Unique Experiences in Puerto Rico - Pt 2

There is so much to see and do in Puerto Rico, check out our selection of “off the beaten path” experiences on the island.

There is so much to see and experience in Puerto Rico. The Enchanted Isle is mostly known for its beaches, forests, rivers, waterfalls and of course the food, but there is so much more to this island. Experiencing some of these “off the beaten path” selections will provide you with a more unique appreciation for the island and lasting memories of your time in Puerto Rico.

Cigar Making Class or Farm Tour

Finca Neo Jíbaro, organic farm in Rio Grande

10:00 AM farm tours available by reservation.

3:00 to 10:00 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday they have hours for pizza, food and the cigar making class.  

Only 15% of food consumed in Puerto Rico is grown by farmers on the island. Most food is imported due to the lack of farming. It can be difficult to find laborers willing to work in the hot tropical sun, and hurricanes make it difficult to sustain farming as a profitable business model. Since so much of the food in Puerto Rico is imported, it is important that we support local growers to foster the island's agricultural independence, and so that people are able to eat fresh products that haven’t been sitting on a shipping container for months. While the climate is warm year round, it can be difficult to harvest, especially in the summer months when the heat is high and the rain plentiful. 

Visiting a local farm supports the sustainability of their business which relies not only on the sale of crops but also on the education of citizens and the funds that tourism brings. 

In Río Grande there is La Finca Neo Jíbaro which grows organic fruits, vegetables, flowers and tobacco using hydroponic and traditional farming methods. Once a month a chef comes and provides a farm to table dining experience helping people learn how to use the produce grown on the farm. You’ll see a variety of gardens growing eggplant, basil, flowers and lettuce, as well as greenhouses to start getting ready for the next growing season. The tour finishes in their little shop with a variety of cigars, juices and items for purchase. 

They offer a cigar making class where you learn the history of tobacco in Puerto Rico, different stages of the plant and the characteristics for different tastes. You’ll be able to drink some rum along with the cigar tastings and materials to make your own cigar! 

Search for La Fincas in your area and make a point to support local farming; and check out our article on cacao plantations to find tours of cacao farms around the island. It is important for the sustainability of Puerto Rico and its citizens to eat nutritious, locally grown food.

Caribbean Manatee Conservation Center tour

www.manatipr.org

500 Dr. John Will Harris Street, Bayamón, PR 00957

Inside the Inter American University of Puerto Rico campus

$19 per person or $15 for children. 

Visit their website to schedule a tour, volunteer or donate.

The conservation center started 30 years ago and they rescue manatees as well as other wildlife. They take in animals that other rescues won’t take because they can’t be released back into the wild. Pelicans missing a wing due to a shark attack and the other due to fishing line. A turtle that is blind due to fishermen using it as bait. One of their manatee rescues can’t float on his own so it will always be in the center's care. Baby manatees stay with their mother until they are 3 years old so if the rescue fosters one that has been abandoned, they must release it by then. Manatees have no natural predators, their only predators are human. Baby manatees float under their mothers for food and protection; if it has been abandoned it will not survive. Manatees mainly die from boating accidents or being hunted for food. 

The center has 9 full time staff and over 100 volunteers. They are a non-profit that relies solely on grants, donations and fundraising for their operating costs. They don’t receive any government funds. Manatees are mammals like humans which means baby formula and some medications work for them the same way they do for humans. As manatees at the center eat over 80 pounds of lettuce per day, they are always in need of funds and lettuce to keep them fed! 

The conservation center is a great place to support with a tour, and your donation helps support their efforts. You can bring up to 10 people on a private tour. There is also an option to be a volunteer for a day. Visit their website to learn more and consider donating. 

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