16 Best Festivals in Puerto Rico (By a Local!)
There are so many festivals in Puerto Rico throughout the year. After all, In Puerto Rico, anything and everything is a good reason to celebrate!
Whether you’re a culture lover, foodie, or a classical music fan, Puerto Rico has a festival for you.
Since figuring out Puerto Rico events and dates can be confusing, I’m a local who’s here to tell you all about the best festivals in Puerto Rico. Ready to add festivals to your list of things to do in Puerto Rico? Let’s break it down.
Table of Contents
- 16 Festivals in Puerto Rico
- Noche de San Juan
- Fiestas de la Calle de San Sebastián
- Carnaval de Ponce
- Festival de las Máscaras de Hatillo
- Festival Nacional Indígena de Jayuya
- Festival de las Flores de Aibonito
- Festival del Frio de Adjuntas
- Festival de la Novilla
- Fiesta de los Reyes Magos
- Casals Festival
- Saborea Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rican Danza Week
- Festival Nacional del Café de Yauco
- La Campechada
- Festival de la Piña Paradisiaca
- Dia Nacional de la Salsa
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16 Festivals in Puerto Rico
Noche de San Juan
Plunge into the ocean with hundreds of Puerto Ricans
📍 Google Maps | Dates: June 23
One of the most anticipated festivals by Puerto Ricans and beach lovers is Noche de San Juan. Celebrated yearly on June 23rd, la Noche de San Juan, also called Saint John’s Eve, was originally a religious event. However, in Puerto Rico, as in other countries, the celebration got mixed with other traditions and superstitions related to the summer solstice.
In Puerto Rico, during Saint John Night, people flood the popular beaches of Puerto Rico and play lively music. When midnight arrives, everyone gets in the water and does backward plunges to get rid of back luck. This is easily one of the best things to do in San Juan for beach and culture enthusiasts.
Fiestas de la Calle de San Sebastián
A four-day festival with music, dancing, and food that marks the end of the Christmas season
📍 (Old San Juan) Google Maps | Dates: Third Week of January
Perhaps the most famous festival in Puerto Rico, the San Sebastián Street Festival, colloquially called “La Sanse”, is a four-day festival in Old San Juan. Celebrated in January, it starts on a Wednesday evening and ends Sunday afternoon.
The San Sebastián Street Festival features parades, musical presentations, and circus performances. You can also find stalls with Puerto Rican local delicacies and crafts. While the festival is family-friendly during the days, the wild atmosphere and loud music are cranked up at night and are more suitable for party lovers.
One of the oldest carnivals in the western hemisphere
📍 Google Maps | Website | Dates: One week leading to Ash Wednesday
One of the best things to do in Ponce, The Ponce Carnival dates back to 1858 and is believed to be one of the oldest carnivals in the western hemisphere. The Ponce Carnival has week-long festivities during which the famous vejigantes, with grotesque masks and colorful costumes, represent evil forces trying to take away children.
The festival features live music, parades, floats, and pageants to choose the carnival queen. During the last day, families and culture lovers recreate a mock funeral procession that symbolizes the victory of the good King Momo over the evil.
Festival de las Máscaras de Hatillo
Be careful with the vejigantes that will try to take away your kids (totally just pretend though of course)!
📍 Google Maps | Date: December 28th
The Festival of Masks of Hatillo, also known as El Día de Los Santos Inocentes, is inspired by the biblical story about King Herodes ordering his guards to slay all children younger than 3 in an attempt to kill baby Jesus.
Every year, on December 28th, colorful parades with floats fill the streets of Hatillo. Men and women dress up as vejigantes, a local folk character that represents Herodes’ guard coming to get the children.
Festival Nacional Indígena de Jayuya
Celebrate the Taino roots of Puerto Rico
📍 Google Maps | Website | Dates: Second half of November
The Taino are an important part of Puerto’s Rico heritage, and Festival Nacional Indígena (Jayuya Indian Festival) celebrates it like none other.
A unique annual event celebrated over 10 days in Jayuya, the Indian National Festival features a beauty pageant (to look for the person that most resembles a Taino), a crafts fair, and a concert by the descendants of the Taino people.
Besides the Puerto Rico Discovery Day celebration, this is one of the best events for people that want to learn about Puerto Rico´s heritage.
Festival de las Flores de Aibonito
A colorful festival that combines flowers and Puerto Rican culture
📍 Google Maps | Website | Dates: June to July
On of the best festivals in Puerto Rico for nature lovers is Festival de las Flores de Aibonito (Aibonito Flower Festival). This festival gathers flower and tree farmers from around Puerto Rico in a lively and colorful festival.
Besides taking workshops, visitors can enjoy street food, buy crafts, and listen to local bands. You’re almost guaranteed to go home with one or two plants.
Festival del Frio de Adjuntas
Visit the coldest city in Puerto Rico
📍 Google Maps | Dates: Last Weekend of February
Puerto Rico’s weather is warm all year-round, but Adjuntas sets the records for the lowest temperatures on the island. And that’s exactly why it’s home to Festival del Frío (The Cold Festival).
While not everyone can drive through the mountains of Puerto Rico, your family will definitely enjoy this local festival with live music, local artists, crafts vendors, parades, and amusement park rides.
Festival de la Novilla
Watch a heifer become the queen of a festival
📍 Google Maps | Website | Dates: Third weekend of January
Festival de la Novilla is one of Puerto Rico’s most popular festivals that takes place in the city of San Sebastián, and is a great cultural event for visitors looking for activities in the west. This annual festival celebrates local cultural traditions and boasts an especially unique queen: a heifer.
After being crowned with flowers, the heifer leads a parade with floats around the town until reaching the town square. There, a concert with traditional music closes the festival.
Fiesta de los Reyes Magos
The celebration of the Three Kings Day with a Caribbean touch
📍 Google Maps | Dates: January 6
Another festival Puerto Rico inherited from Spanish influence is La Fiesta de Los Reyes Magos. Celebrated on January 6, this festival is both a cultural and a religious festivity that alludes to the three wise men that visited baby Jesus with gifts.
This festivity is part of the holiday season in Puerto Rico. In fact, cities around the island celebrate different festivities during which the three wise men give out gifts to children. Juana Díaz is one of the cities with the most popular January 6 festivities.
👉 Pro Tip: To get around the island, I recommend renting a car with Discover Cars. Check out my article about how to get around Puerto Rico for more information!
Admire the best of classical during this multi-day concert
📍 (Santurce) Google Maps | Website | Dates: Between March and June
Spring is a great time to visit Puerto Rico if you’re a classical music fan. Casals Festival is a worldwide fest that, for multiple days, gathers international musicians. It honors the legacy of violoncellist Pablo Casals.
The annual Casals Festival usually takes place in the Luis A. Ferret Fine Arts Center in San Juan. Here, music enthusiasts can enjoy multiple concerts with international and local musicians like the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.
Saborea Puerto Rico
Foodies and top-notch chefs unite during this culinary extravaganza
📍 Google Maps | Website | Dates: April
If you’re a foodie, then Saborea Puerto Rico is the festival for you. Saborea Puerto Rico lasts a full weekend with different food-related activities. But, the highlight of the festival is the Saborea Culinary Stars Dinner – when more than 20 local chefs showcase their best Puerto Rican dishes and gastronomic offerings.
The event also includes music, wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, mixology classes, and drink stations.
Puerto Rican Danza Week
Dance along to Puerto Rico’s folk music
📍 Google Maps | Dates: May
Another festival that takes place in the city of Ponce is Puerto Rican Danza Week. Ponce is known as the place where Puerto Rican Danza, a folklore genre, was born. Multiple musicians and composers created the Puerto Rican Danza festival, combining European influences with the local culture.
This week-long festival involves Danza presentations, parades, and concerts inviting dance lovers to follow along with Puerto Rico’s rhythm.
Festival Nacional del Café de Yauco
Coffee is the main character of this festival
📍 Google Maps | Website | Dates: Between February and March
Yauco is known as the home to Puerto Rico’s finest coffee and so, it’s only natural that the city celebrates the National Coffee Festival.
Coffee aficionados will enjoy lots of coffee during the festival – whether that be cold, hot, black, or with milk. But, besides drinking tons of coffee, visitors can learn about the process of harvesting coffee, enjoy a parade, buy local crafts, and listen to music.
👉 Local Tip: If you miss this festival, another coffee-related festival is the Coffee Harvest Festival celebrated in the nearby town of Maricao.
Immerse yourself in a world of arts and crafts
📍 (Old San Juan) Google Maps | Website | Dates: November
A relatively young festival, La Campechada is one of the most popular festivals in San Juan and Puerto Rico. The event brings together organizations and individuals that create, promote, and conserve art including music, theater, literature, and plastic arts. Food also plays an important role in La Campechada!
The four-day festival not only celebrates culture but also Puerto Rican painter José Campeche, who is considered Puerto Rico’s first painter.
Festival de la Piña Paradisiaca
Drink a fresh piña colada while touring La Parguera
📍 (La Parguera) Google Maps | Website | Dates: Last Weekend of May
The Pineapple Festival is an annual event celebrated in the southern town of Lajas. If you’re a foodie, then you’ll love this festival created to promote commerce in the city. You’ll find fried food vendors, artisans, local bands, and Puerto Rican drinks and dishes prepared with locally-grown pineapples.
The pineapple has been cultivated in Lajas since the 19th century and this festival promises the sweetest pineapples ever.
👉 Read Next: Where to Stay in Puerto Rico (Top Places & Areas)
Dia Nacional de la Salsa
Dance the day away in this Salsa festival
📍 Google Maps | Website | Dates: Third Sunday of March
Organized by a private radio station, El Dia Nacional de la Salsa is a popular event that brings together thousands of salsa dancers in an unofficial Puerto Rico salsa congress.
Similar to some United States festivals, the event is like a concert where the best Salsa singers make live presentations and everyone showcases their best dancing skills. You can drink, eat and make friends with other salsa-lovers.
Thanks for reading my picks for the best festivals in Puerto Rico! While you’re traveling to the island, check out these popular places to visit in Puerto Rico.
Have fun experiencing festivals in Puerto Rico!
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