“LA ISLA DEL ENCANTO”

PUERTO RICO

PHOTO TOUR

March 7 – 13, 2023

LOCATION: Puerto Rico

LEADERS: Jaime L. Montilla and Kevin Adams

LIMITED TO: 7 (Minimum 6)

SKILL LEVEL: All levels

PRICE: $4,285
(Double occupancy; single supplement $700)

DEPOSIT: $500

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The most rewarding photography destination that no one knows about!

Ah, the “Island of Enchantment.” I first visited Puerto Rico several years ago and it didn’t take long for me to become enchanted. Smaller than the state of Connecticut, this spectacular island is incredibly diverse, with white-sand and rocky beaches, caves, rain forests, mountains, rivers, and even deserts. The highest point, Cerro Punta, is over 4,300 feet above sea level. Combine this with the rich culture and history and you have the perfect destination for photographers.

Yet, with all this, you won’t find any other extended photo tours that explore the diversity of this island. Why is that? Part of the reason are the logistics of organizing a photo tour here. Although the island is only about 100 miles long and 35 miles wide, getting around is quite a challenge due to the terrain and road system. And with the best photo locations scattered all around, a group could easily spend more time driving than photographing. In addition, there just aren’t that many photographers who know the island well enough to be qualified to lead a photo tour here. And if they do, they don’t speak Spanish, which is a necessity for guiding in Puerto Rico.

I spent several years thinking about organizing a photo tour to Puerto Rico and wasn’t able to conquer the logistics until now. How did I do it? I partnered with Jaime Montilla, a local professional photographer who knows the island well, speaks Spanish, has a passion for teaching, and who doesn’t mind driving his truck to transport people, luggage, photo gear, and coolers. Check out Jaime’s website here.

We’ll be using two rugged vehicles for transportation, so we can go everywhere we need to. We’re keeping the maximum number of participants to 7, so we won’t have the problems associated with larger groups and you’ll get extremely personalized attention. And we’re changing our host hotels during the photo tour, from the north coast to the south coast, so we won’t be spending all our time in the vehicles.

We have it figured out. All you need to think about is getting yourself and your camera to San Juan. We’ll take it from there.

Wildflower

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Adventure in a new land—we are the only photographers leading diverse photo tours to Puerto Rico

  • Photograph a wide variety of Puerto Rican features—natural, cultural, historical, recreational

  • Explore and learn the natural and cultural history of Puerto Rico

  • Photograph the full moon rising over Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan

  • Immerse yourself in the enchanting tropical vegetation

  • Listen to the serenading coqui frogs

  • Walk the cobblestone streets and explore the Old-World elegance and centuries-old forts of Old San Juan

  • Photograph waves crashing on rocky coasts and waterfalls plunging into emerald pools

  • Savor the gastronomical delights of Puerto Rico

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Guiding and hands-on photo instruction

  • 6 nights lodging in a 3-star hotel  (Double occupancy—single supplement $700)

  • Breakfast

  • Some lunches

  • All transportation in Puerto Rico, including from and to airport

  • Entry fees to all attractions

  • Snacks and water throughout the day

  • RainBreaks for camera protection in rain will be provided for use during the photo tour

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Airfare to and from Puerto Rico

  • Dinners

  • Some lunches

SKILL LEVEL

This adventure will be rewarding for everyone, regardless of your photographic skills.

Wildflower

GENERAL ITINERARY

We do not establish a precise itinerary for photo tours ahead of time because we want to choose locations and subjects based on the weather and other conditions. We’ll determine our strategy as we go along, making sure to photograph in the best light and weather.

Here is a general outline:

All dinners will be taken together as a group.

Tuesday, 3/7. Participants will arrive throughout the day. In the evening, we will have a group meeting and then photograph the full moon rising over Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan, after which we will have dinner.

Wednesday, 3/8. You will photograph at dawn and sunrise in Old San Juan before having breakfast in the hotel. After breakfast, you’ll explore the spectacular north coast region.

Thursday, 3/9. Today we will travel across the mountains to our hotel on the south coast. Along the way you’ll photograph waterfalls and mountain scenery.

Friday, 3/10. We head west to the town of Cabo Rojo, where you will photograph pink salt flats, a lighthouse perched on impressive limestone cliffs, and natural bridges and seascapes that look from another world.

Saturday, 3/11. We will explore the central mountain region with its many waterfalls and scenic views. We may visit a historic coffee plantation.

Sunday, 3/12. Today we head back to our hotel in Old San Juan on the north coast. Along the way, we’ll explore the rain forest and have lunch at a local “lechonera,” where you can have a taste of Puerto Rico’s renowned roasted pig and rice with pigeon peas. We’ll finish the day at sunset in Old San Juan.

Monday, 3/13. This is your last day in Puerto Rico. Depending on your flight time, you may want to spend more time exploring Old San Juan, take the popular tour of the Bacardi distillery, or enjoy other attractions in the San Juan area.

(We will arrange your transportation from the hotel to the airport. However, if you visit other locations before your return flight, you will be responsible for the transportation. Details are provided in the Trip Planning doc you will receive after registering.)

Custom Itineraries

You may wish to arrive early or stay later. We will be happy to help you plan an itinerary and make any reservations you may need. You will be responsible for all costs associated with the extra time.

TRAVEL NOTES

As a U.S. Commonwealth, U.S. citizens can travel freely to and from Puerto Rico without a passport. The money system is the U.S. dollar and electrical outlets are 120 volts, so you don’t need an adapter if traveling from the U.S. The native language in Puerto Rico is Spanish. In the main tourist areas, most people in the hospitality business speak English, but in the interior mountains, Spanish is the predominate language. Jaime’s native language is Spanish and he speaks fluent English, so we will have no trouble communicating with the locals during this trip.

We’ll provide much more detailed planning info when you register.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS & PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

This photo tour is suitable for everyone who is in decent physical shape. However, you should know that we will be going strong all day, every day, with few breaks. The logistics of leading a small group of photographers on this island dictate that returning to the hotel for breaks is not practical.

You will need to make a few short hikes of around 20-30 minutes while carrying your camera gear. Along the coast, you’ll need to walk or scramble over jagged rocks. In the mountains, you may need to walk on wet and muddy trails.

LODGING & TRANSPORTATION

Six nights lodging is included, beginning March 7. This is for double occupancy. Single occupancy is $700 extra. If you arrive early or stay late, you will need to pay for those nights. We will be happy to make those arrangements for you at our host hotels or at other locations.

Airfare to and from Puerto Rico is not included. You will fly into the San Juan Airport (SJU), which is about 2.5 hours from Miami. Once you get to the airport, we’ll take it from there with all transportation.

REGISTRATION & PAYMENT INFO

A nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required to secure your space. The balance is due 90 days from the start of the photo tour (December 6), including any extra room nights or single-occupancy charges. You can pay the deposit using our online registration system. The balance is due by check or bank transfer. You can register online by clicking the “Register Now” buttons on this page. Payment plans are available.

MEET JAIME L. MONTILLA

Jaime is a landscape and night photographer based in the San Juan area. He received a degree in Healthcare Administration and served in the U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps for 20 years before moving back to his homeland of Puerto Rico to follow his passion for photography. As a photographer, he has explored many locations in the U.S. and around the island, always looking for new and exciting locations to photograph. Currently he runs Puerto Rico Photo Adventures full time and finds great satisfaction in taking people to the many remote, scenic locations around the island, creating for them an unforgettable photography experience.

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