Relegated to second-class status, suspended in the netherworld between statehood and independence, Puerto Rico is an island that has been dealt a lot of blows over the last 100+ years. Until recently, few in the United States understood the relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and in truth, probably didn’t care. For better or worse, circumstances beyond our control brought us from beleaguered colony to a topic on many Americans’ minds. Nowadays those who couldn’t have pointed us out on the map five years ago are in lengthy discussions about us: pontificating, debating, excusing, admiring, listening and empathizing. For us, all the buzz does is make us dig our heels in deeper and continue pledging our allegiance to Puerto Rican Pride.
Hurricane Maria and Donald Trump’s offer of aid: paper towels; Section 936 gone awry, austerity measures, #RickyRenuncia followed by #WandaRenuncia, 1500 earthquakes in 40 days, warehouses full of food and supplies, and JLO’s Puerto Rican Pride acted out on a stripper pole, folks are definitely paying attention to Puerto Rico.
With all this newfound interest, are you really going to trust Expedia or similar services competing with each other to send you to the usual touristy spots? Not if I have something to say about it.
All-inclusive resorts facing white, sandy beaches; the forts in Old San Juan; El Yunque Rainforest; the bioluminescent bay; home of tostones, arroz con gandules and the original piña colada; salsa music and the coquí frog all have the makings of the perfect vacation on the Caribbean island dubbed, “La Isla del Encanto” (The Enchanted Island) for those who rely solely on the Internet to tell them what to do and see.
I own the first (and currently the only) experiential travel company on Puerto Rico. I am the perfect person to introduce Puerto Rico to would-be travelers whose interest is piqued but have no idea how to go about meeting the real Puerto Rico. I have lived on the island for 11 years. I offer experiential travel enthusiasts the best of both worlds: I have assimilated into the Boricua / Puerto Rican Pride culture and I also speak “American” very fluently.
There is one critical barrier those living “afuera” (outside) have when trying to plan a vacation here. Most of the things to do and see, and places to eat are not on the Internet. Unless you’re from Puerto Rico and/or know someone who lives here, the likelihood of returning home having done the same thing as everyone else who visits the island is extremely high. Having a travel planner with inside knowledge is how people who yearn to return home breathless plan their next adventure.
Let me introduce you the real Puerto Rico, which is the first step in understanding Puerto Rican Pride.
As Tom LaBombard of New York says of Purple Coquí Tours:
When we visited the island, we had the privilege of using the services of the owner of Purple Coquí. It has been said that if you can see where you live through the eyes of a tourist you can really appreciate where you live. Well we had the opposite experience, seeing Puerto Rico through the eyes of a local, and were truly blessed by the experience. Mixing with the residents allowed us to feel like we got to know the portion of the island that we visited. Yes, we still did touristy things, but with a different and more meaningful experience. We didn’t avoid the damage from the hurricane, primarily because I didn’t want to. Purple Coquí Tours tailored our experience to what we wanted to experience. If you want the real deal, contact them.
And for a limited time if you book a vacation with me, you can help some of the 5000 refugees living in tents, the result of those 1500 earthquakes.