W23 Puerto Rico – Helping Hands

W23 Puerto Rico – Helping Hands

Discover Puerto Rico – the heart and soul of the Caribbean. An island that is rich with history and culture, exceptional food, pristine beaches, and diverse terrain, all in one place just waiting to be discovered by the curious minds of Niagara College students. This island was devastated Hurricane Maria, one of the most destructive hurricanes to sweep through the Caribbean and it has sure left lasting effects on the island itself, but the passion of its people is unwavering. It is this passion, dedication and community spirit that will leave you with life-long memories while contributing to those who need it most.

Board your flight from Toronto to San Juan to begin a week that will be full of heart, helping hands, and leave you feeling humbled. We begin our week strolling the cobblestone streets with a local eco-tourism company in the colonial heart of one of the oldest European cities of the Americas, San Juan!  After a fun filled day of familiarizing ourselves with beautiful San Juan, we get our helping hands ready to head into the tropical hills above Cerro Gordo to begin our community rebuilding efforts with individual families whose homes were severely damaged by the high winds and flooding attributable to Hurricane Maria. During this week, we will also take time to explore a sustainable forestry project located at an ecological research center in the southern rain forest as well as participate in scenic excursions into the Caribbean Basin’s finest example of a tropical rainforest and wilderness area, El Yunque. With your camera in hand, ascend into the clouds and hike along the El Angelito Trail under the jungle canopy!

Join Be World Ready for an incredible week, packed to the brim with education, fun, laughter, and most importantly heart. Spend your break week helping to uplift the lives of others, create life-long memories and friendships, while expanding your global mindset. Will you be among the helping hands to discover the heart and soul of the Caribbean this winter?


Day 1: February 26, 2023

IT’S HAPPENING! The day has finally arrived! Make your way to Toronto Pearson International Airport to meet up with the group to depart to San Juan, Puerto Rico for what will certainly be an eye opening, life changing week ahead. Upon arrival, we will be met by our trip leaders with Global Works and transferred to our accommodations to get settled in. Welcome to the beautiful Puerto Rico!


Day 2: February 27, 2023

This morning we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to seize the day. After breakfast, we depart the Big Yellow House and head for Viejo San Juan – the colonial heart of one of the oldest European cities of the Americas! We take to the cobblestone streets in the historic district with Alvin Robles, owner of a local eco-tourism company, as he guides us on an interactive tour while educating us of Puerto Rico’s vibrant past.

We are truly in for a treat today as we enjoy a traditional Boriqua lunch at one of Old San Juan’s oldest eateries, El Jibarito! After our bellies are full of delicious local foods, we head to the water to cool off in the tranquil waters of the Caribbean Sea.

This evening, we head back to our accommodations to prepare for the week ahead. We will take in a documentary film that chronicles the tremendous impact that Hurricane Maria had on the island and feel the importance of the week ahead.

  • Guided tour of San Juan

(B, L, D)

Day 3: February 28, 2023

After breakfast, we load into our vans and drive into the tropical hills above Cerro Gordo and enter the community of Villa del Rio to begin our reconstruction projects. The projects will focus on rebuilding efforts with individual families whose homes were severely damaged by the high winds and flooding attributable to Hurricane Maria. The day will be spent, focusing on the rebuilding efforts with a break in between to enjoy a hard earned, traditional Puerto Rican lunch prepared by local community members.

Upon our return to Cerro Gordo, feel free to play some volleyball, basketball, or some downtime before this evening’s group activities where we take time to reflect on the day’s service work and our role as outsiders in the multifaceted dynamics of community development.

  • Community rebuilding efforts

(B, L, D)

Day 4: March 1, 2023

Our focus shifts today as we drive to an ecological research center in the southern rainforest for a sustainable forestry project! On arrival, we will be introduced to the partners and the environmental service projects that they are working on and the importance and impact they have. Let’s get involved!

As we enjoy a homemade lunch, we have time to discuss the ongoing reforestation and recovery initiatives and how critical they are.

After today’s projects wrap up, grab your waterproof case for your phone because we are going to take a short walk for a refreshing dip into a natural freshwater swimming hole in the jungle! The fun doesn’t stop here, after we head back to our home-base we take in some salsa dance lessons with a professional Latin dance teacher. Tonight’s dinner is a pizza party or an in-house Iron Chef competition!

  • Sustainable forestry projects
  • Freshwater swimming hole
  • Salsa lessons

(B, L, D)

Day 5: March 2, 2023

Today, we wake up focused and dedicated to the community as our efforts are directed towards Villa del Rio again this morning. As we drive back into the hills, our excitement builds to contribute to the projects and needs that have been identified by the community.

After the day’s efforts conclude, we head back to our headquarters to enjoy a beach cook-out and prepare for tomorrow’s departure to the eastern side of this incredibly enchanting island.

(B, L, D)

Day 6: March 3, 2023

Wake, enjoy a delicious breakfast and pack your bag for the day as we head over to the Northeast Ecological Corridor Protected Refuge. Here, we meet with ecological tourism experts and engage in some hands-on service projects that focus on the preservation of the natural, native environment.

The projects we will roll up our sleeves and jump in on may include trail maintenance or small construction work to help create a safe zone for local wildlife, including wild iguana and nesting sea turtles.

We will enjoy a tropical lunch made by our Global Works leaders and after our projects conclude in the late afternoon, we will return to Cerro Gordo for group activities and reflection.

  • Visit Northeast Ecological Corridor Protected Refuge
  • Group activities

(B, L, D)

Day 7: March 4, 2023

Today we travel to El Yunque – the Carribean Basin’s finest example of tropical rainforest and wilderness area. We will ascend into the clouds and hike along El Angelito Trail, grab a beachside lunch at Los Kioskos de Luquillo before settling in at our lodging in the coastal community of Luquillo. Dip our paddles into the spectacular bioluminescent bay on a sunset kayaking excursion and have our final group dinner in Fajardo.

  • Visit El Yunque

(B, L, D)

Day 8: March 5, 2023

Today we say our farewells to the heart of the Caribbean and the beautiful people that call it home as we depart San Juan International Airport for Toronto. It has been an eye opening, inspiring and uplifting week. Together, we can make a difference and improve the lives of those around us through the strength of community. Adios San Juan!

Would you like to know more? You can read through the below trip blogs written by Global Works trip leaders from 2 previous Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief sessions in 2022.

Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief, Session 3 ~ 2022

Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief, Session 4 ~ 2022


Disclaimers: Be World Ready does their best to execute the itinerary as outlined above, however all elements are subject to change based on availability or requirement to adapt due to circumstances outside of our control. Cost of the overall experience may fluctuate up to a maximum of $200.00 +/- CAD due to volume of participants and local exchange rate. Students will be informed in writing as early as possible if it is foreseen that the cost will increase. Students are also reminded that it is their responsibility to research the entry requirements to the destination countries visited per their nationality and vaccination status.

* Price per student is in Canadian Dollars and reflects the Be World Ready (BWR) grant which has been applied to the total trip cost to heavily subsidize the rate per person for our Winter 2023 International Field Studies (IFS). Our future IFS BWR grants will not remain this high. To qualify for the full value of the BWR grant applied to this IFS, mandatory training and tasks are required to be completed, training and task expectations will be clearly communicated by BWR staff upon registration. Failure to complete the requirements as outlined by BWR staff will result in the value of the grant being billed back to the applicable student account, up to a maximum of $2500. Securing your seat on this trip will occur on a first come, first serve basis based on registration date, and meeting payment timelines.

  • Included
    • Round-trip airfare, including 1 checked bag (maximum weight is 23kg/50lb and maximum size is 158cm/62 linear inches)
    • Accommodations
    • Travel Insurance
    • 3 meals daily in destination!
    • Guided tour of San Juan
    • Visit El Yunque Rainforst
    • Explore sustainable forestry project
    • Community rebuilding efforts
    • Rate per student is inclusive of taxes and fees


  • Not Included
    • Visa Fees (if necessary)
    • Passport (or any associated costs)
    • Transportation to/from Toronto
    • Meals not outlined in the daily itinerary
    • Items of a personal nature
    • Souvenirs
    • Departure taxes (otherwise known as an Exit Tax) or additional fees for items not noted as included, if applicable. Example of additional fees could be overweight baggage.


Second Payment
Final Payment





*Price may increase or decrease depending on exchange rates, final vendor quotes and number of participants.

$2050 (BWR grant applied)

TRIP DATE 02/26/2023



Puerto Rico


This opportunity is available to all Niagara College students. Please note that part-time students are not eligible for the Be World Ready Grant.


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Other Important Information

Payment Options

*Note: if we will be flying through the United States of America, you must have permission to enter and leave the United States. If you require a U.S travel visa it is your responsibility to obtain this document and email [email protected] a copy/photo.