Jiah, a traveler from Tennessee, journeyed on an educational student tour to Puerto Rico with her classmates and Spanish teacher. She kindly shared her reflections from her journey! This is a translation of her adventures.
When I first came to Puerto Rico, it was not what I expected because I thought it would be like the U.S., since it is part of the United States. I left my comfort zone to talk to the other groups. After the airport we went to the hotel. Then we could see the place where I saw the beach and historical buildings. When we finished we went to Platos, a restaurant.
I went to New San Juan, where our first stop was meeting with the Tour Director, Naima. We got to visit a lot of cool places. Here’s what I learned.
The fort was established to train soldiers to fight in combat. While I met Marc Anthony because he was Jesus grandson. One thing I learned was the street names are in the buildings, which is different from what you see in the United States.
When my group and I ended the tour, we went to the University of Puerto Rico, where we met with Cristiana. She was a nice woman who led us to the mall. It has over 300 stores! After the trip from the mall, we went to dinner with the other groups.
Puerto Rico’s geographical position is on the Western edge of the Caribbean. San Juan held one of the key border posts of the West Indian colonies of Spain. San Juan National Historic Site includes San Cristóbal Castillo, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Fort San Juan de la Cruz, known locally as El Cañuela, and three-quarters of the city walls.
If you are walking through the streets of Puerto Rico is best to look at the buildings, because you know what you are on the street. As you can see in the picture, I was on the streets of San Francisco.
This day was a kayaking and snorkeling day. Jamila and I had trouble at first so this guy named Kevin had to tow us to the dive site. Diving was a new experience for me.
We went to El Yunque. After that we went to the jungle, which was very fanatic. Brandon H., Brandon C. and I went to the waterfall that was very cold. Then we went to eat at another restaurant. Finally we went kayaking again, where I had Riley as my partner. He learned on this day that Puerto Ricans speak “Splanish.”
El Yunque is a jungle in northern Puerto Rico. The second highest mountain in El Yunque is also called El Yunque. El Yunque National Rainforest is located in the foothills of the Sierra de Luquillo and covers 28,000 hectares (43,753 miles ² or 113.32 km ²) of land, making it the largest block of public land in Puerto Rico.
El Toro, the highest peak of the mountain in the forest rises 1,065 meters (3,494 feet) above sea level. Rainfall (over 200 inches per year in some areas) creates an environment similar to the forest – lush vegetation, rocks, waterfalls and streams are a common sight. The forest has a number of paths from where the jungle-like flora and fauna of the territory are appreciated. El Yunque is also known for its unique petroglyphs.
On this day I went caving, which was a wonderful experience. Water was dripping on me as I walked through the cave. When finished with the caves, the group from Nashville went to San Juan to shop for handmade gifts to bring back to our families. After that we all went to eat at a restaurant and enjoyed dinner.
The last day was the hardest day ever, and it was time to say goodbye. However, today showed me that I met incredible people who I will never forget, and who impacted my life for the better. What I learned on this trip was to see things out of my comfort zone, enjoy wherever you go, and be kind, because that’s the way you can meet really amazing people.