Puerto Rico 2022 Handbook

  1. How do I get from the airport to the hotel and back to the airport? How about to all of the activities? What transportation is not covered?
    • Uber vouchers will be provided for transportation to and from the airport. All transportation to and from volunteer projects and scheduled activities will be provided by BISIW. Please make sure you have the Uber app downloaded on your cell phone. www.uber.com
  1. Do I need a passport?
    • If you are a US citizen only a US government ID is required.
  2. I heard there is an “exit fee” to leave Puerto Rico. Is that true?
    • There is NO exit fee to leave Puerto Rico. All taxes and/or fees are included in the price of your airline ticket.
  3. What is the name, address, phone number and website of the hotel we are staying at?
    • DoubleTree by Hilton San Juan105, 3529 Avenida José de Diego, San Juan, 00911, Puerto Rico 1-877-926-3030 www.hilton.com/en/hotels/sjudtdt-doubletree-san-juan   
  4. Do we have a contact person for the hotel I can reach out to?
    • Leslani Garcia 787-721-6500
  5. Will my phone work in Puerto Rico? Do I need a special plan?
    • Yes, a cell phone purchased on the United States mainland should function well in Puerto Rico, without the need to purchase new hardware or make changes to your plan. All major cellular companies include Puerto Rico as part of their standard domestic coverage.
Contact Information
  1. Who is my primary contact at because I said I would and what can they help me with?
  2. What if I have an medical emergency? Do you need contact information for my family?
    • Yes, please email an emergency contact name & phone number to Heidi @ heidi@becauseisaidiwould.com
  1. What meals are covered? What meals are not covered?
    • Breakfast and lunch each day. You will be on your own for each dinner.  
  2. What if I have food allergies or sensitivities? Who do I tell and can they be accommodated?
  3. What are we going to be eating each day?
    • Breakfast Buffet @ Cafe Pierre 

FULL BREAKFAST Includes Coffee, Juices and Bottled Water, Scrambled Eggs, Omelet Station, Quiche, Hot Sides: Ham, Turkey Ham Bacon, Sausage, Red Bliss Potatoes, Hash Browns, Oatmeal, Breads, White Bread, Wheat Bread, Croissants, Bagel, Cold Sides: Fruit Cups, Whole Fruits, Individual Yogurt Yogurt Parfait, Sweets: Mini Quesitos, Assorted Pastries & Muffins

Air Travel
  1. How long do I need to be at the San Juan airport before takeoff? Is it like an international flight?
    • Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport recommends arriving two (2) hours before a domestic flight. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and visiting is considered domestic travel.  http://aeropuertosju.com/en/
  2. What happens if my flight is delayed, canceled or if I miss the flight?
    • You will need to coordinate with the airline to rebook on your own.  Please call Heidi on her cell phone @ 216-410-6428.

Ground Transportation
  1. What type of vehicle(s) are we traveling in?
    •  25-passenger chartered air-conditioned bus. http://chartercoachpr.com
  2. What if I miss the group ground transportation and they leave without me?
    • Ground transportation will not wait since we will be on strict schedules. You will then be responsible to find your own transportation to the next event.  You can call Heidi on her cell phone @ 216-410-6428 and she can try to help you coordinate your own transportation.
  1. Where are we staying?
  2. How far is the hotel from the beach?
    • Less than a kilometer from the beach.
  3. What kind of neighborhood is it in?
  4. What amenities does the hotel have?

 All Amenities 

  • Connecting Rooms
  • Free WiFi
  • Non-smoking rooms
  • Digital Key
  • Concierge
  • Spa
  • Beach
  • Resort
  • On-site restaurant
  • Outdoor pool
  • Fitness center
  • Room service
  • Business center
  • Meeting rooms
  • Pets not allowed
  1. What happens if I need to leave early or arrive late for personal reasons, flight delays, etc?
    • You will need to be responsible for making all and any changes to your flight itinerary
Date Time Activity Description
Thu., May 26th 4 pm  Hotel Check-In  
Fri., May 27th 6 – 10 am Breakfast Pierre Cafe located in the hotel
  10:30 – 11:15 am Load PassengersDrive to CrearteUnload Passengers  
  11:30 – 11:45 am Orientation @ Crearte  
  11:45 – 12:15 pm Lunch (Pizza)  
  11:45 am – 12 pm Alex gives speech  
  12:15 – 2:45 pm Volunteer @ Crearte Painting various classrooms
  2:45 – 3:15 pm Load PassengersDrive to HotelUnload Passegers  
  3:15 – 4:30 pm Break to shower and get ready for next activity  
  4:30  – 5:20 pm Load PassengersDrive to HotelUnload Passengers*snacks will be given on the bus  
  5:30 – 7:30 pm Private Sunset Walking Tour of Old San Juan The walking tour highlights the history, culture, and nature of the old town and Puerto Rico. It is delivered by professional tour guides that will take the group to sites and buildings of historic and cultural relevance.
  7:30 – 8:15 pm Trip 1: Load PassengersDrive to HotelUnload Passengers  
  9 – 9:45 pm Trip 2: Load PassengersDrive to HotelUnload Passemgers  
Sat., May 28th 6 – 7:45 am Breakfast Pierre Cafe located in the hotel
  7:45 – 8:15 am Load PassengersDrive to ActivityUnload Passengers  
  8:30 – 9 am  Check in w/ snorkeling tour  
  9 – 10:30 am Guided Snorkeling Tour Guided snorkeling tour of Escambron Beach
  10:15 – 10:30 am Katie: Speech on the beach  
  10:30 – 11 am  Load PassengersDrive to HotelUnload Passengers  
  11:15 am – 12:30 pm Break to get ready for next volunteer project and eat luch Lunch in Pierre Cafe
  12:30 – 1:45 pm 1st Site Load PassengersDrive to SiteUnload Passengers  
  12:30 – 2:15 pm 2nd Site Load PassengersDrive to SiteUnload Passemgers  
  2:15 – 5 pm Volunteer Project w/ SBP Painting, scrapping, demolition in homes
  5 – 5:30 pm Site 1: Load PassengersDrive to Site 2  
  5:30 – 6:15 pm Site 2: Load PassengersDrive to HotelUnload all Passengers  
Sun., May 29th 6 – 7:45 am Breakfast  Pierre Cafe located in the hotel
  7:45 am Load Passengers on bus  
  8 am – 12:30 pm Rainforset Walking Tour Tour of El Ynque Rainforest
  12:30 – 1:15 pm Load PassengersDrive to Volunteer siteUnload Passengers Cleaning up river in Loiza, PR
  12:45 – 1 pm Alex gives speech on the bus  
  1:30 – 2 pm Lunch * Boxed lunches from hotel  
  2 – 4 pm  River Clean Up Cleaning litter and debri from water way
  4 pm – 5 pm Load PassengersDrive to HotelUnload Passengers  
Mon., May 30th 6 – 10 am Breakfast  Pierre Cafe in Hotel
  11 am Guest Check Out  
Costs & Expenses
  1. What expenses are not covered?
    • You will be responsible for all dinners, any personal spending money, and hotel incidentals. You will need to present a credit card to the hotel at the time of check-in for your incidental expenses. The hotel will hold $50 per day for any incidental charges to your room.
  2. Do I need cash or do most places take credit cards?
    • Most places do accept credit cards but some smaller souvenir vendors will only accept cash.
What to Bring
  1. What clothing will I need for the activities?
    • (See “Volunteering” & “Social & Recreational Activities” tabs)
  2. Are there other special things I should pack that are required or will make this trip more enjoyable?
    • With up to approximately 13:20 hours of sunlight:  Sunscreen, sunglasses, & hats to protect from the sun. 
  1. Why were these organizations chosen?
    • They are nonprofit organizations that we believe in their mission.
  2. What if I don’t want to volunteer?  Do I still come with the group?

Experience #1: Friday, May 27th: Painting Classrooms for Local Youth Center

Nonprofit Partner: Crearte Inc. 

We have partnered with a local San Juan organization called Crearte, which offers services aimed at helping children and young people residing in high-risk communities to develop values through the arts. CREARTE offers social services and educational programs in the communities it serves, where students are invited to participate in programs aimed to build character and acquire values that promote healthy emotional development. In order to offer these programs and services to their local community, it is important that they have the space and facilities to do so. Because I said I would will be volunteering our time to help paint 7 classrooms in their center to help prepare them for their upcoming programs. While there we will have the opportunity to learn more about their work and the impact they make in the community

Important need to know: We will be painting so please ensure you bring clothing you are comfortable with getting dirty/ paint on. 

Experience #2:Saturday May 28th: Hurricane Home Repairs

Nonprofit Partner: SBP Puerto Rico

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island of Puerto Rico as a Category 5 hurricane. The damage of this event was catastrophic, with more than 53% of structures on the island being impacted with major damage. As we enjoy the beauty of the island during our trip, we will make an impact in helping those affected by volunteering with SBP Puerto Rico, an organization committed to the recovery and rebuilding of areas affected by the disaster. Together as a group, we will work to rebuild local houses to help allow families to return to safe and secure homes. There are currently thousands of families who have been waiting for more than 3 years to move back into their homes. We will help make their dream a reality through hard work and a commitment of our time. Activities will include painting, scrapping, and demolition of homes alongside the SBP team.

Important need to know: Bring and wear clothes that you are comfortable with getting dirty or potentially ruined. All volunteers must wear pants that reach the knee for safety reasons (no

shorts). Volunteers will be sent home and asked to change if wearing shorts. Volunteers

must wear shirts with sleeves (no tank tops, spaghetti straps, etc.). NO open-toed or open-heeled shoes. NO TOMS or other cloth-like shoes.  Wear shoes that are sturdy and appropriate for construction work such as sneakers and boots 

  • You can read and review their volunteer welcome packet HERE: Our group will be divided into smaller groups that will be assigned to two separate houses. Learn more about the two families we will be helping by reading their background HERE for house 1 and HERE for house 2. 

Action Item: All volunteers must complete the SBP registration form online and while this is a group project, indicate you are a volunteer as an individual on the form: Click on the form HERE to complete and be sure to include because I said I would in the ” how you heard about us” section

Experience #3:Sunday May 29th: Coastal Trash Clean Up

Nonprofit Partner: Scuba Dog Society

Puerto Rico is known for its natural beauty, yet trash and recycling is a known issues for the island. Most of Puerto Rico’s landfills fail to meet federal standards and are almost full. Residents and experts worry that trash will soon overwhelm the region. Aquatic trash can lead to declining fish populations, which can hurt communities that rely on fish, employment, income, and tourism. Furthermore, trash reduces the aesthetic and recreational value of waterfront destinations because trash washed up on shorelines or floating in the water is unappealing and possibly unsafe. While many efforts have been made by the residents of Puerto Rico through annual coastal clean-ups, there is still work to be done. Because I said I would will help to keep the island of Puerto Rico clean, healthy and beautiful by participating in a local coastal clean up during our stay,

Important need to know: Recommended clothing/attire includes; Sports shoes/boots ( closed that are sturdy and appropriate for hiking/walking), a hat for sun protection, sunscreen,  long sleeve shirt, and sunglasses ( See their volunteer infographic on recommended attire HERE. Bring a reusable water bottle for this project as well (a water jug will be available to refill bottles during the day).

Action Item: All volunteers must complete the Scuba Dog Society waiver found here.  Additionally, we will be using the Clean swell app to track our clean-up impact. We will split into groups of 4 or 5, and one individual will be asked to download and track their group’s progress using the app. If you are interested in volunteering to be the leader of your group please watch the video on how to use the app and download it HERE

Social & Recreational Activities

Activity #1: Friday, May 27th: Private Sunset Walking Tour of Old San Juan

Partia Tours

The walking tour highlights the history, culture, and nature of the old town and Puerto Rico. It is delivered by professional tour guides that will take the group to sites and buildings of historic and cultural relevance. Each guide will take a maximum of 20 participants.

Important need to know: Please dress comfortably for the weather and wear walking shoes.

Activity #2: Saturday May 28th: Guided Snorkeling Tour

Try Scuba

This will be a very exciting guided snorkeling tour of Escambron Beach where we will see underwater life.

Important need to know: Please be already dressed in a swimsuit upon arrival. Also bring a towel, a smartphone to download pictures and videos, and contact lenses (it is not possible to snorkel in glasses).

To Receive your complimentary pictures and videos:

Download the WhatsApp app on your smartphone prior to arrival. AND FOLLOW THEM ON INSTAGRAM @tryscubadivingpr

Activity #3: Sunday, May 29th: El Yunque Rainforest Tour

Natural Wonders

On this off the beaten path tour we will begin our journey with a scenic drive thru the northeast coast, passing various beaches on the town of Loiza, cradle to our African heritage. Our 1st stop will be a small Cave which was once under water. There you will get to see petrified corals and it will be a great photo opportunity. Our next stop will be a beautiful river on the outskirts of the forest where we will do a small hike that leads us to a rope swing into the river and there is also a 10ft jump platform into the water. Our last stop will be the natural water slides. The water slide itself is about 25 feet long and it concludes with a drop into a collecting pool of water. For those that rather be spectators you can just sit back and relax or enjoy a swim at the natural pool. Hikes are considered easy to moderate.

Important need to know: Please dress comfortably (shorts and a t-shirt or Dri-Fit Clothing, wear a swimsuit under your clothing, bring a towel, wear comfortable shoes for walking in slippery & wet terrain, and bring an extra change of clothing/socks.

As a reminder, all transportation to and from activities will be provided. If you have any specific questions or concerns please email me directly!