3 min read

Holiday Cheer on the Island

The holidays are the perfect time to cherish and rekindle memories with loved ones, and Puerto Rico is known for having the world’s longest holiday season.

The holidays are the perfect time to cherish and rekindle memories with loved ones. Puerto Rico is known for having the world’s longest holidays, starting from November, in preparation for Thanksgiving until January, between the Epiphany (or also known as The Three Kings Day) and concluding with the beloved street festival San Sebastián (or SanSe). 

Christmastime on the Island is regarded as the cultural peak on the calendar of every Puerto Rican. Endless parties fill the neighborhoods and hotels with effervescent joy, and unique traditions and customs that distinguish the occasion in this Caribbean corner.  

Part of the cultural endeavor is the festive cuisine. A plethora of desserts decorate the tables of the people, regardless of class. For example, for every eggnog in the United States, there are coquitos in Puerto Rico. This iconic beverage is made from condensed milk, coconut cream, cinnamon and is occasionally spiked with rum, although most families have their own variations and secret ingredients.

Other iconic desserts like the tembleque or arroz con dulce also contain similar ingredients with different preparations in their recipes, which could raise an intriguing idea on how the element of coconut in Puerto Rican food has become part of its culinary stamp or trademark (which can be dated to as early as the piña colada, invented in Puerto Rico in Old San Juan in 1962, although many sources allege that it was invented at the Caribe Hilton of the San Juan district in 1954). 

Over the main course of meals, people can enjoy the famous criollo dishes like arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) accompanied by amarillos (sweet plantains), lechón (pork) and so much more. Many residents wish to relish such delicacies through fun activities that enhance their experience such as the beloved chinchorreo

This activity has accumulated impetus over the last few years due to its wide range of demographic appeal, from family-friendly to adults-only approaches. The chinchorreo is usually done with a rented bus to fit 20-50 people, rounding up a trip of different stops with fried food kiosks as well as the lechoneras or pork restaurants. Four wheels and the open road do not limit the individuals inside the bus, who never hesitate to celebrate between each stop. 

Anyone lost on creating a route for this trip should not fret. A good rendezvous to kick start the trip can be found in the heart of Guavate, located in the municipality of Cayey. Some of the best rated and most popular pork restaurants on the Island are “Lechonera Los Amigos” and “Lechonera Los Pinos”. Both restaurants offer dozens of main dishes and sides with easy access and even a small café for coffee and dessert lovers alike in “Café Prieto” by Lechonera Los Amigos.  

Lechonera Los Pinos
Café Prieto

Such an adventure, for residents and tourists alike, allows you to bask in the culinary aspect of the Puerto Rican holiday extravaganza. The taste of holiday flavor is only the beginning of tapping into the spirit of Christmas and far beyond. 

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