Tag Archive | "Yunque"

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Business Spotlight: Atabey Tours

Posted on 11 October 2010 by EyeFred

Welcome to EyeTour’s Business Spotlight. In this section, we take a look at businesses throughout the island of Puerto Rico that offer exciting, pleasant, and unique opportunities to visitors and locals alike. Next up: We learn more about Atabey Tours with co-founder and guide, Andrés Carrero.

Atabey Tours is a young company based in Puerto Rico that aims to reconnect travelers to the true source of life through Atabey (Mother Earth) while enjoying fun experiences around what is known the world over as the Island of Enchantment. The company combines expertise on the island’s natural gifts with in-depth international experience in the field of ecotourism, offering custom adventure tours throughout Puerto Rico. Atabey Tours offers a free consultation (via email, phone or in person) to interested parties as well as a commitment to the preservation of the environment – two excellent reasons to consider them on your visit to the island. We spoke with Atabey Tours’s co-founder, Andrés Carrero, about his company and his thoughts on Puerto Rico greatest attractions.

EyeTour: When did you decide to start Atabey Tours?

Andrés: I first had the vision for Atabey Tours in 2008. I was recording in Iceland at the time and the idea just came into my head. I didn’t pursue it for a while because I was busy with other work but during my latest voyage to South America (Andes/Amazon) I was truly blessed to have met some incredible tour guides. They weren’t ordinary tour guides. They were beyond professional. They were almost shamans in a way; guiding me through these surreal journeys along the way to an epic destination (sacred Inca temples, flooded forests in the Amazon River, etc.).

But the deepest and best part was the journey itself and the way the guides would lead you, instilling their wisdom and local way of life. I met many different guides along the entire Andes to Amazon mission and I believe they planted a seed in my consciousness. When I arrived back home in Puerto Rico, I felt transformed. I knew I was ready to do the same for travelers coming to enjoy Puerto Rico. So it was only natural timing for Atabey Tours.

EyeTour: What type of traveler did you have in mind with this venture?

Andrés: As for the type of traveler I had in mind, I thought of travelers not tourists. Tourists are the people who come to enjoy a new country in a more superficial manner. Travelers are more independent minded and are looking to explore the depths of the country they find themselves in. I’ve always been a traveler wherever I’ve been, even here in my own island of Puerto Rico and I believe there’s a lot of visitors who truly want to get the real experience behind Puerto Rico. This island is a place of contrasts and it can be challenging getting to the soul of it, but I’m here to bridge that gap and guide our visitors to the most rewarding adventure PR has to offer.

EyeTour: How many tours have you given around the island?

Andrés: I’ve given many tours around the island, too many to count. At the beginning most of them were for friends and family. Then, I did some tours for visitors from the US and other countries (some of them old friends, others had heard about me through acquaintances, etc…). Eventually I realized I had a gift and a passion for this and I decided it was time to make it my profession.

EyeTour: You currently list two different treks on the Atabey Tours site – are you developing other experiences or routes for your clients? How are tours customized for each individual?

Andrés: I only specifically list 2 of the most popular treks/adventures just to give the travelers a sense of what we do and to provide them with some structure. However, there are endless options for Atabey Tours and that is my favorite part of the job. At the bottom of the “Tours!” section in the site, under “Custom Adventure Tours!” I have some pictures and text that touch on some of the dynamic possibilities. Each tour will not be a mere reproduction of the last with just new faces.

We get to know our visitors during our free consultation via email, phone or in person and that helps us understand the needs and desires of our customers so we can design the custom tour of their dreams. We have explored so many varied havens in Puerto Rico throughout the years that we have the right spot for just about anybody.

Some people like more intense adventure, some want something more contemplative and relaxing, others something spiritual and others just good old FUN! In these tours, there’s a definite sense of exploring the inner kid (going back to play in nature and that feeling of excitement and curious wonder…) in you, while simultaneously nurturing your spirit and your evolution. But its not forced. It’s just something that happens naturally when you explore within these magical places.

EyeTour: What are some of your favorite experiences in Puerto Rico? What should be on the top of every visitor’s list when he or she comes to the island?

Andrés: I believe every visitor must go to the highlands of Puerto Rico. The coast is fantastic and there’s a whole world of alluring beaches to discover but I think anyone who comes to Puerto Rico must experience 3 essential sides of the island:

  • The Coast: different beaches to suit different tastes but just traveling the coast is a wonderful adventure as long as you don’t stay exclusively in the touristy/well-known beaches
  • The mountains: This is the heart & soul of the island. Known as “La Cordillera Central”, this vast expanse of lush greenery, waterfalls, rivers and rain forests is also home to the true Puerto Rican culture. Drive through the roof of Puerto Rico and you’ll be in a more authentic, joyful and simple environment where the jíbaro mountain folks add to the wonder of it all. And then, to top it off, this is where the Taínos retreated to when the Spaniards colonized their coastal settlements. Their spirit and influence is still seen and felt here like nowhere else. Karsts country is a mesmerizing and most under-rated region in the interior as well. This is my personal favorite.
  • Viejo San Juan: This is the
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    real reason why you MUST spend some time in the city. Old San Juan is just miraculous. The walled-city the Spanish built starting in the 1500’s with its colonial ambiance and its massive impenetrable forts (used to keep British, Dutch and other European powers at bay) facing the tropical Atlantic Ocean is just a stunning combination. I’ve been to many, many colonial cities around the world and Viejo San Juan is up there at the top.

EyeTour: Puerto Rico is often advertised as a tourist destination for its resorts, nightlife, and more recently, for its culinary experience. Do you think ecotourism has or will become synonymous with Puerto Rico?

Andrés: I don’t think ecotourism has become synonymous with Puerto Rico unfortunately. Other tropical Latin American countries like Costa Rica and Brasil, among others, have become synonymous with ecotourism because of their incredible natural treasures and most importantly, because of the development of ecotourism infrastructure along with the government’s support and appreciation for the country’s natural resources and genuine ecotourism practices.

There’s a consciousness about it there that extends to the government in some ways and specially the people who value nature. Puerto Rico is gradually getting there but I believe the government has to do its part to educate the masses here about the value of our environment and perhaps the government itself is not truly aware of its value or is just undermining it in preference of short-term profit schemes that cost us our most precious natural resources.

But I do see more environmental activism, which is a great sign and I do hope that PR can become a green ecotourism destination in the near future because the reality is that we have incredible gifts of nature much as other ecotourism destinations, only we contain them within a much more accessible 100 X 35 miles.

EyeTour: What would you write someone who is considering coming to the Caribbean for his or her vacation, but has yet to make his mind on which island to visit?

Andrés: Well, Puerto Rico makes a great case for being the quintessential Caribbean destination. Its got a great mix of cultures and sights, from the classic white sand Caribbean beaches to tropical rain forests to charming colonial city gems like Viejo San Juan and Ponce. Then, there’s the mountains and the unique Puerto Rican culture that brought Salsa to the world. Our friendly people are one of our greatest gifts. It’s a truly warm place in many different ways.

EyeTour: How can people contact you for more information about Atabey Tours?

Andrés: For more information on Atabey Tours, I can easily be reached through our website: www.atabeytours.com by clicking on the “Contact Us” link at the top right side of the page and also by phone (787) 415-1291. We encourage every visitor to experience the real Puerto Rico and wish you the most fun and happy time in our magical island of Enchantment.

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If you’d like your business to be featured on EyeTour.com’s blog, write us at info@eyetour.com. Be sure to include information about your business, including: a short description, contact info, information about rates and special offers, website, and any audio-visual material such as promotional videos, brochures, and/or photographs. By sending us information about your business you acknowledge your rightful ownership of all copyrighted materials sent – EyeTour is not liable for any information published online that has been sent to us without the proper authorization.

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Help El Yunque Become a New 7 Wonders of Nature

Posted on 13 March 2009 by EyeFred

Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest – one of the island’s most visited sites and a treasure trove of natural wonders – has qualified along with 260 other sites around the world to move into the second round of the New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign.  Following the success of The Official New 7 Wonders of the World campaign, which revealed the results of 100 million votes and included The Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal as its winners, the New7Wonders Foundation has begun tallying votes for the world’s most cherished nature sites in hopes of promoting preservation and responsible tourism.

Now officially on its second phase, the campaign is looking to whittle down the selection to the top 77 locales as voted by people through its website.  We think that El Yunque deserves the recognition and we want you to help us by voting for it.  If you’ve already visited the forest, then you don’t need us to tell you about its ecological and scientific significance, about the breathtaking vistas or the rich biodiversity on display.

Here’s a video we produced on how to vote:

However, if you’ve never been to El Yunque National Forest – Don’t worry! EyeTour has you covered. Below you will find information about the forest and its award-winning tourist information center, El Portal.  Click on the pictures or links to watch videos for both sites and learn more about what makes El Yunque unique and worthy of being named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.  Oh, and don’t forget to vote afterwards!

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest is located in

the Sierra de Luquillo Mountains, about 25 miles east of the San Juan area. A short ten-minute drive through the village of Palmer in Río Grande and up PR Road #191 will lead you to El Yunque. Covering over 28,000 acres of land, the forest derives its name from the Taíno word “Yuké” – meaning sacred or white lands. From its peaks, it offers visitors some of the most breathtaking vistas found in the Caribbean. Temperatures range from almost 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the lower parts of the forest to a cool 65 degrees in areas closer to 3,300 feet above sea level.

El Yunque’s biodiversity makes it unique among other forests in the United States National Forest System. Frequent rain showers generate close to 100 billion gallons of rainwater a year and conspire with Puerto Rico’s warm tropical climate to accommodate over 240 species of native trees, 50 species of orchids, and 150 species of ferns. Almost a third of the tree species are native to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and 10 percent of them are endemic to El Yunque and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

The forest’s animal life is dominated by reptiles, amphibians, and birds, including the endangered ‘Higuaca’ or Puerto Rican Parrot. The forest attracts over a million visitors each year, who come to hike its more than 13 miles of trails while enjoying the lush scenery and fresh mountain air. Guided tours of these trails are available through the USDA Forest Service’s innovative “Forest Adventure Tours” and “Rent-A-Ranger” programs.

The core of El Yunque National Forest remains largely untouched to this day and has proven to be an exceptional asset to the world’s scientific community. It not only serves as a leading research site for numerous studies, but also provides a unique window to the past, when the original forest covered Puerto Rico in its entirety. VIEW VIDEO


El Portal Rain Forest Center

El Portal Rain Forest Center was established in 1996 to serve as a gateway into El Yunque National Forest and to provide various recreational and educational opportunities to the general public. Its award-winning design by local architecture firm Sierra Cardona y Ferrer leads visitors across an elevated walkway and into a rain forest introduction area and three pavilions. The pavilions are located on the building’s upper level and offer an opportunity to learn more about El Yunque and its relationship with other tropical rain forests in the world through exhibits and interactive displays. The unique structure also houses an information desk staffed with knowledgeable USDA Forest Service personnel, a theater that regularly screens a short film on El Yunque, and a book store-gift shop. El Portal Rain Forest Center is available for rent after regular operating hours and offers special events such as the ‘Noches de Artes y Música,’ presented on the last Friday of each month.  VIEW VIDEO

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'Area Este' Expansion Begins

Posted on 03 September 2007 by EyeFred

EyeTour Puerto Rico has begun production on its expansion plans for the Island’s ‘Area Este’. Sponsored by INTENE, the eastern expansion will focus initially on the area’s main attractions, such as El Yunque National Forest, Las Cabezas de San Juan, and Piñones.

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