Old San Juan Sketching Workshop with Mike Daikubara

February 21-26, 2020

Get an insider's view of old San Juan and learn new sketching skills with our instructor Mike Daikubara. Together we will explore the fortified city with its roads of brick and colourful, colonial buildings. Bacardi rum and the Piña Colada originated here and its crystalline beaches are the best in the world!

This Vacation Workshop includes five sketching classes plus several demonstrations, many sketching opportunities, a full-day catamaran cruise with  (optional) snorkeling, admission to San Juan's castillos, and a rum tasting. Discover the culture, food, art and architecture of old San Juan.






Mike Daikubara is an artist, urban sketcher and designer from Charlotte, North Carolina. Mike is an old San Juan expert and all workshop participants will receive a free copy of his book, Urban Sketching Old San Juan. Learn more about Mike HERE. Meet Mike HERE

Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island under the U.S. customs jurisdiction. The currency is US dollars and everyone in the tourist industry speaks English. Passports are not required for US citizens. Citizens of other countries have the same requirements as for entering the USA. In February, San Juan enjoys temperatures between 83°-72°F (28°-22°C) -- the perfect winter escape!

Day 1 Arrive in San Juan

Friday February 21 

Welcome to old San Juan! We will be located in the historic centre of town. Students will settle in to their hotel and those available may wish to meet in the afternoon for an optional sketching warm up on one of the colourful streets of old San Juan.

In the evening we will meet for a welcome reception before dinner under the stars. 

Day 2 Castillo San Felipe del Morro + Calle de Fortaleza

Saturday February 22

In the morning, we will walk a few blocks to Castillo San Felipe del Morro where Mike will teach  Workshop #1 on site. El Morro (the promontory) is a citadel from the 1500s located on the north-western end of the Islet of historic San Juan. It was named after the Spanish King Philip II and built to protect San Juan Bay from enemies approaching by sea. On the opposite side of the bay is El Canuelo and together the two forts watch over the bay entrance. 

In the afternoon we will wander toward Calle de Fortaleza to sketch the colourful buildings in San Juan.

Day 3 Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery + Castillo San Cristobal

Sunday February 23

A busy day--we will work hard today with two workshops and reward ourselves tomorrow with an all day excursion.

Today we will start with Workshop #2 that will be taught in the Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery, a picturesque seaside cemetery at the foot of the walls of San Juan’s Fort San Felipe del Morro and the final resting place for many of Puerto Rico's most famous personalities. The style of the cemetery is colonial; it was established in 1863 and named after an Italian Carmelite nun. 

After lunch Mike will teach Workshop #3 on the grounds of Castillo San Cristobal. This is the largest fort ever built by the Spanish in the Americas. The massive fort (actually a fortified castle) sits at the northern edge of Old San Juan 150 feet above sea level.

Day 4 All-day Catamaran Cruise + Snorkeling

Monday February 24

Today we will enjoy a full-day catamaran cruise (with optional snorkeling) to the small island of Cayo Icacos. We will travel 1.5 hours by shuttle bus to Fajardo where we will board a catamaran. Tour includes swimming, snorkelling, beach time on the island, a buffet lunch including a rum punch or piña colada. Some of us are going to try our hand at underwater sketching--seriously--but this activity is optional.

Snorkeling instruction for beginners will be given by our experienced English-speaking guide (snorkeling gear included). Even if you prefer not to swim or snorkel you will still enjoy a day of cruising (and sketching) the beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean.  

Day 5 Capilla del Santo Cristo de la Salud + Rum Tasting

Tuesday February 25 

In the morning we will take a short walk to the site of Workshop #4 at the Capilla del Santo Cristo de la Salud. The chapel was built on the edge of a cliff in honor of a miracle that is said to have occurred there. To this day many believe that miracles will occur if you come and pray at this chapel and specifically prayers for good health. Those who come to ask for good health bring small silver ornaments (milagros) representing the ailing part of their body and these decorate the interior. 

After lunch free sketching and then we will meet at 4pm for a rum tasting (included) before dinner.

Day 6 Paseo de la Princesa + Plaza de Armas

Wednesday February 26

Today Mike will teach Workshop #5 in the area around Paseo de la Princesa, a European-style urban promenade built in 1853 with shady trees, cafes and the monumental Raíces Fountain.

In the afternoon students are free to sketch in the Plaza de Armas, the historic town square with a fountain facing city hall that features four 19th-century marble statues.

In the evening we will gather for our farewell dinner (included) and rumba flamenca floor show .  

Day 7 Departure

Thursday February 27

It's time to say goodbye but you will never forget the friends you made or the skills you learned during this great week! Or extend your stay for a long relaxing holiday! 

Recommended Workshop Supply List

A recommended workshop supply list will be sent to students after registration.


Click HERE for answers to frequently asked questions.

For more information about the workshops content contact Mike at mike@daikubara.com. 

For more information about this vacation package contact Brenda Murray Studio56Boutique@gmail.com.

Tour Includes

  • A welcome reception
  • All art classes
  • Admission to Castillo San Filipe del Morro and San Cristobal
  • Full day Catamaran cruise and snorkeling tour including lunch
  • a rum tasting
  • Farewell dinner

Tour Excludes

  • Flights to/from San Juan
  • Hotel
  • San Juan airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Meals (except those listed above)
  • Painting supplies
  • City taxes payable by guest at check out
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Porterage/luggage handling
  • Travel insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Items not explicitly specified in the inclusion list

    Cost in USD

    USD$1486. Workshop Participant

    USD$1070. NonWorkshop Participant (such as partner or travelling buddy)

    Workshop Participant tickets are on sale on a first-come first-served basis until they are sold out. The minimum number of Workshop Participant tickets needed to greenlight this vacation workshop is 10. Ticket sales will close when the maximum number of available Workshop Participant tickets (15) have been sold. 

    NonWorkshop Participant tickets include the same attractions and meals as the Workshop Participants with the exception of the art classes.

    Please read our Refund Policy.


    Accommodations are not included in the ticket price for this Vacation Workshop because old San Juan does not have large hotels that can accommodate groups at a reasonable price. However, it does have a large variety of smaller boutique hotels and interesting Airbnbs. Participants will need to book their own accommodations.

    A block of rooms have been reserved at the Casa Blanca Hotel and at its sister hotel, the Da House Hotel. These hotels are within walking distance from each other. Their refund policy is if a reservation is canceled 30 prior to arrival they refund the deposit, if it is canceled inside the 30 days they do not refund the first-night deposit.

    Casa Blanca Hotel.  Classic Queen $133.86; Balcony Queen $157.86 including taxes. Double rooms not available. Breakfast not included. To book this room call tollfree +1-(844)-468-3577 (ext. #1 for Casablanca Hotel). Ask for the group rate for "Studio 56 Workshop".

    Da House Hotel. Classic Queen $116.73; Balconette Queen $125.23; Sundeck Suite $128.07 including taxes. Double rooms not available. Breakfast not included. To book this room call visit Da' House Hotel press the link "Make your Reservation" select the dates and add the code to the promo box. The code is dhstudio56. Or you can call the hotel toll free at +1-(844)-468-3577 (ext #3 for DaHouse Hotel). Don't forget to ask for the group rate for "Studio 56 Workshop".

    Rooms have also been blocked at the Gallery Inn which is nearby:  

    The Gallery Inn. "Artists" rooms with one queen bed $199US/night. "Colonial" rooms with 2 beds $272US/night. Prices include taxes and continental breakfast. Book online.

    We would also like to recommend that you consider booking into an Airbnb apartment. There are some beautiful Airbnbs available in old San Juan many of which are cheaper than the hotels.

    Please do not make nonrefundable hotel or flight arrangements until this Vacation Workshop has been greenlighted. This Vacation Workshop will be greenlighted as soon as we have reached our minimum registration of 10 participants. 

    Travel + Medical Insurance

    Trip cancellation insurance protects the investment you’ve made in your trip and is highly recommended. Travel medical insurance is mandatory. Travel medical insurance pays for emergency medical services which may be significantly more expensive than expected. Participants will be asked to provide proof of medical insurance after registration.

    Your Tour Manager

    Participants will be accompanied by Studio 56 owner, Brenda Murray. Brenda is an artist and arts advocate, the founder of Urban Sketchers Waterloo Region and a former Urban Sketchers Board member. A seasoned traveler, Brenda will be on hand to assist the instructor and to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Learn more about Brenda HERE. 

    For More Information

    Email Studio56Boutique@gmail.com or call Brenda Murray at 519-572-1757.