Puerto Rico Photography Adventure

Discuss this workshop

Puerto Rico, known as La Isla del Encanto (The Island of Enchantment), is a tropical and photographer’s paradise. Join us as part of a small group of 8 photographers as we explore Old San Juan, El Yunque Rain Forest, the Fajardo Lighthouse and more.

Puerto Rico has a wide variety of photographic opportunities and is one of the Caribbean’s great travel destinations. Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and cooled by tropical breezes, the island boasts a rich cultural mix of Indian, Spanish, African and Anglo cultures, which together have influenced the island’s music, dance, food, language and architecture.

Our base of operations will be the charming Hotel Casablanca in Old San Juan, located within walking distance of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Spanish Colonial forts, colorful doors, fountains and parks, churches, cobbled streets, and much more.

We will also spend the better part of a day in Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second largest city, where we will photograph turn-of-the-century architecture, Las Delicias Plaza, Ponce’s Cathedral, the red-and-black striped historic firehouse, and a live vejigante model (a colorful, devil-like character with a mask and billowy costume typical of the region).

On another field excursion we will visit the Caribbean National Forest, locally known as El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest managed by the U.S. Forest Service. In El Yunque we will photograph waterfalls, dense forests, bamboo stands, and giant ferns. Afterwards we will visit and photograph the historic Fajardo Lighthouse and surrounding mangroves and beach.

Join travel photographer Efraín M. Padró, a native of Puerto Rico on this photo expedition to the Island of Enchantment.


Saturday, February 16, 2013 (beginning of workshop)*

*Those wishing to arrive a day or two earlier can make reservations directly with the hotel by calling (787) 977-0770. Mention you are with the “Photography Workshop”. Each additional night will cost $104, including taxes. If you have any problems making a reservation ask to speak with Pedro Maldonado.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 (departures)

Port of Entry and Departure

Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)

Link to Airport Information: SJU International

Additional Travel Information

Because Puerto Rico is part of the United States, we will be able to visit this fascinating island without the need to bring a passport, go through customs and immigration, or exchange money. As an added bonus most Puerto Rican speak English (it’s actually one of the two official languages) and they are very friendly and approachable.

How We Will Be Travelling

For your comfort and convenience, for the two field sessions to Ponce and El Yunque/Fajardo, we will travel in a private, 15-seat passenger van with our own chauffer. For the two days we will be photographing in Old San Juan we will walk to the various subjects. Plan on walking a few miles on these days, similar to a round of golf. There are some trolleys in town that we can take if it more convenient for you. Since we’re in town, we are never far from a restroom, drink, or a quick bite to eat.

Broad Overview of Subjects We Will Photograph

Old San Juan (Spanish Colonial architecture, massive defensive walls, churches, plazas, public art, cobblestone streets)

San Felipe del Morro Castle (better known as El Morro)

San Cristobal Castle (largest castle in the Caribbean)

Le Lo Lai Festival at San Cristobal (folkloric dancers and music)

Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque Rain Forest)

Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Preserve (includes pristine mangrove, small beach, and the Fajardo Lighthouse)

Ponce (historic church, colorful firehouse, turn-of-the century architecture, plaza)

Vejigante Model (playful, devil-like character we will photograph in Ponce plaza)

Lots more

We’ll be photographing during sunrise and sunset while in Old San Juan, as well as during twilight since many of the historic buildings, ramparts and plazas are beautifully illuminated at night. The field sessions in El Yunque and Ponce will begin a little later because we will travel there from Old San Juan. There will also be many mid-day photo opportunities for great photography.

Make sure to bring your tripods for tack sharp images of architectural subjects and the rain forest. For other subjects like folkloric dancers and the vejigante model we will be photographing hand-holding our cameras to capture the fast moving action.

On the evening of Wednesday, February 20, we will gather for a farewell dinner (included) in a local restaurant in Old San Juan, where we will sample traditional local dishes like mofongo (mashed plantains seasoned with spices), seafood, and guava slices for dessert. During the dinner we will also have the opportunity to try our salsa dancing skills.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Saturday, February 16: Depart your home airport and arrive at hotel in early afternoon. Meet group and instructors at 4:30 for welcome, introductions and to go over the upcoming schedule.

Sunday, February 17: El Morro Castle, Old San Juan subjects, San Cristobal Castle.

Monday, February 18: Drive to Ponce in a.m. Ponce shoot of cathedral, plaza, firehouse and vejigante. After returning to Old San Juan, late afternoon/twilight shoot along historic walls.

Tuesday, February 19: Twilight shoot at El Morro Castle and San Juan Cemetery. Plaza de Armas and Paseo de la Princesa promenade. In afternoon will visit San Cristobal Castle and Le Lo Lai Festival (1-hour folkloric dancers).

Wednesday, February 20: El Yunque Rain Forest in the morning. Fajardo Lighthouse and surrounding mangrove in the afternoon. Farewell dinner in Old San Juan.


- The schedule is subject to change depending on weather and other factors.

- All participants will be required to review and sign a liability release before the start of the workshop.

  • You will learn

    • Travel Photography
    • Field instruction from our professional photographer instructor
    • Photography in a small group environment
    • Composition tips for architectural, landscape and event photography
    • The history and culture of a fascinating Caribbean island
    • Why the chicken crossed the road (seriously)
  • What to bring

  • Required

    • Enthusiasm (no weight limit on this one)
    • Camera
    • Tripod
    • Zoom lenses ranging from about 16mm (wide angle) to about 200-300mm
    • Cable shutter release
    • Circular polarizing filter and graduated ND filters
    • Extra batteries for camera and all electronics
    • Extra media cards
    • Warm weather clothing (expect temperatures to range between 75 and 85 degrees on a daily basis)
    • Comfortable walking shoes (no hiking boots required)
    • Travel umbrella for rainforest excursion.
  • Optional

    • Back-up camera
    • Flash
    • Small flash light (for twilight/night photography)
    • Laptop for downloading and viewing photos
  • What is provided

    • Five nights lodging in Old San Juan hotel
    • Van Transportation to Ponce and El Yunque/Fajardo Lighthouse
    • Vejigante model fees
    • All entrance fees (Old San Juan forts, Fajardo Lighthouse, El Yunque Rain Forest)
    • Box lunch at rain forest
    • Two full breakfasts (on the two days we travel outside Old San Juan)
    • Photography instruction by professional photographers
    • Farewell dinner and salsa lessons
    • Any applicable photography permits in OId San Juan
  • Venue Information

      Please check your venue by specific city area location.


Explore Puerto Rico with Efrain Padro, the lead photographer for Frommer's Puerto Rico Day by Day travel guide.


Puerto Rico Photography Adventure workshops are provided in the following locations:

City Area Date Instructor Price (Member) Price (Non-Member)
Puerto Rico 16-FEB-2013 Efrain M Padro $2400 $2640 Sold out

Member prices are only applicable to Nikonians Silver, Gold and Platinum Members. Non-members can register as Nikonians members here. Nikonians Basic members can upgrade the membership level here. Membership payments help sustain the growth of the Nikonians community and its services such as the Nikonians Academy.