Vive La Van PR, a new option for camping aficionados, is about to make its debut in Puerto Rico, where it will offer local residents and tourists the opportunity to experience the island differently.
On Feb. 1, the startup will roll out its 22-foot luxury van, which has been customized entirely to offer the “camping experience with certain comforts, for people who may not dare to go the traditional route,” said Carlos Eduardo, co-founder of the startup that is launching the novel concept in partnership with Airbnb.
“It all started thanks to a friend of mine who was building camper in New York. He was going to sell it and I thought about buying it but ended up partnering with my brother in Puerto Rico to start the project from scratch,” said Eduardo, 32, and a dentist.
His brother, Iván Francisco, got to work on designing a living space in a deluxe Ford Transit Extended cargo van, for which they invested some $71,000. That investment includes solar panels to make the van self-sustainable and off the grid.
The six-foot tall vehicle is equipped with a queen-sized bed for two, a shower and toilet within a small bathroom, a kitchen with a sink, gas stove, and a compact refrigerator, and a ceiling fan. The van — which took a month to convert — also included a camping tent and an external shower, for two more guests who can sleep outdoors.
“This is something that I can take anywhere. Many people, tourists, are stuck in a single place when they stay somewhere,” Eduardo said. “Now, in one weekend, you can drive around the island. We want to motivate people to explore Puerto Rico, one of the safest islands in the Antilles.”
Vive La Van PR will market their camper on the Airbnb platform starting Feb. 1, where it will charge an average $225 nightly rental rate, he said.
“We live in paradise and we have to take full advantage of that, by offering people an option to explore the island and stay wherever they want,” Eduardo said.
While the startup will start with one of the amped-up campers, the goal is to increase the fleet of vehicles to five before the end of this year. The brothers also want to diversify into building and selling customized campers in Puerto Rico.
“Campers have had an enormous impact worldwide. It’s a lifestyle that’s growing incredibly,” he said.
The brothers are working on a proposal to line up support from the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. and investors, to achieve that expected growth, he said.