand the facts.

What is Chikungunya?

Chikungunya (pronounced chik-en-GUN-ye) virus (abbreviated CHIKV) is a disease transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and intense joint pain. The virus alone is seldom fatal, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling.

Chikungunya distribution

Chikungunya is endemic in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia, but recent outbreaks have spread the disease over a wider range. In December 2013, Chikungunya was confirmed on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, and it has since spread throughout the Caribbean — including Puerto Rico. Chikungunya virus may be introduced into areas by travelers who become infected while visiting other areas where the virus exists.

How is Chikungunya Spread?

Chikungunya cannot be spread directly from person to person — so you can’t catch it from shaking hands, a sneeze, a doorknob or a toilet seat. Chikungunya is spread from person to person by the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya is most often spread between people by the by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

Aedes aegypti mosquito

Here in Puerto Rico, Aedes aegypti is the principal mosquito carrier of Chikungunya virus. This species of mosquito is closely associated with humans and their dwellings. They like to live and breed in a place that is close to their food source — humans — and generally in urban areas, where there are more people available for them to bite! Aedes aegypti prefers to rest in darker cool areas, such as under furniture and in closets — convenient for them to bite people indoors and/or around the household and yard.

The mosquito becomes infected with Chikungunya virus when it bites a person who already has the Chikungunya virus in their blood, A single infected mosquito can infect multiple people, who in turn can infect multiple mosquitoes — and the cycle continues.

What are the Symptoms of Chikungunya?

Chikungunya is characterized by the abrupt onset of fever, often accompanied by severe joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Symptoms typically appear 2 to 12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms last about a week, but the joint pain may persist for weeks or even months.

The symptoms of Chikungunya are similar to the symptoms of dengue (which we also have here in Puerto Rico), so it is possible to mis-diagnose the disease.

CDC Chikungunya Symptoms

What is the treatment for Chikungunya?

See your doctor if you suspect that you have Chikungunya, and tell your doctor that you recently visited the Caribbean.

There is no specific medication for treatment of a Chikungunya infection. People who think they have Chikungunya should use ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain. They should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and consult a physician.

How to Prevent Chikungunya

There is no vaccination to protect you from Chikungunya. So the way to prevent the virus is to prevent getting bitten by an infected mosquito in the first place.

The adult mosquitoes feed (bite) inside a dwelling as well as outside near their “homes”, during the day and at night when the lights are on. To protect yourself, use repellent on your skin while indoors or out. When possible, wear long sleeves and pants for additional protection. Also, make sure window and door screens are secure and without holes. If available, use air-conditioning.

CDC Chikungunya Prevention

Use mosquito spray (Raid Flying Insect, or something similar) in your home and your hotel room. Even though we don’t live in a high dengue area, we still spray dark corners and under the furniture a couple times a day, just as a precaution.

For locals, mosquitoes breed in standing water. If there are any places where water lays around your home or workplace, be sure to dump them on a daily basis. This includes pet water bowls, saucers under plants, buckets and anywhere else water might accumulate. Eliminating places where mosquitoes breed will reduce the number of mosquitoes available to spread dengue. We can all help to break the cycle.

How Widespread is Chikungunya in Puerto Rico?

At it’s peak in 2016, there were a few thousand confirmed cases in Puerto Rico. Since then , the Puerto Rico Department of Health has a few hundred suspected cases a month, but there have been no confirmed cases in a while.

As an individual, your chances of getting Chikungunya in Puerto Rico are very low.

You are not likely to catch Chikungunya at the beach, in the rain forest, on a bio bay tour or on a snorkeling tour — as these are just not places that are that hospitable to the Aedes aegypti mosquito. But remember, no matter where you go or what you do, you might want to take precautions to reduce your chances of getting Chikungunya. I feel it is better to be safe than sorry.

For more Information

The info we presented here was derived from information contained in various authoritative sources. If you want more detailed information, please refer to the following references that we used in preparing this article.

Mosquito photos by James Gathany, Scientific Photographer with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From the CDC Public Health Image Library.

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