Guide to Events and Holidays in Puerto Rico in November

San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan Photo (c) Linda Garrison

If you're visiting Puerto Rico in November, you'll catch the communities at the beginning of the long-running and colorful Christmas season. Thanksgiving takes place the fourth Thursday in November, so don't miss your chance to celebrate this holiday with an authentic Puerto Rican-style meal.

In addition, you can attend several festivals, baseball games, and a weekly outdoor jazz concert. Add some Puerto Rican events to your November travel calendar.

Holidays, Events and Things to Do

Puerto Rico, as a United States Territory, celebrates both age-old island traditions and typical American holidays, albeit with a Latin twist.

  • Turkey Day Latin Style: Thanksgiving is a special time on the island, with its own unique Latin flavors and traditions adding to the traditional holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. You can expect spice-enhanced favorites like turkey, ham, and dressing to be served, but perhaps cooked a bit differently. You might find your turkey stuffed with mofongo, a plantain dish common in Puerto Rico, and side dishes may contain rice instead of potatoes. Visitors may want to consider a food and cultural bus tour into lechón country on Thanksgiving to enjoy coquito (coconut eggnog) and roasted pork, salsa dancing to live music, and shopping for arts and crafts.
  • Baseball Season: The baseball season, featuring the island's most popular sport, begins in Puerto Rico in November and ends in January. The territory has several professional clubs and pros from North America play here during the 36-game season.
  • Jayuya Indian Festival: Held the second week in November in the town of Jayuya, the Indian Festival celebrates the culture of the Taíno people, the island’s first inhabitants and ancestors to over 60 percent of Puerto Ricans. The festival features indigenous artists, performers, traditional dancing, cultural foods, exciting parades, and a Miss Taino Indian pageant where the winner is the one who most resembles her Taino ancestors.
  • Discovery of Puerto Rico Day: November 19 is when celebrations mark the day when Columbus discovered Puerto Rico. Discovery of Puerto Rico Day, or Día del Descubrimiento de Puerto Rico in Spanish, is celebrated by closing schools and government offices and enjoying festive parades, fairs, and cultural activities. In the town of Aguada on this day they have a special horse parade or Cabalgata.
  • Veterans Day: Held on November 11 annually, Veterans Day is an official public holiday marked with a ceremony at the Puerto Rico National Cemetery in Bayamón.
  • Festival de Pascuas: Held in mid-November over two days, this festival named for the Christmas flower, marks the beginning of the holiday season in Puerto Rico. Celebrations feature live music, food stands, and local arts and crafts.

Throughout November and December

In addition to special events and holidays, there are events that take place through the winter months. You can shop for produce and gifts and kick back and listen to jazz with a view of the bay.

  • Shop the Farmers Market: The Mercado Agrícola Natural, an organic farmers market, takes place in the courtyard of the San Juan Museum in Old San Juan. The market is open Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. till 1 p.m. in November and December.
  • Ventana al Jazz: This free outdoor jazz concert is held on the last Sunday of each month kicking off at 4 p.m. Bring a blanket and have a picnic while overlooking San Juan Bay at Paseo Caribe and listen to local jazz musicians.