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So you want to visit Puerto Rico?
The island of Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
As of February 2021, all travelers traveling to Puerto Rico must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test completed no more than 72hrs before arrival on the island. Once on the island, you will then be required to complete a health declaration form at travelsafe.pr.gov and upload your negative PCR COVID-19 test results to their database. You will not be allowed to leave the airport until this form is completed. If you do not present your negative PCR COVID-19 test results, you will then be required to take a PCR test at your own cost and quarantine until your negative test results are presented. During your stay on the island, you’ll receive daily text messages from the Puerto Rico travel safe department tracking your health conditions, sending you updates, and also information on how and where to seek medical help should you begin to have COVID-like symptoms. Masks are required on the island while in public areas, and social distancing is encouraged.
*Please note that as of January 26, 2021, all travelers entering the United States are required to have a negative COVID-19 test completed 72hrs before arrival. However, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States; therefore, a negative PCR COVID-19 test is not required.
*Please note that PR also has a curfew, and at the time of our travel, it was midnight.
*As always, please check with the CDC and the government site of the country/island you wish to visit, as travel requirements can change frequently.
Where did we get our COVID-19 test from?
I took my COVID-19 test at CVS, and CVS delivered my results within 48hrs of testing. On the other hand, my husband took his test at Walgreens, and Walgreens delivered his results within 24hrs of his test.
How did we get to Puerto Rico?
Our flight to Puerto Rico was around two hours and 30mins non-stop on Spirit Airlines. We actually paid $22.80 round trip for two adults plus carry-on for this trip. I know many aren’t fans of the airline. However, it gets us from point A to point B safely at a great price.
How to get around Puerto Rico?
If you stay in San Juan getting around, you’d want to use Uber or a Taxi. However, the most cost-efficient way is by using uber. Please note that Lyft is not available in Puerto Rico, at least at the time of our visit, but that could change in the future.
While in San Juan, you can pretty much get around by walking. You can also get around by renting a scooter found around the city. Using the scooter requires you to download the app by scanning the QR-code with the phone’s camera, attaching a major credit or debit card, and ride around the city. Please be sure to sanitize and wipe down the scooter handles before and after use. On the other hand, if you plan to explore the island and go outside of San Juan, then a rental car is needed.
Who did we rent our car from?
We were being el cheapos and got our rental car from Next Car rental. To get to Next Car who also services rental from Priceline, you will want to wait on their shuttle service located just outside the airport terminal, and their shuttle will transport you to their rental facility.
We needed the rental for only two days, and we paid $232.14 and filled the gas before returning for $17.47. When we searched for rental cars, most of the other rental companies were charging around $400-$500, and I couldn’t bring myself to rent a car at that price for only 2 days.
The pickup experience took over TWO AND HALF HOURS!!!! When we got to the rental facility, over 20 people were waiting for rental cars and ONLY one person working the counter; it was BEYOND ridiculous!! I felt so bad for the gentlemen as he seemed to be working the counter and assisting outside with returns. He was charming but definitely being overworked.
Please note that a major credit card is ideal for renting to avoid having a $500 hold on your debit card than a $200 hold on your credit card. You will also be asked about rental coverage. You are given the option to use your personal car rental coverage only if your personal car is 2015 or newer or purchase Next Car’s rental coverage. We opted to use the rental coverage provided by our credit card. Also, while exploring outside of the island, you can choose to add toll for an additional $9.99 per day or avoid tolls but keep in mind avoiding tolls will add more to your travel time. Also, note that there is a cleaning fee (not reflected on your reservations at booking but added when you pick up). Please also keep in mind that Puerto Rico has 3 taxes (State tax, item tax, and general tax), not sure if that matters to you, but I am the type of traveler who likes to know what I am paying for to truly have an idea of the cost of my total trip.
Where did we stay?
We stayed at the Aloft in San Juan, close to the convention center. It is conveniently located in an area where you are less than 15mins from pretty much anything in San Juan. There are also restaurants in the area with many authentic dishes to try. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, their service at the Aloft was a 10. The service was amazing. Upon arrival, your temperature is checked, your hands and luggage are sanitized, and you are off to your room. I also love the fact that there are sanitizers and signs all over the hotel encouraging travelers to social distancing and sanitize their hands, and room service was also quick.
What can I do in Puerto Rico?
- Puerto Rico Sign Picture
You can’t visit PR and not take a picture with the Puerto Rico sign, and the good thing is that you can find this all over the island. This one is conveniently located in the convention center just outside the Aloft hotel. It makes a cute photo for your Instagram feed.
2. Enjoy breakfast at Finca Cialitos
Location: 267 C. de San Francisco, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico.
We were actually looking for another spot to eat breakfast but found out it went out of business due to COVID-19, so we found this neat coffee shop with the most delicious sandwiches and mouth-watering smoothies. The atmosphere was very relaxing and welcoming, and the food was deliciously amazing and definitely worth it.
3. Walk the streets of San Juan
San Juan’s streets are brightly colored with so many rich cultures you’ll find a picture-perfect spot at every corner.
4. Puerto Rican Black Flag
Love symbolic murals? This beauty is a must.
Location: 55 Calle San Jose (between Calle de Sol and Calle de Sebastian)
In 2016 this iconic door was painted black as a symbol of mourning, resistance, and civil disobedience from Puerto Ricans. It’s also a great Instagram-worthy picture.
5. Visit El Morro and Visit Cristobal
When in San, you’ve got to visit this historic spot. Castillo San Felipe del Morro, also known as el Morro named after Phillip II of Spain. It’s located at the northwest point of San Juan. The cost of entry is $10 for both El Morro and San Cristobal Fort. This beauty was built in San Juan and is dated back to the 16th century when Puerto Rico was under Spanish rule. This former military structure is now an iconic historical site to see.
6. Have Lunch at St. Germain
St. Germain is a Vegan-friendly restaurant with other non-vegan options as well. I had what is called “The Pepper,” a stuffed bell pepper with stew beans, deliciously laid on top of a mixture of rice, peas, nuts, and sliced grapes. My husband has a Mahi wrapped with veggies and the most delicious sauce (I honestly don’t remember the sauce’s name, if you go, ask for extra sauce). Our food paired with their signature drink, St. Germain. It has a spicy-ginger-cinnamon kick to it, mixed with guava and their signal St. Germain.
7. Enjoy a Street Gelato
You can find this sweet treat from several vendors just outside El Morro. There were several flavors to choose from. You can have it individually or mixed. This one is the mixed option. You have the option for small for $3 or large $5.
8. Enjoy the beach at Escambrom Beach in San Juan
Puerto Rico is home to some of the most beautiful beaches. Escambron Beach is one of the local beaches in San Juan and is highly recommended by the locals. Entrance per vehicle is $5. You can’t visit Puerto Rico and not hit up the beaches, right?!
9. Visit Umbrella Street. I actually missed this beauty, but I hear it’s a dope spot for Instagram pictures.
10. La Cueva Ventana
Puerto Rico has over 200 caves. Of those only 150, you can actually view or enter. One of which is Cueva Ventana. Some call this gem the “window cave” or “black cave,” either name you choose; it is a must while in Puerto Rico. Cueva Ventana is about 2hrs and 45mins from San Juan, driving a car and avoiding tolls (the time can be less if taking the toll route). Reservations are required, and note that the last tour leaves at 4 pm and is currently opened at 8 am.
The cost for entry is $19 per person plus taxes. The tour is about an hour and 45mins and well worth it. Please note that closed-toe shoes are required, you’ll need some bug spray, and you’ll be required to wear a hard hat as you’ll be entering caves where there are low areas where you could potentially brush your head up against some walls. This also protects you from any bat droppings as you enter the caves. On the way, you’ll walk through the forest and see potential wildlife such as frogs, birds, snails (might I add some pretty big, some the size of a small child’s fist), and possibly snakes (thankfully, we didn’t see any).
11. La Salinas in Cabo Rojo
Las Salinas. I’m not sure how these salt beds became an attraction, but they sure make a good spot for dope pictures.
Las Salinas is a scenic spot in Cabo Rojos, about 2hrs and 45mins outside San Juan (when avoiding tolls). It can be a bit tricky to find because the GPS will take you to a wildlife refuge spot, but if you drive less than a block from the wildlife refuge, you’ll see a small gate that lets you walk into these beautiful salt beds.
Now, the view is amazing but the smell, not so much. It’s not terrible, but you’ll definitely smell a few fishy smells from bird’s leftovers of dead fish, and towards the end, some washed-up trash from the ocean. However, if you can overlook that or not walk towards the end, you’ll be find admiring the beauty and taking some dope pictures.
Please note, do not touch the water/salt beds, and be careful while walking the bridge way between each salt bed. Also, closed-toe shoes are highly recommended.
Location: Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
How long were we in Puerto Rico?
We landed Thursday a little after 11:30. As mentioned above, our rental took about 2 and half hours, so we got to the hotel a little after 2 AM. Friday, we started our day at 8 am, and departure was early Sunday morning. To see what activities we did each day, see our daily itinerary, click here.
Where did we eat in Puerto Rico?
We had Salmon Mofongo at Metropol Restaurant Sheraton Hotel Convention Center District.
You can pretty much Google Metropol Restaurant by Sheraton Hotel convention center in PR, and the exact address comes up. Also, Shrimp Mofongo.
Location: Bosque Bello Bar & Lunch. This neighborhood spot is located C/10 KM 75 Hato Viejo, Arecibo, PR 00612
2. Cuban Rice and Codfish. This baby was crispy and delicious!! Cuban Rice with Codfish can found on many menus on the island, but we enjoyed ours from the Metropol Restaurant as well.
3. Shrimp Empanadas, if you’re like me and love patty’s, then Empanadas are right up your alley. These babies were delicious from start to finish, and guess what?! They are freshly made to order, so you’ll have to wait a bit, but the wait is well worth it!!
C/10 KM 75 Hato Viejo, Arecibo, PR 00612
4. Mahi Wrap
This deliciously wrapped goodness is perfect for any seafood lover pair with a salad. Ots basically Mahi wrapped with veggies and a delicious sauce (I honestly forgot to ask the name of the sauce, but it definitely gave it a delicious kick!)
156 Calle Sol, San Juan, 00901, PR.
5. The Pepper
This deliciousness is perfect for the Vegan lover and will not disappoint!!
It’s called “The Pepper,” which was stuffed bell pepper with beans, deliciously laid on top of a mixture of rice, peas, nuts, and grapes. Also located at St. Germain
…𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘥𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴!!!
Enjoyed this post? CLICK HERE to read The Ultimate weekend in Puerto Rico.
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