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)
πŸ›’ 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)
πŸ” 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.
πŸ‘ͺ 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)
πŸ›’ 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)
β›΅ 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
πŸ‘ͺ 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.
πŸ“„ 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.

Black Sand Beach at Playa La Esperanza in Manatí

Playa La Esperanza

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know I am not much of a beach/sand sitter. I love beaches for the views and the breezes, but not so much for the swimming.

We’ve been to a number of beaches along the northern coast of Puerto Rico, and I’ve rarely been let down by their rugged beauty.

Playa La Esperanza was no exception. Located in Manatí, it is a remote and beautiful place. Not only did it have a great cove for cooling off in the water and beautiful views, it had a surprise — a black sand beach area.

Getting There

Playa La Esperanza is located on land owned by the Fideicomiso de Conservación de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Conservation Trust). The beach is only open Friday through Sunday, and holidays, from 8am to 6pm. At other times, the gate across the entrance is kept locked.

You really have to want to go to this beach, because the road to it is in bad shape — it is packed dirt with lots of ruts, holes and rocks. I imagine that is must be even worse after a rain storm. It is a long drive on the dirt road, about 1 mile — walking it would not really be practical.

Playa La Esperanza

The dirt road is one lane, with a few pull offs for cars coming from the opposite direction to pass. I was glad that we only met up with one car going in the opposite direction! I hear that in the summer, it is much busier. At one point on the dirt road, there was a Y in the road where you had an option to go to the right or left. We went left. I don’t know where that other road goes … maybe next visit we will explore that area.

We decided to park when we saw other parked cars. I assumed they knew the best spot. Parking is just anywhere you can find a clear patch of sand off the road. I suggest backing into your parking spot — it would make getting out easier if it gets crowded. Be aware and stay in obvious parking areas on the ocean side of the road. The other side of the area was a marsh that I bet would swallow your car!

The Beach

Just a few steps from the car, we were on the beach! What a view — a blue cove, some limestone rocks with waves crashing through them, the white foam on top of the blue water. Always suckers for a pretty picture and view, we walked toward the rocks to get a look at them and the ocean beyond.

Playa La Esperanza

As expected, the view was great and the colors were amazing. If you go out on the rocks, watch the waves — they can come up and over and could knock you over, causing, at very least, a lot of pain. There were some kids jumping from the rocks into the water, though I wouldn’t recommend trying it.

There is a large sandy area right by the rocks that was clean and a perfect place with plenty of room to spread out a towel and relax. The pool itself this day was calm and beautiful. Many people were just sitting and enjoying the day. I didn’t do it, but it looked like there were a few rocks out in the pool that probably had some marine life to check out if you brought your snorkel gear.

When we went, it was low tide. There was not a lot of beach in some areas, and the beach itself had loads of driftwood and natural debris (and some trash) on it. That part didn’t look too appealing, but we found a nice large driftwood log to sit on and have lunch. If you looked around, you could also find some decent sea glass.

Black Sand

Playa La Esperanza

After lunch, we took a walk to the west along the beach. Before too long, you could see the color of the sand changing from golden to darker to black! It seems this part is called Playa Machuca. The sand was so black that some areas shimmered a blueish tone in the sunshine. The black sand part was maybe a couple hundred feet long. It was really cool to see, and a nice surprise. I have no idea way it was black sand only in this area, it would be interesting to find out.

Upon continuing our walk westward, the sand turned back to the golden color and the beach got wider. For the most part, the beach was deserted this January day, but there were a few kids out in the water surfing.

As with most beaches in Manatí, we were told that there is the occasional car break-in. I suggest, if you go, that you should park as close to a large family that is tailgating it, or just tailgate it yourself — leave someone near the car at all times. I hear in the summer, when more people are around, that they have a security guard patrolling the parking area — but not in the winter months.

Details

Playa La Esperanza

There is no fee to use this beach.

The beach is open Friday through Sunday, and holidays, from 8am to 6pm.

There are no facilities at this beach. Pack in. Pack out.

Driving directions from the San Juan area: Take Route 22 west to Exit #46. At the end of the ramp, turn right onto Road 686 North. Follow Road 686 North until it dead-ends at a tee. At this tee, turn left onto Road 685. Follow Road 685 to Road 616, where you’ll make a right (there’s a gas station on the corner). Follow Road 616 until it dead-ends at the entrance to the dirt road that leads to the beach.

Playa La Esperanza is about a 1-hour drive from San Juan.

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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