Sustainable Design and Artistic Innovation in Puerto Rico - Atlas Obscura Trips
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Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Photo Credit: Local Guest

Sustainable Design and Artistic Innovation in Puerto Rico

from $1,970 USD per person for 5 days, 4 nights
See Dates
  • 12 People Maximum
  • Moderate Activity Level
  • Communities Up Close
See Dates
Holiday Deal
Refer a friend to join you on this trip and you’ll both receive $250 off. Email us by Dec 31, 2019 to book.
Trip Overview

At the top of a mountain in Las Marías, a beige, mound-like structure peeks out over the dense forest below. Scattered around it are similar, sloping domes sitting lower to the ground—each one constructed out of cement and recycled fish net. Though they collectively bear resemblance to a massive insect settlement, or perhaps a cluster of spaceships, these structures aren’t for beings who wish to escape the planet. Rather, they’ve been erected by and for those who wish to meaningfully, sustainably stay. With a vision for an autonomous, collaborative community of artists, Casa Múcaro is just one of many creative spaces here using art, architecture, and design to preserve Puerto Rico’s rich ecosystem, history, and heritage—while envisioning a new, sustainable way to live. 

Over the course of five days, we’ll get to see some of these sites up close, immersing ourselves in the island’s ever-evolving art, culture, and cuisine. We’ll be focusing on the cutting-edge as well as deeply rooted traditions, from innovative biotecture to centuries-old dance. We’ll visit a renowned plastic artist at his home studio in Loíza, tour Casa Múcaro and the larger artistic community of Termitopia alongside its creator, and learn about beekeeping from Earthship innovators—getting to know this incredible island through the people continuing to shape it.

Our partner, Local Guest: In order to create and curate this unique experience, we’ve partnered closely with Local Guest, a women-powered travel company dedicated to co-creating and promoting authentic tourism experiences by working hand in hand with local communities and entrepreneurs in order to build a new tourism ecosystem based on sustainable development practices.

  • Conversations with local artists
  • Sustainable village constructed with recycled materials
  • Socially conscious, community-led experiences
  • Cutting-edge art & biotecture


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.
Puerto Rico

Trip Leaders

Carmen Portela
A few years back, Carmen’s family moved abroad—but she chose to stay in Puerto Rico out of love for her island. Through her journeys representing Puerto Rico abroad, she learned how different travel can be when you get to experience things that only the locals know about. In 2010, she established a digital agency that caters exclusively to the travel and hospitality industry. These experiences, along with a strong sense of giving back to her country, inspired her to create Local Guest, a women-powered travel company dedicated to co-creating authentic tourism experiences by working hand-in-hand with local communities and entrepreneurs. Carmen is a well-established expert in the sustainable tourism industry with a Professional Certification from George Washington University in Sustainable Tourism Management and a professional certification in Creation & Management of Tourism Entrepreneurship from the University of Salamanca.
Mónica Pérez
Having a clear mind and a clear space allows anyone to think and act with purpose, and Mónica is very aware of that! A logistics and organization aficionado, Mónica has worked for industries ranging from health government to tech, finance, and education. She holds a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Suffolk University and a bachelor’s degree in communications, PR, and advertising from the University of Puerto Rico. Mónica is also a certified interpretive guide trainer, with special certifications in organizing communities for change. The co-founder of Local Guest, Mónica is deeply passionate about her island, and sharing her love for it with others through educational initiatives.
Iris Landruá
With a great eye for details and witty copywriting, Iris is the community and content director at Local Guest. She has over eight years of experience in social for hospitality and sports-related brands as well as content management of live events, and holds a BA in audiovisual communication from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. A natural storyteller, Iris loves capturing authentic stories through her lens, and bringing them to life with compelling copy.

Additional Info

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins with a welcome dinner in San Juan on Day 1. We recommend you arrive in San Juan by 2 p.m. on that day, so you can settle into your accommodations and meet our guide and group in time for dinner. Our guides will be leading an optional afternoon tour of the MACPR and the MADMi on Day 1, so those hoping to join should plan to arrive before noon. Our trip concludes in the afternoon on Day 5. If leaving Puerto Rico by air directly after our trip, we recommend departing any time that evening. If you'd like to extend your trip, we’d be more than happy to provide suggestions for things to do and see in the city on your own.

Activity Level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking two to four miles over the duration of each day, climbing stairs and remaining on their feet for long periods of time.


As San Juan has a wealth of wonderful, locally owned places to stay, the first two nights of accommodations will not be included in the cost of this trip. You’re welcome to secure your own lodging for our two nights in San Juan, or we can place you in a room at the intimate, local Casa Blanca Hotel, for a supplement of $300 per traveler for double occupancy accommodations, or $500 per traveler for single accommodations. 

For the two nights in San Sebastián, we’ll all be staying together in Hacienda El Jibarito, and this lodging is included in the price of your trip. If you have any questions about accommodations, please email

  • Daily breakfasts and lunches, and two dinners.
  • All transportation during the trip. Travel within Puerto Rico will be provided by a local, independent transportation service.
  • An experienced local guide to accompany you during the course of the trip, as well as special guests throughout.
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events.
  • Two nights of lodging at Hacienda El Jibarito in San Sebastián in comfortable, shared rooms.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura fans, excited to explore all that Puerto Rico has to offer!
  • Flights to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Two nights of accommodations in San Juan. Travelers who would like to stay at the Hotel Casa Blanca Hotel in San Juan can do so for a supplement of $300.
  • Airport transfers.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages.
  • Applying for a US visa, if applicable.
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Trip FAQ

A tropical Caribbean island, Puerto Rico is hot and humid for the greater part of the year, with frequent (but fleeting) rain and thunderstorms.

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Upcoming Departures

  • Apr 21–Apr 25, 2020
    from $1,970 per person
Booking and payment processing partners may vary with departure date. Please see our full Terms and Conditions here.
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