By ¡Qué Pasa! Staff

You will find celebrations practically everywhere during the season. The atmosphere is filled with vibrant colors, festive music, and yummy local delicacies. Visiting every corner of Puerto Rico becomes a unique experience as municipalities provide great events for both tourists and locals.


Festivities begin with events called Encendidos Navideños (tree-lighting celebrations) in which municipalities showcase their holiday decorations and offer free shows and musical performances. By mid-December, trullas (the local equivalent of caroling) are seen in town squares, filling them with traditional rhythms. Aguinaldo Masses (music-filled early-morning worshipping at Catholic churches) are also an essential component of the holiday celebrations. Should you arrive on the island in January, know that several world-known events that reflect Puerto Ricans’ festive nature will be waiting for you.

Are you preparing your holiday schedule? The following list will be very helpful in planning your itinerary once you arrive in Puerto Rico.

Metro Region

December 1-4: The Nutcracker
The grandeur, set design, costumes, and magic of this staging by Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico have made this a must-see presentation of the world-known holiday classic at the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center. 787-724-7032

December 10: Holiday Boat Parade
Organized by Club Náutico de San Juan, this colorful parade features boats decked in holiday decorations and lights. The event starts in the Isla Grande area and ends at Pier 6 in Old San Juan. The best spots to watch the parade are Bahía Urbana and Paseo de la Princesa. 787-722-0177

December 17-23: Aguinaldo Masses
They begin at 5:30 a.m. at different churches in Old San Juan. Schedule: December 17 at the Cathedral, Dec. 18 at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Dec. 19 in La Puntilla neighborhood, Dec. 20 at the Siervas de María convent, Dec. 21 at the San Conrado chapel, Dec. 22 at the Santa Ana church, and Dec. 23 back at the Cathedral. 787-722-0861

January 19-22: San Sebastián Street Festival
During this weekend the streets of Old San Juan come alive to the rhythm of Bomba and Plena music kicking off grand parades with masked dancers and local characters who will stroll through Old San Juan streets all the way to San Sebastián St. There will be artisans, food kiosks, and local music in nearby courtyards and squares, and also inside the Ballajá Barracks building. 787-725-7559 / 787-723-7800

North Region

DORADO (787-796-6001)
December 10: Holiday Festival

Gran Parque El Dorado, 7:00 p.m. There will be kiddie attractions, children’s shows, musical performances, and food kiosks serving typical dishes and snacks.

December 10: Municipal Band Concert
Juan Boria Arts Center, 7:00 p.m.

December 15: 4th Handicrafts Fair
Casa del Artesano, 11:00 a.m.

December 17: El Mejor Regalo play
Juan Boria Arts Center, 7:00 p.m.

HATILLO (787-262-2093 / 787-262-3561)
December 27: Innocents’ Day Festival

José Ramón Millán Square. Children are the guests of honor in this religious festival that includes music, gifts, snacks, and more.

December 28: Masks Festival
José Ramón Millán Square. Hundreds of Hatillo residents take to the streets in pairs or in groups wearing gauzy and colorful costumes with their faces covered with masks. The parade starts in different neighborhoods and ends in the town square, where you can enjoy food, handicrafts, and live music.

the-party-keep-going-02West Region

MOCA (787-877-1080)
December 2-4: Parranda Los Enchaquetaos (Caroling Event)

Juan D. Quiñones Square. That’s what they call the group of gentlemen who attend all events wearing jackets, ties, and their distinctive Italian hats. Visitors enjoy caroling, music, and local foods.

December 25-29: Masks Festival
Capá Community. People with colorful masks and costumes run or ride on horseback through the streets from the early morning hours. There is food, handicrafts, and music.

LAJAS (787-899-1335, Extensions 1660 and 1665 / 787-899-1450)
December 3: Holiday Troubadour Festival

La Parguera, 7:00 p.m.

QUEBRADILLAS (787-895-1070)
December 3: Güiro Festival

Luis Muñoz Rivera Square.

SAN SEBASTIÁN (939-640-9506)
January 15: Heifer Festival

Cruz Salto Neighborhood, PR111. A parade of floats decorated with different scenes from Puerto Rican folklore and customs.

CABO ROJO (787-254-2358)
December 31: New Year’s Eve Party

Parador Combate Beach

South Region

VILLALBA (787-847-2500)
December 9-11: Pigeon Pea Festival

Town Square. Attendees will enjoy delicious dishes made with pigeon peas. Traditional music performances, exhibitions, and children’s attractions are part of the event.

COAMO (787-825-1150)
December 17-23: Aguinaldo Masses

San Blas Illescas Church, 5:00 a.m.

JUANA DÍAZ (787-260-0817)
January 6: Feast of the Three Kings

Casa Museo de los Santos Reyes. Numerous families attend the event wearing costumes and playing different instruments to create their own joyful rhythms. There are also artisans who specialize in creating works inspired by the Magi. The tradition is so strong that it has produced the first themed museum devoted to the Three Kings in all Latin America.

Central Region

OROCOVIS (787-867-5000 / 787-867-2718)
December 18: National Woodcarvers Meet

Ramos Antonini Street. This cultural event focuses on the tradition of carving wooden saints. There will be local food kiosks and entertainment.

JAYUYA (787-828-0900)
December 2 to January 8: Holiday Forest

Municipal parking, 9:00 a.m. Exhibits include holiday scenes and light sculptures. There will be live music and traditional foods.

East Region

RÍO GRANDE (787-888-2828)
December 1: Jíbaro Holidays

Palmer Square. The event features handicrafts, music, farmers, free workshops, food kiosks, and more. Wearing jíbaro (country-folk) garb is encouraged.

LAS PIEDRAS (787-733-2160)
December 9-11: Roast Pork Festival

Paseo Artesanal. Delicious dishes made with pork; guest artists, and children’s attractions.

CAGUAS (787-653-8990)
December 16-January 8: Holiday Garden

Caguas Botanical and Cultural Garden, 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Traditional scenes, decorations with lights, seasonal dishes, and shows.

CULEBRA (787-742-1033)
December 31: Happy New Year

Town Square. Welcome 2017 with a fun local party.

We recommend calling in advance for more information on schedules and other details.

Holiday Family Fun While Shopping

Shopping centers across the island—as well as urban markets and downtown stores—celebrate the Holiday Season in style. That is why they often hold events that include live holiday music on weekends. Children will have a blast welcoming Santa Claus and the Three Kings. All shopping centers have extended hours during this season. Check out the list on Shopping.

Make the most of the Holiday Season and your trip to Puerto Rico by purchasing beautiful handicrafts made by Puerto Rican artisans. A good idea is to visit Old San Juan, enjoy its magnificent architecture, dine in one of its restaurants, and acquire that special something that will remind you of the best holidays of your life.

Merriment in Hotels and Restaurants

In Puerto Rico, the joy of the Holiday Season is also present in most hotels and restaurants, which feature live holiday music on weekends. On key dates (December 24, 25 and 31 and January 1) they also offer buffet dinners, shows with guest performers, dance music, Salsa lessons, disc jockeys, and surprises. We recommend you contact the hotel or restaurant of your choice for details and reservations. See our lodgings list on Lodging  and our restaurant list on Dining. You can get additional information at

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