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Puerto Rico’s Reefs, Rainforests and Reserves: A Hiking, Kayaking and Snorkeling Exploration

Program Number: 15638RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/20/2014 - 4/27/2014; 11/9/2014 - 11/16/2014; 11/30/2014 - 12/7/2014;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Price starting at: $1,749.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Outdoor Adventures, Misc. Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 18; 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Experience the natural beauty of Puerto Rico by getting active in its many unique and spectacular habitats. Park biologists, experienced kayaking experts and certified dive masters take you deep into the island’s diverse natural areas. Join a biologist for a two mile hike at Caguas Botanical Gardens, hike and learn about the mountain trails of El Yunque National Rain Forest, enjoy an expert-led walk in Old San Juan and more.




Highlights

• In Parguera, kayak mangrove islands, snorkel coral reefs and experience a night swim in a bioluminescent bay.
• Trek sandstone cliffs to the lighthouse at Cabo Rojo for breathtaking views of a crescent-shaped bay beach.
• At the U.N. Biosphere Reserve of Guanica Dry Forest, a local biologist explains its unique characteristics as you walk to the top of the forest.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to four miles daily. Elevations up to 3,000 feet.




Date Specific Information

4-20-2014, 11-9-2014, 11-30-2014

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



Itinerary Summary

San Juan, 1 night; coach to La Parguera, 3 nights; coach to San Juan, 3 nights.




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: Centrally located hotel. Parguera: Villa Parguera with tranquil garden and ocean views.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hampton Inn by Hilton
  San Juan 1 night
   Parador Villa Parguera
  La Parguera 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. So if you want to surf the web on your laptop, do so with our free high speed internet access. Run a few miles in our exercise room, or swim some laps in the pool. You'll even find a convenience store at our 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 at our San Juan hotel 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

 Parador Villa Parguera
Type: Hotel
  Description: Secluded waterfront location with landscaped gardens.
  Contact info: Carr 304, Km 3.3
La Parguera, Lajas, PR 00667 Puerto Rico
phone: +7878997777
web: www.villaparguera.net
  Room amenities: Air conditioned plus ceiling fans, satelitte TV, telephone. No internet access.
  Facility amenities: Pool and sundeck, restaurant in hotel, 24 hr front desk, easy walking access to village center and marina area.
  Smoking allowed: No


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 concludes 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 LLC and its sub-contractors may also 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. Participants are responsible for parking charges.
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 also 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 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: Field trips to El Yunque Rain Forest travel up to 4,000 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Lightweight rain jacket, sunscreen (SPF 35 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, April 20)
   
 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: Hike at Caguas Botanical Garden / Travel to La Parguera / Snorkel Practice
(Monday, April 21)
   
 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 enjoy an easy-to-moderate hike of approximately 1 mile over some obstacles and uneven terrain at the Caguas Botanical Garden en route to La Parguera. The gardens will be opened exclusively for our group.
 Lunch: We'll enjoy a delicious and healthy picnic lunch including fresh salad and/or sandwiches at one of the beautiful gardens at Caguas.
 Afternoon: After lunch, we'll Transit via the Luis A. Ferre Highway over La Cordillera Central (the island's main mountain range) into the southwestern part of Puerto Rico.

HOTEL CHECK IN: We'll arrive at La Villa Parguera around 3:30 PM for check-in.

PRACTICE: Following check-in to the hotel, we'll meet at the pool for snorkeling practice. Your group leader will provide basic instruction and training on how to snorkel as well as other useful tips to fully enjoy your snorkeling experience in Puerto Rico.

 Dinner: Buffet-style dinner at La Villa Parguera hotel.
   
Accommodations: Parador Villa Parguera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Kayaking along the shore in La Paguera / Hiking in Guanica Forest / Visit to the Beach
(Tuesday, April 22)
   
 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 kayak along the shore at La Parguera (approximately 3 hours). The mangrove habitat will be uniquely explained by a local Professor and ecologist.

Participants with hip/knee replacements should be aware of their limitations as kayaking will involve climbing in and out of a kayak from a boat dock.

 Lunch: Lunch at the Parador Villa Parguera.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: After lunch, we'll depart for Guanica, where we'll trail hike from sea level to 600 feet at Guanica Dry Forest -- a UN Biosphere Reserve. Along the way, we'll learn about this unique habitat and the research being conducted there. The hike will be approximately 3.5 miles over rubbly terrain. Solid walking shoes with good ankle support are a must.

FIELD TRIP: On the way back to the hotel we'll stop at one our beautiful south beaches (TBA) to swim and/ or walk (please bring swimwear & towel).

 Dinner: Tonight we'll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Movie at the Garden by the Pool (TBA)
   
Accommodations: Parador Villa Parguera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Snorkeling near La Parguera Reef / Free Afternoon / Night Swim in Bio-luminescent Bay
(Wednesday, April 23)
   
 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 embark on a 2.5 hour snorkeling trip to the coral heads, approximately 1 mile offshore. There, we'll snorkel in La Parguera Reef, which protects a wide variety of marine life found in La Parguera Nature Reserve by providing them with shelter and food. The reef averages between 3 feet to 10 feet in depth with great visibility.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Parador Villa Parguera
 Afternoon: FREE TIME: Take the afternoon to explore La Parguera on your own or just relax by the pool.
 Dinner: Buffet-style dinner at the Parador Villa Parguera.
 Evening: FIELD TRIP: This evening we'll take a nightime boat trip to the local bio-luminescent bay to see the tiny dinoflagellates that produce the bio-luminescence. Our field trip is scheduled to take approximately 1 1/2 hours with 20-30 minutes of swimming in the bay. Please note that due to safety restrictions kayaking after sunset is not allowed in the area.
   
Accommodations: Parador Villa Parguera
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Hiking - The Salt Flats - "Las Salinas" / Cabo Rojo Lighthouse - "El Faro" / Return to San Juan
(Thursday, April 24)

Note: The stop in Ponce on our return to San Juan will depend on weather and traffic conditions.



   
 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 journey to El Faro in Cabo Rojo. On the road to the Lighthouse, we will stop in The Salt Flats, to take in the beautiful scenery as the sun sparkles and reflects off the dry salt and learn how the salt collects on the flats.

Los Morrillos Lighthouse was constructed in 1882 by the Spanish and is one of the most popular attractions in Cabo Rojo. The immense red stone cliffs are very impressive and a climb to the top of the hill affords breathtaking views of a beautiful crescent shape bay beach with calm, blue clear waters. This 2.5 mile up- and down- hill hike is over rubbly terrain and solid walking shoes/hiking boots with good ankle support are a must. The area is also a local birding spot allowing for the chance to see a variety of herons and egrets, sandpipers and plovers and some of the island's indigenous birds. (BIRDERS - please note that this is an active outdoor program with an emphasis on hiking.)

 Lunch: At a local restaurant
 Afternoon: After lunch, we'll continue on to San Juan via Luis A. Ferre Highway crossing back over La Cordillera Central Mountains. Along the way we'll stop in Ponce for approximately 40 minutes to have a brief taste of this beautiful city, called "the pearl of the south." (see activity note).
 Dinner: After checking back into the Hampton Inn, we'll venture out on a short walk to a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn by Hilton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Hiking in El Yunque Rain Forest / Free Late Afternoon
(Friday, April 25)
   
 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: Early morning departure for El Yunque Rain Forest. On our way to our first stop at El Portal Visitors Center, we'll pick up our local naturalist and guide. At the Visitors Center, our guide will provide a brief orientation about the forest followed by a short video presentation.

After our orientation to the park, we'll set out on our hike. The total distance covered will be approximately 2 miles, over well-tended, shaded pathways. Please note however that our hike will involve numerous changes in elevation and the weather in the park is always humid, which may make the hike seem much longer than 2 miles.

The hilly terrain requires good walking shoes/hiking boots with adequate ankle support. We ask those who have had recent knee/hip surgeries to please seriously consider their physical capabilities in undertaking this hike.

 Lunch: Enjoy a delicious and healthy picnic lunch including fresh salad and/or sandwiches at Palo Colorao Picnic Shelter or similar location in the park.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: After lunch we'll continue hiking in El Yunque along the El Mina Falls and Big Tree Trails. These trails will take us past rushing streams and cascading waterfalls.
 Dinner: Dinner will be on your own after our return to the hotel, for you to enjoy one of San Juan's many restaurants.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn by Hilton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Guided tour of Old San Juan / Farewell Dinner
(Saturday, April 26)
   
 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 enjoy one of Old San Juan's restaurants.
 Afternoon: Continue your free time in Old San Juan before meeting your group leader at 3:00 PM at a designated location (TBA) to return to the hotel.
 Dinner: This evening we'll venture to a local restaurant for our farewell dinner.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn by Hilton
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Individual departures
(Sunday, April 27)
   
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast
 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 – Island in the Sun


Author: Roger LaBrucherie


Stories from Puerto Rico


Author: Robert L. Muckley


Puerto Rico – Island in the Sun


Author: Barbara Balleto


Explore Puerto Rico


Author: Harry Pariser




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