Puerto Rico, an island territory of the United States, starts off the month of July with celebrating America's Independence Day, but there are plenty of other festivals and events on the island throughout the month. Other events include a global congress that brings salseros (salsa dancers and musicians) to San Juan, a traditional festival in Loíza that celebrates the island's African heritage, and a festival in Salinas in honor of mojo isleno, a condiment sauce that's become a local favorite.
July 4th Independence Day Celebrations
Although Puerto Rico is not a state of the United States yet, the island still takes part in all U.S. public holidays, including U.S. Independence Day. On the Fourth of July, you can celebrate on the island with traditional Puerto Rican food, local live music, and fireworks.
In Old San Juan, most celebrations occur in and around Plaza del Quinto Centenario with music, food, and firework displays. Alternatively, visit the Puerto Rico Convention Center for the Fourth of July annual Cattlemen’s BBQ competition, where you can enjoy local foods, live music, and varieties of BBQ foods.
While the regular season for the National Basketball Association (NBA) ends in April, July is prime time for basketball on the island of Puerto Rico. To catch a game during your trip to the island in July, head to the Puerto Rico Convention Center in Miramar, San Juan, from July 9 to 14, 2019, for the Jeep Basketball Junior Olympics.
This annual event brings youth players from across the region to compete in a series of basketball competitions including three-point contests, free throw showdowns, and full-team tournaments. Tickets are available in advance with various prices for adults, children, seniors, and those wishing to purchase multi-day passes for all five days of the event.
Vieques Patron Saint Festival
On the third week in July each year (typically), Vieques Island celebrates the Virgen del Carmen—patron saint of the sea, seafarers, and fishermen—with fireworks every night and a carnival on Sunday for its annual Patron Saint Festival.
More a festival than a religious event, the Vieques Patron Saint Festival invites islanders and visitors alike to gather in Isabel Segunda's central plaza for a full week of events. Each day, parades of dancers, decked out in shimmering outfits and feathers, lead the way into the central plaza where food stands, bandstands, and amusement rides are set up for all to enjoy.
Loíza is a town steeped in tradition with roots that combine Spanish and African cultures and traditions, melding them into a unique Puerto Rican experience.
To truly experience the rich cultural heritage of the island, catch folk and religious ceremonies—including costumes, masks, and bomba dancers—during the Fiestas Tradicionales de Santiago Apóstol, which takes place over several days around July 25th, the feast day of Saint James.
Usually held over the last week in July, El Congreso Mundial de la Salsa (the Puerto Rico Salsa Congress) gathers salsa dancers, singers, and performers (known as salseros) from around the world to the Escuela Bellas Artes (School of Dance Arts) in Ponce for several days of performances, showcases, and workshops.
The congress features exhibitions by professional and international dancers along with nightly dance routines, a variety of daily classes, and some of the best salsa bands from around the globe.
Salinas honors its very own delectable contribution to Puerto Rican cuisine with the Festival del Mojo Isleño, a festival dedicated to a sauce created by a local resident Euladia Correa during the 1940s.
Mojo isleño is made with olives, peppers, and garlic—among other seasonings—and is typically used in seafood. The festival celebrates the cuisine and culture of Puerto Rico and showcases the work of over 120 artisans.