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.

Grab a Fritura & Experience Delicious Local Food

Kiosks in Pinones

OK, with all this day-tripping around, you will eventually get hungry! And in your travels you’ll see countless people cooking fried food or frituras by the side of the road, at the beaches, and in little kioskos or kiosks. The food certainly smells good. But it looks a little funny. It’s all fried. And you have no idea what it is based on the names. But the food stands are all crowded, so it must be good. Right?

The local food is tasty, even if it’s not the best thing for you. Well we’re going to try to explain some of the local food that you will find at a typical kiosk or road-side stand. That way, when your stomach is growling, you’ll be able to choose a local delicacy with confidence.

Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover

First off, don’t let first impressions fool you. Some of these places look terrible, with their peeling paint, dilapidated buildings or just a tent on the side of the road, and using an old metal drum as a fryer. But the food you get at them will be fresh and tasty. I have been told the actual "building" kiosks are regulated by the Department of Health – but I have my doubts. (9/14- they are actually cracking down on some of these places, some close, some fix up, but still new ones just pop up!). I don’t even begin to believe the roadside tents and BBQ’s are regulated by anyone! However, tons of people have eaten at these places everyday for years, and I don’t hear of people getting sick or outbreaks of anything. So why not give it s shot and just experience it!

Forget Your Diet

Second, leave your diets at home. You will not find anything healthy to eat at these places. Puerto Rican food consists of lots of starches (carbohydrates), they are heavy on the salt , and, at these kiosks most of the food is fried (sometimes in lard!). And, there is not a green vegetable in sight! It is all bad for you, so forget your diet and go for it!

Most of tthe places will have a handful of ready-to-go things sitting over the heat or under a light bulb to keep them warm. If you can get a freshly fried or grilled item, it will be better, but even the ones that are sitting out taste good. These are very casual places – you point at what you want and you get in handed to you in a napkin. If you get it to go, they will just plop it in a paper bag. I like to believe it is healthier this way – both the napkin and the bag will help soak up some of the grease! Sometimes they will wrap your food in foil to keep it warm.

I’ll Take One of Those

To help you know what you want (to point at), here is a list of the usual goodies you will find at a kiosk, the beach, or at a road-side stand.

Pinchos

Pinchos – These are usually described as a shish-kabob, so they will look a little familiar to you. Many people just set up a BBQ grill (sometimes right outside their house!) and cook these. They are marinated meat on a stick, usually made with chicken or pork. They usually will come with a piece of bread or maybe tostones on the stick along with the meat.

Pastelillos or Empanadillas – Sometimes called pastellos – these are my favorite. These are the turnover-looking things that are actually filled, deep-fried pies. They can be filled with a variety of things, such as ground beef, chicken, "pizza" or, if you are lucky, lobster, crab, conch, or octopus. Sometimes, the beef/chicken/pizza types are store-bought and contain less filling. If you find a place that sells the seafood ones, these are typically homemade and full of really good stuff.

Tostones are a green plantain, flattened and fried. They are usually salted with Adobo or served with a mayo-ketcup sauce (I would tell you the recipe, but it is a secret!).

Bacalaitos or Bacalao are the large flat round things. They are a deep-fried mixture of salt-cod fish and batter.

Surullitos are the golden fried finger-shaped things. They are made from cornmeal.

Arepas are flour and butter balls, flattened and fried until they puff up, like little dough pancakes. Sometimes they are sweetened with coconut.

Alcapurrias are mashed yautia (a root veggie, like a potato) and green plantains, with some ground meat stuffing inside and then fried. These are larger hotdog-shaped things.

Relleno de papa is a fried ball of mashed potato with ground meat inside. I think that this one needs something to jazz it up a bit. I find it kind of bland.

Empanadillas

Piononos are a sweet plantain filled with seasoned meat, then fried. It has both sweet and salty flavors at the same time.

Mofongo is the larger, ball-shaped thing. It is made of mashed fried green plantains. I like it made from yucca (another root vegetable) better than the plantain variety. Sometimes they are filled, in which case its called mofongo relleno.

Chicharron is fried pork skin. I tried it once, it is not bad, but it is just not something I eat.

Some towns or areas have their own "special" frituras. For example, the town of Humacao has Granos, which is made from rice and it has a tiny piece of cheese in it, and then fried. Or Canovanas has their Macabeo, which is similar to an alcapurria, but made only with plantain that is half mashed, half shredded, then put around the meat filling and fried. So ask for the local specialty!

Ask if they they have a garlic sauce – con ajo. If so, get that on your tostones or mofongo to make it extra yummy!

Something Cold to go with That?

Coco Frio

Pina Colada, a traditional local drink, is a mixture of cream of coconut and pineapple juice, typically blended with ice to make a sweet, slushy drink. You find these with or without rum or con o sin ron.

Coco Frio is the water from a cold, green coconut. They will take a green coconut, cut it open and stick a straw in it. It usually costs about $2. Don’t expect the sweet shredded coconut flavor. This is water of the unripe fruit. It has a slightly salty, just mildly coconut, flavor.

Medalla Light is a popular, local Puerto Rican beer. It is a light beer, and it is only 10 ounces – so it is light on both counts!

 

OK. But What’s in it?

Here are some words that will help you figure out exactly what’s inside that fried thing you’re thinking of ordering.

  • carne – meat, usually pork, but could be beef. If it matters to you then ask!
  • pollo – chicken
  • pulpo – octopus
  • jueyes – land crab
  • camarone – shrimp
  • queso – cheese
  • caracola – conch
  • langosta – lobster

The prices are usually only $1.50 to $3.00 each for these items. Pick a few of what looks good, get them to go with a local beer or pina colada, then walk to the beach and enjoy.

I can’t tell you exactly which kiosk to stop at (though we like the ones along Road 187 in Pinones for home made seafood frituras). There are always some around the beaches, and there are a large number to choose from at Luquillo Beach. For the best ones, go to the ones where there the locals are eating (the busy ones). That will be the best tasting food!

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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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