1- What will the weather be like?
The weather in Puerto Rico will be anywhere from warm to tropical depending on the time of year. In late fall, winter and spring it is usually quite warm during the day with cooler nights that may require a light jacket or sweater. In the summer time and early fall plan on hot and often humid weather. This is officially “hurricane season” so rain is always possible, so remember a light raincoat and umbrella.
2- What clothes will I need?
During the delegation, you should plan on wearing comfortable and breathable clothing. You may bring one more professional looking outfit for any political meetings we may have, as you might for work. Shorts are not appropriate for a few of our meetings, yet they are for our days during our city tours, so please pack some for relaxing and more informal times. . Comfortable shoes are important for days where there is a lot of walking. Also, you may want to bring something a bit nicer/fancier for going out in the evenings to hear music, or go dancing.
3- What shots will I need? Are there other health concerns to be aware of?
Puerto Rico as a “US commonwealth” would accept most US healthcare providors, so please check with your insurance company for coverage. There are mosquitos but incidences of malaria, zika and dengue fever are low incidence. Please consult with your healthcare provider about any shots that might be recommended; we cannot make those recommendations for you. Usually the CDC recommends that all your general inoculations are up to date.
Other concerns about health usually relate to the possibility of travelers diarrhea, or dehydration. It is important to wash hands frequently, especially before eating (hand sanitizer is always a good idea to have with you). It is also good to carry plenty of tissues or toilet paper with you, as some places don’t have any. Also, bring a water bottle and drink lots of water. We will provide clean drinking water where we are staying. But, it is up to you to make sure you are drinking it! Sunscreen and bug repellant are always important as well. Let your delegation coordinator know if you are not feeling well, so s/he can be helpful and take good care of you!
4- With whom does WFPSW and Altruvistas work in Puerto Rico?
WFPSW works closely with Altruvistas, and they will coordinate the itinerary and on-the-ground logistics. Puerto Rican guides along with a WFPSW/Altruvistas trip coordinator will accompany all delegations in Puerto Rico.
5- Where will the delegation stay?
Most delegations will stay at 3 star hotel where you will share a room with a roommate or you can opt for a single room for an additional rate. Some delegations our lower priced for students or people on a tighter budget. Lodging may be in more dormitory style accommodations and not at a traditional hotel. We will have our own bus for transport in Puerto Rico and for trips outside San Juan.
6- What kind of food will we eat?
We will have meals at our hotel and while we are out and about in the city. Puerto Rico a wonderful culinary culture. There will be beans and rice at least once, probably twice a day. There are usually eggs, bread, some fruit and hot drinks at breakfast and this is often a buffet style. Lunch and dinner may include some seafood, chicken or beef, a vegetarian option, salad and desert. If you are a vegetarian, or have any special dietary requirements let us know. Most folks like to pack some snacks for long days and long bus rides and for sharing with other delegates!
7- What about changing money?
Puerto Rico uses the US dollar so you can bring cash or use your ATM and Credit Card. Please contact your credit card company and bank to let them know you are traveling to Puerto Rico.
8- What is a typical delegation day like?
Witness for Peace Southwest and Altuvistas will plan a full slate of meetings and activities for the delegation. Each day will start with a fairly early breakfast on your own ( 7:30-or so). After breakfast, there may be time for a group check-in or reflection. There may be one or two meetings before lunch. Lunch is usually out, before heading off to the one or two afternoon meetings. Some evenings will be planned, with either music, dancing, another talk or there are some with nothing planned and you are free to relax and make your own plans. Again, your delegation coordinator is happy to help you find an activity if you are interested. Dinners are usually on your own, but we can support with reservations.
9- How about bringing gifts and/or donations?
Witness for Peace has a very strong and clear policy about not bringing gifts and giving to individuals. Donations are made to the communities we visit. If you want to leave material donations please do to trusted sister organizations and not to people asking on the streets. Our commitment to change the overarching U.S. policy that negatively effects Puerto Rican’s lives.
10- Can I make international phone calls in Puerto Rico? Will I have access to internet/email?
Making international phone calls is easy. Call your carrier for prices. In case of emergency in the U.S., delegates’ families can call the WFPSW or Altruvistas contact person in the US and to the cell phone for your local guide. We will also share the contact details for your hotels so you can share with your family. Call your carrier for data costs. Most hotels will have free wifi so you can keep your data roaming off in the day and access as you like in the evenings.
11- Can I ask a lot of questions on the delegation?
Absolutely, come with lots of questions, energy, enthusiasm, and a willingness to be open-minded and to learn. An open heart is important too! Please feel free to seek out your delegation coordinator with any further questions.