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.

The “New” Fort in Town – Fortín San Gerónimo

New Info- This fort is temporarily closed…prbably at least until 2023

Many people don’t know that the Spanish defense system for the Old San Juan area comprised more than El Morro and San Cristobal forts. There were other smaller forts (fortíns in Spanish) at other areas where they thought the enemy could try to invade. Fortín San Gerónimo del Boquerón was a small but, vitally important, part of the Spanish defense system back in the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s. You can visit this fort today, while it being refurbished to its former glory. They offer tours, and there are informational boards around to help you understand the importance of this little piece of Puerto Rican history.

Fort San Geronimo

Some Background

Owned by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña or ICP, in Spanish), this fort has stood abandoned and unmaintained for years. Time, the elements, and vandalism have all taken their toll on this historic structure. That was until 2018, when a small group of volunteers (Friends of the San Jerónimo Fort or Amigos del Fortín San Jerónimo) decided to rehabilitate it, and try to bring it out of its state of disrepair. They also want to spread the word on why this fort was so important to the defense system.

We had been to this fort a number of years ago while is was abandoned. We were impressed by the cannons and the structure itself, but it was a mess. So when I saw that someone decided that it was worth saving, I was so happy. This small group of volunteers has done so much work, and all with only donations!

Fort San Geronimo

Our Visit

In 2018, a group of volunteers asked the ICP if they could work on the restoration of the fort. These Amigos del Fortín San Jerónimo met every Friday to work on the fort, first just cleaning it up, then doing repairs on walls and ceilings. It is still a work in progress as they have planned so many tasks to compete before they think they are “done”. They continue to meet weekly on Fridays to work on the restoration. If you have Friday to spare, they would most certainly appreciate some extra hands, if only for manual labor. The fort is open during the day during the week. They ask for a donation from people who visit the fort to help with supplies for the restoration process.

They fort has informational boards around (with photos) explaining the various rooms in the fort and fort’s history. But we felt a tour with a guide would give us much more insight into what it was all about. And we were right. I have been on many tours and think I know a decent amount about the history of Old San Juan, but I learned so much on this tour. It is well worth your time and donation!

Fort San Geronimo

Our guide (Rafael) explained so much about the area, the fort, and its history. He also talked about the group of volunteers and the restoration work they are doing on the fort. One can’t help but be impressed by the immense task they set out to conquer.

He explained how vital this fort was shaping and strengthening the culture that defines Puerto Rico today. This fort played a major role in the British invasions in 1595 and 1598, the Dutch invasion in 1625, and the British (again) in 1797. Back then, there was no Caribe Hilton resort nor Paseo Caribe condo complex. The area was a nice entrance into the very safe and important San Juan harbor. Having a fort at the harbor entrance helped keep invaders out!

The fort was severely damaged during the invasion in 1598, but it proved so important that it was rebuilt in 1609 and enlarged again in 1799 to the fort that it is today. It housed between 15 to 60 soldiers at any given time. It has a kitchen, sleeping/living quarters, a well, water cisterns, the blacksmith shop, and a 2-seater bathroom! Built on coral out in the water, it had a bridge connecting it to the land (where the Caribe Hilton sit today). From the top of the fort, you can see the views of the Atlantic Ocean and Condado Lagoon. You can also see the cannons that the British left when they gave up their fight in 1797 (that were subsequently moved into the fort for preservation purposes). All very cool!

During the 1900s, when the American Army occupied the various forts in Old San Juan, there was a house for the Commander built on top of Fort San Gerónimo. After ownership of the fort passed into the hands of the Puerto Rican government, it was restored and opened in 1963 as a museum. But it closed when the Carib Hilton and other buildings in the area were built. The fort has been abandoned and unmaintained since 2008.

Fort San Geronimo

Details

There is a suggested donation of per person to visit the fort. The volunteers need the money to fund the restoration process, so we strongly recommend that make a donation to the cause.

The fort is open Monday through Sunday from 9am to 2pm.

They may offer short tours (about 30 minutes) of the fort. An additional donation if you take the tour is recommended. Pre-covid, we went on one, we made reservation for the tour via Facebook Messenger. You can see if they are still offering tours and make sure to confirm that the English-speaking guide will be available.

They also offer special programs tours in Spanish on occasion. Check their Facebook page for info.

If you would like to lend a hand (and probably get dirty in the process) with the restoration project, stop by the fort and ask. I am sure any help would be appreciated.

Allow about an hour to see the fort.

You can get more information, and check their schedule on their Facebook page or on their Amigos del Fortín San Jerónimo web site.

The fort is a little tricky to find. It is to the east of the Caribe Hilton. Park in the Playa Escambron parking lot (or in the park across the street). Walk toward the Caribe Hilton, and go between the back of the Hilton (on your left) and the parking deck (on your right). Once you get to the water, walk to the left (the Caribe will be on your left and the water will be on your right). You’ll see the fort ahead, to the right.

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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