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.

A Melding of Sacred Symbols in Luquillo

Saint Josept Church in Luquillo

If you are in the Luquillo area and enjoy seeing unusual artwork, a quick stop at Saint Joseph’s Church in Luquillo is worth a visit. Its old and lovely facade holds a rare treasure inside — some of the most beautiful wood carvings.

While wood carvings are not unusual for a Catholic church, these ones are — they combine Catholic religious presentations, with nature and symbols from other cultures and religions. This is one of those rare and pleasant finds!

The Church

Saint Joseph Parish (or San José Iglesia Catolica or Parroquia San José de Luquillo in Spanish) is located on the main square in the town of Luquillo, just off of Calle 14 de Julio, on Calle Jesus T Pinero. It is really easy to find. The yellow facade is pretty enough, but the real treasure is inside.

Saint Josept Church in Luquillo

As expected, you’ll find the stations of the cross, statues of Mary and Joseph and the crucifix — all beautifully made of carved wood. And there is a lovely Last Supper carving behind the altar. But the real unexpected woodwork is the altar, the altar surround and the chairs and podiums at the front of the church (there are also some other carved pieces around in the sacristy and other, less public, areas).

It’s all lovely to look at, and understanding the meaning behind the carvings makes it all that much better. The church also has a pamphlet that describes the symbolism of the carvings and it explains why these symbols, that seem so out of place, are in a Catholic church to begin with. Once you read about the meaning, it makes the work even more beautiful. It’s the blending of nature, cultures and religions that binds the people of the world together. It represents the Church’s acceptance and value of the cultures that represent their congregation.

The Carvings

Saint Josept Church in Luquillo

The first thing you notice in the church is the massive altarpiece. It has symbolism of the peaks of El Yunque, with huge bending palm trees that surround the crucifix. There are sea grapes and leaves around the tabernacle. And, if you look closely, you’ll notice the Taino symbols, coqui frogs and the Puerto Rican parrot among the more "traditional" images.

Everything here as a deeper, symbolic meaning that what you initially see on the surface. The Tainos believed that Yukiyú (the rainforest, that’s where El Yunque comes from) was a protector of the people during hurricanes. Just as the Catholic Church believes Jesus is the protector. The bending palm trees (which were originally brought to the island by the Spaniards from Africa), represent the hardships of life and the slavery that the blacks and Tainos had to endure. The sea grapes, vegetation and animals represent life, the love of nature and God’s gifts to us.

The altar has a beach scene of a mother pelican feeding her young. It seems so odd to be there, but they explain how the mother pelican feeds her young from her own meal (sacrificing herself and needs), just as they believe Jesus gave himself for his people’s life/well being.

Though there are quite a few carved pieces in the church, there used to be many more. Apparently, a number of them were removed when the church was "modernized".

All in all, it is really something to see.

Saint Josept Church in Luquillo

If You Go to Visit

This is a Catholic church, so please be respectful. Call (or email) ahead of time to ask about entering and the church schedule. It is best to see the carvings when the Church is open and lit up (like right before or after a service). They have an active Facebook page that will have up to date times and happenings.

They have mass in Spanish Tues, Wed, & Friday at 7:00am, Thursday at 6pm. Sunday 7:30am (this one is in English), 9am, 11 am and 5pm.

The church office (located just to the left side of the church) is open Tuesday to Friday from 9am-12n and 1pm to 3pm. You can ask them for a copy of the pamphlet that explains the carvings in the church.

Don’t forget to make a donation to help maintain the building.

You can call the office at 787-889-2590 for more information.

Driving directions — From Route 3 in Luquillo, exit to the north at the light by the Playa Azul towers, turn right onto Road 193 and follow it until you reach the plaza. Find parking on the streets around the town plaza. The Catholic church Saint Joseph Parish (Iglesia Catolica de San José) in Luquillo is right on the main plaza.

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