Mask Requirement (updated 18 Apr 2022)
๐Ÿ˜ท 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
๐Ÿ˜ท Masks are required inside airports, per Federal/CDC mandates
๐Ÿ˜ท Masks are required at events/activities where 1000 or more people are gathered, effective 18 Apr 2022
๐Ÿ˜ท 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.
๐Ÿ˜ท 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.
๐Ÿ“„ These changes go into effect 10 Mar 2022, per Executive Order EO-2022-019
Restaurants, Bars & other Food Establishments (updated 08 Mar 2022)
๐Ÿ‘ช The capacity limit has been removed, as has the requirment to check for vaccination card or negative test result
๐Ÿ˜ท 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
๐Ÿ“„ These changes go into effect 10 Mar 2022, per Executive Order EO-2022-019
Hotels, Resorts & other Lodging (updated 08 Mar 2022)
๐Ÿ‘ช The requirment to check for vaccination card or negative test result has been eliminated
๐Ÿ˜ท 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
๐Ÿ“„ These changes go into effect 10 Mar 2022, per Executive Order EO-2022-019
Tours & Excursions (updated 08 Mar 2022)
โ›ต 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)
๐Ÿ‘ช The capacity limit has been removed, as has the requirement to wear a mask (if less than 1000 people are gathered)
๐Ÿ˜ท Masks are required at events/activities where 1000 or more people are gathered, effective 18 Apr 2022
๐ŸŸ๏ธ 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
๐Ÿ˜ท 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
๐Ÿ“„ These changes go into effect 10 Mar 2022, per Executive Order EO-2022-019
Cruise Ship Passengers (updated 08 Mar 2022)
๐Ÿšข 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)
๐Ÿ“„ The requirement to complete the travel declaration has been eliminated for ALL travelers arriving in Puerto Rico
โœˆ๏ธ DOMESTIC TRAVELERS (effective 10 Mar 2022, per EO-2022-019)
โ€ข The requirement to present a vaccination card or negative test results has been eliminated for DOMESTIC travelers
โœˆ๏ธ INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS (effective 06 Dec 2021, per CDC)
โ€ข 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.

Explore Playa Grande Sugar Plantation and Mill Ruins on Vieques

7/19 Update: Someone has really cleared the paths around the ruins, even added rope lines to guide your way. If you go in from the right, take the path to the right at the Y…this will get you to the “inside/underneath” area. Almost impossible to get lost now! Real improvement.

Playa Grande Sugarmill Ruins

If you’ve read our blog for any period of time, you’ve probably figured out by now that Ray and I have ants in our pants and we can’t sit still for very long. We are too active to just sit on a beach and relax for very long.

So, while most people go to Vieques and spend their time enjoying the plethora of pretty beaches, we seek out more active things to do. Beaches are meant to be walked on, and islands are meant to be explored!

Vieques is a small island, located about 7 miles off the east coast of the big island of Puerto Rico. Getting to Vieques requires either a quick flight or (less quick) ferry ride, so spending at least a couple days exploring the island will make the trip worth your while.

Playa Grande Sugarmill Ruins

Vieques is most popular for its bright biobay, and for its many lovely, unspoiled beaches. But there are other less-visited sites that are interesting. The ruins of the Central Playa Grande Sugar Mill is one of those sites.

In its heyday, from the early 1800s until the 1920s, Vieques had a thriving sugar industry. But, like all sugar production in Puerto Rico, the industry declined severely in the 1930s. Sugar production was completely finished when the US expropriated the lands of the last remaining sugar mill (Central Playa Grande) on Vieques in 1941.

Our Visit

After hearing about these ruins, I knew that this was some place that we had to explore. The Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust occasionally offers guided tours of these ruins. Unfortunately, our visit did not coincide with a tour. So we had to go find and explore it on our own.

Playa Grande Sugarmill Ruins

Since it’s abandonment in 1942, the sugarmill has deteriorated greatly. We had good directions to it, but even though it is located right on the road, we almost drove right past it. If you don’t look carefully, you will miss the crumbling walls that are now covered with vegetation.

There is a small (unmarked) footpath that criss-crosses parts of this site. But, at times, that footpath disappears into weeds, leaving you to blaze your own trail through the woods. It was thick with vines, and you can easily get turned around. We had to use our GPS to get pointed back toward where we parked our car.

There is no cell service at this location (at least not AT&T), which means no internet. So you won’t have access to Google Maps, or anything similar. You’ll need to plan ahead and have a non-internet-based GPS app on your smartphone to use for navigation around the site.

Playa Grande Sugarmill Ruins

These ruins were really in ruins! We had to be careful where we walked, where we went into, and what we went on top of. There are still some steps leading between (what remains of) the different levels of the structures. There are remains of doorways and there are holes in walls so one is able to get inside the structures.

Roofs have fallen in, and floors have collapsed. You really need to use common sense here. We even noticed some bee nests in the old walls.

But we spent at least 1½ hours here, walking around and exploring. We found many pieces of rusting machinery, and beautiful old rock and brick walls. And some more "modern" concrete walls and structures.

Playa Grande Sugarmill Ruins

We really enjoyed our time here, and got some great photos. But we would really have loved learning more about what we were seeing and about what this sugar mill was like in its prime. Next time, we will make sure we get a tour!

This site is been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since September 1992. I was saddened to see how ruined this site was as it is one of the more culturally significant sites on the island. I hope it soon gets some funding to help preserve what is left, before it is gone for good.

Details

Playa Grande Sugarmill Ruins

Allow at least 1 hour to walk around the ruins.

Some of the tour companies can give you a tour of the place…Try Blackbeard Sports, or The Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust occasionally offers tours of the Central Playa Grande Sugar Mill ruins. Their museum/office is located in Esperanza. You can try calling them at 787-741-8850 to make a (required) reservation for a tour.

Wear closed-toe shoes with sturdy soles. Bring bug spray and plenty of water.

The ruins of Central Playa Grande Sugarmill are located on the western end of the island. Going west from the VQS airport on Road 200, turn Left at first road AFTER the Mosquito Pier. Drive about 2¼ miles, until the road curves sharply to the left. You will see a small sign that says Central Playa Grande. Park off the road. I hear you can also take the Bunker Road (by turning left instead of going straight into the western Fish and Wildlife Punta Arenas beach road), but we did not do that, so I can’t confirm it.

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 โ€ฆ then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

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