Puerto Rico

Culture, Wild Life & Service Project

Program Highlights & Inclusions

  • Professional ETA Tour Manager throughout your trip
  • Transportation throughout your trip
  • Guided walking tour through Old San Juan
    • Guided tour of El Morro
    • Visit La Fortaleza
    • Visit San Juan Cathedral
  • Community Service project in San Juan
  • Visit and swim at Luquillo Beach
  • Visit & hike the El Yunque Rainforest & El Portal Tropical Forest Center
  • Rio de Camuy Caves Park
  • Visit the Rio de Camuy Caves Park
  • Visit the Observatory of Arecibo
  • Admission to the National Astronomy and Lonosphere Center
  • Guided tour of Ponce
  • Visit the Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center
  • Visit the Serrallés Castle
  • Snorkel tour in Parguera
  • Swim in the famous bioluminescent bay


Daily Itinerary

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.

Note: 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 Yunque Rainforest

This morning 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 Rico.

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 – Departure

This morning your program will come to an end as you head to the airport for the return flight home.





OUR PRICE GUARANTEE

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Once your group enrolls in a trip, the price will never change. Here is what you will get on every trip:



Customization

Every single tour that we operate is unique and tailored for your group.

Private Tours

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Flexible Payments

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Chaperones travel for free!

Just tell us how many free places you need.

Medical & Trip Delay Insurance

ETA includes up to $50,000 per person in medical coverage and insurance protection for travel delays.

Optional Trip Cancellation Insurance

This even includes a "cancel for any reason" option.

24 Hour Support

We have staff available 24/7 via phone for any emergency.

Full-time Tour Manager

ETA's professional Tour Manager will be with you throughout your trip.

Air, Land & Water Transportation

We include all transportation... to, from and during your trip.

Accommodations

Hotel, homestay and/or hostel options are customized according to your preferences, itinerary and budget.

Sightseeing & Entrance Fees

If it is included in your itinerary, any fees and/or tickets are covered.

Meals

You choose which meals are included in your program.