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.

Rent a Boat and Visit Mangrove Cays in La Parguera

Boat Rental at La Parguera

To make the most of the Parguera area, you need to get out on the water and visit the mangrove islands and/or the biobay. In order to do this, you obviously need to have access to a kayak or a boat of some kind.

One option is to rent a little skiff (or yola, as they are sometimes called here). It is a fun, easy, and inexpensive way to get around to see the mangrove cays and maybe do a little snorkeling.

The Area

La Parguera is a region in the town of Lajas, in the south-west corner of Puerto Rico. It has a little waterfront plaza that has restaurants, some souvenir shops, and a number of boat ramps.

A short distance off shore, there are about 30 different "islands" or cays you can visit. At a couple of the cays, there are DRNA mooring balls you can hook your boat up to so you can swim, snorkel, bird or marine animal watch (dolphins, manatee o turtles are usual sightings) or just enjoy being on the water.

Boat Rental at La Parguera

Caracoles and Cayo Enrique are the most popular with the "boat crowd", while Mata la Gata has a great recreation area, with picnic tables, charcoal grill pits, and bathrooms.

The water around the cays is usually calm and clear, and there are lots of shallow areas, sometimes referred to as "pools". We enjoyed snorkeling among the mangrove roots, and floating with the current in the channels.

Most local boaters head to the mangrove canals and certain cays, where they anchor their boats, and set up for the day in the shallow water. If any one area is too crowded for your taste, you can just boat over to another cay!

The Rental Boats

I know of three companies that rent little (10-15 foot) you-drive-it skiffs that have small (maybe about 10 HP) outboard motors (with tiller arms for steering). Some companies have different sized boats, the smallest one can hold up to 4 people. Each boat comes equipped with life jackets and basic safety equipment.They have hard benches to sit on and all come with a nice shade canopy.

Boat Rental at La Parguera

You don’t need to have any special boating training (though that is age dependent- see Ley 430 below). They’ll explain some basic "rules of the sea" before they let you loose with the boat.

Reservations are not required, but it is always smart to call ahead before making the trip to make sure they are open, especially during (local) low season, which is September to March.

Nuts & Bolts of Renting

After you arrive at the waterfront area in La Parguera and park in the lot, you will most likely be approached by people from the rental-boat companies (as well as people pushing biobay tours). You can go with them (they may be able to get you a decent deal, if you haggle a bit), or look around on your own. You can shop for price beforehand by calling, or just do it in person on the day you visit.

The kiosk for Torres Boat Rental is right there in the parking lot, while Johnny’s Boats and Cancel Boats are waterfront, just past the first row of restaurants. They all have signs out and people you can talk to (there is usually someone there that speaks English). Find out their rates and requirements to rent (minimum age, minimum rental time, and deposit needs).

Boat Rental at La Parguera

They will require ID (usually a driver’s license) and some require a "deposit". Some also require that you leave your ID with them as "collateral" while you’re out with their boat.

There may be a minimum age for rentals. Also, there is a law (Ley 430) that says if you were born after July 1, 1972 and you live in Puerto Rico, then you need to have a boat captain license to rent a boat. But non-PR residents don’t need it.

Once you agree on a price (which are usually all about the same), they will give you the keys to the boat. They give you a briefing on basic operation of the boat, and basic boating rules. DRNA can (and does) come around and ticket people if they are not following the rules.

Be sure you have life jackets for each member of your party, and that children under 12 wear them at all times the boat is running.

Ask about other rules (for example, where you can and can’t tie off, where you can anchor, no drinking for the driver), recommended snorkeling sites, or other points of interest. Check your gas gauge, and away you go!

Out on the Water

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You cannot be out on the water in these rental boats after dark. You must return your boat to the dock by the agreed-upon time (usually 5-5:30pm at the latest).

Make sure to check weather conditions before you head out, it is best not to be out on the water if there is lightning.

There are about 30 cays in this area, and many look similar, though some do have signs. I would print out a map of the area, or you may get confused and a bit "lost" if you’re looking for a specific island. But they are not far from shore, so it’s unlikely that you’ll get too lost!

What If I don’t Want to pilot my own boat?

For those that want to experience the cays on a small boat, the companies may have available "tours" of the cays, where a guide comes with you to drive the boat. There is usually an hourly fee (somewhere from $25-35/hour).

Boat Rental at La Parguera

You can work it out with them that, after the tour, they can drop you off at Mata la Gata and then pick you up at a pre-arranged time. That way, you can swim in the ocean "pool", explore the island, or have a picnic. If you are going to do this, bring food, water and everything you need for your time there.

If you want to skip the tour, you can just ask for a ride out to the Mata la Gata. All of the companies offer this for about $6/person.

What About the Snorkeling?

The snorkeling in this area is basic, not the most spectacular. Expect to see lots of baby fish among the mangrove roots. Out in "open water" you’ll find starfish, sea cucumbers, sea stars, and just a few fish.

Boat Rental at La Parguera

There are some coral reefs a bit away from the cays that are decent, but you would need directions to find time (or maybe an organized snorkeling trip).

But the combination of snorkeling, boating, and time on the water all add up to a very satisfying day. If you don’t have your own, there are some shops in La Parguera area that rent snorkel gear.

Details

Rental prices are about the same across all the companies. (Note- these prices were from 2012- I am sure they are a few bucks more by now). It is best to call them for exact info before going. Whole day rentals are available.

This is a very popular place with locals, but not many tourists visit this area. We hope we can change that because it is a really nice area, and inexpensive too!

Cancel Boats (this is the company we used)

  • Rental fee varies from $35/hour to $65/hour, depending on the season and number of passengers (which determines the size of boat). The price goes down if you rent for more than 1 hour. We (4 people) were quoted $35/1st hour, $25/hr for 2 hours and $20/hr for 3 hours…you get the idea. Cash or credit card accepted.
  • phone: 787-899-5891, or 787-899-5494

Gina’s at Johnny’s Boats

  • Rental on own is about $35 for 1 hour, and $25/hour for more than 2 or more hours.
  • A tour with a guide (bilingual) for up to 4 people is $35/hour; up to 6 people (in a larger boat) is $45/hour; for more than 10 people on tour is about $6/person.
  • Drop-off at Mata la Gata (no tour) is about $10/person.
  • Cash only
  • phone: Call (787)-519-2730 or 787-299-2212 or (787) 460-8922. If you want a tour with a boat driver, call and reserve that.
  • Facebook Page

Torres Boat Service

  • Rental fee is about $25/hour for up to 4 people, 2-hour minimum.
  • Last rental is a 3pm. Closes at 5pm.
  • Drop-off at Mata la Gata (no tour) is $10/person.
  • Ask about prices and availability of a guided tours.
  • phone: 787-327-1700

Bring ID, towels, cooler, water, snacks, hat, and sunscreen. Bring snorkel gear if you have it.

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