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Puerto Rico

Adventure with Purpose

february 21-25 | 2019

 

Pay homage to Peace Corp’s legacy of service by stepping your boots on the ground to support Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

 
10 out of 10. It was like visiting friends. Just exceptional.
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february 21-25 | 2019

Puerto Rico

Trip Highlights

Back by popular demand. Building on the success of our 2018 journey to the island, we’ll:

Boots on the Ground  With the leadership of preeminent nonprofits, learn about areas where Puerto Rico is hard-pressed for help—trail clearing, beach cleaning and ecology preservation, and the evolving process providing essential services to locals in need of a helping hand.

Jumpstart Tourism  One of the best ways to fast-track Puerto Rico’s recovery is to contribute to the tourism economy, which accounts for nearly a fifth of all jobs on the island—and for good reason.

Disaster Recovery Expertise  Learn about our changing global ecosystem that is leading to increased frequency of storms, and the efforts of nonprofits to help impacted communities and environments in need.

Peace Corps Ethos We will honor Peace Corps’ commitment to service by connecting with locals, from restaurants to entrepreneurs as well as assisting various NGOs with their vital development projects on the island.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Due to damage to the hotel stock after the storm, and our commitment to supporting local economies, we will be staying in locally-owned private homes. Prices are based on double occupancy, with private bathrooms. Private accommodations are available for a single supplement of $299 for the main program. As a solo traveler, if you prefer, we can also pair you with another traveler (two twin beds, requiring no single supplement, based on availability).

PHYSICAL LEVEL

While the touristic elements of the tour are not very strenuous, please note that it can involve the following: somewhat long days, a good amount of walking (including stairs, varied elevations, and uneven surfaces), the sun and potentially hot temperatures. That being said, all individuals participating in volunteer work should be reasonably physically fit and prepared to do the work that is planned for the day, which may include beach clean-ups, trail clearing, or constructions. Some tasks are more physically demanding than others. If you have any medical conditions or other concerns, there will be opportunity for you to make us aware of them during the registration, and then we can determine if the trip is appropriate for you. On the trip, it is important that all participants communicate to the volunteer supervisor any concerns they may have about particular tasks, such as climbing ladders or working with power tools.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • All gratuities for participants and staff to cover drivers, wait staff at group meals, guides, and tour directors.
  • All activities as listed in the itinerary.
  • Accommodations as described in the itinerary.
  • Meals as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Transportation by private, air-conditioned motor coach as well as transfers for the group as appropriate.
  • Bilingual, English speaking guide to accompany through the whole touring period.

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Airfare to and from Puerto Rico’s San Juan Airport (SJU).
  • Optional extension partnering with a local NGO.
  • Expenses of a purely personal nature (including cab fares, laundry and other personal items, room service charges).
  • Transportation of luggage in excess of weight allowance.
  • Travel insurance (we strongly advise that each participant arrange for their own travel insurance).
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Meals not noted in itinerary.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Costs associated with trip interruption or modification due to weather, travel conditions, political/civil disputes, medical emergencies or other causes beyond our control.

FAQs

What is driving the cost of the trip?

First, the cost of accommodations in Puerto Rico is abnormally high right now. A significant portion of the island's hotel stock was destroyed during Hurricane Maria and much of what remains is being used to house emergency responders, contractors, and other personnel supporting recovery efforts. This hotel shortage drives up the price of the limited remaining availability. Secondly, a portion of your ticket price will be supporting local recovery efforts on the ground, including providing financial and in-kind support (e.g. supplies for our volunteer efforts) for the partner organizations that you will come to meet and assist during your time in Puerto Rico. Finally, this trip is a combination of service and tourism, which we call "altourism." We've heard from our partners on the ground (including many RPCVs!) that one of the best ways we can support the recovery of the island is to support the tourism industry (and encourage your friends and family to visit la isla, too!). So while we're there, we'll be experiencing some of the best tourism attractions that Puerto Rico has to offer—and we hope you'll join us!

Who are your partners on the ground?

While in Puerto Rico, we'll be partnering with premier community organizations doing work presently on the island. Some are national nonprofits, while others are local. Some are community initiatives that don't have 501c3 status, but are simply great people doing important work for their communities. The team designing this trip brings two decades of nonprofit and volunteer management experience to the project, including disaster services—and of course, they are RPCVs! They are working closely with partners on the ground (including the NPCA affiliate group Amigos del Cuerpo de Paz de Puerto Rico) to identify the most meaningful and impactful ways our volunteers—each offering their own unique talents—will be able contribute to recovery efforts on the island. We won't be confirming partners until closer to the trip departure, as needs on the ground are changing. We invite you to bring the same "can do, will do" spirit of the Peace Corps to this important effort! See the “Building the Future: Service Project Extension” for additional details on partner NGOs.

 
Puerto Rico - Reservation
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Puerto Rico - Reservation
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full trip price - $1999 ($200 SINGLE SUPPLEMENT)

This trip is coordinated by RPCV Mary Bruce of tour operator Insider Expeditions.

Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Reservation fee will be credited towards full ticket.

 
 

Itinerary

Day One—¡Bienvenidos a San Juan!

  • Upon your arrival at San Juan Airport, you will be met by our local guide—one of the best in the country—and travel to our fantastic locally-owned accommodations to settle in.
  • As part of your journey to the island, we will send you an updated wish list of needed in-kind donations as the trip approaches, should you wish to contribute.
  • From here, we’ll head out for an Old San Juan walking tour. Stroll the narrow streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site, taking in the colorful buildings, the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, the San Juan Gate and Paseo de La Princesa. Explore recently re-opened shops and cafes along the beautiful tree-lined promenade that dates back to 1853.
  • Puerto Rico is open for business, and tonight we’ll celebrate over a welcome dinner. We’ll be joined by leaders in the recovery efforts to brief us on the needs and opportunities here.

    Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Day Two—Community and Connections

  • After a filling breakfast of local pastries and lots of coffee, we will head into the countryside to visit an eco-farm. Meet with the people who work there and hear stories about efforts to rebuild and provide much needed food to locals in the aftermath of the storm.
  • Back in San Juan, we will visit the fantastically colorful barrio of La Perla, which has been at the center of revitalization efforts. Hear from local volunteers have been working for over a year to rebuild the neighborhood, newly famous due to its association with Despacito—the wildly popular music video shot here.
  • Tonight, enjoy a barbeque dinner on the beach, learning more about the ongoing environmental restoration efforts from local experts.

    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Three—El Yunque National Forest

  • After enjoying some Caribbean coffee, we’ll head to the majestic El Yunque National Forest. Today, you’ll learn about the startlingly diverse landscapes of this island—and how its inhabitants have been adversely affected by recovery efforts.
  • Much of the rainforest—and all related tourism activities there—is still closed, which has a major impact on the local economy. We will meet with a local NGO to discuss the vital environmental recovery efforts there. After lunch, cool off with a dip at Juan Diego falls!
  • Back in San Juan, enjoy a final farewell with our new Puerto Rican friends at a local’s favorite restaurant, enjoying local specialties like mofongo, a Puerto Rican favorite made of plantains and pork rinds. Then, we’ll head out to celebrate like locals, swaying to the rhythms of live Salsa music.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day Four—Hasta Luego (or not?)

  • Savor a final breakfast together this morning. Take time to reflect on our weekend together and everything we’ve learned about this special island.
  • Before heading to the airport, take a final dip in the warm Caribbean Sea. Say farewell for now, before heading back to home destinations with new friends and a sense of a weekend well-spent.
  • Or, stay for an optional extension, partnering with a local NGO!

    Meals: Breakfast

    Extension Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Building the Future: Service Project Extension

Service project extension. This trip offers an opportunity to provide much needed support to the Puerto Rican people, who are still rebuilding following the devastation of recent storms. We invite you, as a group or individual, to stay for the rest of the week, or longer, and volunteer your time with a leading nonprofit. All meals are included in the extension.

Note: Due to constantly changing needs on the ground, our desire to be responsive to local needs, and our understanding that each trip participant brings a unique skill set, the exact service project will be confirmed closer to the departure date.

Our local partners include:

  • The Foundation for Puerto Rico. FPR leads social and economic development initiatives on the island, focusing on promoting the visitor economy. Learn more about FPR at www.foundationforpuertorico.org.
  • Para la Naturaleza. Para la Naturaleza organizes ecological restoration projects across the island. Learn more about Para la Naturaleza at www.paralanaturaleza.org
  • Surfrider Foundation. Surfrider leads efforts to ensure healthy water and clean beaches and empowers local communities to protect their health in post-storm conditions. Learn more about Surfrider at www.surfrider.org

CANCELLATION POLICY

Cancellation by Traveler

The $250 trip deposit is non-refundable.

  • 25% non-refundable 120 days or more prior to departure
  • 50% non-refundable 119 to 90 days prior to departure
  • 75% non-refundable 89 to 60 days prior to departure
  • 100% non-refundable 59 days or less prior to departure

If a traveler leaves the trip for any reason after it has commenced, we are not obligated to make any refunds for unused services. If a travelers fails to join a tour, join it after departure, or leave it prior to its completion, no refund will be made.

Cancellation by Trip Operator - Insider Expeditions (IE)

IE may cancel a trip at any time prior to departure if, due to terrorism, natural disasters, political instability or other external events, it is not viable for us to operate the planned itinerary. If IE cancels the trip, traveler can transfer amounts paid to an alternate departure date or alternatively receive a full refund. In circumstances where the cancellation is due to external events outside our reasonable control, refunds will be less any unrecoverable costs. We are not responsible for any incidental expenses that you may have incurred as a result of your booking including but not limited to visas, vaccinations, travel insurance excess or non-refundable flights.

 

ITINERARY DISCLAIMER
This particular tour has been designed with specific Puerto Rican individuals and events in mind, whose schedules and availabilities may change without notice. While we do our best to adhere to the itinerary, traveling to Puerto Rico requires flexibility, and changes to specific interactions and other activities may occur. In addition, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and changes to timetables and transport routes, which can happen with little notice. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time. Each day we will update you on the program and keep you informed throughout the trip.