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.

Outdoor Art in Old San Juan: It’s All Around You

Pharmacy with Mosaic Tiles in Old San JuanOld San Juan is a 400 year old city, that has come into the modern age. The original great old buildings blend well with the modern conveniences. Luckily, there are many ordinances for refurbishment, so little of the historic integrity is lost during building renovations. Many of the hotels, restaurants and bars are in refurbished 200-300 year old buildings, most of which maintain their original charm. You can really see how it looked way back then. A quick stop into El Convento Hotel will show you exactly what I mean!

But the city has also grown culturally, with modern art mixed in with the old ambiance. Of course you can go into the many museums and galleries that offer all types of art. But you can also see art (old and new) all over as you walk around outside in Old San Juan. There are sculptures galore, in all sizes and styles, depicting all sorts of people and things. There is also Spanish tile work and modern tile work all around. The ornate iron work on the buildings is sometimes so detailed that it can be considered art itself. Some of the architectural details are so lavish that the whole building is a work of art! If you really care to look, there is art all around you in this old city. Just enjoying all the pretty colorful buildings (some with the little balconies) along the blue cobblestone streets are beautiful!

Some of my favorite sculptures

Raices Fountain 
 
Raices Fountain – This beautiful bronze fountain, designed by Spanish artist Luís Sanguino, is located at the end of the Paseo de la Princesa. Raices (which means roots) was sculpted in 1992. It depicts the origins of Puerto Ricans – a people with descendants from the Taino Indian, African and Spanish, all blended and rising out of the sea with dolphin escorts.

La Rogativa 
 
La RogativaLa Rogativa stands at the end of Caleta de las Monjas, right on the edge of the city wall, just inside the San Juan Gate entrance. It is a modern style bronze sculpture made by Lindsay Daen in 1971. It depicts the 1797 procession of the Bishop and religious women which is said to have scared off an invading British fleet. Allegedly, the British assumed the procession was actually military reinforcements.

Fuente de la Herencia de las Americas 
 
Fuente de la Herencia de las Americas – This group of bronze sculptures were created by José Buscaglia in 1992. The grouping is currently located along the south side of the Paseo de la Princesa, in the Jardin de la Princesa park. This is a set of 5 individual sculptures that go together. This work is said to symbolize the various periods Puerto Rico has been through in the last 5 centuries – from the coming of the Spanish Conquistadores to the start of the US presence.

Quincentennial Square 
 
Totem pole – This sculpture is in the Plaza del Quinto Centenario (Quincentennial Square). Designed by Jaime Suarez in 1992, the totemic monument was the main part of the 500th anniversary commemoration of Columbus’ discovery of the New World. It is about 40 feet tall and is made of black granite and (supposedly) actual Taino ceramic pieces.

Plaza del Armas Fountain 
 
Fountain at The Plaza de Armas – This plaza is located on San Francisco Street, between San Jose and Cruz Streets. This lovely fountain is over 100 years old and has statues representing the four seasons. Shown here is “Winter”.

Jorge Zeno Gata Jirafo 
 
Jorge Zeno Animal Sculptures – There are 3 whimsical works by Jorge Zeno located in the little square across the street from the Cathedral. They are penguins in a boat, a cat/giraffe, and a rooster. Here is “cat/giraffe”. There is another copy of this sculpture in front of the Banco Popular building.

 

Important People In Puerto Rico’s History

Christopher Columbus 
 
Christopher Columbus – A statue of Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) is located in Plaza Colon, right by the Fort San Cristobal. Erected in 1893 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the his arrival in Puerto Rico (1493), the beautifully sculpted base depicts Columbus’ life.

Eugenio María de Hostos 
 
Eugenio María de Hostos – This statue of Eugenio María de Hostos (The Citizen of the Americas), by José Buscaglia, commerates this famous Puerto Rican educator, philosopher, intellectual, lawyer, sociologist and independence advocate. Located in the plaza near Casa Blanca ( which I call skateboard park due to the teenagers that hang out there skateboarding).

Ponce de Leon 
 
Ponce de Leon – Located in the Plaza de San José, this bronze statue was made from British cannons captured during the attack in 1797. Commemorates the first governor of Puerto Rico, Juan Ponce de Leon.

Felisa Rincón de Gautier 
 
Felisa Rincón de Gautier – If you go into the gardens along the Paseo la Princesa, you will see this sculpture of a sitting lady on a park bench. She was the first female mayor of San Juan. She was much beloved by the people, holding the office of mayor for 22 years, from 1946 to 1968.

 

Less Traditional "Objects de Art"

Old San Juan Cemetery 
 
Old San Juan Cemetery – During the day, you can make a stop in at the Old San Juan Cemetery (Cementerio Maria Magdalena de Pazzis), which is located down a small street to the east of El Morro. It’s (supposedly) open 8am – 3pm weekdays and 7am – noon on the weekends. Some of the memorials on family plots are absolutely beautiful sculptures. Even if the gates are locked, you can look in. I would avoid this place after dark, as it is situated very close to a questionable neighborhood.

 

Tilework in Old San Juan 
 
Spanish Tile Work – Some other "artwork" that you should keep an eye open for in your walks are the Spanish tiles and mosaics. They are not always easy to spot, but here is a hint – take a peak inside open doors on homes or businesses and look at the steps leading to the upper floor, many will have beautiful old tile work. Also keep an eye out for it on the outside of the buildings, sometimes above windows. Some of the tiles are just beautiful. There is even one old building that is a 120 yr old tile billboard for itself (an old soda factory!). See the first picture in this article.

 

Ironwork – Locally called rejas, you can’t avoid seeing the ironwork on windows and doors throughout the city. It was (still is) used as decoration that also acts as protection, from both burglars and wind storms. Some of it is very ornate.

Banco Popular Building 
 
Architecture – The architecture of some of the old buildings and intricate painting is art in itself. Some notable examples are the art deco of the Banco Popular building and the Customs House by the Casita.

Senor Frog 
 
Senor Frog – And of course- if "artsy" art is not your thing, you might want a picture of Senor Frog! See? Something for everyone!

 

This is just a tiny introduction to the artwork and sculptures you will see around town. So take some time and walk all around the streets and small alleys in Old San Juan. All sorts of artwork awaits you!

 

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