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Kaleidoscope of Cultures: Puerto Rico’s History and Heritage from Pre-history to Present-day

Program Number: 15635RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/9/2014 - 3/16/2014; 1/11/2015 - 1/18/2015; 1/25/2015 - 2/1/2015; 2/8/2015 - 2/15/2015; 2/22/2015 - 3/1/2015; 3/22/2015 - 3/29/2015; 4/5/2015 - 4/12/2015; 11/1/2015 - 11/8/2015;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Price starting at: $1,773.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture; National Parks
Meals: 17; 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Experience Puerto Rico’s colorful culture and history from pre-Columbian times to present U.S. stewardship. Led by local experts, explore a fascinating blend of historic cities and museums, beaches, seaside villages and natural wonders. Ponce, known as "the Pearl of the South," is a charming town with magnificent Spanish colonial architecture. Visit its elegant historic district and top-notch museums, and enjoy galleries and historic sites in San Juan where the Puerto Rican culture is uniquely portrayed.




Highlights

• Discover the Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center, one of the most important archaeological sites in the Caribbean.
• Explore the Hacienda Buena Vista, one of Puerto Rico’s best preserved coffee plantations.
• Visit the San Felipe de Morro Fort and La Muralla (city wall) in Old San Juan.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day over sometimes uneven terrain.




Date Specific Information

3-9-2014, 1-11-2015, 1-25-2015, 2-8-2015, 2-22-2015, 3-22-2015, 4-5-2015, 11-1-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival San Juan, 1 night; coach to Ponce, 3 nights; coach to San Juan, 3 nights; departure.




San Juan

A major Caribbean port and resort destination, San Juan was the early 16th-century point of departure for Spanish expeditions to charter or settle unknown parts of the New World. Today it is the oldest city under the U.S flag and is well-known for the cobblestones and colorful facades of its original walled Colonial center, Old San Juan.



Accommodations
San Juan and Ponce: full-service hotels in great locations.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hampton Inn by Hilton
  San Juan 1 night
   Ramada Ponce
  Ponce 3 nights
   Hampton Inn by Hilton
  San Juan 3 nights
 Hampton Inn by Hilton
Type: Inn
  Description: At the Hampton Inn & Suites hotel in San Juan, they want to make your stay perfect. If you want to surf the web on your laptop, do so with their free high speed internet access. Run a few miles in their exercise room, or swim some laps in the pool. You'll even find a convenience store at the hotel in San Juan. If you're looking for recommendations on what to do and where to eat in San Juan, just ask the staff and they'll be happy to help!
  Contact info: 6530 Isla Verde Avenue
San Juan, PR 00979 Puerto Rico
phone: +7877918777
web: hamptoninn.hilton.com/en/hp/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=SJUHHHX
  Room amenities: Coffee Maker Complimentary Hot Breakfast High Speed Internet-No Charge Iron Iron/Ironing Board Lap Desk Curved Shower Rod Easy to Set Alarm Clock Radio LCD Flat Panel TV Waterpik(R) Showerhead
  Facility amenities: Baggage Storage Coin Laundry Elevators Laundry/Valet Service Lounge Luggage Hold Multi-Lingual Staff On-Site Convenience Store Room Service Safety Deposit Box
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call the hotel for price Please call the hotel in San Juan directly. It is very important to mention that you are from World Events/Road Scholar group. The telephone in San Juan is 1-787-791-8777.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call the hotel for price Please call the hotel in San Juan directly. It is very important to mention that you are from World Events/Road Scholar group. The telephone in San Juan is 1-787-791-8777.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

 Ramada Ponce
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: Reina Street
Ponce, PR 00731 Puerto Rico
phone: +7878135050
web: www.ramadaponce.com
  Room amenities: 70 rooms for guests, include twelve juniors suite Six historical rooms with 1882 architecture. - Wireless & wired connection - Air conditioner - Safe-deposit box in the room - Coffee, iron and ironing board in all the rooms - 32” LCD Television - Alarm - Desk with lamp
  Facility amenities: Ramada Ponce Hotel is situated on the historic downtown city of Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second largest town. The property features 70 guest rooms including a Historical Building and nine suites. All of them have private balconies overlooking the downtown, coffee makers, Wireless and wired Internet, Cable TV, 32” Flat LCD TV, in room safe, iron and iron boards. Guests can enjoy exclusive check-in and check-out, High Speed Internet access in public areas.The facilities of the hotel include fitness center, Lola Restaurant with bar, outdoor pool Between the services that distinguish our chain is our laundry service (upon request), Wireless connection in public areas and they are members of the program Wyndham Rewards.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
5 PM - Orientation at the Hampton Inn (please check with the front desk for meeting room location) You will be staying at Hampton Inn by Hilton that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. Hotel check out by 12 PM. You will be staying at Hampton Inn by Hilton the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. World Events and its sub-contractors may require liability waivers for certain activities.
  Parking availability:
Please advise coordinator in advance if a rental or personal car is being used during this program. It will be the participant's financial responsibility to pay for parking charges in both hotels.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  San Juan
  Nearest city or town:  San Juan
  Nearest highway: Not applicable.
  Nearest airport:  Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU)
  From End of Program
  Location: San Juan
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

San Juan International Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Publico Taxis

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$15 - $20 plus $1 per suitcase baggage fee and a 15% tip is customary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

under 15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

Taxis are controlled by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. After picking up your baggage follow the ground transportation sign to the taxi kiosk outside the terminal building, get a slip and wait in line. Pay the driver at the end of the journey.

 

San Juan International Airport

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Publico Taxis

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$15 - $20 plus $1 per suitcase baggage fee and a 15% tip is customary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

under 15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

For early morning flights it is recommended that you reserve a taxi the night before.

 
Driving Directions
  Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) Exit to your right, Rt. 26 towards San Juan to the first exit Hwy. #187. Turn right on Hwy. #187 to second traffic light Rt. #37 (Isla Verde Ave). Turn left and the hotel is the 3rd building to your left.
Elevation Note: On field trips max elevation 2,000 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Lightweight rain jacket, sunscreen SPF 30 or higher, binoculars, insect repellent.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent arrivals / Orientation / Welcome Dinner
(Sunday, March 9)
   
 Arrive To: Luis Munoz Marin International Airport. You are responsible for taking a Taxi from the airport to the Hampton Inn Isla Verde. After picking up your baggage follow the ground transportation sign to the taxi kiosk outside the terminal building, get a slip and wait in line. The cost is around $15 to $20 dependending on gas prices. Taxis are regulated by the Port Authorities.
 Afternoon: INDEPENDENT ARRIVALS.

HOTEL CHECK-IN: Hotel check-in will be available beginning at 3:00 PM.

PROGRAM REGISTRATION & ORIENTATION: We will gather at 5:00 PM in our reserved room at the hotel (please ask the front desk for the location) for introductions and an orientation to the program. We will provide an informative overview of the program including a review of the updated daily schedule, responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to weather and other local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible.

 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant within walking distance of the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn by Hilton
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Travel to Ponce / Ponce City Tour / Museo de Arte de Ponce
(Monday, March 10)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel including options such as eggs, sliced bacon or sausages, sliced bread or toast with jam/jelly/butter, pancakes or waffles with syrup, cornflakes or other cereal, coffee/tea, orange/grapefruit juice.
 Morning: Transit via the Luis A. Ferre Highway over La Cordillera Central (the island's main mountain range) into the southern part of Puerto Rico.

FIELD TRIP: We will embark on a walking and trolley tour as we begin our exploration of the city of Ponce and its stunning architecture. Along the way you'll have an opportunity to see the beautiful and unique historic Ponce Firehouse and the Ponce Cathedral.

 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: This afternoon we'll visit the renovated Museo de Arte de Ponce. Closed while undergoing extensive renovations, the museum was reopened in November 2010 in time for the celebration of its 50th anniversary. The $30 million renovation included an expansion, which increased the size of the museum by over 40%. The Museo de Arte houses the most important collection of European art in Latin America. Among its collection are works from the 14th to the 20th century, including Italian Baroque, British Pre-Raphaelite, Spanish Golden Age and contemporary Latin-American pieces. Some of the artists whose paintings and works are exhibited at the museum include Peter Paul Rubens, Lucas Cranach, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Eugène Delacroix, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones, among others. The museum's masterpiece is the Flaming June, painted by Frederic Leighton.

HOTEL CHECK IN: Approximate check in to the hotel around 4:00 PM.

 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant within walking distance to the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Ramada Ponce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center / El Museo de la Historia de Ponce
(Tuesday, March 11)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a continental breakfast at the hotel including options such as eggs,sliced bread or toast with jam/jelly/butter, pastries, cornflakes or other cereal, coffee/tea, orange/grapefruit juice.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: This morning we'll venture to the Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center. The Tibes Center is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Caribbean featuring a significant number of artifacts and structures of pre-Taino Indians dating back to 600 AD. Excavations began in 1975 when Tropical Storm Eloise's rainfall caused landslides, exposing the ancient site. Since then archaeologists have uncovered seven ball courts, two ceremonial plazas, burial grounds with at least 180 skeletons, as well as various pieces of pottery, tools and charms.

FIELD TRIP: Following our visit to the Tibes Indian Center, we'll depart for El Museo de la Historia de Ponce (History of Ponce Museum). The museum offers visitors a marvelous opportunity to explore Ponce's rich history. Located in the Casa Salazar, the museum (built in 1911) is an architectural wonder in and of itself, combining typical ponceño, Moorish and neoclassical elements of architecture. Officially opened in 1992, the museum's exhibits demonstrate the growth and change the city has undergone since the time of the Taíno Indians. Considered a large museum in relation to the size of Ponce, the Museo de la Historia de Ponce has ten galleries documenting the city's history regarding politics, culture, economy, ecology, education, medicine, architecture and daily life, with the majority of the artifacts donated by local citizens.

 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: LECTURE: Puerto Rican Music Heritage - An Interactive Music Experience. Learn how the music of Puerto Rico has evolved as a heterogeneous and dynamic product of diverse cultural resources.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own to explore the local cuisine. The hotel front desk and your coordinator can provide you with different options.
   
Accommodations: Ramada Ponce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Hacienda Buena Vista / El Museo de la Musica de Puerto Rico / Armstrong-Poventud and Wiechers-Villaronga Residences / Salsa Class
(Wednesday, March 12)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a continental breakfast at the hotel including options such as eggs,sliced bread or toast with jam/jelly/butter, pastries, cornflakes or other cereal, coffee/tea, orange/grapefruit juice.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: This morning's field trip will be to the Hacienda Buena Vista, a 19th century coffee plantation turned museum. Restored to its former glory by a team of Smithsonian specialists and island artisans, its location is indeed a buena vista (beautiful view), with just under 500 acres in the Rio Canas Valley. Enjoy watching hummingbirds as the Hacienda's trails take you past cascading waterfalls.

FIELD TRIP: After leaving La Hacienda Buena Vista, we'll stop at El Museo de la Musica de Puerto Rico (the Museum of Puerto Rican Music), which traces the rich musical history of the island through memorabilia of famous musicians and displays of Indian, Spanish and African musical instruments.

 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: After lunch we'll visit the Armstrong Poventud and Wiechers-Villaronga Residences. The Armstrong-Poventud Residence, also known as La Casa de las Cariatides or the Armstrong-Toro House, is one of the most popular buildings in Ponce. Built in 1899, it is part of the US National Register of Historic Places. This historic home is a two story masonry building, constructed for the town’s most distinguished family and designed by the most prominent architects of the time. The building commemorates the city's affluent period brought on by the prominence of the local sugar plantation.

FIELD TRIP: After exploring the Armstrong-Poventud home, we'll venture to the Casa Wiechers-Villaronga, a neo-classical style mansion constructed in the early twentieth century. Acquired and restored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the house now operates as the Museum of Puerto Rican Architecture. Located in the Ponce Historic Zone, the Villaronga Residence is an outstanding example of the Classical Revival style used in Ponce designs in the early part of the 20th century, and one of only two remaining residences of a series of houses designed and built by Alfredo B. Wiechers that is still standing.

 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant within walking distance of the hotel.
 Evening: After dinner, we'll have a Salsa class for those interested in learning (or just watching) the popular Puerto Rican dance.
   
Accommodations: Ramada Ponce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Visit to Serralles Castle / Return to San Juan / Museum of Puerto Rico Art
(Thursday, March 13)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a continental breakfast at the hotel including options such as eggs,sliced bread or toast with jam/jelly/butter, pastries, cornflakes or other cereal, coffee/tea, orange/grapefruit juice..
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: This morning we'll visit another well-known landmark atop the rolling hills of the municipality of Ponce -- the four-storied mansion known as the Castillo Serrallés, a true sight to behold. Originally the residence of the Serrallés family -- owners of the world famous rum distillery that produces Don Q Puerto Rican Rum -- the sprawling estate is now one of Ponce’s most visited sites. Erected during the 1930’s, the building was designed by Puerto Rican architect Pedro Adolfo De Castro with Spanish and Arabic flourishes, using the Spanish Colonial Revival Style popularized in the United States at the time. The Castillo – or castle – is now a museum dedicated to the history of rum production, the sugarcane industry and their socio-economic impact on the island.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant en route to San Juan
 Afternoon: Return to San Juan in our motor coach or van, Transit via the Luis A. Ferre Highway over La Cordillera Central (the island's main mountain range).

FIELD TRIP: After returning to San Juan, we'll visit the Art Museum of Puerto Rico. Inaugurated in July 2000, the museum has managed to develop quite a large permanent collection of Puerto Rican art ranging from the 16th century to the present. The works are thoroughly researched and documented, with the exhibits often including an interpretation of the masterpieces on display. The carefully selected artworks help to give insight into Puerto Rican art and provide local artists with access to visual art from other parts of the world.

 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn by Hilton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: El Yunque Rain Forest / La Cabezas de San Juan (Fajardo)
(Friday, March 14)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel including options such as eggs, sliced bacon or sausages, sliced bread or toast with jam/jelly/butter, pancakes or waffles with syrup, cornflakes or other cereal, coffee/tea, orange/grapefruit juice
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: This morning we'll venture to El Yunque, for a short hike guided by your program leader. This is the only tropical rain forest that is part of the US National Forest System. Located on the eastern end of the Island, El Yunque features a variety of unique plant and animal species as well as many well marked trails, making it easy to explore.
 Lunch: We'll enjoy a delicious and healthy picnic lunch including fresh salad and/or sandwiches at the Palo Colorado Picnic Area or a similar location in the forest.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: This afternoon we'll venture to the northeastern tip of the island to visit Las Cabezas de San Juan en Fajardo, one of the most important natural areas in Puerto Rico. Las Cabezas, which means "headlands," refer to 3 promontories that extend into the Atlantic Ocean. Within its 316 acres/128 hectares, Las Cabezas offers an impressive representation of seven different ecological systems including coral reefs, beaches, lagoons, mangroves and dry forest. The preserve is home to many endangered species and features a 19th century lighthouse known as "El Faro de las Cabezas de San Juan." The lighthouse, which has been beautifully restored by the Conservation Trust, features an information center and observation deck, providing breathtaking views of El Yunque.
 Dinner: This evening enjoy dinner on your own to explore the many restraunts available in San Juan.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn by Hilton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Old San Juan / the Institute of Puerto Rico Culture / Farewell Dinner
(Saturday, March 15)
   
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the hotel including options such as eggs, sliced bacon or sausages, sliced bread or toast with jam/jelly/butter, pancakes or waffles with syrup, cornflakes or other cereal, coffee/tea, orange/grapefruit juice
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: This morning we'll explore Old San Juan, visiting such famed sites as the San Felipe de Morro Fort and La Muralla (city wall) with one of our expert guides.

FREE TIME: Then enjoy time to explore Old San Juan at your own pace, walking the cobblestone streets rich in architectural delights and tree shaded squares more reminiscent of Europe than America. The city is built on a hill so comfortable walking shoes and a reasonable level of fitness are a must to ensure you enjoy all of the diverse experiences the "Vieja Ciudad" has to offer.

 Lunch: Lunch on your own to continue your exploration of Old San Juan and its many restaurants.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: This afternoon we'll venture to La Galeria Nacional del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, located inside El Cuartel de Ballajá on Norzagaray Street. The building houses several self guided exhibits culled from the most important and complete collection of Puerto Rican painting dating back from the 18th Century up until the 1960’s. The building served as barracks for the Spanish militia and their families during the late 19th century. Occupying over 7,700 square meters, it could accommodate over 1,000 citizens. The three-story structure was completed in 1864, making it the last and largest example of Spanish-built architecture in the New World.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner at local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn by Hilton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Individual departures
(Sunday, March 16)
   
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the hotel including options such as eggs, sliced bacon or sausages, sliced bread or toast with jam/jelly/butter, pancakes or waffles with syrup, cornflakes or other cereal, coffee/tea, orange/grapefruit juice
 Morning: Program concludes following breakfast. Hotel check out by 12 PM. Individual departures to the airport. Depending upon airline schedules individuals may wish to share a taxi or "publico" (approx cost $15-20).

We hope you have had a great time on your Road Scholar Puerto Rico adventure and will join us for other rewarding programs in the future. Best wishes on all your journeys!

   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics, and Identity


Author: Nancy Morris


Description: This book uses historical and interview data to trace the development of Puerto Rican identity in the 20th century. It analyzes how and why Puerto Ricans have maintained a clear sense of distinctiveness in the face of direct and indirect pressures on their identity. After gaining sovereignty over Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898, the United States undertook a sustained campaign to Americanize the island. Despite 50 years of active Americanization and another 40 years of continued United States sovereignty over the island, Puerto Ricans retain a sense of themselves as distinctly and proudly Puerto Rican. This study examines the symbols of Puerto Rican identity, and their use in the complex politics of the island. It shows that identity is dynamic, it is experienced differently by individuals across Puerto Rican society, and that the key symbols of Puerto Rican identity have not remained static over time. Through the study of Puerto Rico, the book investigates and challenges the widely-heard argument that the inevitable result of the export of U.S. mass media and consumer culture throughout the world is the weakening of cultural identities in receiving societies. The book develops the idea that external pressure on collective identity may strengthen that identity rather than, as is often assumed, diminish it.



Stories from Puerto Rico


Author: Robert L Muckley and Adela Martinez- Santiago


Description: The book will fill you in on how the natives discovered the Spaniards weren’t Gods, and other local legends.



Divided Borders: Essays of Puerto Rican identity


Author: Juan Flores


Description: Juan Flores dissects in greater detail the Puerto Rican struggle to define and maintain indigenous identities as the island becomes more homogeneous. Flores also wrote From Bomba to Hip-Hop, a wide-ranging series of essays.



Puerto Rico Mio: Four decades of change


Author: Jack Delano


Description: It is a sizable picture book



From Bomba to Hip-Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity


Author: Juan Flores


Description: Neither immigrants nor ethnics, neither foreign nor "hyphenated Americans" in the usual sense of that term, Puerto Ricans in New York have created a distinct identity both on the island of Puerto Rico and in the cultural landscape of the United States. Juan Flores considers the uniqueness of Puerto Rican culture and identity in relation to that of other Latino groups in the United States -- as well as to other minority groups, especially African Americans. Architecture and urban space, literary traditions, musical styles, and cultural movements provide some of the sites and moments of a cultural world defined by the interplay of continuity and transformation, heritage and innovation, roots and fusion. Exploring this wide range of cultural expression -- both in the diaspora and in Puerto Rico -- Flores highlights the rich complexities and fertile contradictions of Latino identity.





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