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.

Route 66 Extension to Río Grande

Traveling from the San Juan area to Rio Grande, Luquillo, and Fajardo just got a whole lot easier and faster! The second phase of Route 66 opened to traffic on 01 October 2012, and it extends Route 66 from Canovanas to Rio Grande.

While the expressway itself is not much of a day trip, it will sure reduce the driving time for trips to El Yunque National Forest, beaches in Luquillo, the biobay in Fajardo, snorkel trips in Fajardo, and other eastern points on the island.

Route 66 Phase 2 Extension

Phases of Construction

Route 66 (officially known as the Roberto Sánchez Vilella Expressway) is being constructed in three phases. Phase 1, opened in April 2006, is 9 miles long. It runs between Carolina (at the intersection of Route 3 and Route 26, near the Plaza Carolina Shopping Center) and Canovanas (near the Route 66 Outlet Mall).

Route 66 Phase 2 Extension

Phase 2, opened in October 2012, is 3.8 miles long. It runs between Canovanas (near the Route 66 Outlet Mall) and Rio Grande (near the Ralph’s Supermarket).

Construction of the third phase, between Rio Grande and Fajardo, started in 2013 and took about 2 years to complete. This third phase is not highway, but along the existing Route 3, where they took out intersections/lights.

How Much is your time worth?

The whole purpose of Route 66 is to avoid the traffic lights (and congestion) along the business-oriented Route 3. Living in Rio Grande, we use Route 66 a couple times per week whenever we need to travel into the San Juan area.

In the past, it has taken anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes just to drive from the end of Road 186 to the entrance to Route 66 due to traffic on Route 3 (depending on day of week, time and traffic). Today, we drove the same distance in just over 4 minutes! It’s totally worth the extra cost to us!

When we have to go into the San Juan area now, we figure we will be saving up to 45 minutes round trip on average. That’s going to add up over time!

The first phase, from Carolina to Canovanas, costs $1.50 each way. The second phase, from Canovanas to Rio Grande, costs $1.00 each way. It’s important to note that the toll on the second phase of Route 66 is Auto Expreso tag only.

How to Pay the Tolls

Route 66 Phase 2 Extension

Paying the tolls can be confusing. The primary options are AutoExpreso, MovilCash, or good-old cash.

AutoExpreso is the only payment option for the new stretch of Route 66 between Canovanas and Rio Grande! There is no way to pay with cash.

AutoExpreso is our electronic toll tag. It is a transponder, similar to EZ-Pass that they have in the eastern part of the US. The AutoExpreso tag can be used in any toll lane marked with a small lowercase "e" or a huge uppercase "T"( they are always on the left side of the toll plaza). The way this works is you just drive through the lane and the toll is charged to your account.

Many of the tolls around the island are being converted to be cashless. That’s where MovilCash comes in.

MovilCash is a plastic "toll card" that can only be used in toll lanes marked with a huge uppercase "R". This is the option you have to use if you do not have the AutoExpreso tag on your vehicle. You basically wait in line to pay with your MovilCash card, to recharge your card, or to buy a card. If you only have cash, you’ll have to get into the MovilCash lane, marked with an R or R+ (which is on the right side of the toll plaza). If you don’t have exact change, your "change" will be put onto a MovilCash card that you can use the next time you need to pay a toll. The toll collectors in these lanes will not give change in cash. Think of it as a gift card from Puerto Rico.

There are a few remaining tolls in PR that can be paid with actual cash, but their life expectancy will be short.

I have a rental car. How do I pay the tolls?

Most car rental companies here have installed AutoExpreso tags in their rental cars. They usually charge you a fee of a couple dollars per day to use the tag, in addition to the actual tolls.

Route 66 Phase 2 Extension

Some have a 1-time charge. Some make you "activate" the tag when you pick up your car. Some charge an additional fee if you failed to activate the tag but went ahead and used it anyway. Note- if the car has an AutoExpreso tag and you use the toll roads,the toll is be charged automatically to the tag….even if you are in the Movilcash lane and pay cash.

Each of the rental companies have different policies and fees. Ask about it when you pick up your car.

Our suggestion … pay the extra couple dollars for the convenience and time-savings. It’s your vacation. Would you rather spend your time sitting on the beach or sitting in line waiting to pay a toll?

Did We Mention the View?

The new stretch of Route 66 affords some great, unobstructed views of the mountain range in El Yunque National Forest, including the peaks of El Yunque and El Toro.

Route 66 Phase 2 Extension

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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Other Puerto Rico Resources …

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