20th Anniversary Retreat: Puerto Rico


Register for the Retreat

Click here to register for the retreat. The retreat fee is $1,850.


Printed programs will be provided at the retreat.

We have a terrific retreat planned in Puerto Rico for our 20th Anniversary Celebration and have many exciting events already planned. This not-to-be-missed Anniversary event will include morning programming, featuring several panels with members of the Grove and a few special guests from Puerto Rico; afternoons open to spend exploring Puerto Rico, volunteering, at the beach at La Concha, or relaxing at one of the multiple pools between the two resorts; and evenings spent celebrating our sisterhood.

Morning Panels and Afternoon Sessions
The programming committee is finalizing panels and getting invitations out. We will be kicking off this fabulous event with a Keynote address from our own Edie Weiner on what’s ahead on our horizon. We already have also confirmed a very special guest from the United States who everyone loves, who will participate in a “Conversation With”. Numerous important decisions have been made and many new issues have been brought before the court since we last heard from her, so this is a conversation you will not want to miss. Helen Fisher will once join us to talk about the neuroscience of team building, innovation and leadership. Helen would also like to hold an afternoon session, depending on her demands back in the US due to pre-scheduled interviews, on how to get along with others—at work and at home using brain science. Mari Carmen has secured the honorable Maite Oronoz Rodríguez, the Chief Justice of Puerto Rico Supreme Court to speak about the situation in Puerto Rico and the issues that have recently come in front of the Supreme Court, including who would be Governor of Puerto Rico. In addition to the judge, Mari Carmen has also secured Natalie Jarekso to speak. Since 2017, Natalie has served as the executive director of the Financial Oversight Board of Puerto Rico, where she has been charged with helping to manage Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy process. We will feature several panels with our own members, talking about issues that are important to you! We will kick off our Grove panels with a “Go Deep Fast Panel” on life transitions and what you would have done differently. There will be a Conversation with Marion Blakey, and have requests out to Evelyn Dilsaver, and Suzanna Darcy to speak on airline travel and safety, and what to expect with future of travel. We will also feature a panel on women in the business of sports; a panel on everyone’s favorite topic—FOOD; a panel on cool ideas changing our world; New World Disorders and Disruptors; and a panel on the Future of Our Cities.

Evening Events
Opening Cocktail Reception and Dinner Thursday, January 23
The 20th anniversary celebration will kick off with a cocktail party and dinner at the Condado Vanderbilt. Reconnect with old friends and meet new members as we reflect on the past 20 years of the Grove. We are looking for photos to feature in a slide show, if you have any you would like to share, get in touch with Leslie (leslie@belizeangrove.org) as soon as possible.

Dine Around Puerto Rico! Friday, January 24
Mari Carmen Aponte has worked to secure a total buyout for a portion of Friday evening of three separate exclusive restaurants owned by the world-renowned Chef Mario Pagán. One of Puerto Rico’s top chefs, Chef Pagán became a celebrity when he participated in Food Network’s Iron Chef and became the USA culinary ambassador in Milan. Pagán has been featured in many publications such as Food and Wine, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Esquire Magazine, and Travel and Leisure. In 2014, Pagán was also a guest chef at the James Beard House. He is known for his dedication to introducing Puerto Rican-Caribbean influenced cuisine to the rest of the world. He has also agreed to personally welcome us at each of his restaurants: Sage Steak Loft at Olive Boutique Hotel; Raya, a Caribbean Asian restaurant located at O:LV Hotel, and Mario Pagán, his namesake restaurant characterized for its ambiance and fusion of native ingredients. The evening will begin with a cocktail party and our annual Live Auction at La Concha. We will keep the auction short and fun (remember the excitement of our auction in Chile!), we will have a DJ, cocktails, as well as opportunities to bid and donate! Afterward we will walk the short block to the three separate exclusive restaurants.

20th Anniversary Bash Saturday, January 25
Start planning on getting the old bands and singing groups back together! Saturday night’s 20th Anniversary Celebration will feature both new and old acts from our own members. Have an interest in performing? Get in touch with Leslie as soon as possible to secure your spot! Space is limited! Don’t have your own band? Don’t worry! We are working to secure a local Puerto Rican band who is known for its eclectic style! From authentic Puerto Rican music, to pop hits, there will be a variety of songs to dance to! Be sure to wear your dancing shoes, because this band knows how to party! What’s the dress code, you ask? It’s a Grove party, so costumes are welcome and encouraged! The dinner will be held at the ballroom in the Condado Vanderbilt, so you won’t have to worry about walking through the streets of San Juan dressed as a Pink Flamingo—unless you want to!

Farewell Dinner Sunday, January 26
Take one last night to connect with friends and reminisce on your Grove experience. We will have a relaxing dinner at the beach at La Concha (weather permitting).

Hotel Info

The room block for Puerto Rico is now open!

We are once again working with Deb Carr, with Cleveland Circle Travel-American Express, to book rooms at the hotel. Deb is also able to book flights for members.

BG is not taking room reservations.

To book your room, contact Deb Carr (deb@cctravel.com), with the below information:

1.Name as it appears on driver’s license or passports
2.Date of Birth
3. City of origin / Preferred Carrier or Flights (if booking flights) We are offering a 10% discount on American Airlines flights through July 31st
4. Arrival Date and Return Date
5) Resort requested – Condado Vanderbilt or La Concha
6. Room type desired
7. Roommate if applicable – please provide arrival date and departure date of your roommate
8. Cell phone number
9. Credit card for hotel guarantee – you may call this in to Deb
10. Billing Address

We were able to secure two hotels this year to ensure we have a plethora of rooming options to choose from. Both hotels were featured in Forbes article The 6 Best Hotels In Puerto Rico.

-Rooms are available at the luxurious Condado Vanderbilt, where the majority of our morning sessions will also be held. The Condado Vanderbilt is majestically perched above the Atlantic Ocean and is a premier oceanfront hotel in Puerto Rico. It features deluxe amenities, including a private beach club and pools, where you can book exclusive cabanas and chaise lounges, with a personal Pool and Beach Butler, a spa and fitness center, access to the Casino del Mar at La Concha, and access to world-class golf just 30 minutes away.
Condado Vanderbilt Room Rates:
Heritage Queen/Queen – $329/night
Heritage King – $319/night
Tower City View King – $329/night
Tower Ocean View King – $339/night
Tower Ocean View Queen/Queen – $349/night
All rooms will have also have the additional fees: + 11% Tax, 18% Resort Fee, $5 baggage fee, $2/day attendant fee

-We also have rooms available at the trendy La Concha, located directly across the street from the Vanderbilt. La Concha features pristine beaches and pools, fitness center, spa, Casino del Mar, and Fifty Eight—the hottest oceanfront night club, where you can experience vibrant performances, dancing, and music! Guests are also able to access world-class golf just 30 minutes away at the Bahia Beach Resort.
La Concha Room Rates:
$269/night + 11% Tax, 18% Resort Fee, $4 baggage fee, $2/day attendant fee

We expect this to be our biggest retreat ever! So book soon to ensure you have a spot at this exciting retreat! We cannot guarantee that we will be able to get more rooms, so once they are gone, they are gone!
Deb Carr’s contact information:


Volunteer Opportunities

We received numerous requests from our members for more volunteer opportunities while we are in Puerto Rico and we have listened! We will be sending out more information on how to sign up for these opportunities in the weeks to come, below is a brief outline of some of these opportunities:

Thursday, January 23
Plan on arriving early Thursday morning or coming in on Wednesday night to participate in two separate volunteer opportunities:

Speed Networking Event with Grupo Guayacan

Join us from 11:00-3:00 PM at La Concha for an event that has never been done before in Puerto Rico: Speed Networking! Meet with female entrepreneurs currently involved in Guayacan’s entrepreneurial programs. Members have the opportunity to offer expertise to budding businesswomen from Puerto Rico to help them learn best practices in leadership, networking, and how to get out of the trenches to cultivate relationships to build resources.
Grupo Guayacán, Inc. (GGI) has developed a unique model that couples private equity investment with a series of programs aimed at developing, strengthening, and advancing Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through their programs, the organization has built an entrepreneurial ecosystem that develops global entrepreneurs and global ventures to be an engine of economic and social value creation in Puerto Rico. Their mission is to foster, promote and develop a vibrant market for private equity in Puerto Rico together with a rapidly growing community of global entrepreneurs and global ventures.

Estuary Restoration with Estuario

The only tropical estuary within the National Estuary Program (NEP), the San Juan Bay has been recognized as nationally important by the EPA since 1992. Connecting eight municipalities in the most populated urban area of Puerto Rico, the estuary is home to hundreds of thousands of people as well as 500 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and fish. With shifts in land use from agricultural to urban development, about 70% of the San Juan Bay Estuary Watershed is paved, and forest cover is highly fragmented. The remaining crucial habitats—dunes, mangrove forests, and moist coastal forests—are not only important to the survival of animal and fish species but also provide the first line of defense against tropical storms. The San Juan Bay Estuary Program (Estuario) has created adaptation plans that included strategies like infrastructure maintenance, public education, and green infrastructure implementation to help restore this area.

Join new Tara Brenda Torres, Estuario’s Executive Director, on Thursday morning, and help restore the Condado lagoon. Estuario will lead volunteers from the Grove around the lagoon where we will be planting plants vital to the ecosystem of the lagoon. Afterward, we are working with a local tour company to make it possible to rent standup paddle boards and kayaks to tour around the area! More details to come!

Friday, January 24

We are currently putting together an afternoon of volunteer service with a local school in Puerto Rico. We will leave on Friday afternoon after the morning sessions and be back in time to get changed for cocktails, the auction, and dinner!

Sunday, January 26

Join Brenda Torres again Sunday afternoon after the morning panels and take a trip to the farm where the plants are grown for the estuary restoration project! Volunteers will learn more about the ecosystem of Puerto Rico and the importance of the estuary project. Volunteers will also have the opportunity for a special lunch.

Unofficial Post-Trip to Havana, Cuba

Vintage classic american car in Havana, Cuba

There will be an Un-Official trip for Belizean Grove members after the retreat in Puerto Rico, going to Havana, Cuba from January 27-30.

The trip will be lead by Grover Jaye Smith and a local Cuban Guide. It will be a Support for the Cuban people, artists and musicians, and independent business owners in Havana over 3 nights and 4 days.

Once everything is confirmed recommended flights will be posted. Jet Blue seems to have good flight times for us to maximize our time there. Recommended flights will take you from Puerto Rico to Fort Lauderdale to Havana and back.

Price: $2,000


  • Accommodations (depending on availability will be at a local hotel) and how many people express an interest in the trip
  • Breakfast and Lunch
  • Guide and Driver

Additional Costs:
It is recommended to bring an additional $300 that will cover 3 dinners at privately owned restaurants, Paladars, gratuities and other personal spending

Not Included:
Cost of flights to and from Havana

Please let Jaye Smith know if you are interested in joining this trip or to answer any questions at Jaye@breakwaterconsulting.com 

20th Anniversary T-Shirt Suggestions

We’re thrilled to celebrate our 20th anniversary in Puerto Rico and we would love to have shirts to commemorate our 20 years of friendship.
If you have any fun slogans or design suggestions, please fill out this form.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

The 2020 Puerto Retreat is subject to the following Belizean Grove cancellation charges if you cancel for any reason:

If your notice is received:                                                       You will receive:

30 to 59 days before Retreat…………………………………….. 50% refund of registration fees

29 days or less before Retreat………………………………….. No refund