Puerto Rico - Spring 2012

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Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Theme: Raider Conquista

Mission: This Spring Break, the EXPLORaider traveled to the “Gateway of the Caribbean” San Juan, Puerto Rico. San Juan is the capital and most populated city in Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. Moreover, San Juan is the second oldest European-established city in the Americas, after Santo Domingo. Today, San Juan is one of Puerto Rico’s most important seaports, and is the island's manufacturing, financial, and cultural center. Old San Juan, also known as the "old city," is the main cultural attraction in Puerto Rico; its bayside is lined by dock slips for large cruise ships and massive forts that invoke the Conquista days of the Spanish empire. The central part of the old city is characterized by narrow streets made of blue cobblestone and picturesque colonial buildings, some of which date back to the 16th and 17th century. The narrow cobblestone streets, lined by ornate colonial buildings, lead to tropical gardens and beautiful plazas such as Plaza de Armas as well as cafés and bars like La Barrachina, birthplace of the piña colada. Sections of the old city are surrounded by massive walls and several defensive structures and notable forts. These include the 16th-century Fort San Felipe del Morro and the 17th-century Fort San Cristóbal, both part of San Juan National Historic Site, and the 16th-century El Palacio de Santa Catalina, also known as La Fortaleza, which serves as the governor's mansion. On the EXPLORaider we learned more about the maritime battle history and European and Spanish colonization of San Juan leading to its eventual occupation by the United States in 1898. The EXPLORaider was.

+- */pleased to visit San Juan and experience the colorful Spanish fiestas, African religious rituals, delicate native woodcarvings and architectures seemingly from all over the world.

Lodging: San Juan Park boutique hotel, Avenida Muñoz Rivera #54, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

Group Events:

 As a Commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Rico has a grade of sovereignty equal as a State of the Union. The residents of Puerto Rico are United States citizens (Jones Act of 1917) and they are represented in Congress by a Resident Commissioner with voice but without vote. Residents of Puerto Rico generally do not pay federal income taxes (however, they pay Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment taxes) and cannot vote on Presidential elections. A passport is not required to travel to Puerto Rico.

More than 500 faculty, staff and students have participated on the EXPLORaider (formerly the Multicultural Retreat) during its 21 year history. The EXPLORaider is a wonderful opportunity to meet students, faculty, and staff from across the campus. On the EXPLORaider you will learn more about yourself and others and travel to some of the most culturally diverse cities in North America.

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