Masks Required (updated 13 Jan 2022)
😷 Indoors - Masks covering mouth & nose are required for everyone 2 years old and older, regardless of vaccination status, in public indoor spaces 😷 Outdoors - Masks covering mouth & nose are required for everyone 2 years old and older, regardless of vaccination status, in public outdoor spaces where you cannot socially distance, or where there are 50 or more people
Busness Closure & Dry Law (updated 13 Jan 2022)
🛒 All businesses that serve the public must remain closed from midnight until 5am. Exceptions to closure include supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies, health facilities, hospitals, among others. Restaurants, clubs, bars, etc ARE closed midnight to 5am. Effective through at least 02 February 2022, per executive order EO-2021-086, and extended by EO-2022-002.
🍺 Dry Law (no sale nor public consumption of alcohol) is in effect from midnight until 5am. Effective through at least 02 February 2022, per executive order EO-2021-086, and extended by EO-2022-002.
Restaurants, Bars & other Food Establishments (updated 13 Jan 2022)
🍔 ALL CUSTOMERS (2 years old and older) must show proof of vaccination or negative COVID test results - In order to be admitted to food establishments you are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test (molecular or antigen) results of test administered by an authorized health provider no more than 48 hours prior to arrival at the restaurant, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. Effective through at least 02 Feb 2022, per executive order EO-2021-081.
👪 The capacity of "any place that serves (and people consume) drinks or prepared food" will be limited to 50% if indoors, or 75% if outdoors/open-air. This applies to restaurants, bars, theaters, food courts, etc. Effective through at least 02 February 2022, per EO-2021-085 and extended by EO-2022-002.
Stores, Offices & similar places that serve the public indoors (updated 13 Jan 2022)
🛒 The capacity in all facilities that "serve the public indoors" will be limited to 75%. This applies to stores, malls, offices, etc. Effective 17 Jan 2022 through at least 02 Feb 2022, per EO-2022-002.
Hotels, Resorts & other Lodging (updated 13 Jan 2022)
🏨 In order to check-in to any lodging facility (short-term rentals, AirBNB, hotels, resorts, etc), all members of your party (5 years old and older) are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test (molecular or antigen) results of test administered by an authorized health provider no more than 48 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. This applies to all people 2 (two) years old and older. If you are unvaccinated and staying more than a week, you are required to show new negative test results weekly. Per executive order EO-2021-062 and EO-2021-075.
Tours & Excursions (updated 13 Jan 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 13 Jan 2022)
🏟️ All attendees at group activities of less than 250 people at facilities that encourage crowding, indoor or outdoor, must show proof of vaccination OR negative test (molecular or antigen) results of test administered by an authorized health provider no more than 48 prior to arrival at the event. Facilities include theaters, amphitheaters, stadiums, conference and activity centers, and any other place where events are held. This applies to everyone 5 years old and older. Kids under the age of 5 are not permitted to attend these events at all. Effective 22 December 2021, per EO-2021-080, and modified by EO-2022-002
👪 The capacity of "event or activity venues" will be limited to 50% if indoors, or 75% if outdoors/open-air. This applies to stadiums, coliseums, convention centers, theaters, etc. Effective through at least 02 Feb 2022, per EO-2021-085 and extended by EO-2022-002.
Cruise Ship Passengers (updated 30 Dec 2021)
🚢 All cruise ship passengers and crew who wish to disembark in Puerto Rico must be fully vaccinated, and 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 20 Dec 2021)
✈️ DOMESTIC TRAVELERS (effective 27 Dec 2021, per EO-2021-081)
All DOMESTIC travelers (2 years old and older) arriving in Puerto Rico are are required to show BOTH
  1. negative COVID test results from test administerd by an authorized health provider no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in PR AND
  2. either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery.
  • If you do not have your test results upon arrival, you have 48 hours to produce those results, or you will be fined $300 per person.
  • If you are un-vaccinated, you are required to quarantine for 7 days, even if you have negative test results.
✈️ 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.
📄 ALL TRAVELERS arriving in Puerto Rico are required to submit a travel declaration upon arrival via the PR Government Travel Safe website. This is where you will upload your COVID vaccination card and/or negative COVID test results.

Walk to the End of the Waterline Trail

Hiking is officially not allowed on this trail. 2018- After Maria- the trail in is not cleared, so it is extremely difficult and muddy. Also since 2016- I hear you now would need to climb over a fence to get in to the trail. Not recommended!

Waterline Trail in El Yunque

The Puerto Rico Electric Authority (AEE, by their Spanish initials) posts that entry to the trail is prohibited and it is to be used by authorized individuals only. We don’t suggest anyone use this trail, but if you do, it is at your own risk.

El Yunque National Forest is one of our favorite things to do. On my brother’s visit, we decided to go to the south side of El Yunque and walk the Waterline Trail to Los Prieto Falls, and then to continue past the falls to the end to see the view.

The first time we did this trail was in 2003, and it was pouring rain that day, so I didn’t get to enjoy it very much. Though it is an easy hike, the heavy rain that day made it seem like it was a never-ending forced-march. Since then, we have done this trail a few times, and we really like it.

Our Day on the Trail

We went on a Saturday, and we had hoped to park at the newly opened Rio Sabana Recreation Area at the end of Road 191 South. But, even though there is a big sign that says the Recreation Area is open on weekends — year round! — the gates were locked and we couldn’t drive all the way up. We ended up parking on the road and walking up to the Recreation Area to get to the trail head.

Waterline Trail in El Yunque

We noticed a few changes along the trail as compared to our previous hikes. Originally, the reservoir and falls were very impressive with water. In 2010, the rain did a lot of damage to the reservoir, and it changed the waterfall. Now, the water reservoir on the Icacos River is empty (April 2011), though there was some evidence that they are doing some repairs. The flow at Los Prieto Falls was also decreased severely, so it was not very impressive. But we stopped at the falls and ate our lunch. While we were eating our lunch, some men with machetes came by — I think they were trail maintenance people. After lunch, we walked across the scary railroad bridge and continued on the trail … to the end.

The trail beyond Los Prieto Falls is less used/maintained than the first part, so you do have to go under/over a few tree branches along the route. We noticed more heliconia and ginger plants and flowers.

The walk from the waterfall to the end of the trail is about ½ mile, and is mostly flat. The reward at the end of the trail is a great view of the east coast. You can see Vieques in the distance, Cayo Santiago (Monkey Island), and the Humacao Nature Reserve. You can also the the water reservoir and pumping station that the pipeline feeds.

Waterline Trail in El Yunque

Other than the view, the other interesting thing here at the end is the remains of the rail system. This rail system was apparently used in the construction and maintenance of the pipeline, to get materials and workers up and down the mountainside. Here we found (newly cleared of vines by the maintenance guys — what luck!) was a "Lidgerwood" winch and cable system that raised and lowered the rail cars. It is a pretty steep hill, and it must have been a scary ride.

We’ve been told that, during the pipeline construction, there was a tragic accident. While a rail car filled with workers was being pulled up the mountainside, the cable broke … and the workers plummeted to their deaths. I am unable to find documentation about this incident, so I don’t know how much of the story is true.

Waterline Trail in El Yunque

Safety Note: Be aware, this is a closed trail and you need to cross some slippery and dangerous places and some rivers. I would avoid this trail on a rainy day and NEVER go in the rivers during a rain (flash floods happen a lot ) or even a day or two after a rain, since the current can be too strong to be safe. People have been hurt/killed while playing in this river, jumping from the rocks and climbing around the rivers. Respect nature and be safe. And don’t litter.

Details

If you’re interested in doing this hike, please refer to our earlier article about Los Prieto Falls. That article contains all the information you would need, including driving directions, a trail map, and GPS coordinates.

After you are finished your hike, you can cool off in the river at the Rio Sabana Recreation Area. Be aware-I have heard this whole South side recreation area is getting very “iffy” safety-wise in non-summer months.

 

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