WELCOME ABOARD BORINQUEN INSIDER'S GUIDE
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Warning: This guide is being created and updated by the community and might not be up to date in all aspects, please use as a guidance and always confirm before. MWR is not responsible for updating the information in this guide, however, we are happy to copy/paste any information that the community thinks is useful for the newcomers to know. If you feel that something is incorrect in this guide please send us an email with the correct information and source to email@example.com We are looking forward to have the best guide for all our community members.
WELCOME TO BASE DETACHMENT & AIR STATION BORINQUEN! ¡BIENVENIDOS! This is a wonderful duty station with so much to offer everyone. There are many places on this island just waiting to be explored. The family atmosphere on base is a great place to return after your adventures. We know that some of the changes can be overwhelming at first, so do not hesitate to ask anyone that’s been here for a while for a little help. Puerto Rico is not the United States. Though Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, it is a country all its own, with its own flavor and way of doing things. Appreciating differences and enjoying the new experiences is a great way to spend your time on “La Isla del Encanto,” or the Island of Enchantment. Just as in many Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico has adopted a laid-back, tranquilo culture, with a very relaxing lifestyle. Family, friends, and enjoying life are priorities here. Some customs and traditions will be different, but many are the same. Enjoy and embrace the island and it will surely love you back.
1. Sign up for the Borinquen Beacon. Go to www.borinquenbeacon.com and subscribe to the newsletter to have the weekly newsletter delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday or Friday. Some weeks the Beacon takes a break to gather more events and information, however, Facebook, Instagram and the web are always getting updates sometimes daily.
2. Join some local Facebook Pages & Groups:
USCG Base Detachment Borinquen MWR Group
Ramey Base Swap & Shop
Power & Water:
Air Force - United States Air Force
Air National Guard - 156th Wing - Puerto Rico Air National Guard
Marines - U.S. Marine Corps
National Guard - Puerto Rico National Guard
Navy - U.S. Navy
Land Management Agencies:
If you would like to add to/update this list, please comment below.
4. Check out the local magazines available at many restaurants and surf shops. They always have great information on local events, restaurants, and activities. Many local restaurants and stores have their own Facebook pages, as well.
TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND
Try and keep at least $20 cash on you at all times. You never know when the ATH machines may go out. Many small shops, restaurants, food trucks don’t take debit or credit cards for purchases less than $5 and sometimes $10 dollars.
Opening a local bank account will allow you to get ATHMOVIL which is a common form of payment in PR and you can deposit checks from your regular bank account through the app.
Eat at the food trucks. Whether you are driving to Wal-Mart, at the beach, at a local festival, or visiting a town center, you will find food trucks. They are safe to eat from. They are generally selling water, soda, Malta (a malt, non-alcoholic, very sweet, carbonated drink), frappes (which are smoothies or milkshakes), piña coladas (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and many different types of fried “patties” usually stuffed with meat, cheese, or fish.
Be prepared for a possible long wait at many places out and about, like grocery stores, restaurants, and doctors’ offices. Always allow for extra time and bring supplies to keep you and your children occupied. It’s not a good plan to bring tired or hungry children on a quick errand, as it could end up taking much longer than planned.
Don’t be surprised if you are waiting in line someplace and someone jumps in front of the line to ask the cashier or worker a question of his or her own. This is very common practice and is not meant to be rude.
Try to learn Spanish, and don’t be afraid to use what you know. Rosetta Stone offers a free or discount package for Active Duty military. Don’t worry about sounding silly or not making sense. Puerto Ricans are very gracious in this way. They are almost always willing to help when they see you are trying. If you are in a situation and don’t know where to start in Spanish, it is appropriate to ask, “Habla ingles?”—“Do you speak English?” There are many people who speak both Spanish and English and are willing to help out.
A great way to learn about Puerto Rico is to make friends with locals. They will generally know a lot about the culture, annual events, and etiquette. Get off the base! Water-sports, fitness classes, attending church, or taking university classes, are all great ways to venture out. If you find a new activity, someplace great to eat, or a new spot to explore, don’t hesitate to share it with everyone! It is great to post it on the Facebook pages. We are all in this adventure together.
Differences may require adjusted expectations and an adventurous spirit. You will be much happier if you just roll with it. Try not to get hung up on everything that is better or worse than it was back home. Always remember we are all representatives of the Coast Guard and that many of our Coast Guard family are also Puerto Rican. They serve side-by-side and we need to respect their culture and heritage. Our Puerto Rican Coasties are great resources to help us all learn more about the island and its rich history. Please use this tour as an opportunity to embrace the island and its culture and to appreciate the differences without judgment.
HOUSING Living in housing is a new experience for a lot of us. Working and living together can at times be overwhelming, but just remember that there are also benefits to the security of the base. In emergencies, there are always Coasties ready to help out. Become an active member in the community and get involved. Pick up after your pets, help your neighbors, keep your lawn clean, and work together to make the community better. If you have a concern, take it directly to the people involved first. If you cannot solve the issue, then ask for others to get involved. On base there are many little ears and eyes listening and watching all of us (even those of us who are not parents). Please remember that the actions and attitudes of the adults also affect the children. There are some extra adventures here in PR, like frequent power outages and water pressure changes. Most power outages are quickly resolved. However, if the power is out for more than 10 hours, housing will issue generators with enough power to keep your refrigerators running. It is always a good idea to have flashlights, extra water, and plenty of rum on hand just in case. Trash pick up is currently on Tuesday/Wednesday mornings. The Dog Park is located is in the center of Circle F. You should register your pets with security. The dog park is usually empty so if your pet wants company, make a play date! Please be sure to pick up after your pet wherever you may walk on base! Check out your housing manual for other pertinent rules and guidelines.
Resources: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ombudsman) Davis.Pagan2@uscg.mil (Housing)
GATES/SECURITY The Coast Guard Housing Area has two gates. Housing residents may use either of the two gates. The "Main Gate" is located at the end of Wing Road just past Fifth Street. The “Security Gate” is at the corner of Northeast and Wing Road, just past the Base Security Office. The Security gate is accessed with a CAC card or ID/secure card Both need to be activated at the Security Office. Be sure to wait on either side to assure that no unauthorized people enter the base while you have the gate open. SECURITY: (787-890-8472) Located at the corner of Northeast & Wing. The office is open Monday through Friday 7:30am to 3:30pm. For emergencies call 787-890-COP1 (2671).
Security Office hours may vary, please confirm directly with them.
AROUND BASE Things are always changing here at Ramey depending on volunteers and interest. Currently we have a neighborhood Book Club with the ASC and Yoga offered on base. Do you have a specialty or interest that you could share with the community? Most of this is kept alive through volunteers, and there is always room for new activities.
Contact your Ombudsman, the ASC or MWR to start rolling!
COAST GUARD EXCHANGE STORE STORE PHONE NUMBER: (787) 890-7272 STORE HOURS: MONDAY – SATURDAY - 08:00 am TO 08:00 pm SUNDAY – 10:00 am TO 05:00 pm CGX may have reduced hours or be closed on some holidays and COVID-19 guidelines. GAS STATION HOURS: SUNDAY – SATURDAY – 08:00 am TO 0 05:00 pm CGX OFFERS THE FOLLOWING:
STAR CARD PAYMENTS
EMAIL CAPTURE TO RECEIVE STORE ADVERTISEMENTS
JOB OPPORTUNITIES AT OUR WEBSITE www.shopcgx.com
ALL SPOUSES CLUB Here at Air Station Borinquen the weather is fantastic, and the people are warm and friendly. However, learning the ropes in a new country can be frustrating at times. The ASC provides an understanding support group and a myriad of activities, both social and charitable, intended to keep the morale of our community high. Membership is open to everyone, making us a diverse and energetic club. Our club meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday of each month, beginning in September. Meetings generally take place at the Spouse House. Evening meetings usually begin at 7:00 pm. Details will be posted in the All Spouses Club private group. We encourage everyone to come and join us. Some of the ASC's activities in the past have included assisting with base events such as: Pumpkin Patch, Children's Holiday Party, Valentine’s Day Plant and Balloon Sale, Book Club, Progressive Dinner, Annual Flea Market & Craft Sale, and Children's Easter Egg Hunt. This is a great way to meet new people, make friends and to get involved in the community.
The ASC membership is open to all female active duty service members and spouses of active duty service members of federal agencies stationed in Western Puerto Rico, DODEA employees, military retirees, military widows/widowers, and CGES employees. If you have questions about eligibility, please contact a board member!
MORALE WELFARE and RECREATION (MWR OFFICE LOCATED AT 151 L STREET) Office hours are Monday-Friday 8am to 4pm. (THE OFFICE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO COVID GUIDELINES)
These are some of the services this office coordinates:
ADULT PICK-UP SPORTS: Soccer, basketball, softball, flag football and tennis. CAPTAIN'S CUP SPORTS: Softball, futsal, basketball, and volleyball. MWR will advertise for participants and schedule events. YOUTH SPORTS: Soccer, basketball and baseball. Coordinated by MWR. Watch the Beacon for information on registration. BORINQUEN BEACON: Our base paper, delivered to via email. Sign up for the Borinquen Beacon. Go to www.borinquenbeacon.com and subscribe to the newsletter to have the weekly newsletter delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday or Friday. Some weeks the Beacon takes a break to gather more events and information, however, Facebook, Instagram and the web are always getting updates sometimes daily.The Beacon is a vital information resource for current base events. Read your Beacon!!! CERAMIC SHOP: Contact https://www.facebook.com/BQNCeramicshttps://www.facebook.com/BQNCeramics for information. Located at 195B Wing Rd. The Ceramic Shop schedule is posted in their facebook page. COMMUNITY CENTER: Features an American Pub style menu. Monday thru Friday 11:00- 1300 for lunch. Open for parties, special events, and community gatherings. DAYCARE: Offered at the Child Development Center (CDC) from Monday to Friday 7:30am to 4:30pm. Summer and holiday hours vary. Closed on the weekends. You must register your children with the CDC to use their services. BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB: There is a Boys & Girls Club located at 107 & 109 Northeast Rd. We offer an affordable after-school program until 6pm. We also offer summer camp opportunities. Watch The Beacon for details. LIBRARY: Located at 115 and 117 Northeast Rd. 115 is our main library building with 117 being our Media Center. Run by a librarian and many awesome volunteers. Hours are irregular so check the library facebook for posted hours. There is free Wi-Fi in the library. POOL: The pool is a great place to relax, cool off and meet some new friends. Open daily from 11 am - 5 pm. Red Cross Swimming Lessons are available for both adults and children. You must purchase an annual membership through MWR or pay a small daily fee. TENNIS COURTS: Located near La Plaza are open for use. For complete rules and eligibility, please check with MWR.
TROPICAL RENTALS: Located at the Community Center in Cliff Rd. Sports equipment, lawn mowers, coolers, camping equipment and much more are available to rent at a minimal cost. Open Monday-Friday 9am to 4:30pm. FITNESS CENTER: The fitness center is located in the Community Center and requires a secure card to access the facilities. Stop by MWR to get your card.