The island’s many ecotourism-related activities provide visitors—and locals too—with a wide range of options to have fun with their families.

By Robert Colberg Orengo.
Photos Supplied.

In the heart of our mountains’ countryside

Start the day watching the sunrise as you travel toward Utuado, located in Puerto Rico’s central mountain range. A pleasing ecotourism experience awaits you there as you discover our indigenous roots while you hike, ride a zipline, explore caves or cruise on a kayak. Batey Zipline Adventures (787-484-3860 / www.bateydelcemi.com) makes this tour a dream come true.

For coffee lovers…

You should include a visit to a coffee plantation in your vacation schedule. In the island’s countryside there are several that offer tours of their facilities and fields. You can also taste their delicious brew and even buy coffee as a souvenir. Check out Hacienda Tres Ángeles in Adjuntas. (787-360-0019 / www.haciendatresangeles.com).

 

 

 

To know a Place like the back Of your hand you must explore it during the day and also at night. Some things usually regarded as daytime activities—like going snorkeling or visiting the zoo— can be done at night to enjoy a different experience.

By Andrea Moya Muñoz

Beautiful Sunsets

Reward yourself with a unique opportunity: approaching the sunset. Bring in the evening by touring the tranquil waters while watching the coast. Many of the tours include drinks, food, and live music in their fare.

Fajardo

• Catamaran Salty Dog, 787-717-6378
• Erin Go Bragh Chartes, 787-860-4401
• Sailing Sun Charters, 787-307-1690
• Spread Eagle II, 787-887-8821
• Traveler Catamaran, 787-863-2821

Rincón

• Katarina Sail Charters, 787-823-7245
• Taíno Divers, Rincón, 787-823-6429

San Juan

• Encantos Eco Tours, 787-272-0005
• Sail San Juan Bay, 787-667-7778
• San Juan Water Tours, 787-624-6295

San Juan y Fajardo

• East Island Excursions, 787-860-3434

Vieques

• El Viequense Sea Tour, 787-741-4054
• Vieques Island PowerCat, 787-980-9978

On the Water

How about taking a family photo on a nighttime tour while standing on lit paddleboards? A must! If you prefer, you can take the tour on a kayak.

Arecibo

• IMS Sup, 787-324-1144

Humacao

• WaterSports & Ecotours, 787-852-6058/787-209-5020

A Night Dive

If you are a diver and want a different kind of experience, sign up for a nighttime dive.

Aguadilla

• Aquatica Dive & Surf, 787-890-6071

Carolina

• Ocean Sports, 787-268-2329

Culebra

• Culebra Divers, 787-742-0803

Fajardo

• Casa del Mar Dive Center, 787-860-3483
• Unlimited Divers, 787-645-4381
• Sea Ventures, 800-739-3483

Guánica

• Island Scuba, 787-821-4373

Lajas

• Papayo Divers Inc., 787-951-3014

Rincón

• Rincon Diving & Snorkeling, 787-506-3483
• Scuba Dogs, 787-783-6377

Vieques

• El Viequense Sea Tour, 787-741-4054/787-925-2101

On the Water

How about taking a family photo on a nighttime tour while standing on lit paddleboards? A must! If you prefer, you can take the tour on a kayak.

Arecibo

• IMS Sup, 787-324-1144

Humacao

• WaterSports & Ecotours, 787-852-6058/787-209-5020

San Juan

• Vela Uno/SUP Inc., 787-470-9099

San Juan y Gurabo

• Paddle Paradise P.R., 787-469-3397

Nocturnal Heritage

Seeing iconic places and learning more about their legends and traditions may be part of the things that the whole family can enjoy after sundown.

Ponce
• Aventu/ras Puerto Rico, 787-380-8481
San Juan

• Amador Island Tours, 787-397-1881
• Amigos Tours & Travel, 787-360-9398
• Legends of Puerto Rico, 787-605-9060
• Leisure Awakenings, 787-525-6905
• Old San Juan Heritage Walkings Tours, 787-723-3848

Bioluminescent Bays

Three of the world’s permanent and brightest bioluminescent bays: rare spectacles of nature that are easily accessible in Puerto Rico.

Fajardo

• Eco Action Tours Bio Bay Tour, 787-791-7509
• Enchanted Island Ecotours, 787-888-2887
• Island Kayaking Adventures, 787-444-0059
• Kayaking Puerto Rico, 787-435-1665
• Las Tortugas Adventures, Inc., 787-809-0253
• Pure Adventure, 787-202-6551
• Yokahú Kayak, 787-604-7375

Vieques

• Abe’s Snorkeling & Bio Bay Tours, 787-741-2134
• Bieque Eco Trips, Inc., 787-922-2701
• Black Beard Sports, 787-741-1892
• Blue Water Caribbean Adventures, 844-210-2922
• Island Adventures Biobay Electric Boat Tour, 787-741-0720
• JAK Water Sports, 787-644-7112
• Melaya’s Tours, 787-222-7055

Closer to the moon

Thanks to the tours that include zip line attractions, in Puerto Rico you can get closer to the moon and stars. You can have an experience you’ll cherish forever.

Carolina

• Ecoquest Adventures & Tours, 787-529-2496/787-447-0700

Orocovis

• Toroverde Nature Adventure Park, 787-867-6606

El Yunque in the Evening

This marvel of nature has its own splendor at dusk. Evening tours are becoming increasingly popular among both tourists and locals. Get ready to appreciate the lush vegetation at day’s end! This is also a great opportunity to admire the nighttime beauty of the trails.

Fajardo

• AdvenTours, 787-530-8311

Río Grande

• Enchanted Island Ecotours, 787-888-2887

Zoo Night

Dr. Juan A. Rivero Zoo, located in Mayagüez, offers nighttime tours (July 23) where families can observe the animals’ behaviors. They also screen children’s movies and have kid-oriented activities. Call 787-834-8110 for dates and times.

Starry Nights

The Caribbean Astronomical Society sets up observation stations at various locations in Puerto Rico. In La Pitahaya, Cabo Rojo they will have a “Night of Observation Under Dark Skies” (June 4, July 2 and August 20), where you could see the Milky Way, Mars, and Saturn. If you prefer to go to the grounds of Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan (July 9 and August 27), you can have a night of “Urban Astronomy Observation”. You can see Mars and Saturn thanks to special equipment that will be available on a complimentary basis. For details write to sociedadastronomia@gmail.com or call the following numbers: 787-464-5629, 787-602-4224 or 787-306-1087.

Puerto Rico is full of adventures for children. Hundreds of years of history and culture translate into fun attractions. From any point on the map, you can find lots of different things to enjoy: Disco ver castles, zip lines, woods to explore, interesting museums and water parks.

On the Enchanted Island, the youngest in the family have many things to do. It just depends on your tastes and preferences because the options are at your fingertips. It’s the island of adventure come true!

Outdoor Amusement

Parque Agroturístico El Dorado is a large park with playgrounds equipped with slides, swings and more; a soccer field; and basketball and volleyball courts. Want your kids to experience what it’s like to be on a farm? Now you can thanks to El Dorado’s on-site animal farm. Science lovers will feel at home at the newly remodeled Luis A. Ferré Science Park in Bayamón. This is a popular attraction thanks to its museums, simulators, 4-XD theater, Aerospace Pavilion, robotic recreations (animatronics), and planetarium. Then there’s Villa Campestre, the place to have fun with animals and enjoy rides and a pool. Interesting spots within the Caguas Botanical Garden include the Casa Jíbara (Country Home) with its family garden, which will allow children to go back in time to our grandparents’ era. Furthermore, at the Río Piedras Botanical Garden you’ll see more than 30,000 plants and there are lakes, sculptures, and trails to explore. An encounter with nature that will allow kids to let their adventurous spirit run free!

A place that your kids will love is Old San Juan. Its castles, parks, museums and picturesque structures are waiting for them to have a good time while learning about our history and culture.

Fun Museums

In Children’s Museum, in Carolina, kids will be entertained and have fun as they learn. For more information go to Museums page. Those who are sports fans will find an impressive collection dedicated to Puerto Rican and Caribbean athletes at the Sports Museum of Puerto Rico in Guaynabo. Meanwhile, at the Sports Museum of Caguas they’ll learn about the feats of Caguas’ athletes and teams in various disciplines. And since 2016 is a world Olympics year, a visit to the Puerto Rico Olympic Museum in Salinas allows you to learn more about the 30 sports supported by the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee.

If your children love animals and nature, the Wildlife Museum should be a must on your list. Located in San Juan, there you’ll see some 200 mammals in their respective habitats. Educational tours offered by expert biologists are available.

Specialized Camps

If your children have an affinity for environmental care and protection-related issues, the Cuidadores del Planeta Camp is aimed at educating kids on the values of peace and saving the planet. Similarly, the Sierra Club’s Sprog Program in Jayuya, within Puerto Rico’s central mountain range, focuses on environmental training and leadership for youngsters who want to learn the necessary tools to make real changes on behalf of the environment.

Sports-oriented children, particularly those who prefer waterbased sports and fun, will enjoy the paddleboard clinics/camp in Aguadilla that teach basic skills, in addition to development and skills at competitive, recreational, and technical levels. Puerto Rico’s northwestern coast is ideal for this sport.

In the Metro Area, Scuba Dogs offers swimming and diving camps for kids from 8 years old. All of them include basic and advanced classes with navigation, underwater photography, rescue, environmentalism and night and more training. Also, Club Nautico’s Sailing Academy sponsors a program for kids as young as 6 who learn to sail aboard in a sailboat.

Water fun

Who enjoys Puerto Rico’s warm climate the most? Kids, of course. So it’s no surprise that water attractions are among their favorite choices for having fun while visiting the island with their families. Also, you can visit one of our water parks. Many have slides, crazy rivers, and other attractions that the whole family will enjoy. Some of them are:

• Aquasol, Carolina (787-633-3457)
• Las Cascadas, Aguadilla (787-819-5555, x 221)
• Albergue Olímpico, Salinas (787-824-2200)
• Surf N’ Fun Water Park, San Germán (787-659-7440)
• Arecibo Water Park, Arecibo (787-597-5257)
• Parque Acuático Infantil, Humacao (787-622-5200)

Puerto Rico has beautiful beaches that your children will enjoy to the fullest. Many are certified Blue Flag.

Remember to protect your kids’ skin —as well as your own— with plenty of sunscreen. Also, wear light and comfortable clothing.

Quick Reference

Forest and Parks

• Parque Agroturístico El Dorado, Dorado, 787-517-2258
• Luis A. Ferré Science Park, Bayamón, 787-740-6868

Gardens

• Caguas Botanical Garden, 787-653- 8990 www.jardinbotanicoycultural.org
• Río Piedras Botanical Garden, San Juan, 787-758-9957 www.upr.edu/jardin-botanico

Museums

• Children’s Museum, Carolina, 787-257-0216
• Sport Museum of Puerto Rico, Guaynabo, 787-731-4923
• Sport Museum of Caguas, 787-746-2404 (Facebook: Museo del Deporte de Caguas)
• Puerto Rico Olimpic Museum, Salinas, 787-824-2200 www.albergueolimpico.com/servicios/museo-olimpico
• Wildlife Museum, San Juan,787-480-5440

Camps

• Cuidadores del Planeta Camp, Trujillo Alto, 787-307- 9894 cuidadoresdelplaneta@yahoo.com
• Sierra Club’s Sprog Program, Jayuya, 787-688-6214 www.sierraclub.org/youth/summersprog-training
• Paddleboard Clinics / Camp, Aguadilla, 787-546-1114 • www.facebook.com/westparadisepr
• Scuba Dogs, Guaynabo & Parque Marino del Escambrón, 787-783-6377 dive@scubadogs.net
• Club Náutico’s Sailing Academy, San Juan, 787-722-0177 www.nauticodesanjuan.com

More and more overseas couples choose Puerto Rico as their wedding destination. The beauty of our landscape, the wonderful weather, the easy wedding process and paperwork, and the quality of our local service suppliers turn the island into an ideal setting.

By Robert Colberg Orengo

Puerto Rico has so much to offer

-Wilmary and Stefan

“If serving good food is on your list of priorities, Puerto Rico is the destination!”

Wilmary and Stefan wanted to give their guests a real vacation as part of their weekend destination wedding. After considering several options in the Caribbean, they chose Vieques, Puerto Rico. “It was a great idea to have the wedding there because, in addition to a luxury location, we also had local atmosphere.”

For this couple residing in Manhattan, N.Y., the wedding’s food was a key aspect that was perfectly handled. “Puerto Ricans are very proud of their cuisine. If serving good food is on your list of priorities, Puerto Rico is the destination!”

Another detail to which Wilmary paid special attention was the ability to incorporate elements of Puerto Rican culture in the celebration. “We had excellent Puerto Rican food and a group of pleneros [a musical group that plays traditional rhythms]. Our guests were caught up in the island’s energy.”

Easy-to-reach destination

-Melissa and Jason

“Everything we dreamed for our wedding day came true in Puerto Rico!”

“Everything we dreamed for our wedding day came true in Puerto Rico!” said Melissa and Jason of North Augusta, South Carolina, when asked why they chose the island to host their wedding.

Another aspect that played a positive role in deciding to hold their event here was how easy it was for their guests to get to Puerto Rico. “Since no passport is required for U.S. citizens and you can find cheap plane tickets, it was very easy for our family and friends to get here. They all had a great time and also had the opportunity to explore different parts of the island,” Melissa recalled.

Her great experience with hired local suppliers is definitely worth noting. “Everyone worked to have the island’s beauty become part of our style.”

Endorsed Wedding Planners

When planning your big day, get in touch with any of the wedding coordinators endorsed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Tell them your wishes and they will do their best to make them come true.

AMK Events, Anne Marie Kleis Weddings & Parties Inc.
787-721-1285 • www.amkevents.comamkevents@gmail.com

All Events P.R. • 787-556-8961
www.alleventspr.comalleventspr@gmail.com

Chezelle Dezines Weddings • 787-919-0532
www.chezelledezines.cominfo@chezelledezines.com

Creating Weddings Group • 787-225-4008
www.creatingweddingsgroup.commaribel@creatingweddingsgroup.com

Krizia Díaz Event Planner & Designer
787-451-2475 • www.kriziadiaz.cominfo@kriziadiaz.com

Maité Canela • 787-397-2277
www.maitecanela.com • francachelapr@hotmail.com

María A. Lugo Wedding Planner • 787-548-5561
www.marialugopr.commariaalugo@gmail.com

Milly Centeno Coordinators • 787-717-1808
www.millycenteno.commillycenteno@yahoo.com

Momentus Special Events & More • 787-391-1366
www.rosalinamomentus.commomentusspecialevents@gmail.com

Naya’s Idea Event Coordinator • 787-533-7544
www.nayasidea.cominfo@nayasidea.com

Tropical Weddings Puerto Rico • 787-671-1690
www.tropicalweddingspr.comtropicalweddings@yahoo.com

WedAffair (Gets/Grand Events) • 787-775-9500
www.wedaffair.cominfo@wedaffair.com

Weddings by Silversilke • 787-633-5509
www.silversilke.comsilversilke@hotmail.com

By Robert Colberg Orengo

Photos: Puerto Rico Tourism Company

As part of their travel plans, tourists should consider adding another item to their lists: visiting a casino. Besides being places where you try out your luck, Puerto Rico’s casinos have become excellent entertainment oriented locales.

Casinos’ formerly rigid atmosphere has turned into “a pleasant ambiance where visitors will be greeted with a smile and treated cordially, as they rightfully deserve,” said Ismael Vega, manager of Casino Sheraton Convention Center. “Unlike other destinations, the ambiance in the island’s casinos is more personal and friendly,” said Miguel Vega from the Hyatt Place Casino in Bayamón.

casino-2And so it is. In addition to the slot machines and gaming tables, visitors can find different forms of entertainment in local casinos.

Whether you are an avid gambler or a novice player, going to a casino is an experience you shouldn’t miss. Many casinos have their own bar, so your visit can begin with a house specialty drink. Feeling hungry? A light fare menu is available at an additional cost.

Everything from Dancing to Comedy

Entertainment alternatives are plentiful. At local casinos it’s possible to hear songs by a traditional folk music group, as well as catchy tunes by live salsa or merengue orchestras. Feel like dancing? Go right ahead! And if you need to learn, you can take the dancing lessons offered by some casinos. Want a good laugh? Casinos also frequently feature comedy shows.

“These are other offerings that appeal to people. Perhaps many of our visitors came to their hotel and never ventured into the casino. Now they see the bar, check out the ambiance, come in and stay because they find it quite appealing,” said Ismael Vega.

A Safe Environment

People attending a casino can rest assured that they will have a great time in a fun and, above all, very safe environment. “At the casino you can have fun, play, eat, and drink without leaving the premises,” Miguel Vega pointed out.

 

An Enchanting Jackpot!

Try your luck at the “Jackpot of Enchantment.” There are 84 special machines that allow players to vie for a prize of $20,000 or more with a 40-cent minimum and $2 maximum bet. The “Jackpot of Enchantment” machines are spread across 13 casinos throughout the island (see list below).casino-3

  • Sheraton Convention Center
  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • Wyndham Río Mar
  • Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar
  • Four Points by Sheraton Caguas Real
  • Ponce Hilton Hotel & Casino
  • Ponce Plaza
  • Holiday Inn, Ponce
  • Mayagüez Resort
  • Holiday Inn, Mayagüez
  • Courtyard by Marriott, Aguadilla
  • Hyatt Place, Manatí
  • Hyatt Place, Bayamón


Five Reasons to Visit a Casino in Puerto Rico:

  1. Entertainment choices are plentiful: from live bands to comedy shows and sporting event broadcasts.
  2. In addition to the chance of winning at slot machines and gaming tables, casinos often hold raffles whose prizes include everything from trips to cars and cash.
  3. Casinos are excellent venues for social interaction.
  4. You can have fun, try your luck, and even grab a bite—all at a single location.
  5. You can play the “Jackpot of Enchantment” slot machines.

Photos: Supplied

Puerto Rico features 22 golf courses—many of them known the world over for their different levels of difficulty and their exquisitep-023-cred-pr-tourism-co communion with nature. They are favored by the hundreds of players who attend the international-caliber tournaments held locally each year. It’s no wonder that we are known as the Island of Golf!

Puerto Rico has excellent golf courses that attract local and international golfers. Add to them other attractions such as our tropical climate that allows people to practice the sport year-round, plus excellent hotels, restaurants, and nightlife. Furthermore, each local golf course showcases the island’s beauty from different perspectives.

Along with a growing number of local golfers, there is increased participation by top-ranking international professional golfers in major local tournaments such as the Puerto Rico Open—which every year attracts renowned professional players and focuses worldwide fans’ attention on our island through tournament broadcasts on the Golf Channel, as well as through event coverage on traditional and social media.

p-022-cred-pr-tourism-coLast year this sporting event made it possible for Czech athlete and Germany resident Alex Cejka to win his first Puerto Rico Golf Association PGA Tour title. According to the data provided,the prizes for last year’s Puerto Rico Open were $3 million and the winner received a $540,000 prize.

Everything is in place for the next Puerto Rico Open to be held in March 24-27, 2016 at the Coco Beach golf course in Río Grande. This event has earned our island an enviable spot among the top golf destinations in the Caribbean and around the world.

Another important tournament is the Puerto Rico Junior Open, which takes place in Río Grande and promotes golf among young people. Last year, young golfer Andrew Kozan from Florida, and a member of the Eagles Dream Golf Academy, won the event. This sport not only acknowledges the pros’ feats but also offers opportunities for amateurs and those who are developing their skills. As a matter of fact, the team of young amateur players representing Puerto Rico in the 2015 Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf tournament won the Hanks James award for the eighth year in a row.

By: Robert Colberg Orengo

Photos: Supplied

Puerto Rico’s palm trees, beaches, and countryside are bearing witness to the promises of love made by thousands of couples who choose the island on which to tie the knot. Our attentiveness, service, and beautiful landscapes make more and more couples choose our island to celebrate their weddings.

According to professional event coordinator Rosalina Torres, from Momentus Special Events & More, tourists who decide to get married in Puerto Rico decide to share vows in places that are a true reflection of Puerto Rico’s culture and architecture. “Most couples want to hold their ceremonies at historic sites in Old San Juan, specifically at Castillo San Cristóbal and El Morro. Another popular request is to have their wedding on the beach at sundown,” she said.

Throughout the island you will find beautiful haciendas where you can have the wedding of your dreams. They include Hacienda Siesta Alegre in Río Grande and Hacienda Campo Rico in Carolina. In the southern region, specifically in Ponce, Serrallés Castle is the preferred location due to its spectacular gardens and city views. In the west, Rincón’s beaches are ideal wedding locations. The central, east, and west regions have rustic hotels favored by tourists who want to tie the knot on the Island of Enchantment.

Torres pointed out the reasons that make Puerto Rico the ideal destination for a wedding:

  • The year-round tropical climate is extremely attractive for outdoor weddings.
  • The recent elimination of lab tests for nonresidents helps make the process of getting legally married in Puerto Rico much simpler.
  • Puerto Rico is a bilingual (Spanish and English) island, so communication between overseas clients and wedding service suppliers is easier.
  • Most local wedding providers are educated, professional, and highly trained people who offer attentive service to visiting couples.
  • The Island of Enchantment has wonderful locations for destination weddings that include beautiful beaches, colonial-style structures in Old San Juan, sites within El Yunque National Forest, and charming haciendas in lush mountain landscapes, among others. Add to these the many hotels available throughout the island.bodas-1
  • Puerto Rico’s great gastronomic diversity can please most everyone’s palate and culinary tastes. In addition, there are many daytime and nighttime entertainment venues available.

Getting married in Puerto Rico is a simple procedure. You can check out the requirements posted at www.seepuertorico.com/en/experiences/lifestyle/weddings. As of June 2015, couples of any gender or sex can get legally married in Puerto Rico.

Want to tie the knot on the Island of Enchantment? Get additional information about weddings in Puerto Rico by calling tollfree 1-800-866-7827 (in English) or 1-800-981-7575 (en español).

By Robert Colberg Orengo

Each spring, thousands of students and families from the continental United States select Puerto Rico as their perfect Spring Break destination.

And how could they not choose us, as unlimited fun is readily available on our island! Here you’ll find entertainment for everyone—including sun worshipers, art lovers, and even those who prefer to live unforgettable moments by conquering the challenges brought on by extreme sports.

Passive Entertainment

A walk through Old San Juan is a must! Centuries’ worth of tradition can be found within the walled city—and as you discover it you will be transported back in time to the days of the Spanish conquest. The colonial ambiance is particularly strong at El Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal. Do coordinate a visit to La Fortaleza, which together with the San Juan National Historic Site were declared a UNESCO

World Heritage site.

Idyllic Beaches

The vast majority of visitors prefer to allow the sun, sand, and sea to caress their skin. Popular beaches located in the western region are favored by those who enjoy surfing. However, beaches in the metropolitan area—as well as those located in the nearby islands of Vieques and Culebra—receive thousands of locals and tourists. Thanks to their impressive views and white sands, they are sure to become some of our visitors’ favorite spots.

Nature Encounters

Some people prefer to go inland to discover the wonders of Puerto Rico. Different tours to underground caves are available, as well as visits to countryside locales that are best enjoyed on foot or on bicycle tours. El Yunque National Forest, the Río Camuy Cave ParkToro Verde, and the Humacao Nature Reserve are some of the many outdoor options available. 

Nightlife

Whether in the lobby of a hotel, on a town square’s surroundings or any other place you prefer, in Puerto Rico you’ll find the perfect nighttime entertainment so that your Spring Break includes a good dose of partying. Visiting La Placita in Santurce or the bars in Old San Juan will allow you to mingle with the locals. Check out our Events section to see many alternatives. For more information, go to www.seepuertorico.com/experiences/nightlife.

EDITOR’S PICKS

Museums

  • Museum of Art of Puerto Rico– The structure is the perfect combination of traditional and modern influences. Touring the gardens is well worth it.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art– Featuring exhibits that give wings to the imagination of those who admire them.
  • Museo de Arte de Ponce– Located in the southern portion of the island, it is the home of the claimed Flaming June painting.

Nature & Adventure

  • Toro Verde– Its new attraction “El Monstruo” (“The Monster”) promises to raise the adrenaline levels of even the most courageous visitors.
  • Castillo Sightseeing Tours &Travel– The catamarans will turn you into the king or queen of the sea and master of all watersports.
  • Hacienda Campo Rico– If you prefer something less extreme but equally exciting, a horseback ride through a beautiful site is highly recommended. 

By Robert Colberg Orengo

Photos: Supplied

Children love discovering the wonders of the Island of Enchantment so parents have almost endless possibilities when it comes to keeping them entertained.

An excellent idea to entertain children is to create a themed road trip. For example, take a map of Puerto Rico, identify all the lighthouses found throughout the island, and set off on a driving expedition. You can also choose to visit local children’s museums. Old San Juan and Carolina have specialized museums most kids will love. There they will be entertained and have fun as they learn.

Get Creative

Use your imagination, take your children’s tastes and preferences into account, and create a fun journey together. Your morning can start with a stop at a historical place brimming with tales and anecdotes. The streets of Old San Juan offer a perfect setting as its colorful houses and colonial buildings are full of history.

wyndham-gran-rio-mar-beach-resort-and-spa_marianella-godoyHow about letting your little ones venture into the fascinating world of photography? Visit the town squares near your hotel and allow your kids to take pictures. At the end of your stay you can print the photos and make a scrapbook, allowing your children to share the experience with their classmates. Photographs can also be posted on social media for other family members and friends to enjoy.


Additional Options

At Museo del Mar (Maritime Museum), located in Old San Juan, you’ll find a collection of sea- and merchant marine-related objects. The Bayamón Science Park is an educational and recreational attraction that allows visitors to learn more about different branches of science in an interactive manner. Also, Luis Muñoz Marín Park, located in the heart of the San Juan metro area, is brimming with vegetation and possibilities for children to have a great time.

Check with your hotel or goto www.seepuertorico.com/familyandkids for suggestions on suitable venues for children who prefer more dynamic activities. There you will find everything from walking tours along the coast or up in the mountains to paddleboard classes and more.


Water-Based Fun

Who enjoys Puerto Rico’s warm climate the most? Kids, of course. So it’s no surprise that water attractions are among their favoriteparque-de-las-ciencias choices for having fun while visiting the island with their families.Many of our water parks have slides, crazy rivers, and other attractions that the whole family will enjoy. Some of them are:

  • Aquasol, Carolina (787-633-3457)
  • Las Cascadas, Aguadilla (787-819-5555, ext. 221)
  • Albergue Olímpico, Salinas (787-824-2200)
  • Surf N’ Fun Water Park, San Germán (787-659-7440)
  • Monte Frío, Bayamón (787-740-4005)
  • Arecibo Water Park, Arecibo (787-597-5257)
  • Parque Acuático Infantil, Humacao (787-622-5200)

In addition, some hotels feature swimming pools with extra attractions that their guests can enjoy:

  • Courtyard Marriott, Aguadilla (787-658-8000)
  • Coquí Water Park, El Conquistador Resort, Fajardo (787-863-1000)
  • Coco’s Park, Fajardo Inn (787-860-6000)
  • Mayagüez Resort & Casino (787-832-3030)

The following places combine water attractions with other fun activities:

  • Skateboard and Splash Park, Aguadilla (787-891-1460)
  • Parque Julia de Burgos, Carolina (787-710-9300)
  • Parque Familiar, Jayuya (787-232-1731)

By Elsa Fernández-Miralles

The Three Kings: protagonists of Puerto Rico’s celebration

What Santa Claus is to the U.S. mainland, the Three Kings are to Puerto Rico. Every year on Jan. 5, children in Puerto Rico collect grass and put it under their beds so that when the Three Kings visit the home and leave gifts they can also feed their weary camels.

Although the real reason for the popularity of the Fiesta de Reyes (Three Kings’ Day) in our local tradition is unknown, its influence is so strong that we have even coined the term reyar (to engage in Three King’s Day celebrations) as synonymous with folk songs in honor of the Magi accompanied by local instruments.

The Magi, also referred as the Wise Men or the Three Kings where, in the Christian tradition, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus of Nazareth, after his birth bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and mirrh. They are important figures in traditional Christmas celebrations and to Christianity itself.

The Promesa de Reyes (Three Kings’ Day Pledge) is still observed to this day. On the eve of Jan. 6, a devout Catholic makes a wish and vows to pay a promise. During the promise, a group of believers usually gathers and sings aguinaldos (local carols) whose main themes are Christmas and the birth of Jesus. Although aguinaldos are interspersed with prayers, the tone of the celebration is undeniably festive.

The event includes children and adults as the feast, in honor of Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar—the Magi who found Jesus after following a guiding star—is open to all.

January 6 is an official holiday in Puerto Rico. Here are examples of how different municipalities celebrate Three Kings’ Day.

Juana Díaz – With nearly 130 years’ worth of tradition, Juana Díaz has become the capital of the Three Kings in Puerto Rico. In the 19th century, the town held a parade featuring the Three Kings and shepherds, followed by a Mass. After Mass, the Kings brought gifts to Baby Jesus. In 1983, when Spanish priest Valentín Echevarría arrived in town, the celebration regained its religious tone with an ecclesiastic theater presentation followed by the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6. Juana Díaz’s current Three Kings continue traveling to several locations throughout the world, including the Vatican.

Isabela – The Feast of Isabela’s Kings (also known as Isabela’s Singing Kings) is coordinated by the Casa de la Cultura Isabelina (Isabela’s House of Culture) and is known for the Kings’ beautiful costumes and their message of faith, hope, and charity. The two-day event is held Jan. 5 and on the Epiphany (Jan. 6) and consists of four different celebrations. First, the Kings arrive in town and a Kings’ Promise is held.

Then, they parade to the town square so they can meet with Baby Jesus. Later they worship Jesus and bring Him gifts as representatives of the people. Lastly, a town festival is held.

Las Marías – Every Three Kings’ Day, local children and even visitors await the distribution of gifts at a prearranged location. At the event, there are bounce houses, snacks and candies, clown shows, and live music.

Guaynabo – The Trulla de Reyes (Three Kings Caroling) is an event that takes trullas (caroling parties) through different town sectors. Shows featuring troubadours and other performers are held at a designated location.

San Juan – For years, the distribution of Three Kings’ Day gifts for children was conducted at La Fortaleza, the Puerto Rico governor’s residence, and now takes place in several municipalities. Ask your hotel concierge about the designated locations for 2016.

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