Holiday Traditions of Puerto Rico

Holiday Traditions of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is able to transform into every tourist’s ideal location at any time of the year. One of the greatest times of the year to visit the island is during the holiday season. Accompanied by a breezy 75-85°F weather, no place has a longer and more diverse holiday season than we do in Puerto Rico. Check out these facts:


Before Thanksgiving, the decorations start to go up! That is the general rule of Puerto Rico’s holiday decor. Some businesses are widely known for having Christmas decorations all year round and Christmas trees displayed throughout in preparation for the next season to come.

The holiday season ends in January. This month starts off with the Three Kings Day and ends with the Octavitas, the eight days after the Three Kings Day. Visitors extending their stay enjoy the massive cultural and musical events associated with Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián which takes place in mid-January.


In cold weather, bundling up and going house to house and singing Christmas Carols is a tradition for some. The Puerto Rican version of this is a  parranda. These parrandas occur throughout Christmas and in particular on Nochebuena, also known as Christmas Eve. Latino versions of Christmas carols can last until sunrise with live music, food, and traditional Spanish Christmas songs.


The holiday menu in Puerto Rico includes the staple of arroz con gandules, which is rice and green pigeon peas. This is accompanied with pernil,which is roasted pork, and pasteles, which are our version of tamales made up of green bananas, usually filled with pork. For dessert, there are guava pastries and flan, a custard dessert.


Hot cocoa and apple cider are the winter classics to combat the cold weather. In Puerto Rico we consume coquito, a coconut drink served cold and topped with cinnamon sticks. This drink is iconic to Puerto Rico and around the globe many have tried to replicate the “perfect coquito recipe”.


Christmas is widely celebrated on the island, but Hanukkah is also celebrated and cherished in the Puerto Rican Jewish community. For example, there are traditional Puerto Rican Hanukkah dishes such as Fish with Mojo Isleño, which is usually a snapper seasoned with a specialty sauce of onions, garlic, peppers, and red wine vinegar.

Learn more about Puerto Rico and check out some of our tours by visiting .

Hamilton in Puerto Rico Tour Special

America’s hottest historical musical is coming to Puerto Rico!

Lin-Manuel Miranda will reprise his starring role as Alexander Hamilton for 24 performances from January 8-27, 2019 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Vamonos is honored to offer a 4-day Hamilton tour package featuring history, culture, entertainment, and adventure. This special package offers Hamilton orchestra quality seating, 3 nights in the luxurious La Concha Resort, 6 meals, airport and hotel transportation, guided tours and filtered water daily.

Alexander Hamilton’s Caribbean roots will come alive in Puerto Rico as it intermingles with our culture, people, and history.

The highlights of the tour include:

  • HAMILTON orchestra quality seating
  • VIP history-filled sailing trip
  • Afro-Caribbean heritage experience
  • Tropical rainforest excursion
  • Old San Juan walking tour
  • Bomba & salsa workshop
  • Visit local art studio
  • Spanish paella night
  • University of Puerto Rico visit
  • Santurce farmers’ market and street murals
  • La Perla iconic neighborhood
  •  and much more…

This package has been approved by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and HAMILTON. We are honored to be one of the trusted companies to sell this expertly guided tour package.

Our spaces are very limited, book your package right away:


10 cool tips to make the most out of your service-learning experience

By Esther Riddle

Do you want your service-learning visit to be a memorable one? We have found that when travelers PREPARE activities ON THEIR OWN, the visit goes much smoother and is far more successful.

If your group is willing to serve for one full day or for several days and can supply some materials, we’d love to create a full service-learning project. However, not every group has that much time in their itinerary. Plus, not every local school and/or facility that we visit needs a specific type of service such as painting, gardening, cleaning, or stocking shelves.

Often times, what goes a long way in the minds and hearts of both students and those that they are serving is quality PEOPLE to PEOPLE time and exchange of ideas. Challenge students to connect with 2-3 people individually and think about what they could say to encourage or invest in their lives.

The students that we tend to serve are from underprivileged low-income communities. Many of them have never traveled abroad. However, that doesn’t stop them from being curious and from wanting to expand their knowledge of the world and of different cultures.

Here are 10 great service suggestions for teachers and students:

  1. POWER POINT PRESENTATION – Encourage students to put together a power point presentation about their school, their country, culture, or about a favorite sport. They may also want to bring out how they celebrate holidays, what they do on weekends, their favorite foods, etc. Let them be creative!
  2. ICE BREAKER GAMES – Come with an “ice breaker” game so students can get to know each other! You can find many ideas for these online.
  3. SHORT PLAY– Come prepared to act out a short play. Once again, give your students the liberty to get creative.
  4. SONGS / DANCE – Share a song or dance with those that you are visiting. It could be in their language or yours…or both!
  5. PEN PALS – When visiting, encourage the students to swap their contact information or social media pages so they can build lasting friendships.
  6. BOOKS – Each of your students can donate and read an age appropriate book to a student they visit. Have them write their well wishes in the flyleaf!
  7. HOBBIES – Encourage your students to introduce themselves and talk about their hobbies. They are welcome to bring along pictures!
  8. CRAFTING – If you’d like, bring along supplies to do a craft together. Be sure the activity is age appropriate and the supplies will be allowed on the plane.
  9. LOCAL TREATS – Have your students bring along a treat that is special to their hometown or state to share. For example, hot pepper jam is unique to Lancaster County, PA. It’s something that not too many of the kids there have sampled to be sure!
  10. SPORTS – Participate in local sports and recreational activities with students such as playing soccer, volleyball, jump rope, playing cards, etc. Introduce locals to a sport they’ve probably never played before.

Yesterday’s Power Outage

Yesterday Puerto Rico experienced an island wide power outage due to an excavator accidentally cutting through a main power line. Some residents in 5 municipalities along with several hospitals have already had their power restored and the rest should see their electricity return within the next 24 hours. The company responsible for yesterday’s outage was also the same company responsible for the power outage that effected several residents last week. The company has since been terminated.

Most hotels and hospitals have massive generators that can power their operations so that service is not interrupted. All the hotels and hospitals we use had powerful generators up and running within a few short minutes so none of our groups were interrupted in their tours.  In the mean time workers are trying to restore power to all hospitals first and then all hotels, followed by the rest of the island.

Updates On Puerto Rico February 2018

Meet Puerto Rico has issued an info-graphic update on the progress of the tourist industry in Puerto Rico. Click here to view the latest progress. You can also visit to see the latest updates on water and electricity restoration.

Last month the World Health Organization (WHO) reclassified Zika in Puerto Rico from a category 1 (outbreak) to category 2 (low possibility of transmission). In response, the CDC removed their specific travel notice for Puerto Rico. For more information you can visit the CDC and WHO websites. The CDC still recommends that pregnant women and couples trying to have children should still avoid travel to Puerto Rico and travelers should still use bug repellent.

Should Your Tour Operator Be A SYTA Member?

Absolutely! SYTA (Student & Youth Travel Association) recently wrote an article explaining why teachers and schools should choose a SYTA member tour operator for their school tours. As SYTA members, we are held to very high standards. Through the years, we have had to rescue groups who chose non-member companies based on price and promises that weren’t kept.

Read Full Article

Puerto Rico is officially open for tourism!

Today we received exciting news!

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company has officially declared Puerto Rico widely open for tourism! Read the entire update here!

We look forward to running our usual safe and meaningful tours full of cultural and language immersion. We also can’t wait to give back to the island by making our groups participate in hurricane-relief service opportunities. “Vamonos con Vamonos, que si no es con Vamonos, no vamos!”

The Vamonos Team