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.

Snorkel Fun at Steps Beach in Rincon

Snorkeling in this area is usually safe only in summer , on calm water days

Steps Beach

Ray and I really enjoy snorkeling, but oddly, there is very little good snorkeling available right from shore of the big island of Puerto Rico. But if you go to the west coast in the summer, Tres Palmas Marine Reserve in Rincon offers great snorkeling at Steps Beach. A forest of Elk Horn coral, with all sorts of marine life, can be found there.

In the winter, the Rincon beaches are known for their great surfing waves. And Tres Palmas Marine Reserve can have massive waves. You may get lucky with a calm morning, but be aware of changing conditions. But usually, starting in mid-April and running until about October, the waves die down and the beach becomes a nice swimming beach.

Tres Palmas Marine Reserve has a large coral reef that runs parallel to the shore for about ¾ of a mile and offers really nice snorkeling. It consists of a few named areas (Dogman’s Beach, Little Malibu Beach), but the most popular and accessible area is Steps Beach (named after the set of concrete steps sitting on the beach).

When the conditions are right, the water can be smooth as glass, crystal clear and you get amazing snorkeling. But even with small waves, you can swim out past the breakers and still see a lot. They say the best time to go is in the morning, as the waves usually get larger as the day progresses.

Our Afternoon at the Beach

We have tried to snorkel here a number of times over the past few years, but the seas have always been too rough. But just last week (early August), we were lucky enough to get an afternoon of fun snorkeling in at Steps Beach. There was the occasional 2-3 foot swell breaking close to shore. This caused a bit of turbidity in the water, so we just snorkeled farther out and the clarity was better.

Steps Beach

We tried snorkeling directly out from the "steps" area and also to the far left of the "steps" (out from the big house with a red roof). Both areas were nice. We saw a load of beautiful Elk Horn corals, number of different fishes, and even a turtle. There were also other types of corals and sponges.

You have to enter the water in an area that is sandy (there is a lot of rock/coral right at the shoreline in places). There is a quick drop off as you enter, so be aware of that. We found fins to be a great help since we were out pretty far and there was a bit of current in places.

It used to be that the road to Steps Beach was not marked, but now there is a Steps Quick Lunch truck sign (and at the beach the truck where you can buy food and beverages). The road is just off of Route 413 at KM 1.7. There is some parking at the end of the street, and then additional people park along one side of the street.

The beach itself is thin, maybe 10-15 feet wide, and there is some natural debris on the sand (like the almonds from the shade trees along the edge). We set up our blanket out of the sun, under one of the almond trees. The beach is also pretty for pictures or it is GREAT for watching the sunset.

Gearing Up

Steps Beach

Snorkel gear is available for rent at some of the dive and surf shops for about $15-$20 a day. If you plan on snorkeling a few days, it is usually more economical to buy a set (either at home and bring it, or once you are here in Puerto Rico). If you are staying at one of the many Vacation Rentals or Inns in the area, ask them if they supply snorkel gear.

Here are some places in the Rincon area to rent snorkel gear

  • Rincon Capital Water Sports (at the Balneario-Sunset Village) 787-823-2789
  • Desecheo Surf Shop (Route 413 next door to Calypso) 787-823-0390
  • Taino Divers (at the Black Eagle Marina) 787-823-6429

Here are some places in the Rincon area to buy snorkel gear

  • Walgreens in Anasco
  • Kmart in Mayaguez (Western Plaza)
  • Sams Club in Mayaguez (Western Plaza)

Details

When snorkeling, you need keep an eye on the surf conditions and be flexible with your plans. One day the seas can be real rough, and maybe the next day the water can be calm as glass. And don’t forget the sunscreen!

To get to Steps Beach follow Route 413 to KM1.7, then turn toward the ocean.

Thanks to our friends at the Pineapple Inn for the snorkel gear information.

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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