March 11th – we spent the majority of today traveling to Ponce, AKA La Perla del Sur, but we did stop a few times for food and other activities, like visiting the Carite Rainforest to swim at Charco Azul.
We headed to lunch at a “lechonera” after exploring there. It was a very meat-heavy restaurant, much to my vegetarian dismay and my carnivore comrades’ delight. There was also an incredible cafe there were all the coffee lovers indulged in some caffeine to power us through the rest of the day.
We arrived at our hotel in Ponce shortly after, where our day essentially ended.
March 12 – We began our day quite early today, leaving for breakfast at 6:40 am before heading to Escuela Leopoldo Drew at 7:15. There, we spent time with elementary students, interacting with kids of all different ages and helping the teachers if necessary. All of the Westtown students loved spending time with such positive, intelligent, and welcoming children, and we were certainly sad to leave!
After a quick lunch in the Plaza of Ponce, we left for the Cristo Pobre House, a house and mini-farm run by Juan de Dios designed to provide a home for those in need of one. We pulled weeds out from under tomato and papaya plants (there were a lot of them!) before leaving for dinner and then the hotel.
To end the day, we went to see Captain Marvel (highly recommend) in theaters before heading back to the hotel to prepare for the following day.
March 13th – we woke up early to drive to the Tanamá National Forest in Utuado for ziplining and other fun forest activities. We began by hiking to a fairly remote spot where a thousand-foot cave is located with a river running through it. We could only fit so many group members in the cave at a time, so some of us hung back and swam in the river while the other kayaked in the cave.
We had lunch before ziplining, which was a blast. There were four different lines that snaked down the mountain (which we eventually had to hike back up) that were quite long and allowed you to build up a significant amount of speed. While wonderful, the day was fairly exhausting, so it’s safe to say that we were all ready to board the guagua and rest once we finished.