If you want to spice up your holiday season with a bit of exotic Caribbean flare, take a trip to Puerto Rico. It's more than just seeing Santa on the island, and it's a whole lot more than strings of lights and gifts under the tree.
Puerto Rico adds its home-grown traditions, flavors, and customs to this special holiday. They make it a special occasion, unlike just about anywhere else in the U.S.
Christmas Light Displays
Listing "Christmas Lights" as a reason to visit a new place for Christmas might seem like asking you to travel overseas for free gift-wrap. Although your neighborhood, town, or city might have dazzling Christmas decor during the holidays, how many places in the U.S. can light up a historical city that's more than 500 years old? That's the real magic of the Christmas lights in Puerto Rico.
Old San Juan is a timeless colonial beauty when decorated with the colorful whimsy and brilliance of the holiday season. Not to mention that the weather is a lot warmer than what you're probably used to this time of year, so taking a stroll to view the lights is all the more pleasant in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico has become a real culinary capital, and it has done so on the merit of a unique blend of cultures, recipes, and flavors. Not surprisingly, the island's culinary heritage is perhaps best expressed during the holidays, when the iconic foods and special treats of Puerto Rico come to the table.
Traditional dishes include crispy plantain fritters made with shrimp, peril (roast pork), and pasteles de hojas (vegetable root tamales). Perhaps the most quintessential holiday treat is the beverage coquito, which is similar to eggnog but made with coconut and rum instead of milk and bourbon.
Puerto Rico is well known as a shopaholic's destination of choice, and not just during Christmastime. However, the holiday season is a terrific time to purchase a unique Christmas gift for loved ones.
Shop for items like hand-carved wooden saints (Santos), beautiful jewelry for that special someone, or even a great bottle of island-made rum for the person that has it all!
If you're in San Juan for the holidays, these shopping destinations should be on your list—just check it twice!
Three Kings Day Celebration
El Día de Los Reyes Magos or Three Kings Day is celebrated throughout Latin America, and the festivities add yet another spiritual dimension to the holiday season. The day expands the observance and fun of the Christian world's most famous birthday celebration, typically starting with Christmas on December 25 and officially ending on Three Kings Day on January 6.
Puerto Rico is known for its large Three Kings Day event and the country's incorporation of the day into their holiday season is another reason why Christmastime is so special on the island.
End-Of-Year Holiday Deals
While travel deals fluctuate each year, and sometimes even by the day, you can usually expect some terrific end-of-year deals for holiday vacation packages to Puerto Rico. If you're looking for a great deal, your best bet is to be flexible with your dates and avoid hotel stays for the major holiday dates like Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.
It's always a great idea to sign up for flight and vacation savings newsletters, and if you're not afraid of a little adventure, keep an eye out for last minute deals.