Greener BeeGreen HolidaysViva Travel: A month-by-month guide to sun and fun in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is not simply a vacation spot tourists frequent to escape the cold weather. The fun really begins in the summer months and lasts all year round.

Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of many of the special events Puerto Rico has to offer.

Puerto Rico touts itself as a world leader in the preservation and research of blue marlins. And in August, San Juan hosts the International Billfish Tournament, known as one of the premier game-fishing tournaments in the world.

In late September, as America celebrates its national parks, Puerto Rico celebrates National Public Lands Day. For free, visit Puerto Rico’s oldest forts, El Morro and Fort San Cristobal in Old San Juan.

Famous Puerto Rican dishes such as Mofongo and Postelón often feature fried or mashed plantains. The town of Corozal hosts the National Plantain Festival in October, where a multitude of plantain dishes are served along with music and dancing for all.

On Nov. 19, join Puerto Ricans in celebrating the day Christopher Columbus first landed on the island during his second voyage in 1493 for Puerto Rico Discovery Day.

While you’ll never see a white Christmas in Puerto Rico, that doesn’t mean Puerto Ricans don’t know how to celebrate the December holidays.

Visitors may even be treated to an impromptu parranda performance — the Puerto Rican version of caroling — where groups of friends travel from house to house singing festive songs and playing traditional instruments such as the maracas, cuatros (a guitar-like instrument), congas, and pleneras (think tambourines).

Temperatures in the mid 60s and 70s are considered practically chilly in Puerto Rico, but the “cooler” weather makes it the perfect time to attend an outdoor holiday gathering. Some hotels even host parranda parades, and you don’t need to walk too far to hear music, see dancing and eat local food.

If you really want to immerse yourself in the local cuisine, be sure to try a Puerto Rican feast on Christmas Eve. Sample dishes such as lechón asado (roasted pork), pollo guisado (chicken stew with potatoes and green olives), and tostones, which are chips made of mashed green plantains.

A signature Puerto Rican holiday dish is pasteles, or mashed green bananas stuffed with meat filling that are wrapped in banana leaves and boiled. If you want to let loose a little and get into the holiday spirit, try the Puerto Rican version of eggnog, coquito, which is a a rum and coconut-based drink.

2005 HANDOUT PHOTO RELEASED BY BILL BOYCE. NO SALES. **ADVANCE FOR RELEASE MONDAY APRIL 21** AP PROVIDES ACCESS TO THIS PUBLICLY DISTRIBUTED HANDOUT PHOTO TO BE USED ONLY TO ILLUSTRATE NEWS REPORTING OR COMMENTARY ON THE FACTS OR EVENTS DEPICTED IN THIS IMAGE. AP provides access to this publicly distributed HANDOUT photo to be used only to illustrate news reporting or commentary on the facts or events depicted in this image.

A marlin jumps out of the ocean. Puerto Rico touts itself as a world leader in the preservation and research of blue marlins.

(Bill Boyce/AP)

In January, celebrate Three Kings Day, an annual holiday devoted to honoring the three wise men who visited Jesus after he was born. Festivities can be found everywhere, with parades, music, and dancing galore.

Tourists can also catch the San Sebastián Street Festival in the third week of January. This raucous event is like NoLa on steroids — Puerto Rico’s version of Mardi Gras features live music and parade crowds drawing over 250,000 people.

In February, the Carnival Ponceño takes over the streets of the city of Ponce, with brightly colored floats, dancing and people dressed in colorful costumes like the horned masks famously donned by masqueraders.

In March, world class golfers and fans flood the island for the Puerto Rican Open. Golf is popular in Puerto Rico, with more than 20 courses on the island.

In April, Puerto Rico celebrates the end of the sugar harvest season with the Sugar Harvest Festival in San German, which features crafts, music and food.

Jazz fans, rejoice! At the end of May, Puerto Rico hosts the Luquillo Beach Jazz Festival in Luquillo Square. This event is free to the public and features live performances, activities, and local cuisine.

If you love to eat crab, visit Puerto Rico in June for the Guanica Crab Festival, a three-day event featuring local crab dishes, artisan crafts, live music, and kid-friendly activities.

Puerto Rico’s Fourth of July celebration is like no other, with fireworks, music, and food in the Plaza del Quinto Centario of Old San Juan. Many hotels even offer patriotic celebrations for guests, so be sure to check that out.

No matter what time of year you choose to go, you’ll never be bored on a Puerto Rican vacation. Vacationers who are looking to let loose and who have a thirst for adventure are always welcome.

For more information on a Puerto Rico getaway, visit summeriseasy.com

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Article source: http://www.nydailynews.com/latino/viva-travel-month-by-month-guide-sun-fun-puerto-rico-article-1.2722038


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