By Mariam Taha
Over the past February break, 20 members from Medford High traveled to the island of Puerto Rico. The trip was lead by Vámanos tours and packed with activities from morning to night. The first day there, we were told we were going on a rain forest adventure. The rain forest, known as “El Yunque,” was flourishing with trees of all types that towered above us. Of course, it began to rain in the forest but it was refreshing since we were hiking and the temperature was high. We spent the whole day there exploring and learning new facts about the plants and animals of Puerto Rico. The first few nights we stayed in the city of Fajardo.
The next day, we arrived at Río Piedras, where the University of Puerto Rico is located. We walked around the campus while most classes were in session and the architecture, as well as the nature around the campus, were wonderful. The visit really inspired me to study there for at least a semester. When we visited a farmer’s market, it was a great opportunity to interact with the people of Puerto Rico and practice our Spanish, learning new names for fruit, vegetables, and meat.
The city of Arecibo in Puerto Rico is known for having the world’s largest radio-telescope. There was a small museum next to it which focused on astronomy. Anyone with an interest in science would find this place intriguing and extraordinary. Something that everyone found amazing was the food of Puerto Rico: from the juices to meals to desserts, everyone was always looking forward to our next chance to try new, delicious food. Vámanos tours chose the best places to get food and made sure we tried a variety of Puerto Rican meals.
A favorite of many was the bio-luminescent bay tour. In La Parguera, we went on an eco-boat tour and waited for it to get dark. We enjoyed the sunset and then relaxed as we watched shooting stars. We had to wait for it to get dark in order to swim in the bay with the dinoflagellates. This was an incredible sight to see; swimming with these fish that make you glow and sparkle. There are only a few locations on Earth where you can experience this but I highly suggest it if anyone has the opportunity because it is truly a beautiful moment with nature.
Other unforgettable memories include visiting an elementary school, taking salsa lessons taught by prestigious champion salsa dancers, boating through a bat cave, zip-lining, and visiting the historical city of Old San Juan. I had no idea how much would be in store for me when I left for this trip, even after viewing the itinerary. It was the best experience of my life and I would really like to go back again, as many others from this trip wish as well.
Photo Credit: Lauren Tomaszczuk and Mariam Taha