How do I get around Puerto Rico in November as ethically as possible?
October 27, 2019 10:09 AM   Subscribe

A: Are there any major concerns driving to Aguadilla from San Juan these days? How about El Junque? Is the ferry to Vieques functioning? B: Anybody know of anything useful I could be doing when I get there? I will definitely have to spend at least a little time doing touristy stuff, but would feel better if I could usefully do a day of work. I have some skills in both the trades and IT.

I'll be heading to PR in November for a quick trip with my brother, who's never been. I've explored the island a bit back in 2012, but the intervening years obviously haven't been kind to the infrastructure, and post-Maria I know some places I'd like to return to are a little less accessible than they were.

I don't want to be a gross mainland gringo tourist and use resources that could better serve others, although I know that's going to be a balancing act no matter what. I also don't want to be insensitive to the current political situation, and if possible would like to spend at least some of the time volunteering somewhere or otherwise helping out if I can. Sadly both my Puerto Rican friends have now moved to Florida, and I don't have personal contacts there any more.
posted by aspersioncast to Travel & Transportation around Puerto Rico (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We visited in March and the highway from San Juan to the West end of the island is fine. There was a lot of road work happening on the secondary roads on the West side, and the infrastructure around Rincon seemed a little shaky still. We experienced a brownout in the condo one night and the Internet was out two nights. The San Juan area seemed pretty much back to normal.

Puerto Rico wants your tourist dollars. Go, do gringo stuff, and spend freely. They need cash more than anything else and you enjoying your time there is the best thing you can do to help the island.

Blog post about our trip.
posted by COD at 12:20 PM on October 27, 2019 [6 favorites]

Just spend your money at businesses owned by Puerto Ricans. Stay in locally owned hotels, dine in locally owned restaurants, and pour your money into the community (and not, say, Marriott). Don't bother volunteering for a day or two - the tasks associated with dealing with a one-day volunteer will be far in excess of the value provided by a single day of your labor. Put that effort into finding locally owned alternatives to the easy-to-book hotels and airbnbs that financially benefit colonizers, and then spend, copiously, on locally owned businesses and especially on locally produced food - there's a huge movement to reinvigorate agriculture on the island that would benefit from your cash.
posted by amelioration at 2:48 PM on October 27, 2019 [8 favorites]

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