An initiative from Airbnb means trying something new – like a giant natural waterslide in the rainforest, or exploring San Juan with a local musician – can help rebuild Puerto Rico’s tourism industry.
Puerto Rico was hit hard by Hurricane Maria in October 2017, and with tourism serving an important economic role, many are eager to encourage more visitors. The new partnership with Airbnb and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló is hoping to do just that (check for updated travel advice here). For starters, Airbnb has launched its Experience feature on the island, so travellers can connect with locals who will take them on tours or other adventures. The home-booking company will donate its fees from trips and experiences booked in Puerto Rico for the next three months to relief and recovery organizations.
The new experiences include a variety of activities that travellers can try out. For example, travellers can head out with a local in Fajardo to take a nature walk to a secluded beach and a sunset trip to one of the world’s four bioluminescent bays, where they will go kayaking. Or, if you want to test your limits, try out a coconut and island survival workshop, where you will learn to climb a small palm tree and open coconuts for food and water, even learning about how they played a role in supplying food and water and protecting the coastline after Hurricane Maria. If you are feeling adventurous, slide along a massive natural water slide and even cliff jump.
If you’re more comfortable in a nice bar than climbing up a tree, then you can try out a craft cocktail experience, where you can sample rum cocktails while exploring San Juan. Culture seekers can also explore San Juan’s music scene with a local musician who will take you to some lesser-known music hotspots.
Following last month’s launch of its new Office of Healthy Tourism – a branch that aims to draw tourism to more rural regions and places “that need it the most” – Airbnb and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company are also launching a new marketing campaign to encourage people to the island.