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Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!

Illinois
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125 posts
45 reviews
35 helpful votes
Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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Our flight arrived just after midnight, so I had concerns about timing of PCR test. No worries! We had our tests on Friday AM at our local urgent care, got results Saturday afternoon.

Got our QR codes which we saved on our phones. At the airport we followed the signs to collect our bag, then to the testing barrier. Showed our code and ID (driver’s license in our case) and we were good to go. Then straight out following the signs for a taxi and we were off to our hotel.

Stayed at the Caribe Hilton, which was great. It could use a little updating but it’s still nice. Beach is great there. Lots of good service. Several restaurants. Not a lot close by, so we used Uber a lot. Uber is easy in San Juan.

We spent a lot of time exploring OSJ, which was fun. We love history so loved the forts and city walls.

We rented a car for one day to drive to El Yunque. Easy drive! Signs are all Spanish, FYI, but still easy to get around. I used my phone with google maps.

WORD OF ADVICE: When traveling back to the airport to pick up a car, be aware that some agencies are NOT at the airport. 🙄 Ubered back to SJU to go to Dollar car rental. Got there and was informed it’s off site and take the shuttle. There were two other couples waiting (Uber is gone now). We waited and waited. Looked at the fine print (yes, should have earlier, I know. Rookie mistake) and it says you can take a taxi. So I did ($20). Of course, 5 minutes later the shuttle delivered the other people. Figures. Dollar rental is not the best but we got a Kia, worked with Apple car play. No problems. Car rental is very limited on the island and not cheap.

Another vote for sun block: I’m a redhead with pasty white skin. I stayed coated in SPF of 50-70. Very small burns in a couple of spots. My husband, who doesn’t usually burn, on the other hand decided his lower legs would be fine. He now has a deep burn with blisters. Has been miserable the entire time. Oh well.

Anniversary dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse. Very good, too much food and they gave us a free desert on top of it. Can recommend the Island Bessie to drink.

We spent a lot of time just relaxing and enjoying either the beach at the hotel or our balcony. Lots of Pina Coladas! The sound of the waves and the incredible breeze is good for your soul, after a tough year.

One note upon departure back to mainland: definitely arrive at least 2 hours before your flight. You will have to go through the USDA bag screening. We were about 15 min. late and this was added stress. The USDA line was very long, snaking around on itself. Took at the least 20-25 minutes. Then we dropped off our bag and went through TSA security. Pre-check lanes not open because it was the middle of the night (thanks to JetBlue). So we were in line again for quite awhile. Got to our gate as they were boarding and then just walked right on the plane. I NEVER leave it so late so that was stressful. We did wait for a taxi at our hotel, which added to running late.

I hope this is helpful to someone and enjoy you time in PR!

12 replies to this topic
7 posts
1 review
1. Re: Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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Thank you for your great trip report. We are headed to PR this week and are so excited!

Connecticut
Level Contributor
3 posts
15 reviews
6 helpful votes
2. Re: Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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Very helpful and useful information. I'll be there next month so thanks for the much needed advice.

Level Contributor
2 posts
6 reviews
3. Re: Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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Great detailed info - thank you so much! I'm staying at the Caribe as well and appreciate your info about the rental car - was thinking of reserving a car from the hotel rental car place - Enterprise - for our day at El Yunque. Glad to hear about the ease of ubers for exploring as well.

Illinois
Level Contributor
125 posts
45 reviews
35 helpful votes
4. Re: Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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Hi Kerry, not sure when you are staying, but reserve your car in advance. Enterprise through the Caribe was all sold out for us, as were all the bigger name brand places. Dollar was OK and our car (a Kia) was fine. Getting there was just not a straight forward as I had thought it would be.

Chicago, Illinois
8 posts
5. Re: Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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Did you get the regular pcr?

Illinois
Level Contributor
125 posts
45 reviews
35 helpful votes
6. Re: Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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Erin, yes we got a regular PCR, through a local Urgent Care. They told us 24-48 hour turn around for results. It was about 36. I then unploaded my results to the travelsafe PR site and it generated the QR code. It really was super simple.

Chicago, Illinois
8 posts
7. Re: Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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Great thanks

Bloomington, Indiana
1 post
8. Re: Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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Thank you so much for the information! We are headed there in a month, and I'm getting nervous about how stressful it will be with the timing of the Covid tests, and this makes me feel much better! Did you (or did you see) that anyone was required to have a Covid test to get back into the US? I have read other posts saying that one is not required to reenter, and some say one is required. Is there still a curfew, and if yes what time is until at night? Thanks again for your post!

Illinois
Level Contributor
125 posts
45 reviews
35 helpful votes
9. Re: Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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As PR is a US territory, a Covid test is not required for reentry because you are not leaving the country.

There is a curfew from 12 AM until 5 AM, which doesn’t include things like traveling from the airport to your hotel. Restaurants, casinos and other businesses are at 30% capacity. Beaches are open with a mask requirement until you get to your seating/gathering area.

There are some businesses closed, some have reduced menus and services but it was still a great experience.

Lexington, Kentucky
1 post
2 reviews
1 helpful vote
10. Re: Covid Tests, Rental Cars, Airport Lines and Pina Coladas!
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A couple of days ago, I bought a Southwest ticket to San Juan from Louisville for June 20, but now I’m seriously considering cancelling my trip, after reading the COVID testing requirements, 30% capacities at every place of business, and people wearing masks on the streets and even on the beach! First off, why must a fully vaccinated traveler from the mainland US present a negative COVID test result? Is my vaccination certificate basically worthless in Puerto Rico? Secondly, with such strict capacity restrictions, I’m afraid I’ll get down there, and will have trouble getting into restaurants, museums, etc.. I wish I had done some research before purchasing a plane ticket. I guess I just assumed since PR is a US Territory, it would be just like visiting another state.

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