15638
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s Reefs, Rainforests and Reserves: Hikes, Kayaking and Snorkeling
From dry forests to rainforests, from preserves to over 270-miles of beaches, explore the diverse habitats of Puerto Rico through hikes, kayak excursions and snorkeling adventures.
Rating (4.83)
Program No. 15638RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,899
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8 days
7 nights
18 meals
7 B 5 L 6 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Arrive, Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
San Juan
D
Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, ask the front desk for the location of the Road Scholar meeting room so you can register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. All transportation will be provided by motorcoach unless otherwise specified. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant a short walk from the hotel, enjoy a plated meal plus soft drinks, coffee, tea or water.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
To Parguera, Caguas Botanical Garden Hike, Ponce City
La Parguera
B,L,D
Parador Villa Parguera

Activity note: Hike about 1 mile, approx. 1 hour, on uneven terrain. Drive to Botanical Gardens is about 21 miles, approx. 1 hour; drive to La Parguera is about 92 miles, approx. 2.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy a buffet featuring a wide variety of options including eggs, pancakes, waffles, bread, toast, cereal, and breakfast meats, plus coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and board the motorcoach for our transfer to La Parguera. En route, we will stop at the Caguas Botanical Garden and Cultural Center for an easy-to-moderate hike with a local expert. Taking advantage of Puerto Rico’s pristine climate, the 60 acre gardens use nature and agriculture to tell the island’s history and culture. This unique park will be open exclusively for our group.

Lunch: In the botanical gardens, enjoy a buffet picnic lunch including a fresh salad and/or a sandwich, plus juice, iced tea and water.

Afternoon: Continuing our transfer to La Parguera, we will travel via the Luis A. Ferre Highway over La Cordillera Central, the island's main mountain range. On our way, we will make a short stop in the downtown square of Ponce for a stretch and a look around. Upon arrival, we’ll check-in to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet meal plus coffee, tea, soft drinks and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Salt Flats, Light House, Beach Stop, Bioluminescent Swim
La Parguera
B,L,D
Parador Villa Parguera

Activity note: Hike about 1 mile, approx. 1 hour, over rubbly terrain. Bring walking shoes with good ankle support and swimwear and a towel for the beach following our hike. Getting on/off boat; ride lasts for approx. 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy a buffet featuring a wide variety of options including eggs, pancakes, waffles, bread, toast, cereal, and breakfast meats, plus coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: On our way via motorcoach to visit Los Morrillos Lighthouse, we will stop at the salt flats in Rojo Cabo, located in the far southwest of the island. Take in the beautiful scenery as the sun sparkles and reflects off the dry salt and learn how the salt collects on the flats with a local docent. At the tip of the small peninsula sits Los Morrillos Lighthouse, constructed in 1882 by the Spanish to help guide ships from the Caribbean Sea into the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse sits atop 200-foot cliffs and is surrounded by salty lagoons and marshes. From the top of the hill, enjoy impressive vistas of the beautiful crescent shape bay beach with calm, clear blue waters. The area is also a local birding spot allowing for the chance to see a variety of herons, egrets, sandpipers, plovers and some of the island's indigenous birds.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll order from a select menu, plus standard beverages.

Afternoon: We’ll stop at local beach for some relaxation time before continuing our way to the hotel. At the hotel, we’ll meet at the pool for snorkeling practice where the 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: At a local restaurant, enjoy a plated meal, plus coffee, soft drinks and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We will take a short walk to the dock where we will embark on a nighttime boat trip with our Group Leader to see the marine light show produced by dinoflagellates when they sense a disturbance and shimmer in the water. Once there, we will have some time to swim and play with the glowing plankton. The Bioluminescent Bay in La Parguera is among the most famous in the world. We’ll then return to the hotel.

DAY
4
Snorkeling, Free Time, Dinner
La Parguera
B,L,D
Parador Villa Parguera

Activity note: Getting on/off boat. Snorkeling in water 3-10 feet deep.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will embark on a boat with our Group Leader to sail to the coral heads, approximately 1 mile offshore. There, we will 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 to 10 feet in depth with great visibility. We’ll then return to shore.

Lunch: At a local café, we’ll have plated meals with standard beverages.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You may wish to spend the afternoon by the pool, explore La Parguera, or just relax.

Dinner: At a local restaurant within walking distance of the hotel, we’ll enjoy plated meals with standard beverages.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Camuy Caves, San Juan, Dinner
San Juan
B,L,D
Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan

Activity note: Drive to Las Cuevas is approx. 63 miles, about 2 hours. Drive to San Juan is approx. 60 miles, about 1.5 hours. Walking about 1 mile, approx. 1 hour, on uneven, slippery and paved terrain; wear solid walking shoes with ankle support.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll begin our journey back to San Juan today making several stops along the way. First, we’ll board our motorcoach and go to Camuy River Cave Park, one of Puerto Rico’s most popular natural wonders – a lush 268-acre park containing the world’s third-largest cave system which formed over the course of a million years by the action of the Camuy River. Our experience will begin with a trolley ride down the steep rolling mountainside while enjoying the lush tropical foliage covering the grounds and towering above. At Cueva Clara, which is about 170 feet in height, we’ll walk with a local expert through marvelous stalagmites, stalactites, and other gorgeous natural works of art formed over thousands of years by Rio Camuy. During our exploration, we’ll feel the heat of hundreds of sleeping bats and enjoy sights and sounds of an underground river at a sinkhole of about 150 feet deep.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with standard beverages.

Afternoon: As we make our way to the capital city, we will enjoy the scenery out the windows and make some restroom stops. Upon our arrival in San Juan, we will check into the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant a short walk from the hotel, enjoy a plated meal plus standard beverages.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Kayak in Fajardo, Hiking El Yunque Rain Forest, Free Time
San Juan
B,L
Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan

Activity note: Hike about 1.5 miles, approx. 1.5 hours, over hilly terrain with high humidity. Getting in/out of kayaks; paddling about 2.5 miles, approx. 1.5 hours. Drive is about 32 miles total, approx. 1 hour.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy a buffet featuring a wide variety of options including eggs, pancakes, waffles, bread, toast, cereal, and breakfast meats, plus coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: From the hotel, we will head to the eastern shore of Puerto Rico at Fajardo. With a local expert, we will kayak along the pristine coastline of “Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve” and enjoy the spectacular views of El Yunque Rainforest mountains and Fajardo's 130 year old Spanish lighthouse.

Lunch: At a local sandwich restaurant, plus standard beverages.

Afternoon: We will then head to El Yunque Rain Forest Visitors Center where we will pick up our local naturalist and expert before receiving a brief orientation about the forest followed by a short video presentation. Following our orientation, we will set out to hike the trails along El Mina Falls and Big Tree. These trails take us past rushing streams and cascading waterfalls through the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System. One of the oldest reserves in the Western Hemisphere, set aside by King Alfonso III of Spain in 1876, the park is home for over 200 species of trees and plants, 23 of which are endemic to the region. At the end of our hikes, we will return to the hotel.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Old San Juan, Free Time, Farewell Dinner
San Juan
B,D
Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan

Activity note: Walk about 2 miles on uneven terrain, approx. 1.5 hours. Drive is about 10 miles, approx. ½ hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: From the hotel, we’ll transfer to San Juan and explore the old city on a walking field trip with a local expert. We’ll visit iconic sites such as the San Felipe de Morro Fort and La Muralla while learning about the city’s history. Enjoy the rest of the time on your own to see and do what interests you most in Old San Juan. You may wish to walk 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: On your own to sample the local fare.

Afternoon: Continue to enjoy your free time in Old San Juan before meeting the Group Leader at a designated time and place to return to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy delicious plated meal for farewell dinner plus coffee, soft drinks and water; other beverages available for purchase. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
San Juan
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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