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.

Playa Negra: Black Sand on Vieques

You can now get a shared taxi from the ferry terminal to take you to this beach’s trail head. Get their telephone number and call them when you want to return. Should be about $10 per person each way.

Playa Negra Vieques

Vieques is probably most well known for its beaches, many of which have beautiful white sand. But there is one little beach that has black sand, called Playa Negra.

Now, if you have read a few other of my blog articles, you know this little oddity would require a looks-see! .

How Was Vieques Formed?

If you take some time to look at the landscape of Vieques, it is obvious to see that much of Vieques is made from the lifting of tectonic plates; you’ll see lots of limestone and layers of sediment (some dark layers). Some obvious signs of that activity would be the rocks of Puerto Ferro, and this black sand beach. The black layers are probably heavy minerals (among them magnetite- a heavy, magnetic mineral). The black sand is very fine (but very heavy) mineral material that runs down the higher areas of the island (mainly Monte Pirata) along with rain run-off and ends up in a small stream (Quebrada Urbana), where it eventually gets pushed out onto Playa Negra.

Our Walk to the Beach

Playa Negra Vieques

Back in 2012, when I was researching how to find this “secret” beach, I found a few different sets of "directions" — all quite confusing and contradictory. I don’t think we would have found the beach if it hadn’t been for some hand-made signs pointing the way. However now, it is no secret anymore! There is a huge sign pointing to a clear trailhead and steps!

Once you see the large sign for the trail, park of the roadside parking right there. Then just follow the well worn path. The path has been built up and avoids some of the creek bed, so when we went in the summer it was dry and not muddy except for the very last part. But I assume if it rains a lot, it might be wet/muddy. But the path follows the little creek (Quebrada Urbana) down to the ocean.

There was just a little bit of water flowing the day we went (maybe 1" deep), so we could mostly avoid walking in the water. But the water was clean, clear and cool, so it was no big deal to walk in it. It was sandy bottom stream and easy walking.

Playa Negra Vieques

We didn’t encounter mosquitoes, though I am sure at times it must be abuzz with them. We did see a number of hermit crabs in all sizes (some as big as my fist), and we got some nice photos of red dragonflies. For us, it was an easy walk that took only about 15 minutes.

Right at the very end of the path, there is a mushy area that had some water, but the path managed to avoid most of the muck.

It was at the mouth of this stream, when you get to the ocean, that you find the the black sand. The quantity and location of the black sand changes constantly with the tides and rains.

Playa Negra Vieques

On the day that we went in 2012, it was not a very dark black sand beach, but on the recent visit , it was much darker. There were thicker patches of the black sand as we went to the right (west), especially up away from the surf line.

In any case, it was fun to see and touch (and I hear it will stick to a magnet, though I did not test that). The black sand is very fine, so it sticks to everything, and is hard to clean off (so beach towels may get stained by it).

This was more of a hiking excursion for us, not so much of a swimming excursion. Use caution if you choose to go in the water.

Playa Negra Vieques

There are beige "cliffs" made of some very crumbly material that run along the beach on both sides of the mouth of the stream. To the left (east), they are quite large and go right to the ocean edge and form a large wall, blocking access to this beach from the east. There are smaller cliffs/rocks to the right (west). You could probably access this beach from the west, but it would require some tricky climbing/scrambling over the rocks — probably not the smartest thing to try. We did not try to go up/around them to see what was beyond that point.

Playa Negra Vieques

There were some shells washed up on the beach, especially all the way to the left, but nothing I thought worthy of taking home for my collection. There was some natural debris, and little bit of float-some trash, that was washed up onto the beach, but it was still neat to explore the area.

We had the beach all to ourselves, and ours were the only footprints in the black sand along the surfline.

Details

This is a 15-20 min walk on a possibly muddy/wet path. You may get a little dirty, or may have to walk through some yucky water

there are no facilities at this beach- bring in whatever you may want/need while here, and pack out your trash.

Allow a 1-2 hours to enjoy this area.

Playa Negra Vieques

Use caution if it has recently rained. The day we went, there was about 1" of water in the stream along the path. We can’t say how deep the stream might get, or how fast the water flows. Judging by the erosion in the stream bed, it looks like the stream can carry a couple feet of water during a heavy storm.

To get to trailhead, you would park on Route 201 at KM 7 — there was a metal guardrail with a large sign Playa Negra on it . Follow the arrow to trail head steps on the left.

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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