The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

United Voices by AFAR: Discover Puerto Rico

Finalist in Storytelling

Entered in Integrated Campaign, Travel & Tourism


Create a rich storytelling experience that elevates and amplifies Puerto Rican content creators and increases awareness of Puerto Rico and its sustainable, cultural, and diverse travel experiences among the AFAR audience and U.S. travel market.


Puerto Rico Travel Stories by Those Who Know the Island Best

United Voices was a first-ever on-island content creator and editor summit experience that showcased the power of deeper, more meaningful travel. The program paired two emerging writers, a photographer, and a video director from Puerto Rico with AFAR editors. Together, they experienced Puerto Rico’s diversity, culture, eco-friendly attractions, and worked side by side to highlight this stunning Island’s hidden corners through articles, photos, videos, and social content. Part content collaboration and part immersive experience, the program championed new voices and revealed what makes Puerto Rico so unique. 

Application Process

To launch the program, AFAR collaborated with Discover Puerto Rico (DPR) to set candidate selection criteria, and launched call-for-entries across AFAR and DPR’s channels. Placing local point of view and high-quality story pitches as the priority of the program, the application was made available in both English and Spanish to gap any potential language barrier. AFAR selected two writers, one photographer, and one video director to capture the destination through first-person words and captivating visuals. 

Itinerary & Immersion 

To showcase Puerto Rico beyond San Juan, the on-island programming took place in Ponce, Guanica, and the mountain regions (Cayey and Caguas). The itinerary is a collaboration among DPR, AFAR editors, and local content creators in an effort to experience Puerto Rico underneath its surface and authentically through the eyes of locals. For example, Jen Ruiz, one of the participating writers pitched the story of indigenous culture in Puerto Rico. AFAR planned a visit to Centro Ceremonial Indigena in the itinerary and invited a renowned historian to share their knowledge with the group. Each day consisted of a summit session, such as a discussion around solutions journalism and Q&A with an editor, and on-the-ground exploration, such as a guided tour at Sandra Farm, a sustainable coffee farm, to meeting with Antonio Martorell, one of the most successful Puerto Rican painters, at his private art studio. Two local translators also joined the program to empower deeper conversations. 

Content & Distribution

The summit generated a robust library of multimedia content across AFAR channels, including print, digital, email, video, and social. In collaboration with the local content creators, AFAR developed captivating written and visual stories that covered Puerto Rico from a diverse range of topics and local’s point of view. The print custom spread introduced the program to ignite excitement. The digital articles increased awareness of the vibrant art, culture, and culinary communities in Puerto Rico, and provided inspiration from the local sustainable businesses and their commitment to the island. The original photographs and Instagram activations became a visual poetry of the undiscovered Puerto Rico, showcasing the destination in all its beautiful colors through the local lens. Lastly, the actionable day-by-day itineraries made trip planning in Puerto Rico more accessible. All the content generated from the program, including behind-the-scenes content captured by local content creators during the summit, live in a dedicated hub to serve as the ultimate local’s guide to off-the-beaten-path Puerto Rico.


Through captivating storytelling across AFAR channels, the program delivered 15.2MM+ impressions including 3.8MM+ in social reach. Editorial and custom content produced for the program garnered 167K+ Pageviews, with “Enjoy Eco-Friendly Experiences in the Lush Mountains of Puerto Rico” itinerary ranking at the top, demonstrating content produced from the successful of in-destination collaboration deeply resonated with AFAR's audience and U.S. travelers. The birdwatching in Guanica article produced from the summit won Gold for best sustainable travel article at the North American Travel Journalists Association Awards. 

Additionally, the program generated a significant buzz among the local creative communities in Puerto Rico with over 54 qualified applicants considered for the program. The in-destination collaboration and immersion generated 53 pieces of high-quality original content across print, digital, email, and social, all contributed by local content creators and AFAR editors. Meticulously planned and crafted, the content covered a diverse range of topics that unveiled the wonders of undiscovered Puerto Rico, from culture to art, history to culinary, nature to sustainable travel. The four participating candidates contributed to over 50% of the total program content. 


Entrant Company / Organization Name



Entry Credits