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.

Celebrate Fiesta de Santiago Apostol in Loiza

This event was canceled for 2020 due to COVID concerns. I still have not heard if they will be having a big event for 2021. when I get news, I will post it.

Loiza

Loíza is a town steeped in tradition. It has roots that combine Spanish culture and traditions with African culture, and meld them into a unique Puerto Rican experience.

One of the most colorful examples of this would be the annual Fiestas Tradicionales en Honor a Santiago Apóstol (traditional festivities to honor Saint James) in Loíza. It is a multi-day event that occurs around July 25, the feast day of Saint James.

Expect lots of colorful parades, dance shows, music (traditional bomba along with newer stuff), and tables/kiosks selling crafts and traditional food.

Some History

Saint James

Saint James, one of the 12 apostles, is the patron saint of Christian Spanish military, having helped them conquer the pagan Moors. His apparition is said to have appeared in both Spain and Loíza, so both have adopted Saint James as their patron saint. Spain and Puerto Rico have similar celebrations for the feast day of Saint James.

Fiestas Tradicionales

Apparently, there are three images (statues) of Saint James that play a role in the traditional celebrations: Santiago de los Hombres (Saint James of the Men), Santiago de las Mujeres (Saint James of the Women), and Santiago de los Niños (Saint James of the Children). Each image is honored on a specific day during the multi-day long celebration.

St Patrick Church

Each of these statues are guarded at specific private homes throughout the year (called mantenedores) and, the night before the feast day, they lead a procession through town from the Church.

On July 24, the statue of Santiago de los Hombres is carried in procession to Saint Patrick Church (Iglesia San Patrício) in town. And then there is a Mass

On July 25, there is a procession of the “Loicenos Ausentes” from the Herrera Bridge to the Public Plaza in town.

Loiza

On July 26, the statue of Santiago de los Hombres is carried in procession to Saint James Church (in the Medianía Alta neighborhood). This procession includes the traditional running of the flags carried by horsemen. Then it is returned to the house of the mantenedor. The Procession with the statue of Santiago de las Mujeres goes toward St Patrick’s Church.

On July 27, the procession takes the statue of Santiago de las Mujeresfrom town to the mantenedor’s house in the Medianía Alta neighborhood.

On July 28, the statue of Santiago de los Niños is carried from town to the mantenedor’s house in the Medianía Alta neighborhood.

What to Look For

During the processions and parades, you will see four types of masked "characters": Los Caballeros, Los Vejigantes, Las Locas, and Los Viejos. Traditionally, these are all men from Loíza wearing costumes and masks.

Los Caballeros represent the Spanish knights. They are elaborately dressed, with colorful (yellow, red and green) capes covered with sequins and ribbons. Their metal masks are made to look like European knights, and are decorated with mirrors, bells, colored ribbons, and paper flowers.

Loiza

Los Vejigantes represent evil, the devil, and the Moors. They are elaborately dressed with brilliantly-colored costumes, and masks. The scary-looking masks have horns and are typically made from a coconut shell (per tradition in Loíza). Often the Vejigantes sing out verses that are answered by the people attending the festival.

Los Viejos represent the local men of limited means. Their costumes are made from rags, and their masks are made from cardboard boxes or paper bags. Some of these men are popular musicians who perform in the streets.

Las Locas are men dressed as crazy women. They are very animated.

Saint James Festival

Loiza

The Town usually also has “Carnaval” during this time. I have not heard if they will have one this year (2021).

The Carnaval will have lots of live music in the public plazas around town. The traditional Saint James festivities start on July 24 with the procession to St Patrick’s and a Mass (usually around 5-6pm) and then on July 25 with a procession (Caravana Loicenos Ausentes)to the main public plaza to enjoy a celebration, mass and procession. (Usually around 9a-12n).

The traditional correr el santos (march with the saints) will be on July 26 to 28. The 26th is the Procesion De Los Hombres, the 27th is the Procesion de las Mujeres, and the 28th is the Procesion de los Ninos. These processions start at various places along Road 187 (see map) at about 2 or 3pm and go to Saint Patrick’s Church/Plaza Recreo and then the next day, return from town back to the starting points. There is usually a Carnaval Parade through town on weekend day. “The Fiesta en el Batey Ayala” is on the last Saturday of the Festival week. If it happens in 2021, it would be the 25th. The Hermanos Ayala Bomba Fiesta usually 12 noon-8pm at the Hermanos Ayala’s property. Bomba music and dancing, vejigante mask carving and a general street party!

Some of the mosaics pictured in this article are by Daniel Lind Ramos.

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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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