Day 1 –
Depart for San Juan, Puerto Rico
Enjoy your flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. You will be met at the airport by your Tour Manager/guide(s)
and transferred to your hotel in the San Juan area.
Day 2 – Explore Old San Juan
After breakfast, you will explore Old San Juan. Encompassing a seven-square-block area, Old
San Juan is surrounded by 17th-Century walls and contains most of the island's
historical treasures. Your guided tour today
will take you to many of the most important landmarks, buildings and
monuments. You will visit El Morro, a
six-level fortress that was begun in 1539 and helped protect San Juan's
coastline throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. You will take a guided tour of the fort, as well
as visit the on-site museum
exhibiting the history of this great monument.
Your day will also include a visit to La Fortaleza, also known as the
Santa Catalina Palace. La Fortaleza is
the oldest governor's residence in continuous use in the Western
Hemisphere. It was originally a fortress
circa 1533; you will take a guided tour of the areas open to the public,
including the magnificent gardens. You will have lunch in Old San Juan.
Another highlight of your day in Old San Juan will
be a visit to San Juan Cathedral, a beautiful neo-classical church, which has
been the home of Old San Juan's faithful for more than 475 years. Built in 1529, the cathedral is the final resting
place of Juan Ponce de León, the first Governor of Puerto Rico, and the Gothic
chapel is the oldest part of the building and features magnificent archways. This evening the group will have a delicious
traditional dinner, and prepare for the exciting days to come!
Days 3-4 – Community Service Project
You will have breakfast at your hotel.
The community service project will be the heart of your
program—an excellent way to bond with the local community and your peers
through service. Today you will drive to
the work site and meet in the morning to and be briefed on the community
project by the local leaders who will be working with you.
Throughout the mornings, you will work together on your
project. You will take a break for lunch
and in the afternoon you will continue your project.
Your community service project is based on local
needs and may include playing educational games with preschoolers and
schoolchildren, painting or other maintenance of a preschool or community
center, improving the infrastructure of a local library, building a playground or
creating vegetable gardens.
The service project and the logistics of it are subject to change to best match
the final group size and local community needs.
There also exists the potential to break the service work up over
multiple days (e.g.: service in the morning, touring in the afternoon) or splitting
the group into two and taking turns touring and doing service work.
Day 5 – Luquillo & El
you will have breakfast and begin the day with some time to swim at Luquillo Beach, one of the top beaches
in Puerto Rico. You continue 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 walk in 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 hike
along one of the 13 trails that cover 23 miles of breathtaking terrain, and
offer wonderful picnic sights. If you are lucky, you may even have the
opportunity to swim in one of the many waterfalls.
Day 6 –
Camuy Caves & Arecibo Observatory
Your day begins as you journey to the Rio de Camuy Caves Park 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 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. After dinner you will return to your hotel
for the evening.
Day 7 –
Tibes, Ponce & La Parguera
After breakfast this morning 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
Late afternoon you will cool off in the waters of
Parguera. First you will take a snorkel
tour to explore some of the area’s best shallow reefs lead by PADI
professionals. Next you will take a trip
to the famous bioluminescent bay. Here
you will swim in the waters as you watch the waters light up around you! Tonight you will gather as a group to reflect
on your experience in Puerto Rico.
Day 8 –
This morning your program will
come to an end as you head to the airport for the return flight home.