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.

Cave of the Wind in Guajataca Forest

The trail to the cave area is technically closed. But of course, people do use it and it is kind of clear. The stairs into cave are closed and they are in bad shape…be careful if you decide to use them.

Cueva del Viento in Guajataca Forest

One of the things I like best about Puerto Rico is that it so varied. We usually hike in the El Yunque rain forest in the north-east of Puerto Rico, but it is possible to find great forest hikes all over the island.

One place we found to explore is the Guajataca Forest (pronounced gua-ha-TA-ca) in Isabela. It is in the karst region of Puerto Rico, so the landscape and plant life is totally different than what we are used to seeing. And in my opinion, the best part about this forest is the cave you get to explore. But a trip to this forest and cave cannot be done on a whim — you definitely need to plan this trip.

The Forest

The Guajataca Forest (Bosque de Guajataca in Spanish) is not huge — it only covers about 2,350 acres. It is said to have loads of trails (like 46 trails measuring over 25 miles!), though they don’t appear to be well used at all. As a first-time visitor to the forest, you will probably just do 2 trails: Cueva del Viento (Cave of the Wind) or the Interpretative Trail. We did them both in the same afternoon. In this article I’ll describe Trail #1 and the trail to Cueva del Viento.

You will see and hear the many birds that call this area home. I really enjoyed seeing how the trees and shrubs adapted to their landscape. They find ways to cling to the rocks and other trees for support. The forest is rugged and beautiful.

Getting Started

The forest can be accessed from Route 446 in Isabela. There is a forest information office and parking around KM 11 on Route 446. There’s also a picnic area within a short walking distance.

At this time they are rebuilding forest office, but it looks like there will be bathrooms available there, as well as information. Honestly though, I would not really bother stopping for the map or information unless you speak/read Spanish and are good with puzzles — the map they hand out is horribly confusing! The trail to the cave is decently marked (some signs have fallen over, but it’s still easy to follow).

Cueva del Viento in Guajataca Forest

We had hiked to the cave a couple years ago, so we kinda knew what we were doing this last time. We had our GPS unit with us, so we were able to map the entire trail that we walked. That GPS data is what we used to draw our trail map (below). So, if you take our map, and follow the signs, you should be able to navigate with no problems. When we drew the map, the dashed trails are the ones we walked on. The dotted trails are just on the map so you can see where some of the side trails meet the main trail. They can serve as points of reference for your navigation.

La Cueva del Viento

The trailhead for Cueva del Viento is right at the parking area/ranger station at KM 11 on Route 446. Look for the sign for the Interpretative Trail and Trail #1. The trip we took was about 2.5 miles round trip (it included the side trail up to the Observation Tower, the Interpretative Trail and the trip to the Cave). It is a relatively flat trail except for the steep part that brings you down to the cave entrance. The trail is packed earth with limestone rock in it, so you do have to watch your step while walking.

Once you get started on the trail, almost right away you will see a trail marker for the Observation Tower on your right. This is a short (though up hill) walk that offers nice views of the tree tops. And I think it is great for getting a nice breeze and birdwatching.

Guajataca Forest/Cave Trail Map

Along the beginning of Trail #1 you will also be on the first part of the Interpretative Trail. After a while of walking, you will get to a point where Trail #1 and the Interpretative Trail part ways and there are other trails that go off of it. You always want to stay on the Cave Trail #1 — don’t go off onto other side trails (or verderas in Spanish).

Cueva del Viento in Guajataca Forest

Eventually, you will get to the top of the steps to the cave (you can’t miss them, there is a huge sign!). 2/20- they are now “closed off” but people have been know to go around closure. This is where you will start your descent to the cave. There are about 40 steps, and then you have to make you way down a steep, slippery, muddy path. Luckily, there are hand rails for stabilization.

When you get to the cave entrance, you will descend into the darkness. If you did not bring flashlights, you will be limited to seeing only the entrance.

If you plan ahead and bring strong flashlights, it is possible to walk pretty far in two directions away from the entrance. There are all kinds of stalagmite and stalactite formations to look at.

I thought the cave was really very interesting the further into it you go. Many of the formations near the entrance have been broken-off by past visitors. Make sure you watch your step as there are some areas where the floor is slippery, and there are even some holes in the floor that you could fall into. There are also tree roots running through the cave.

Cueva del Viento in Guajataca Forest

My not so favorite part of this cave were the bats! As you go further into the cave, you and your lights will annoy them more and more — so they take flight and make noise. But, thankfully, the cave did not smell like guano. Note- do not shine you flashlights at the bats, it will hurt their eyes.

We found, to get good photos, we had to use our flashlight to illuminate the formation, focus and them remove the flashlight. You may need to experiment with what works best for your camera, because you don’t want to miss getting some good pictures. We also found that there was a lot of mist deeper inside the cave. Because of the mist, all of the photos had a lot of backscatter from the flash. You might be able to get better photos deep inside the cave if you have an external flash unit.

To get back to our car, we retraced our steps until we got back to the Interpretative Trail. Then we turned left and continued on the Interpretative Trail until we got back to the road. The trail ends ends at the picnic shelter just a few hundred feet away from the trailhead and our car. It took us about 2 hours total time (about 1 hour of walking on trails and about 1 hour that we spent in the cave).

Other Helpful Information

There is a nice picnic shelter where you can have lunch. There are no food (or other) facilities in the forest.

La Cueva del Viento is a non-illuminated cave. There are no lights inside. There are no guardrails inside. You must bring strong, bright flashlights if you intend to venture more than a few feet into the cave.

The Route 446 gets VERY small (I’d estimate a maximum of 1½ cars wide) even though it is a 2-way road and is surprisingly well-traveled. Drive slowly, honk your horn before each curve, and listen for other peoples’ horns around curves. One car will have to pull over to let another past, so be aware of the edges.

Camping Area in Guajataca Forest

They allow camping with a permit, but I don’t think many people do it, and the facilities didn’t look like they were in working order.

This forest is not often visited during the week — we were the only ones there when we went mid-week. You may see more people on weekends.

If you want to hike on trails other than Trail #1 and the Interpretative Trail, I would get information from the forest office before starting out on your own. There are lots of trails in this forest — the forest map looks like a big maze. You will see some trailheads further down Route 446.

It often rains in the late afternoon in this part of the island, so plan accordingly.

Details

Cueva del Viento in Guajataca Forest

There is no fee to use the forest trails and facilities.

The forest is open during daylight hours. The information office (located at Route 446 KM 11) may be open Tuesday-Sunday from about 9am to 4:00pm.

Allow about 2 hours to hike to the cave and return to your car.

The Guajataca Forest is managed by the DNRA. You can call them at (787) 872-1045 for more information.

Take Route 2 to approximately KM 108 and turn onto Route 446 (there is a Reliable Mortgage building on the corner). Follow Route 446 into the forest.

they have a Facebook page for more info and also an email address bosquedeguajataca@gmail.com

The forest is about 2 hours from the San Juan area and about 1 hour from Rincon.

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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