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.

Playa Capitolio – Sand & Sea Glass in Old San Juan

Lots of people visit Old San Juan hoping for a beach to enjoy close to the historic area. Well, there is a little beach that can be part of your day in Old San Juan. It is not the most beautiful, largest, cleanest nor even the safest beach in Puerto Rico, but it is close by, has some sand and an area with a small, protected cove, and it has large quantities of sea glass.

Personally, for a beach day, I would suggest you go a bit farther to the lovely Balneario Escambron, but for sea glass collectors, this little beach area is what you are looking for!

Old San Juan Beach Sea glass

I am not sure if the name of this beach is really Playa Capitolio, but I have seen it referred to as that elsewhere (one reader said the real name is “Bajamar” or Playa de Bajamar). The name is descriptive of where it is … on the north side (back) of the Puerto Rico Capitol Building.

There are steps leading down to the beach on the east side of the San Juan Bautista Plaza. There used to be showers on the east side of the plaza at the top of the stairs, but they were not working any time we have visited this beach.

Old San Juan Beach Sea glass

As you walk down the steps, you mainly can walk eastward. I would not go swimming in the water here as at times, I think it can be too rough. The water has some underwater coral & rocks that stop a lot of the waves from ripping into this north-facing beach. But you need to be very careful with rip currents, as these rocks have some openings (perfect for current formation).

If you walk to the west, climbing over some rocks, you will see a small protected cove. But there are lots of large rocks underwater, so wading out can be painful! The sandy area right by the steps is OK, but there is not too much of it at high tide. If you are a sun-worshiper, you could put down your towel and enjoy.

Old San Juan Beach Sea glass

If you walk down the beach to the east (wear shoes because there are rocks you may need to climb over, especially at high tide), you will come to the ruins of a small fort. If you climb the rocks to the west of the steps, you will end up below the massive walls of Fort San Cristobal.

But I did not come to this for the sun, sand, nor swimming — I came for the sea glass!

Due to hundreds of years of people discarding things over the huge city walls into the ocean, and more currently, street run-off, this beach has loads of beautiful sea glass. I was able to fill two quart-sized Ziploc bags in about 45 minutes.

Old San Juan Beach Seaglass

The glass was mainly greens of varying shades — from really dark green to bright chartreuse. There was also a lot of browns and clear (white). But I did find other colors, like blues, ambers/yellows, and even a sliver of red!

The pieces ranged in size from large to minute. But the quantity was impressive. I have never seen so much sea glass on one beach! I walked to the east, and it just got better and better the farther I went.

Old San Juan Beach Seaglass

Just west of the fort ruins there were lots of small pockets of pebbles with loads of glass pieces. And most of the glass is perfectly etched, I had very few throw-backs.

One day I went almost at high tide (bad timing) and yet still there was a lot above the high tide mark. I could see all the glass rolling around in the surf at the wave break line. At low tide, it is even better!

I have been to this beach on weekends when there have been a number of beach-goers enjoying the beach. Recently, we went mid-week and were alone on the beach.

Old San Juan Beach Seaglass

A word of caution I would give is think safety first and keep an eye on your surroundings. This beach and the area east of the steps is remote — the beach is not visible from the street above — and it is not in the best neighborhood. I would not go here alone, and I would not have anything of value on me.

Also local homeless seem to use the shrubs as their home (mostly to the east of the ruins). They didn’t bother us, but we didn’t stay around their area very long to chance it. Please go with at least one other person, and leave if you feel uncomfortable.

I was so into collecting my glass, I was oblivious to other people coming onto the beach from small paths through the bushes. Make sure someone is keeping alert to the area. We had no trouble, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Old San Juan Beach Seaglass

Playa “Bajamar” or Capitolio is about a 15-minute walk from the cruise piers in Old San Juan.

The “main” entrance to this beach is directly across the street from the Capitol Building in Old San Juan. On the weekend, you can park at the Capitol Building. During the week, you will have to park in Old San Juan (in a parking deck) and walk to the area (about a 15-minute walk from the parking decks on Recinto Sur).

If you go to this beach, please be careful as indicated above.

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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