From lush rainforests and pristine white sand beaches to world-class golf and unique shopping, the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico offers the ultimate holiday experience. 2010 is set to be an extremely exciting year for the island with a variety of new openings, events, festivals and key diary dates for the international traveller. From the world famous San Sebastian Street Festival and the Puerto Rico Open Golf Tournament to the opening of two world-class luxury resorts – the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort and the W Retreat and Spa. Read on to find what Puerto Rico has to offer in 2010…..
San Sebastian Street Festival - The historic neighborhood of Old San Juan comes alive in January each year, when the street of San Sebastian is turned into a vibrant venue for a carnival. During the day, colourfully dressed locals parade in the streets wearing traditional Puerto Rican masks where the design is only limited by the imagination. Nightfall sees young and old alike partying the hours away dancing to salsa, merengue and traditional Puerto Rican music. Fairground rides, food stalls and live music complete the festival atmosphere. The San Sebastian Street Festival is set to take place on 16-19 January 2010.
Maricao Coffee Festival 2010 - The charming town of Maricao will once again buzz with activity as locals and visitors celebrate the end of the coffee harvest with a festival of music, parades, arts and crafts, and of course, plenty of coffee in many forms. The festival takes place on 12-14 February 2010. The festival was originally started by the coffee plantation owners for their workers, and while the plantations no longer foot the bill, the festival has continued through the years by the towns folk and visitors from far and wide.
Casals Festival in Puerto Rico - Music lovers will not want to miss this popular annual festival (20 February - 13 March 2010) where the works of this multi-talented Catalan legend will be presented by the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maximiano Valdes, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Vladimir Jurowski. The world renowned virtuoso cello player, Pablo Casals (1876-1973) was born in Spain, and after leaving the country of his birth, spent some time in France, before moving to Puerto Rico to settle. Casals founded the festival that bears his name, and even after his passing away, the festival continued in his honor, with a long list of notable musicians performing his compositions.
W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island – The hotly anticipated W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island is set to open in March 2010. Vieques Island is an exclusive tiny island located off the coast of Puerto Rico and is the perfect destination for those looking to relax, recharge and enjoy island life. Discover palm-lined white beaches and lush landscapes, experience exhilarating water sports and unwind at the spa, sample world-class cuisine or sip a cocktail at sunset – the W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island offers R&R W-style.
Puerto Rico Open Golf Tournament – The Puerto Rico Open Golf Tournament is the only PGA Tour event in the Caribbean and close to 140 PGA Pros participate annually. Starting on 8 March 2010, with professional practice rounds and tournament qualifier at the Trump International Golf Club’s international course, the Puerto Rico Open Golf Tournament offers a full program of excitement for both competitors and spectators. The tournament draws to a close on 14 March, ending off with the Awards Ceremony and live entertainment at the Hospitality Village. Michael Bradley was the winner of the 2009 Puerto Rico Open Tournament. The players for the 2010 event will be announced closer to the time. More information can be found at www.puertoricoopen.net
Puerto Rico Heineken International Regatta – The Annual Puerto Rico Heineken Regatta will be held on Puerto Rico’s southeast shores from 19 – 21 March 2010. The Regatta festivities will kick off with a Captain’s Meeting on 18th March followed by three days of sailing, nightly parties and an Awards Ceremony on 21 March.
Saborea Puerto Rico – The world famous Escambrón Beach in San Juan will take centre stage from 9 -11 April 2010 as the location of culinary festival Saborea Puerto Rico. On the Friday evening, guests can enjoy rum tastings at the Rums of Puerto Rico Beach Soirée, the most sizzling party of the month. Featuring a custom cocktail list with Puerto Rico’s finest rums and an exquisite tapas menu, created by Saborea Puerto Rico’s Celebrity chefs, this decadent bash showcases the best of Puerto Rican cocktails. The Saborea Village offers a tasting pavilion where Puerto Rico’s finest restaurants showcase their offerings. Visitors are able to attend cooking demonstrations by culinary personalities, beverage seminars and more. A weekend pass costs $225.00 and allows entry into all the attractions. For mor information please visit www.saboreapuertorico.com.
“Bootcamp for Goddesses”, Casa Grand Mountain Retreat - Release your inner goddess this April at the Casa Grande Mountain Retreat in Puerto Rico. This five day, “Bootcamp for Goddesses” is designed for women to break through to new levels of fitness - physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The camp features yoga, fitness workouts, hiking, detoxification, meditation, breathwork, aromatherapy, energetic healing, a sweatlodge purification ceremony, live African drumming and dancing, and discussions on women’s health, nutrition, and healing. The camp will run from 19 – 24 April 2010 and costs £1219 per person. This price includes double room accommodation, three meals a day, all “goddess” tuition and equipment. For further information please visit www.hotelcasagrande.com.
2010 Billboard Latin Music Awards and Conference - For the first time in its more than 20-year history, the 2010 Billboard Latin Music Awards will take place in Puerto Rico, marking the first time the show goes on the road from its traditional Miami home base. The awards, which honor some of the music industry’s most famous Latin stars including Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira and Paulina Rubio, will be broadcast live on 29th April 2010 from Conrad, San Juan, Condado Plaza to over 30 countries worldwide. Native Puerto Rican star, Ricky Martin said “My Island has always witnessed important musical events and for it to be the location for the 2010 Billboard Latin Music Awards brings great pride to our culture.” The Billboard Latin Music Conference, which will precede the awards begins on the 26th April and unites today’s top artists, agents, promoters, record label executives, publicists, brand marketing executives, managers, media, digital music executives who meet to discuss hot button topics and celebrate Latin music. www.billboardevents.com
Puerto Mosquito, Vieques Island - From the 1st - 15th May, pay a visit to the amazing waters of Puerto Mosquito in Vieques Island. This unique bay contains millions of single-celled bioluminescent dinoflagellates which emit a flash of bluish light when agitated at night. The high concentration of these creatures is extremely rare and they can emit enough light to read a book. The best times see the bioluminescence is when there is no moon – please click here to see the Moonwatch Calendar - and the best way to experience it is by a guided nighttime kayak tour. For more information and to book please visit www.biobay.com.
Puerto Rico Salsa Congress - The Puerto Rico Salsa Congress is a weeklong celebration of everything in the world of Salsa. Held from 24 – 31 July, it attracts local and international Salsaficionados, who come for the music, the dancers, and even to learn from seasoned instructors. The highlight of the event is the annual World Salsa Open, a no-holds-barred dance competition that would put “Strictly Come Dancing” to shame in a heartbeat.
The 21st Central American and Caribbean Games are scheduled to take place in Mayaguez in Puerto Rico from 17 July to 1 August 2010. Situated on the western coast of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez is known as “Porta del Sol”, meaning the “Sun’s Gate”, and is a popular tourist destination with plenty to offer visitors in the way of things to see and do. Over the years, the games have gone from strength to strength and the participating countries for the 21st edition of the Central American and Caribbean Games are Antigua, Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, El Salvador, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Caiman Island, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, St Lucia, San Kitts y Nevis, Surinam, Surinam, Trinidad, Tobago and Venezuela
The 57th International Bill Fish Tournament – From the 16 – 22 August 2010, the International Billfish Tournament will return to San Juan for the 57th year. Attracting big game anglers from all over the world, this week long event includes four days of fishing and events and parties during the evening. Puerto Rico is world famous for boasting an abundance of Blue Marlin just 20 minutes off the North Coast of San Juan. Known as “Blue Marlin Alley” this natural geological trench attracts marlin of up to 500 and even pounds. undsabout a mile and a half off the North coast of San Juan, and where at deeps of only 100 fathoms a blue marlin can be caught The tournament follows all IGFA conservation procedures, including the tag and release format. For further information please visit www.sanjuaninternational.com
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico – This five-star property, set to open in October 2010 is located on the northeastern corridor of the island of Puerto Rico, at the foot of the El Yunque National Rainforest. The resort is bordered by the 5,000 acre Espíritu Santo River State Preserve, and is a 30 minute drive from the historic old town of San Juan. Complete with golf course, luxury spa and the St Regis iconic butler service, this hotel will add a spot of indulgence to the Puerto Rican hotel scene. For more information please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
Mona Island – Pay a visit to rugged Mona Island in October 2010 as it is hatching time for the endangered Mona Iguana. Mona Island, often compared to Galápagos, as it teems with giant iguanas which can grow up to four feet in length. Also present on the island are three species of endangered sea turtles (the Hawksbill and the Leatherback sea turtle), red-footed boobies and countless other sea birds. The waters surrounding the island are home of over 270 species of fish and endangered sea turtles. Although no hotels on the island, Mona is a haven for recreational activities, including camping, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, beach combing, exploring, and hunting.
Caja de Muertos or “Coffin Island” – Caja de Muertos or “Coffin Island” is located five miles south of Ponce and is world renowned for its sandy beaches and spectacular snorkelling. This tiny island has no permanent inhabitants and is the perfect place to visit to escape the hustle and bustle of mainland Puerto Rico. “Coffin Island” as it is known due to its shape and also local legend, is home to indigenous, endangered plant species and several endangered lizard species as well and the island is surrounded by shallow coral reefs which make scuba-diving and snorkeling a must do activity.