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.

Search Out Historical “Graffiti” at the Forts in Old San Juan

To me, finding petroglyphs and any old “markings” is a way of having the past speak to us today. I have always been interested in the historical drawings and markings (graffiti) found at El Morro Fort and Fort San Cristobal in Old San Juan. These markings were made by bored soldiers who once lived and worked inside those walls. But sadly, with time, weather, and the changes that have occurred at the forts over the years, many of these historical images are disappearing. I suggest that you embark on a “treasure hunt” to look around and find as many of these as you can!

Graffiti in Old San Juan forts

El Morro Fort, or officially Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, started as a tiny fort in 1535. Over the years, it was enlarged through the addition of new structures and walls, until it became the impressive fort that it is today. It was mostly complete as we see it today by the mid-late 1700s. Construction on Fort San Cristobal began in 1634, and became a marvel of defense for land and sea also by the mid-late 1700s. So for hundreds of years, these forts housed many soldiers who were stationed there.

Graffiti in Old San Juan forts

Those soldiers spent many idle hours of standing around looking at these walls and the sea — and many of them left their mark on the forts. Before 1898, the Spanish soldiers drew mostly ships. In later years, the American soldiers typically left their names and dates.

Graffiti in Old San Juan forts

In 2006, Isabel C. Rivera-Collazo did a study of the markings, and she found over 400 of them! Most of them are sailing ships (typical from 1600s- to the 1800s), but they have documented drawings of soldiers/people, animals (horses, fish, birds), religious features, and sometimes just the signatures of the “artist” soldiers, some with dates. Of course, the most well known are the ships drawn on the wall of the dungeon at Fort San Crisotbal.

Graffiti in Old San Juan forts

But if you search, you can find loads of these markings. My favorites are the ships and dates (1775-1780) carved into the window shutters upstairs in the barracks at San Cristobal. The El Abanico (the outworks at San Cristobal) has so many names and dates, I could spend hours checking them out!

Graffiti in Old San Juan forts

To find them, think about where the soldiers spent a lot of time, just standing around, being on “look out”. Places such as the walls on the different fort levels, the garitas or walls going to the garitas ,and the original “Old Tower” in EL Morro. Then look for the original (beige/cream) plaster. Then look for the red markings … you will soon see parts of sails of ships. Not sure why they are red, not sure what they used, pieces of bricks maybe, but looks like a waxy pencil to me.

Graffiti in Old San Juan forts

They sometimes used black (charcoal maybe?), but red is the most prominent and easy to see. These are drawn on the plaster. Also look for some etched dates and names. I have found mostly sailing ships, some names (like Nicolas, who had beautiful handwriting!), and I did find one bird! Hint – El Morro has LOADS of these red ships!

Once you start finding them, you will be amazed at how many there are! I find it fascinating. I imagine at one time in early 1800s, the walls of EL Morro must have been covered with these graffiti drawings!

For more detailed information, you can read the research paper Historical Ship Graffiti on the Walls of San Juan’s Spanish Defence System: an Interim Report by Isabel C. Rivera-Collazo.

Admission to the forts is required. National Park passes work here also. One paid admission is good for both forts.

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 →

Ads & Sponsors

Other Puerto Rico Resources …

Coqui's Hideaway Rainforest Villa in Rio Grande Located in the Foothills of El Yunque