In 2017, Hurricane Maria whipped through the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico with tornado-level winds, drenching the island with intense flooding, crippling communications, and decimating countless homes. With the whole island affected, the relief and recovery efforts were slow to start and have never reached the massive scale needed to fully recover. Now, despite the initial storm hitting over 3 years ago, Puerto Ricans have also experienced a massive earthquake and many are still trying to recover.
In order to help and encourage this island community who have been through so much, we're continuing to partner with volunteer groups on Puerto Rico relief trips in 2021 and beyond. If you are looking for an opportunity to make a tangible impact on the lives of real people in need, this will be a great trip for your group. Will your team come alongside the people of this often forgotten territory on a 2021 Puerto Rico relief trip?
Also check out Hurricane Relief Trips to the Bahamas
In Puerto Rico we partner with a local organization called Hunger Corp to support teams like you who help families recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.
Home Repairs: On a standard 7-day trip you will assist local families who have homes that were damaged by Hurricane Maria. Your projects will consist of essential home repairs such as replacing roofs that were destroyed in the storm. Your team could literally be the difference between whether a family is sleeping under a leaking tarp or in a dry home. Not only will you be meeting a need but you will be bringing hope in the midst of suffering!
Your work in Puerto Rico will be physical manual labor, but there are opportunities for teams of all different skill levels to serve. EM/Hunger Corp staff will be available for instruction/oversight, and local skilled workers will be hired to work with your team. That being said if you are able to bring professional contractors or individuals with construction experience that is helpful and it will increase the effectiveness of your team.
Home Building: If you are able to serve on a longer 11-day trip you will have the opportunity to help with a house that EM/Hunger Corp teams will build from the ground up. These houses will be built for families who lost their entire homes, and they are designed by professionals who have engineered them to last through future hurricanes. Depending on the skills of your team you probably won't be able to complete the house within the duration of your trip, but you can expect to see significant progress. You may have the opportunity to start a brand new home or continue work on a home that has already been started by another team. If you are interested in an 11-day trip please indicate this on your interest form.
*Experience Mission works closely with local leaders to identify work projects and ministry opportunities that address authentic needs within the community. We ask that you come with a servant's heart and willingness to adapt to the unique qualities represented in each location. Opportunities can vary significantly from one week to the next. Your team may work at one location or serve at multiple locations each day. Due to the changing needs of our community partners, we cannot confirm your specific activities until your team arrives.
You will be staying at a local home in Dorado, Puerto Rico. This house is a place of respite after a long, hard day of work. With a pool and a close walk (4 blocks!) from the beach you will get to rest and enjoy after working hard.
You will sleep in a gated house. Twin size beds or air mattresses will be provided. Sleeping quarters will include rooms inside a quad building (each quad has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room — each sleep about 16 people). Teams on weeks with over 40 volunteers should be prepared to have some team members sleep on air mattresses.
Showers will be available at the house where you are staying.
There will be modern toilet facilities at the house.
There will be drinkable tap water available at the house.
After Hurricane Maria, most of Puerto Rico was under a blackout. There is no way to know exactly when electricity will be fully functioning on the island, but the house where you will be staying will have a generator if electricity is an issue during your trip. This means that you can expect to have electricity at your lodging facilities without any major issues.
A team of Puerto Ricans will be preparing and serving meals for your team. You will have an ample selection of tasty food. You can expect to be served breakfast and dinner at the church, and you will pack sack lunches to bring with you to work each day.
Destination Airport: San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
You as a team are responsible to cover the cost of your round trip airfare to the San Juan airport and should make plans to arrive after lunch on the first day of your selected trip.
Return travel should be arranged with your flight departing before 12pm on the last day of your selected trip. If you have trouble finding flights that fit into this time frame please contact us before booking your tickets to make special arrangements.
Upon arrival in Puerto Rico, all ground transportation is included in the cost of your trip.
We will be staying at a local home we are renting long term in the Dorado area and you can expect to have transportation from the airport, to the worksites, and back to the airport at the end of the trip. We will not be able to accommodate special trips outside of driving to and from the worksite during the week, but teams are within walking distance to restaurants, shops, and the beach from the house.
Because Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States you do not need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico!
All Summer Staff are certified in First Aid and CPR.
Medical kits that include first-aid supplies for general accidents and ailments are provided for each site. In international locations, we will also carry a Trauma Kit or First Responder Kit. In these remote locations, we will have medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl, and Imodium on hand. We make these available to adult team leaders for their sole discretionary use with their team members. EM Staff will not dispense any medications.
Emergency Response Plan
Based on the severity of each emergency, EM has a plan for appropriate response.
- If a team member becomes seriously ill, they will be taken to a local doctor to receive appropriate medical attention and medications. If they are a minor, their Team Leader along with our staff will accompany them to the clinic. If needed, their parents will be contacted. Their recovery will be carefully monitored by our staff.
- If there is an accident that requires a doctor, but is not life-threatening and does not have the potential to cause permanent damage, Experience Mission staff will locate the Team Leader, contact parents or guardians (providing the injured is a minor), and provide safe but quick transportation to a local clinic.
- In the event that an accident occurs which is life-threatening or has the potential for permanent damage, emergency medical care will be secured and arraignments will be made if necessary, to transport the injured person to the United States as quickly as possible providing they are serving in one of our International locations. In our domestic locations, local 9-1-1 services will be contacted immediately. The family will be contacted immediately to assist in guidance for an appropriate response.
All medical care is the sole responsibility of the team member. Experience Mission requires every team member to be covered by domestic medical insurance and recommends that team members traveling abroad carry additional international travel insurance to cover any medical needs their domestic medical insurance may not cover.
As with all mission trips, it is essential that volunteers are up to date on all childhood immunizations. Each volunteer must also have a tetanus shot.
For more information about health concerns and recommended immunizations, you can visit the CDC travelers guide to Puerto Rico. You should consult your local doctor prior to receiving any immunizations.
Experience Mission has specific policies regarding team registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.
All volunteers on this week-long EM mission trip must be part of a team of at least fifteen (15) people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. Smaller teams of 3 or more may partner alongside a larger group if one is already registered. See "Small Teams Trips" below for available dates. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EM's IMMERSION program.
What age group can you accommodate in Puerto Rico?
These trips are open for high school age youth and older. Because of the nature of the work there, we are unable to make many exceptions. View all EM mission trips for Jr. High students.
How much do Puerto Rico mission trips cost?
The cost of this trip in 2021 is $799/person. This includes all lodging, food, ground transportation, staffing, and trip-related expenses. Note that all construction projects are generally provided at no cost to families. Your fees help cover this blessing for homeowners.
What seasons do you offer Puerto Rico mission trips?
Trips to Puerto Rico take place in the spring and summer. To see more spring options, check out this list of all available spring break trips.
What will volunteers do on Puerto Rico mission trips?
Ministry in Puerto Rico is specifically focused on home repair and clean up after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, but there is also an intentional relational aspect. Teams often work alongside local Puerto Rican volunteers throughout the workweek. We also host a Thursday community BBQ after the work week where you'll get to celebrate with the community members and volunteers all of the hard work that was done that week Monday through Thursday are intense workdays where you and your teammates could find yourself on a variety of stages of the home-building process, depending on your skill level.
Will we work with children in Puerto Rico?
Because the housing needs are so great in Puerto Rico, we are currently focusing our efforts entirely on construction. There will be various opportunities to engage with local families in the community, and taking breaks to get to know these families (and children) during the workweek is highly encouraged.
What paperwork is required for this mission trip?
Each team member will need to fill out a team member registration form and liability waiver, and all adults are required to pass a background check. Your mission trip support representative will contact you if any other paperwork is required.
Where will my mission team stay in Puerto Rico?
Teams will stay at a home nearby in Dorado, Puerto Rico. Your mission trip support representative will be able to provide you with specific details 30 days prior to your trip.
How does transportation work during Puerto Rico mission trips?
Ground transportation is included for our Puerto Rico trips. Experience Mission community partners will pick your team up at SJU airport, arrange transportation for all trip-related activities, and return you back to the airport at the end of the week.
What time should I arrive on the first day in Puerto Rico?
Teams are asked to arrive after lunch on the first day of their selected trip and book flights no later than 12pm on the last day to return home. Please let us know if you will not be able to book flights in this timeframe so we can ensure ground transportation for your team.
Can I extend my stay through the weekend?
We are unable to accommodate teams after Friday morning. We encourage teams who are interested in experiencing the tourism options in Puerto Rico to book a hotel and rent vehicles to stay longer. This is a unique and meaningful way to support the once-thriving tourism industry as the locals continue to rebuild.
Will I need a passport for a Puerto Rico mission trip?
No! US citizens only need to show a valid drivers license or state ID. For more information, contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
What do I pack for a Puerto Rico mission trip?
A packing list will be available to you once you register for your trip. Generally, be prepared to bring work clothes. All construction tools will be provided to you.
Does EM offer any other disaster relief mission trips?
Yes! In 2021, EM is also offering relief trip opportunities to The Bahamas.
Have more questions about Experience Mission trips? Check out our general FAQs, or call our support team at 888-475-6414.
Fill out a Group Interest Form for the trip you're most interested in
We'll help you find and plan the best trip for your group!
Serve together on a life-changing Mission Trip
Fill out a Group Interest Form for the trip you're most interest in
We'll help you find and plan the best trip for your group!
Serve together on a life-changing Mission Trip
You must have a group size of at least 15 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 15 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.