About This Trip
- A small group Puerto Rico nature tour designed to showcase some of the best nature experiences that Puerto Rico has to offer, led by top-notch guides who make for an educational experience.
- You'll visit beautiful protected forests including El Yunque National Forest, The Pterocarpus Forest, and a unique semi-dry forest.
- You'll swim in the warm waters of a bioluminescent bay at night surrounded by dazzling blue-green bioluminescent algae.
- You'll go snorkeling at excellent coral reefs, including beautiful Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, one of the most iconic places to snorkel in Puerto Rico, and Desecheo Marine Reserve, an uninhabited offshore island where sea turtles are commonly found.
- You'll have a chance to help with sea turtle research while snorkeling, and will learn about marine ecosystems, coral reef conservation, and much more throughout our adventure.
This one-of-a-kind nature lovers' tour of Puerto Rico was designed from the ground up to provide an exciting, diverse, and comprehensive look at the territory's incredible ecosystems both above and below the surface. Designed and led in partnership with Puerto Rico-based Isla Mar Expeditions, you'll benefit from their local expertise and expert guidance as we explore Puerto Rico's amazing natural wonders.
Just a short flight from the U.S. mainland, our week long itinerary will have you snorkeling at beautiful coral reefs and mangroves, hiking among waterfalls in El Yunque Rainforest, swimming at night in a bioluminescent bay, exploring caves, looking for sea turtles, touring the historic streets of Old San Juan, and much more.
Notes on Trip Costs
Pricing depends on total group size:
- 6-8 participants: $3,525 per person
- 9-12 participants: $3,120 per person
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Founded in 1969, Oceanic Society is America’s oldest 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean conservation. As pioneers of “eco travel,” our expeditions have been designed to directly support our mission. They not only positively impact our travelers, but also the people, places, and wildlife we go to see. Your expedition costs include fees that support conservation and promote sustainable livelihoods in the communities we visit, and Oceanic Society's earnings are invested back into our global research and conservation programs. In 2019, we also established our Expedition Impact Fund (EIF) as a way to grow our impact. The fund is seeded annually with money earned from our expeditions, and supplemented by donations from Oceanic Society travelers. Through the EIF, we award grants to our partners for their on-the-ground efforts to protect ocean habitats and the wildlife and human communities that depend on them.
Dates & Prices
B, L, D indicates the meals provided each day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
Day 1: Arrive in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Arrive at SJU airport and make your way into Old San Juan where you'll stay in your choice of lodging (we'll help you select accommodations). After checking in to your hotel, meet your trip leaders from Isla Mar and your fellow travelers at an iconic location in Old San Juan. Enjoy a short walking tour to see some other iconic sites within the city and then have a chance to explore on your own and try one of the old city’s wonderful dinner options. Overnight in Old San Juan.
Day 2: El Yunque Rainforest and Old San Juan (B, L)
¡Buenos días! Our focus today will be on exploring the incredible El Yunque Rainforest, a U.S. National Forest and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve spanning nearly 29,000 acres. After breakfast, we'll make a short transfer to El Yunque where you'll enjoy guided hiking to some of our favorite spots. We'll hike to an observation tower and visit several waterfall sites, including some that are off-the-beaten path.
El Yunque National Forest is a unique tropical rainforest ecosystem that is dominated by the impressive Luqillo Mountains that rise to more than 3,000 feet above sea level. The steep terrain and gentle winds create a seasonally stable (and wet) tropical climate that is ideal for tropical plants and animals. El Yunque is home to 225 native tree species and 164 vertebrate species, including many plants and animals found nowhere else.
After our day in the rainforest, we will head back to San Juan for an evening of exploration of the old city and its nightlife, or a chance to relax and unwind in your hotel. Overnight in Old San Juan.
Day 3: Pterocarpus Forest & Bioluminescent Bay (L)
In the morning, we'll check out of our hotels and start making our way east around the island by first visiting the Pterocarpus Forest in Humacao. The Pterocarpus Forest is a 51-acre nature preserve named for its dominant tree, the dragonsblood tree, Pterocarpus officinalis. It is one of the largest remaining swamp forests in Puerto Rico, and provides habitat for 44 plant and 52 animal species, of which 13 are endemic. We will be joined by a local biologist to share more about the forest and its natural beauty as we explore.
We will then make our way down to the southwest to check into our waterfront hotel in La Parguera. In the evening, we will explore this quaint fishing village for dinner on your own, followed by an extraordinary tour of the bioluminescent bay. The bioluminescent bay at La Parguera is one of three bays in Puerto Rico where abundant bioluminescent algae glow in the dark, and the only one in which visitors can swim. On our tour, you'll have the chance to hop in the water to enjoy the unforgettable experience of swimming in La Parguera's bioluminescent bay. Overnight in La Parguera.
Day 4: Reef Snorkeling & Rincón (B, L, D)
In the morning we will snorkel at beautiful San Cristobal Reef in La Parguera, where we will also learn about seagrass, mangroves, and the connections between these ecosystems and coral reefs. In the afternoon, we will check out of our hotel and continue west. We will stop at the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse (Faro de Los Morrillos) for a hike to see where the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea meet before we finish our day by arriving at our lodging in the west coast surf town of Rincón. Overnight in Rincón.
Day 5: Snorkeling, Dry Forest, and Cave Exploration (B, L, D)
We will start our morning by visiting the beautiful Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, one of the most iconic places to snorkel in Puerto Rico, home to beautiful stands of critically endangered elkhorn coral. Beyond exploring this underwater gem, guests will also learn about Caribbean reef fish, coral reef restoration, and coral diseases.
In the afternoon, we will dry off and explore the semi-dry forest of Guajataca State Forest, with a pleasant hike that ends in a cave that we can often explore all to ourselves! With luck, we may even get to see the elusive and endangered Puerto Rican boa. Overnight in Rincón.
Day 6: Snorkeling, Sea Turtle Survey, Art Walk (B, L, D)
Today we will spend the majority of the day visiting the Desecheo Marine Reserve, a remote, uninhabited island off the west coast. We will take a boat there and snorkel, accompanied by a Puerto Rican sea turtle biologist. We'll have the chance to assist with his sea turtle surveys, and to learn about his decades of work with sea turtles throughout Puerto Rico. In the evening, we will relax at the Rincon Art Walk, where we can see all kinds of artisans. Overnight in Rincón.
Day 7: Waterfall Hike, Free Time (B, L, D)
Our last full day in Puerto Rico will start out with a casual hike to a waterfall where we will relax, swim, and enjoy lunch in this beautiful, verdant, off-the-beaten-path location. We will return to Rincón in the afternoon and guests will have free time to relax at the beach, shop for souvenirs, or just relax at the house. In the evening, we will head out for our last night together and celebrate the trip with a local favorite - the pirata (“pirate”), a drink of rum and coconut milk served in a coconut! Overnight in Rincón.
Day 8: Fly home (B)
Our last morning together will end with breakfast as a group before departing for our respective flights. Guests will have the option to return to San Juan for flights from SJU airport, or to nearby Aguadilla for flights from BQN airport. We will help arrange airport transfers in either case. ¡Buen viaje!
Travelers will stay in a mix of hotels and private rental homes during this trip, as follows:
- Old San Juan (2 nights): Stay at accommodations of your choosing (we will assist - many great options are available)
- La Parguera (1 night): Villa Parguera
- Rincón (4 nights): Private Rental Home
Your expedition will be led by one or more of the following expert naturalist guides: