Travel restrictions and additional testing requirements have been on-again, off-again for more than a year as countries and territories have tried to guard against new COVID-19 threats. Some of the latest changes are coming soon in Puerto Rico.
Starting Wednesday, Feb. 2, fully vaccinated travelers from the mainland will no longer need to provide a negative COVID-19 test to enter Puerto Rico, its tourism authority announced. That pre-travel testing requirement for all arrivals has been in place since late December. And it will remain in effect for unvaccinated visitors, who will still need a test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival – or test upon arrival and quarantine until their results come in.
But for the fully vaccinated, Wednesday's change makes test-free visits to Puerto Rico a reality. Because it's part of the U.S., travelers returning from Puerto Rico to the mainland also don't need a negative COVID-19 test within one day of their flights home. Testing requirements for international travel have been in place for more than a year – and they were strengthened in December as the Omicron variant emerged.
The combination of cheap flights to San Juan (SJU) and the lack of return testing requirements made Puerto Rico one of the best hassle-free travel destinations for 2022, but this new policy makes it just as easy to visit Puerto Rico as it is to head for Chicago. That said, travelers should consider testing before their trip anyway to avoid needlessly spreading COVID-19.
Puerto Rico Loosening Other Restrictions, Too
Puerto Rico is also dropping some on-island restrictions for visitors this week as well. Here's what you can expect once you get there.
- Masks: Puerto Rico requires masks indoors, no matter your vaccination status, including on all public transportation and ferries operating to and from Vieques and Culebra. While masks are required at outdoor events with more than 50 people, it does not apply to public beaches.
- Restaurants and dining: Restaurants and bars in Puerto Rico require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 48 hours. Many restaurants and other indoor venues will be able to raise their indoor capacity limits to 75% – though bars and venues that primarily sell alcohol will remain at 50% capacity. Starting Feb. 2, alcohol sales can extend past midnight. All restaurant and bar restrictions are set to expire Feb. 16, so stay tuned.
- Mass events: Until Feb. 16, anyone attending “mass events” (including at theaters, amphitheaters, coliseums, stadiums, and convention centers) must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours.
Puerto Rico dropping its entry testing requirement makes it one of the easiest destinations to visit in 2022. Later this week, you no longer need to take a COVID-19 test of any kind to visit the island if you're fully vaccinated.
It's as easy as ever to get into Puerto Rico if you're vaccinated, and restrictions are loosening on the island, too.
This story has been corrected to show that testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers will end Wednesday, Feb. 2.