Tag Archives: living in Puerto Rico

Spotlight City: Cabo Rojo

Don’t Miss Cabo Rojo!

If you are considering traveling to Puerto Rico, are new to the island, or just need a diversion from your daily routine in the metropolitan area, head to Cabo Rojo! Cabo Rojo, located on the very Southwestern tip of the island, is a small community that offers big time views. Those views, and much more, make Cabo Rojo a must-see despite its distance from San Juan.

Although a trip to Cabo Rojo and back can be completed in a day, it’s a long day of driving so most people make a weekend of it, staying in one of the many small hotels or paradors in the area. Grand Bahía Ocean View Hotel, one of these hotels, is sandwiched between the salt flats and the mangroves, providing a secluded area from which to watch the sun set. The chefs and wait staff at the on-site restaurant, Agua al Cuello, never fail to give you an unforgettable dining experience of fresh seafood and delectable desserts.

From the pool deck of Grand Bahía Ocean View Hotel you can see the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse off to the left. This is an ideal place for photographers and travel enthusiasts. El Faro Los Morillos (as it is called in Spanish) was constructed in 1882 to help sailors through the Mona Passage. Today it is one of Puerto Rico’s most picturesque sights. Set high above the Caribbean waters atop limestone cliffs, the Cabo Rojo lighthouse stands as a beacon summoning visitors and residents alike. Be sure to bring your camera because these are images you won’t want to forget. And keep children near you at all times since there are no guardrails to protect them.

On the other side of the lighthouse is Playa Sucia, a secluded beach for a refreshing dip after climbing the hill to the lighthouse. This inlet in the Caribbean Ocean is a favorite among locals, but can be a challenge to get to if you have kids or lots to carry. Our recommendation would be to pack light because the path is not always accessible via automobile. That way you can truly relax beachfront and enjoy the incredible view and warm sunshine.

For nature enthusiasts, the area also features the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge. Those up for a good hike will witness native birds and plants while wandering through the subtropical dry forest. In and around the Interpretive Center (open Thursday through Sunday) you can get more details about the history of the area, including the salt flats, as well as the birds that frequent the area. Guides are also available for a fee. Be sure to bring your sunscreen, bug spray, and water and wear appropriate clothing for hiking! The trails are not long, but the sun is hot!

As you can see, for rest and relaxation, Cabo Rojo is where it’s at! Make sure to include it on your Puerto Rican bucket list!

Watch for other Spotlight City posts from around Puerto Rico courtesy of your Relocation Specialist in Puerto Rico, Global Perceptions!




Who are we? What do we do? Get to know Global Perceptions!


Who are we? What do we do? Get to know Global Perceptions!

By: Julie L. Parenteau, Ph.D.



If you are new to Puerto Rico or are thinking of moving here, we are a crucial resource for you. Whether coming alone, with family, or with your small business, we provide what you need from start to finish. Learn more about who we are and what we do at this link.



Intrigued? Want to know more? Contact our relocation experts to start planning your move to Puerto Rico!

Vegan food options in Vieques, Puerto Rico!

New to Puerto Rico? Struggling to find healthy food alternatives? Try these tasty ideas for your visit to Vieques!


Lighthouse in Vieques

Lighthouse in Vieques

For additional relocation assistance following your move to Puerto Rico, please contact Global Perceptions. We provide relocation and language learning programs for your whole family as well as corporate communication training. Contact us today!



5 Tips for Bringing Fall to Life as an Expat

A healthy fall treat that will leave your house smelling heavenly!

5 Tips for Bringing Fall to Life as an Expat

By: Julie L. Parenteau, Ph.D., Owner/President of Global Perceptions


Fall is my favorite time of year. There’s something about the cool, crisp air ushering in the season that makes me feel renewed. Sipping hot chocolate after Friday night high school football games and picking apples from a nearby orchard add to my giddiness. Or at least

A healthy fall treat that will leave your house smelling heavenly!

A healthy fall treat that will leave your house smelling heavenly!

they did! Since moving to Puerto Rico eight years ago, I have seen precious little of the colorful trees shining in the setting sun. In Puerto Rico, there is only a slight difference from one season to another. So slight in fact, that I forget that seasons even change. That’s a pretty big change for a Midwestern girl accustomed to greeting the seasons with gusto.

Despite my change of venue, I have found ways to bring my favorite season to life, even in the Caribbean! Here are my top 5 ways to keep fall alive for expatriates living in Puerto Rico and other tropical locations.


1) Watch American Football

I am a HUGE Green Bay Packers fan! It’s hard to grow up in Wisconsin and not be. If American football is one of your passions, carry it to your new home and watch your team with local fans. Win or lose, cheer or jeer, get together as a family over nachos and chili, just like home. Sometimes even just the consistent schedule of games will help you recreate the fall feeling.


2) Bake, Bake, Bake

Get our your mixer and have a bake-a-thon! Fall without recipes made of pumpkin, apple and cranberry just wouldn’t be fall. Let the scents of cakes, breads, cookies, pies and muffins waft through your house, creating a sensation that transports you to the coziness of a fireplace-heated living room. Imagine yourself wearing flannel pajamas as you crack

A healthy fall treat that will leave your house smelling heavenly!

A healthy fall treat that will leave your house smelling heavenly!

eggs, even though you are likely in shorts and a tank top. If you think ahead, you can even have pumpkin spice and butterscotch shipped right to your door via online shopping! And you’ll have something delicious to eat afterward!


3) Buy a new sweater

The feel of a new sweater is such a fall thing. The softness and warmth that it emits even while on the store rack beckons the aimless shopper. Cashmere, knit, wool….they all call out, promising to comfort in the best and worst of times. And somehow you know that whether it’s a cool gray or warm cranberry color, you will be comforted by its thread.


4) Pick up scented candles

When you start dreaming of enjoying Saturday afternoon walks in the park, listening to the crunch of the fallen leaves beneath your hiking boots, you know it’s time to find a

Sometimes giving into  your desires is the best thing you can do!

Sometimes giving into your desires is the best thing you can do!

substitute. Candles work wonders! Pick up something that screams FALL to you. I personally like apple-scented candles, but there are lots to pick from. Find one that works for you and light it!


5) Get on the plane

For those times when the nostalgia simply takes over and you have to see, feel, hear, taste and touch the fall, get on the plane and reward yourself with a few days in a place that offers just what you need. Consider a trip mid-October to early November in places like Washington, D.C. or Kansas City. The temperatures still aren’t too cold during the day, but they offer crisp nights perfect for trying out that new sweater.


For more ideas on making your transition to Puerto Rico a positive experience, consult with the Relocation Specialists at Global Perceptions! We have the local experience, but the global reach. Visit us TODAY at http://global-perceptions.com/


“Linked to the My Global Life Link-Up at SmallPlanetStudio.com” – See more at: http://www.smallplanetstudio.com/2014/09/26/september-mygloballife-link-up/#sthash.UM54udoA.dpuf

Dancing Through the Adaptation Process

Dancing Through the Adaptation Process

by Julie L. Parenteau, Ph.D., President of Global Perceptions


As a newcomer in Puerto Rico, I was looking for ways to immerse myself in the local language and culture so that my cultural adaptation process would be a little smoother and so I would be a more credible intercultural communication professor. One of the things that really intrigued me about Puerto Rican culture was salsa dancing. I asked around on campus and one of my students told me about a place nearby that was starting salsa lessons. I vowed to find out more. The following week, my cultural orientation to life in Puerto Rico grew to include what would become an incredible personal passion. Let me tell you how it all started….

Y todo comenzo....

Y todo comenzo….

Seeing the line of people standing outside the local club, I feel anxiety rise within me. I took some salsa lessons in the States, but this is Puerto Rico, home of all things related to salsa, and that alone makes me nervous. Stepping out of the car, I slowly walk the dark street to join the line. I have no idea what I will find inside, but I am hopeful. I love salsa music and the dances that accompany the music so this will be an adventure. The line moves and within minutes I walk into the space. Noticing how many people are inside already, I wonder, “Is it really possible that all of these people fit in here? And how can we dance like this?” Looking around, I spot another American guy and walk up to introduce myself. He greets me and tells me he’s from Iowa. “What a coincidence,” I think, “another Midwesterner who looks like me and lives here, but speaks fluent Spanish and is interested in salsa dancing.” I didn’t think there were any other people like me around so this is a nice twist. We talk for another minute before the instructor steps onto the stage.

“Damas y caballeros, bienvenidos a nuestra primera clase de salsa,” the instructor begins adjusting the microphone attached to his lapel.

salsa cambio en clave

Cambio en Clave! The key to my success!

The wide-eyed audience looks at him, waiting for the first step. My new friend and I get into a line of people and face the instructor.

“Uno, dos, tres, cinco, seis, siete.”

Trying to see around all the others in front of us, our feet begin to move. “Oh yeah, I remember this!” Thankful for the previous lessons, I blend into the rest of the group as much as a white girl can. The class continues as we learn the first few steps. This part is easy.

“Ahora vamos a hacer las vueltas,” the instructor calls with a smile in his eyes.

Uncertainty waves through the audience as everyone starts talking to each other about how difficult turns are. Personally, I am wondering how we’re going to attempt turns when we’re packed in this space so tightly. Then I think about how easily Puerto Ricans fit their cars into the most impossible places and figure that if they dance like they park, this won’t be so bad. With a quick reminder of the order of the steps, I catch on. “Gosh have I missed this,” I admit. Feeling a bit nostalgic, I look around at the other people. Most people seem to be getting the idea. There is one guy however, who just can’t seem to make his feet move in the right order. Believing that I have enough skills at this point to teach him this basic turn, I offer to help him. After a couple of minutes he is turning on his own. “Mission accomplished!” I gloat, wondering if he ever thought a gringa would be teaching him salsa.

Putting new moves to the test!

Putting new moves to the test!

As the class comes to an end, I look to my American friend and ask if he’ll be back next week. He assures me that he’ll be there and we part ways. I drive home thinking that maybe despite all the other issues that I’m having, something about this country has redeeming value. I commit to making space in my schedule to participate in these salsa lessons each week because they make me believe that there is hope for me on this island.


Adapting to a new culture is challenging for all. If you are thinking of moving to Puerto Rico, I can help. I have been through the adaptation process in personal and professional settings and want to help you avoid the pitfalls that I discovered along the way. Don’t hestitate! REACH OUT TODAY and learn what it takes to successfully adapt to the culture and language of Puerto Rico!

Global Perceptions is a full-service communication and relocation consulting business based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. For more information on our services, visit www.global-perceptions.com or call 787.455.7764.

Cultural Orientation Services for Your Relocation to Puerto Rico

Global Perceptions offers the complete package! By Julie L. Parenteau, Ph.D.


Have you had a cultural orientation program for your move to Puerto Rico that left you with more questions than answers? Have you had a poor experience with your relocation agent? Have your family members struggled to adjust to the life and culture of Puerto Rico? Has your job as an expatriate executive been impacted as a result? Do you feel left out because language lessons were not included in your relocation package?

Come and see the jewel of the Caribbean!

Come and see the jewel of the Caribbean!

If this has been your Puerto Rican relocation experience, then we are glad that you have discovered Global Perceptions. Our custom-designed services offer you and your family members thorough, honest, and ethical cultural orientation programs. We assess the needs of your family and then design cultural orientation training curriculum to meet those needs. We make certain that everyone, down to your treasured family pet, knows what it takes to successfully adapt to life in Puerto Rico.

But we do not stop there! We also provide language learning courses for all ages. We want you to adapt to your new culture effectively and recognize the need for language

Our President teaching an English Class

Our President teaching an English Class

skills to achieve this goal. For this reason, we offer individual and group language courses for both Spanish and English learners. Classes focus on teaching you to communicate in everyday situations as you work to adjust, while also helping you understand what others are saying.

Additionally, Global Perceptions works with expatriate executives to increase their understanding of what it means to work with local employees. As newcomers in the local culture, learning business etiquette and protocol is essential to obtaining corporate objectives. We know that and work with you to navigate this important piece of the relocation process. Your success is imperative to us!

Global Perceptions offers you and your family the complete cultural orientation package. We know what it takes to successfully adjust to the culture of Puerto Rico because we have been through that process ourselves. Our staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as you adapt to living in Puerto Rico.

Do not wait! Contact us TODAY! Register for our FREE newsletter and learn more about our services at http://www.global-perceptions.com/

Importance of cultural adaptation training in Puerto Rico

window in old san juanThe day has come! Your big move to Puerto Rico is before you! Your entire family, including the family pet have landed on the Island of Enchantment with visions of days spent on the beach in your heads. Just beyond those wishful thoughts, it’s likely that there’s also some uncertainty, confusion, or even disbelief swimming around. Even though Puerto Rico falls under the government policies of the United States, it is not the United States. Things work differently here and if you want to understand how they work, one of the best ways is to participate in a cultural adaptation training program. Cultural trainers, like those at Global Perceptions, offer insight and experience that only those who have been through the adaptation process can really understand.

Take it from me, Dr. Julie Parenteau, President of Global Perceptions, living in Puerto Rico without any cultural or linguistic knowledge makes life very difficult. When I moved here in 2006 communicating with native Puerto Ricans was extremely challenging both because I had trouble understanding them, and because they didn’t understand the words I learned during 10 years of Spanish instruction. Not having a corporate sponsor also forced me to do everything on my own. If I had had a Global Perceptions cultural training program, I would have understood more and had fewer problems during my cultural transition.

Without such a program, I spent the first three years perpetually lost. It didn’t matter where I went, I would get turned around all because I didn’t understand where anything was in relation to anything else. I got in the wrong lines, wound up in areas where a single woman shouldn’t have been, spent much more than necessary for everyday services, and generally felt frustrated.

playa sucia

This doesn’t have to be your experience! Don’t allow yourself to agonize and lose sleep over your relocation to Puerto Rico. Make the decision today to invest in yourself with our cultural adaptation training programs! Puerto Rico is an amazing country with so much to offer, so let us help you navigate your trip.


For more information about cultural adaptation training programs offered by Global Perceptions, your relocation authority in Puerto Rico, contact us at 787.455.7764 or visit our webpage: www.globalperceptions.net. We will happily prepare a proposal free of charge!

Puerto Rico Events 2013: Mark your calendars!

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that 2013 is already here! As we bring in the new year, I’d like to call your attention to some of the upcoming events taking place in Puerto Rico this year. Make plans to attend one or all! These events are sure to please!


Festival de  la Calle de San Sebastian

This street festival takes place in Old San Juan and marks the official end of the Christmas holiday season. During the day attendees visit the booths of artisans selling their crafts while vejigantes wander the streets in their brightly colored costumes and masks. At night the area comes alive with bands of all kinds. Dancing

and partying until the morning hours can be expected. This is a very popular festival, which means that getting into the area can be difficult. Taking public transportation from one of the designated park and ride areas is advised.


Every year the city of Ponce shines with the celebration of Carnaval. This week-long celebration begins February 6th and lasts until the 12th, welcoming the season of Lent. Although other towns also have celebrations, Ponce’s festival is said to be the most authentic display of Puerto Rican culture. Vejigantes walk through the town on stilts to the tunes of bomba and plena music. Their costumes include papier mache horned-masks and cow bladders that they use as noisemakers. Kids and adults will enjoy the enthusiasm of this cultural experience!


World Baseball Classic

It’s back for the first time in five years! The World Baseball Classic Tournament will kick off with a series of games here in San Juan. Games are slated for March 7th-10th at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium near Plaza Las Americas. Competitors include: the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Spain, and hometown favorite, Puerto Rico. Many major leaguers come out to play for their respective home countries so this is a great chance to see top players in a local venue. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketpop centers or on their website.

International Salsa Congress

If your new year’s resolutions include getting in shape, this would be a great time to start taking salsa lessons. By the time the International Salsa Congress comes at the end of July, you’ll be a professional! This event brings together salsa dancers of all ages from around the world to participate in competitions and generally enjoy dancing salsa. The San Juan Hotel and Casino will play host again this year from July 23rd-27th. Even if you would prefer watching to dancing, come on out! You’ll meet people from around the world and witness amazing acts while hearing some of the top salsa bands.

Many more events also take place throughout the island during the year. These include the Puerto Rico Open Golf Tournament, the Heineken Jazz Fest, and the many local patron saints festivals. Check back to see dates for these and other events as details are confirmed.


This information is brought to you by Global Perceptions, your relocation specialist in Puerto Rico. Read more of our articles at www.relocationspecialistpuertorico.com. For more information about our services, visit www.globalperceptions.net or call 787.455.7764.

System Evolution or Increased Personal Experience?

Transitioning from one culture to another typically requires multiple visits to government agencies for anything from driver’s licenses to health insurance cards to tax filing procedures. Being an expat in Puerto Rico is no different. Upon arriving in 2006, I was perplexed by the incredible number of steps I had to go through to begin work. The standard driver’s license and social security card were not enough. Instead, I had to have a health exam, prove that I didn’t owe any back taxes on my salary or property (even though I didn’t own property), get recommendation letters, and complete five other official documents requesting personal information.

Being new to the island, I had no idea what these various certifications were, where to find them, or what acronyms like CRIM stood for. I was completely lost. I remember walking into Hacienda in Old San Juan mid-morning and being told that I would have to come back another day because all of the appointments for the day had already filled up. I was aghast. How could all the appointments be filled at 9:30am?!

I also had to visit CRIM (Centro de Recaudación de Ingresos Municipales) which is hidden down an alley-like road in Santurce. I was so lost. Finally I ended up parking my car somewhere I felt safe and walking at least a mile. I still didn’t know where I was going so asked several people along the way until I finally found the office. My broken Spanish helped me get there and then aided me in finding which office I needed. When I got there, the line was incredibly long. It took much longer than I would have expected to get to the counter only to be told that I was in the wrong line. I wanted to cry. I had had enough of this so-called system. Eventually I left with the paper that I needed, but my spirit was completely depleted. I never wanted to experience something like that again.

Six years later, I found myself in a position where I had to obtain a number of similar documents once again. I was told that I needed all of the documents by noon the following day. I thought “You’ve got to be kidding! There’s no way I can do that!” Thinking this mission was literally impossible; I awoke early the next day and ventured out to Hacienda once again. This time I knew to be early. I arrived at 7:15am, found parking immediately, and was the first person in line. The office didn’t open until 8am, but when it did, I entered, asked for the documents, and was out in less than five minutes. You could have knocked me over I was so surprised!

While in the line at Hacienda, I mentioned something about needing to go to CRIM to the woman behind me. She reminded that there is now an office in Cupey where she said I could get through quickly. Thanks to her suggestion, I went to that office and, much to my amazement, was out in about 15 minutes. I was the only person in the first line and the second to pay for the transaction. By 10am I had all my documents, including the health certificate. This experience was the total opposite of my previous experience.

So now I ask you, was my experience proof that Puerto Rican government agencies are becoming more efficient or because I have lived through similar experiences and now know how to work the system? Have you had similar expat experiences? What could Global Perceptions do to help you through that part of your global transition? Write to us and let us know!

These tips are another service provided by your Puerto Rico Relocation Specialist, Global Perceptions. Contact us for additional services by calling 787.455.7764 or by visiting our website www.globalperceptions.net.

The Expat’s Guide to Politics in Puerto Rico: Part I

“Let the wild rumpus start!” This line from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are describes the scene that I witnessed during a Spanish tutoring session over the weekend. The sirens, followed by the muffled sounds of someone supporting their candidate through the microphone were all I needed to assure myself that it’s that time of year. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the political season in Puerto Rico is under way so buckle up and get ready for a bumpy, mud-slinging ride!

If you are an expatriate experiencing your first election season in Puerto Rico, you are in for a real treat. Weekend rallies and caravanas will soon block major thoroughfares creating traffic jams and generally irritating drivers trying to accomplish their daily tasks. These caravanas are made up of as few as five vehicles, but usually are at least twenty cars long with some seeming endless. No matter the size, one thing is for surecaravanas are noisy! Giant speakers mounted on the backs of pick-up trucks or embedded in minivans blast merengue and salsa music or reggaeton, nearly overpowering the message being spread from the lead car to support X or Y candidate. Whistles blow and people scream from their vehicles and along the street as people leave their homes to show their support.

Before even seeing who the supported candidate is, one can tell which party s/he represents just by viewing the oncoming colors. Streamers, posters, and brightly painted vans sport red, blue, green, orange, or purple depending on the party represented. Red represents the Popular Democratic Party (PPD); blue is the color of the New Progressive Party (PNP); green represents the Independent Party (PIP); orange was chosen as the color of the Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico Party (PPP), purple indicates a group of supporters of the Worker’s Party (PPT), and the Sovereign Union Movement (MUS) is associated with the color turquoise.

As is the case in many other countries, elections turn dirty quickly across the island. Whether running for mayor, senator, or governor, candidates are quick to swing mud at their opponents, pointing out all of their flaws rather than focusing on the issues of the island. It is during moments like this that politics really does turn into a sport in Puerto Rico. Discussions become heated, sometimes even dividing long-time friends and family members. For this reason, there is a law that no alcohol can be sold from 12am until 9pm on the day of an election even it’s for a referendum and not an actual candidate.

The fact that Puerto Ricans cannot vote for the U.S. President doesn’t keep them from getting involved in their local politics. In fact, they are very passionate about politics. If you are an expatriate or someone else who has recently relocated to Puerto Rico, we suggest that you avoid engaging in political discussions. Foreign opinions are not always welcome. Until you have lived here for several years and really understand the issues, steer clear of this topic. However, you should try to learn about politics on the island because it will explain a lot of why things happen the way they do here. Until you have that knowledge, sit back and wait out the passing caravanas with interest and awe. It will all be over in a few months.

This information is provided to you by Global Perceptions, your Relocation Specialist in Puerto Rico. To take advantage of our special FREE SPANISH TUTORING CONSULTATIONS , contact us TODAY! This offer is only good until September 15, 2012! Visit www.globalperceptions.net or call 787.455.7764 before it’s too late!

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