Day 1 – Depart for San Juan, Puerto Rico
Today you'll start your Puerto Rico adventure to make unforgettable memories with your group. Upon arrival in San Juan, you'll be met at the airport by your Tour Manager and start your adventures. You'll begin your sightseeing in the historic city of San Juan at the Fort San Cristobal. San Cristobal is wonderfully preserved with extensive dungeons and ramparts to explore. We will have dinner at a restaurant with local music in San Juan and head to the hotel to relax for the evening.
Day 2 – Old San Juan and School Exchange
Located on a small island, Old San Juan is a beautiful city dating back to the 1500s. This morning, you will make your way through the hilly and narrow streets and admire well-preserved examples of Spanish colonial architecture. You will also visit the 400-year-old El Morro Fort which was designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay, and defend the Spanish colonial port city of San Juan from seaborne enemies. After lunch you will have an opportunity to visit and local school and interact with the students. After dinner, you’ll go on a night walk around Old San Juan to learn about some of Old San Juan's folk legends and to gain a different perspective on the city.
Day 3 – Tibes and Ponce
After breakfast, you will take a drive to the southern coast of Puerto Rico to visit Ponce, the island's second largest town known as the “Pearl of the South.” En route you will stop at the Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center, where you will have the opportunity to explore a re-created Taino village. The center also contains a museum with artifacts discovered at the archaeological site, and the oldest cemetery in the Antilles dating back to 300 AD.
After learning about the lives, rituals, and customs of the Taino people, you continue to Ponce. You will begin to explore the central plaza, Las Delicias, which is highlighted by Indian laurel trees, fountains, and a unique Firehouse, "El Parque de Bombas." You will then visit a panoramic viewpoint highlighting the beauty of the city from the top of the hill at "El Vigia Cross.” From here you will stop for a visit to Serrallés Castle. Situated on a hill overlooking Ponce, this palatial estate was once home to the Serrallés family, one of the most powerful producers of rum in Puerto Rico. Tonight you will cook like a local during your cooking class and demonstration.
Day 4 – El Yunque Rainforest
This morning, you'll drive to El Yunque Rainforest, the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System. The 28,000-acre preserve is home to four different types of forest, 20 types of orchid, and 50 varieties of fern. You will begin learning about the delicate ecosystem of rain forests from around the world at the El Portal Tropical Forest Center. You will then enjoy a guided tour of the rain forest, including a stop at La Coca Falls, for a picturesque view of the rainforest and a massive waterfall. You will also take a guided hike along one of the 13 trails that cover 23 miles of breathtaking terrain, and offer wonderful picnic sights. You will then head back to San Juan for dinner. After dinner you will experience a Puerto Rican dance performance and workshop.
Day 5 – Camuy Caves & Arecibo Observatory
Your day begins as you journey to the Rio de Camuy Caves Park. You will be led by a specialist in the field as you descend into the depths of a million year old cave system. Rio Camuy Cave Park is one of the most massive cave networks in the Western Hemisphere, and a trolley car will take you down to the caves, where footpaths wind through stalactites and stalagmites in Cueva Clara. Your day continues with a visit to the Observatory of Arecibo, the largest radar/radio telescope on Earth. Here, scientists from all over the world use a joint 305 meter diameter dish to listen to the sounds in the universe, including famous research in looking for extraterrestrials.
This afternoon, you will have lunch and continue to the National Astronomy and Lonosphere Center operated by Cornell University; there you will visit the interactive Visitors Center, which offers information on the basics on astronomy and atmospheric science.
This evening after dinner, you will visit the bio-luminescent bay and by boat you will observe the soft glittering effect (known as ‘phosphorescence’) the marine micro-organisms produce in the water. Tonight you will gather as a group to reflect on your experience in Puerto Rico.
Day 6 – Departure
Today your Puerto Rico adventure comes to an end as you journey back home.
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