During a visit to Puerto Rico last year, I got to explore the island with long-time NTA member, Vámonos Tours. While I’d written about the student tour operator multiple times for Courier magazine, it was a real treat to get to see the Vámonos team in action.
The company focuses on localized experiences, and a typical tour highlights the best of San Juan and mixes in stops elsewhere on the island. The day I joined one of their school groups, middle schoolers from Alaska, for some cultural-based activities was spent in Ponce, a city on the southern coast.
Following lunch at a local restaurant, the students got a salsa lesson at a studio that has produced many championship-winning dancers, checked out a local arts festival, and enjoyed a mofongo-making class followed by a meal featuring the traditional Puerto Rican dish.
I was particularly impressed with the Spanish-only rule for the tour. Since the teens were part of a Spanish-immersion class, they were told to speak Spanish during the official activities. Likewise, the guides and tour leaders were only to offer their commentary or instructions in Spanish.
While that was great for the students, it didn’t help me because my command of the language isn’t very commanding. I muddled through, though, and was just thankful that the mofongo-making demonstration was more of a visual exercise than an oral one.
Top Educational Attractions
San Juan National Historic Site
Old San Juan walking tour
Top Recreational Attractions
El Yunque National Rainforest
Toroverde adventure park
The bioluminescent bay at La Parguera
Check out 15 scenes for students for more unique student experiences.
Top photo: Vámonos Tours’ group at San Juan National Historic Site
Photo by Vámonos Tours