For tourists hoping to travel to Puerto Rico for the month of December, the island comes alive during the winter months with all kinds of entertainment, revelry, and festivities that are perfect for the whole family (and some events that are adult-only, too).
Of course, Christmas takes the cake, a true marathon festival on the island that gets going around December 15 and lasts until January 6 (and sometimes beyond), but events like the Winter SOFO Culinary Fest brings together over 30 terrific restaurants during the first weekend of December, and La Feria takes over the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, converting the stadium into the largest carnival on the island, meaning there's more than just Christmas attractions to see on your winter trip to PR.
Packing for your trip to Puerto Rico in December, you should make sure to bring along swimwear, light clothing, and maybe a light rain jacket for the warm, mostly dry weather. Explore the following list of Christmas and seasonal events and plan your island vacation today, but keep in mind that because of the devastating effects of Hurricanes Maria and Irma, some of these events may not happen at the capacity (or at all) of previous years.
Feria Hecho en Puerto Rico
The locals of Puerto Rico are known for their arts and crafts creations, especially the hand-carved wooden santos and iconic vejigante masks known throughout the island. In mid-December, the Plaza Las Amerícas opens its doors to the annual Feria Hecho en Puerto Rico, or "Made in Puerto Rico Fair."
Although the opening event to kick off this new chapter of "Made in Puerto Rico" is definitely worth checking out, if you miss the event itself you can still visit the store location throughout the month of December for some high-quality, hand-made gifts right in time for Christmas!
Every year on December 12 at 4 a.m., thousands come to Ponce's lovely cathedral to sing "Las Mañanitas," the traditional Mexican Christmas song. The religious procession is led by mariachis singing in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the city's patron saint.
After a morning mass, a "peoples" breakfast is held, while the Mariachi play typical Latin American music. Rides, local cuisine, and parades continue through the weekend at the Plaza Las Delicias, so no matter what time you visit Ponce over this weekend, you're sure to find a great holiday-themed event.
If you like colorful folkloric celebrations, be sure to check out the Hatillo Masks Festival on December 28, which has been Celebrated since the Spaniards founded Hatillo in 1823. The festival honors the story of King Herod ordering the death of all infant boys, attempting to kill Baby Jesus and is celebrated through people donning vibrant masks and costumes representing the soldiers who march or ride through the town in floats looking for the children.
In 2017, the parade still took place on December 28, despite the ongoing state of emergency caused by Hurricane Maria.
Traditionally La Feria The Park opens its doors in early December and keeps the festivities going through January, bringing the carnival to Puerto Rico with rides, shows, games, and holiday lights and characters.