Decolonized Tours

Thank you for your interest in the 2021 Decolonized Tours. Both tours are full and we do not have a waitlist. We are limited in the number of attendees due to COVID restrictions as well as the desire to not overwhelm the places and communities we are visiting with an influx of visitors. 


As we prepare for the ASHE 2021 Conference, we want to invite you all to engage with one of the ASHE Decolonized Tours that will be offered this year. The Decolonized Tours were developed as a part of the collective work of the Local and Community Engagement Committee as a way to engage ASHE members attending the 2021 conference in critical reflection on land, place, settler colonialism, and contentious spaces. The impetus for these tours emerged from deep, critical reflection on our responsibilities as visitors to Puerto Rico, our desires to disrupt settler logics, and our commitments to being in right relationship with the land, water, and people of Puerto Rico. 

Inspired by Robin Minthorn and Christine Nelson’s critical scholarship on colonized and racist campus tours (Minthorn & Nelson, 2018), we sought to develop a critical engagement with Puerto Rico that disrupts settler colonial narratives. The goal of these tours was to reimagine how we create meaningful and intentional visitation with local communities in Puerto Rico by centering Indigenous peoples and histories, sites and stories of resistance, and the complex and nuanced cultures of the people of Puerto Rico. Through the Decolonized Tours, we invite you to embrace the opportunity and responsibilities of learning with and being in community with the people and land of Puerto Rico.

We have co-constructed two, day-long tours outside of San Juan to provide ASHE members with critical understandings of the Puerto Rican community. Tours will be led by expert guides who have worked alongside the LCEC and ASHE conference leadership team in thoughtful and critical ways to ensure intentionality in our planning. Throughout the planning process we worked to center considerations for our impact on local communities, visiting outside of the San Juan metro area, Indigenous cultural values, COVID safety protocols, availability of gender neutral  bathrooms, and issues of accessibility. We hope that what we have co-constructed provides the ASHE community with an opportunity to join us in critical reflection on our relationships, connection, and responsibility to place as we engage with the contours of Puerto Rico’s history and people.  


The Decolonized Tours are sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and the University of Michigan:

   


Decolonized Tour of El Yunque & Loiza

Visit the only Tropical Rain Forest in the US Forest System and connect with nature; spanning 29,000 acres with its highest peak overCollage of brick tower with three windows on three stories; legs and feet walking on a trail; a river with rocks and trees; and a red flower among trees 3,500 ft. over sea level, El Yunque formerly known as the Caribbean National Forest. Originally set aside in 1876 by the Spanish Crown, the Forest represents one of the oldest reserves in the Western Hemisphere. With over 240 species (26 species are found nowhere else) of trees and plants. The Forest contains rare wildlife such as the Puerto Rican Parrot, which is one of the ten most endangered species of birds in the world. 

Our first stop will take you to the top of Yokahu Tower for a 360-degree view of the forest.

  • The Tower includes about 90 stairs to the top.

The second stop is Angelito Walking Trail. On the trail, your guide will share interesting facts about the abundant flora and fauna in the forest.

  • This is mostly a gravel and dirt walking trail and is 0.7 miles. 

This trail leads to Las Damas natural pool where you can swim in the crystal-clear and refreshing waters or just sit back and enjoy the natural beauty and tranquil sounds of the Rainforest.

  • Las Damas is an 8 foot deep natural pool.
  • If attendees plan to get into the water, they should bring a towel and change of clothes. There will be an opportunity to change at the El Yunque Tree House.

Before leaving El Yunque, attendees will enjoy lunch in the El Yunque Tree house. 

After spending the morning in El Yunque, enjoy an immersive cultural experience at Parque Historico Cueva Maria de La Cruz. Located in Loiza, a town just east of San Juan and on the northern coast of Puerto Rico.

The first stop in Loiza will be Maria de la Cruz cave (Cueva Maria de la Cruz), a significant historical site that highlights the Taino people and the area’s cultural history. Following the completion of the archaeological studies of the cave, the cave and surrounding land were turned into a community area for everyone to enjoy. It has become a Historical Park, where you learn a little about the area’s cultural history.  

  • The cave is a fairly open area and is reported to measures 50 meters wide, 25 meters deep, and 30 meters high.

After the cave tour, attendees will engage in an interactive Bomba workshop. 

Schedule

8:50 am Gather at the hotel lobby. Load buses
9:00 am Transfer to El Yunque
10:00 am El Yunque
  • Yokahu Tower
  • Angelito walking trail
  • Lunch at El Yunque Treehouse
1:30 pm Transfer to Parque Histórico Cueva Maria de la Cruz
2:00 pm Parque Histórico Cueva Maria de la Cruz
  • Bomba Workshop
  • Cave Tour
3:30 pm​ Return to hotel
4:00 pm Estimated time of arrival at the hotel

 

Details

Tour Schedule 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Suggested Attire
  • bathing suit already on
  • closed toe shoes for hiking, No flip-flops
  • towels
  • back-pack
  • change of clothes
  • sunscreen
Activity Impact low to moderate
Tour capacity 22 participants--We are holding 10 spots for graduate students at a discounted rate.
  • ASHE Member Price: $50
  • ASHE Graduate Student Member Price: $25
Accessibility This tour includes a bus trip, a tour through a rain forest, dancing, and a tour of a cave. The tour can be made accessible on an individual basis. Please contact ASHE Executive Director Jason Guilbeau at jason@ashe.ws to discuss accommodation requests.

Please note that sites along this tour will include gendered restrooms.
COVID Precautions As with regulations requiring a COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter Puerto Rico, tour attendees will also be expected to have a COVID vaccination and/or negative COVID test (ASHE strongly recommends both). Throughout the tour, attendees will be required to wear a mask when in indoor spaces and when social distancing isn't possible in outdoor spaces.

Decolonized Tour of Tibes and Ponce

This tour will visit The Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center (Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes, in Spanish) and the city of Ponce in the south-west of Puerto Rico.

Tibes is the most important archaeological site in the Caribbean. The Tibes Indian Ceremonial Park was uncovered in 1975 after the river flooded and washed away some of the topsoil. Archaeological excavations have discovered artifacts from civilizations from around 25AD. Every year, archaeologists return to the Center to do more excavations and research. So far, they have uncovered 9 ball fields (bateys), 186 burial sites, and 3 ceremonial plazas.

  • This visit will include a tour of the Tibes Center. Participants should be aware that the center includes a display of human remains.
  • We will also tour the Ceremonial Park, which includes walking over a bridge across a river and a few hundred yards of the Ceremonial Park.

After the morning tour, attendees will enjoy lunch at La Potoroca in downtown Ponce.

After lunch, you will explore Ponce with our cultural walk in the historic heart of "the most Puerto Rican city." Wander through the streets, and learn about the history and significant events that shaped what was once the largest and richest city of Puerto Rico. Learn about resistance movements, the Ponce Massacre, and explore the art that reflects the heart of this historic city.We will talk about events, people, music, architecture and much more through downtown Ponce. Discover why Ponce is known as the "Pearl of the South". Discover why "Ponce is Ponce."

  • This walking tour is about 1.5 hours and covered more than one mile of walking throughout downtown Ponce. While the sidewalks do have ramps, many have been damaged through hurricanes and earthquakes.

Schedule

8:50 am Gather at the hotel lobby. Load buses
9:00 am Transfer to Parque Ceremonial Tibes
10:30 am Guided tour of Parque Ceremonial Tibes
11:45 am Transfer to lunch
12:00-1:30 pm Lunch at La Potoroca
1:30-3:00 pm Walking Tour of Ponce
3:30 pm​ Return transfer
5:00 pm Estimated time of arrival at the hotel

Details

Tour Schedule 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Suggested Attire
  • light comfortable clothing and shoes (No flip-flops)
  • sunscreen
  • hat
  • sunglasses
Activity Impact low to moderate
Tour capacity 22 participants--We are holding 10 spots for graduate students at a discounted rate.
  • ASHE Member Price: $50
  • ASHE Graduate Student Member Price: $25
Accessibility This tour includes a bus trip, a tour of an outdoor ceremonial site and a tour of a historic city with some ADA accommodations (e.g., sidewalk ramps). The tour can be made accessible on an individual basis. Please contact ASHE Executive Director Jason Guilbeau at jason@ashe.ws to discuss accommodation requests.

Please note that sites along this tour will include gendered restrooms.
COVID Precautions As with regulations requiring a COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter Puerto Rico, tour attendees will also be expected to have a COVID vaccination and/or negative COVID test (ASHE strongly recommends both). Throughout the tour, attendees will be required to wear a mask when in indoor spaces and when social distancing isn't possible in outdoor spaces.