Puerto Rico Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by joiwatani
  • Kings with candy
    Kings with candy
    by staindesign
  • Looks like a rat guard on the stay
    Looks like a rat guard on the stay
    by grandmaR

Puerto Rico Local Customs

  • language

    San Juan Local Customs

    Puerto Rico is a commenwealth of the United States but the main language spoken is Spanish. The majority of the Puerto Ricans also speak English and are very friendly. The only time you will actually need to know a little Spanish is if you travel outside the metropolitan area.

  • 3 Kings Day

    3 kings is like a second Christmas in PR. It is known as the day that the three wise men arrived to see the baby Jesus. In Arecibo, people dress up like Kings and drive around in jeeps with fire truck horns tossing candy to children. You can hear them for miles, so don't worry you'll be able to get to the road in time to see them! **I was in...

  • New Years Eve

    New Year's Eve is like 10yrs of 4th of July in the US all at once! Everyone fires off fireworks at midnight. It is a really cool experience. The fireworks are big. loud, and beautiful. Everyone around the cities are outside and having a great time. ***Please look for my video of all of the several firework displays!**

  • The Carnaval in Puerto Rico

    The Carnaval is in Ponce, a city in Puerto Rico. The Carnaval is like the Rio de Janeiro carnaval. I have not attended one in Puerto Rico because I was there last June. The carnaval is held during the lent season, the carnaval being with religious beliefs (Catholicism). This Carnaval has Catholicism history and the people dress up in costumes. They...

  • People collect the "Three Kings"

    Every house I went, I noticed that they have a collection of the Three Kings. So, I also bought one for myself and brought it back home. This has a religious meaning but what I know is the Three Kings brought gifts to the newborn Jesus Christ when he was born in the manger. The celebration of the Three Kings is celebrated in the Catholic Calendar...

  • Playing dominoes in Puerto Rico

    I think every adult Puerto Rican knows how to play the domino. Everywhere I go, I see a lot of people playing the domino. Even in the beach, I see those domino tables. Some bring those collapsible ones and just lay them on the sand and play the domino.When we visited the home of one of the hacienderos in Puerto Rico, he has three domino tables on...

  • People look at you

    One thing about Puerto Rico I thought was kind of cool is that you will catch members of the opposite sex looking at you fairly frequently, and often with a smile. Although this can happen anywhere, what I found charming and fresh about it was that there wasn't the furtive looking away like someone has been caught doing something wrong, or fear...

  • Language

    Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the US, so English is its official language, but Spanish has also been declared an official language in recent years due to the rise of progressive nationalism, and it happens to be widely spoken. I have traveled all over the island of PR, and have observed that in most parts people speak English, but as you travel...

  • Playing Dominos

    Everyone in Puerto Rico plays dominos. You will usually come across people setting tables around town. Its fun and a great way to spend a few hours.

  • Driving PR style

    Many folks, both local and tourist, do not obey "standard" traffic laws, sometimes going through red lights, no use of turn signals and generally driving erratically due to road conditions or general traffic. A noticeable cultural difference coming from driving in Minnesota, is that cars making turns often do not yield to on-coming traffic. What...

  • Local fruits and vegetables

    The local fruits and vegatables in Puerto Rico are varied. Going to the local market you will probably find what we call "vianda" this is a group of vegatables like "malanga" "yuca" "guineos", "yautia" "yame" "pana". These vegatables can be used in a soup called "Sancocho" or are boiled and eaten with "bacalao". Some of the fruits will include...

  • Piragua

    You will find stands as large as this one or small carts all over Puerto Rico, whether on the roadside or in town selling the delicious "piragua" (shaved ice). There is a variety of local flavors including "tamarindo" "guava" "coco" "lechosa" "limon" and of course the usual flavors, of orange, cherry, strawberry, watermelon, etc.

  • Fiestas Patronales - Feast of Patron...

    Every municipality of Puerto Rico has a "Fiesta Patronal" This is the feast of the Patron Saint of this town. The feast is usually located around the "plaza" where the main church and city hall are located and its is a great way to go out and enjoy the live music and dancing, eating and drinking and just having a good time. Depending on how large...

  • Candado Scenes from my apartment

    Condado is a fairly safe neighborhood nestled between the ocean and highway 26. I lived on the fourth or fifth floor of an apartment building on Ashford (see map on main page). There are many hotels in this area.

  • Delicious Coffee

    Puerto Rico has some fantastic coffee. I have tried 4 different kinds and loved them all. We had the Cafe Coqui, the Cafe Yaucono, Cafe Rico (of course) and Offecay (sounds like piglatin no?) I got so addicted to their coffee I hunted down a site that exports coffees to the US, now it's part of my every morning routine.

  • Cockfighting

    The sport of pitting game-cocks to fight and the breeding and training of them for that purpose has been a long and establish Puerto Rican sport/pasttime. Cockfighting pits are circular with a matted stage about 20 feet (6 meters) in diameter and surrounded by a barrier to keep the birds from falling off. The main matches usually consist of fights...

  • Slow service

    If you are accustomed to speedy service, don't let yourself get upset with the difference in Puerto Rico. It's not as if the people don't care; it's that the environment is just a little more laid back. They are not ignoring you. Take your time, relax, order your food, and enjoy yourself.

  • Anoles (little lizards)

    I was pleased to see these little guys in such abundance in Puerto Rico. They really are just everywhere, at the villa, in the rainforest, even in the resturant where we had lunch in San Juan! They are fun to watch as they scurry about, warm themselves in the sun, do their "pushups" and blow up their orange necks. One thing that was not so much fun...

  • Thirsty?

    Often I find myself terribly thirsty and in need of a frosty beverage while driving someplace. I always wish that I could instantly have a cold bottle of water. The Puerto Ricans can make that wish come true! While stopped at a traffic light you will notice from time to time that a man will appear walking down the road, water and other assorted...

  • Coqui frogs

    These little brown tree frogs are the symbol of Puerto Rico. They are everywhere and nowhere all at once. Almost impossible to spot (one brochure said they were only slightly easier to find then a leprechuan!) they are also impossible to ignore. Their song "Ko-Kee Ko-Kee" can be heard all throughout the night. After a rainfall the coqui song...

  • Puerto Rican Spanish

    Puerto Ricans speak Spanish but it is not the Spanish you learned in school. They learn English in school but away from San Juan, not many of the people speak English. Over the years the Puerto Rican Spanish has absorbed some of the English words into it with their own variation such as elevador for elevator. Some of them you can figure out but...

  • Crops of Puerto Rico

    Driving around the island you see many different crops. Sugar cane fields are common. Sugar cane is still the leading crop on the island for export and it's mostly for rum production, or so I was told. Coffee is the 2nd most important export crop. We saw a lot of coffee growing in the mountains. In fact the Hacienda we stayed in up there once was a...

  • Yummy

    PiraguasA shaved ice cone covered with syrup of fruity flavors such as: rasberry, pineapple, coconut, guava or tamarind, among others. Those who sells "piraguas" are known as piragüeros. You can find them near plazas in small carts creatively painted with bright colors.

  • Food

    Rum is the national drink, and you can buy it in almost any shade. Puerto Rico is the world's leading rum producer; 80% of the rum consumed in the United States hails from the island. Today's rum bears little resemblance to the raw and grainy beverage consumed by the renegades and pirates of the Spanish Main. Christopher Columbus brought sugarcane,...

  • Food

    Most visitors to the island seem to like the fish and shellfish. A popular fried fish with Puerto Rican sauce (mojo isleño). The sauce is made with olives and olive oil, onions, pimientos, capers, tomato sauce, vinegar, and a flavoring of garlic and bay leaves. Fresh fish is often grilled, and perhaps flavored with garlic and an overlay of freshly...

  • Food

    A festive island dish is lechón asado, or barbecued pig, which is usually cooked for a party of 12 or 15. It is traditional for picnics and al fresco parties; one can sometimes catch the aroma of this dish wafting through the palm trees, a smell that must have been familiar to the Taino peoples. The pig is basted with jugo de naranjas agría (sour...

  • Food

    The aroma that wafts from kitchens throughout Puerto Rico comes from adobo and sofrito -blends of herbs and spices that give many of the native foods their distinctive taste and color. Adobo, made by crushing together peppercorns, oregano, garlic, salt, olive oil, and lime juice or vinegar, is rubbed into meats before they are roasted. Sofrito, a...

  • Food

    Not really a soup, the most traditional Puerto Rican dish is asopao, a hearty gumbo made with either chicken or shellfish. One well-known version, consumed when the food budget runs low, is asopao de gandules (pigeon peas). Every Puerto Rican chef has his or her own recipe for asopao. Asopao de pollo (chicken asopao) takes a whole chicken, which is...

  • Food

    Lunch and dinner generally begin with sizzling-hot appetizers such as bacalaitos, crunchy cod fritters; surullitos, sweet plump cornmeal fingers; and empanadillas, crescent-shaped turnovers filled with lobster, crab, conch, or beef.

  • Preferred Cooking Method - Deep Fried

    I noticed here as in other parts of the Caribbean that one of the preferred cooking methods is deep frying. If you are on a diet or looking for more healthful options I recommend going to the local market and picking up freshly caught fish and shrimp and preparing it in a more healthy manner. Oh, but do at least try tostones rellenos con...

  • Although I never actually saw...

    Although I never actually saw one, at night you can really hear the Coquis (small tree frogs). For more info on this little guy and to hear what the Coqui sounds like, check out http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/8070/coqui2.htm

  • Kiss on the cheek as a greeting

    I found that everyone I met gave me a handshake which pulled into a hug and one kiss on the cheek.Being European, I am used to 3 kisses on the cheek. I find that Puerto Ricans just do one kiss instead of three. That took a bit of getting used to. People are very friendly and outgoing, if you're Canadian or American without a European cultural...

  • A common Puertorican phrase...

    A common Puertorican phrase you will often hear is 'A la orden....' or 'At your service...' Puertoricans are wonderful hosts and love to see visitors.Their pleasure at seeing you is genuine, so compliment them on the beauty of their Island - Borinquen!

  • Beach chairs!

    While on the beach in Condado (just off the intersection of Condado Avenue and Ashford Road) a man renting beach lounge chairs approached us. The chairs were $3 a piece for the ENTIRE day -- a great deal! We paid for two and the man drug them to the spot of our choosing. Throughout the morning he would come over to us, motion that we were now in...

  • Local gambling cockfight arena

    This is an event that I went to for 15 minutes only to see a cockfight match. Basically they put 2 roosters out there to fight each other and the audience bets on all sorts of conditions relating to which rooster will win and in what manner. In the match I watched they ended it after a certain amount if time (I think 10 minutes) and the rooster did...

  • Arroz con Pollo al estilo puertorriqueño

    2 cups white chunk chicken4 cups water1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon pepper1 packet of Sazón Goya1 cube chicken bouillon2 Tablespoons olive oil2 Tablespoons margarine8 cocktail sausage links (get the Lil' Smokies) optional2 cups ricePut all ingredients except rice in pot of water. Bring to a boil. Add rice. Cook on low for 20 minutes.

  • Spanglish in Puerto Rico

    Although most Puerto Ricans know at least some English, they really prefer to speak Spanish and will appreciate any effort you make, however clumsy. Puerto Ricans use some english words, for instance they will say "el parking" instead of "estacionamiento" or "weekend" instead of "fin de semana". "Hot dog" instead of "perro caliente". "Hangiar"...

  • Spanish isn't required in...

    Spanish isn't required in Puerto Rico, but it does help. Especially if you're heading outside the tourist areas. We stopped at a Burger King about 30 minutes outside of San Juan and the cashier didn't speak English. But it's amazing how easy it is to speak the universal language of Fast Food!

  • People in Puerto Rico are...

    People in Puerto Rico are generally friendly...perhaps too friendly. Men make it very clear to women what they think of them...if you know what I mean. If you're a young woman, don't be surprised to have people come up to you on the street and make [nice] comments.

  • *** the rainforest was great...

    *** the rainforest was great for a quick EXCURSION. it rains a little bit every day in puerto rico's rainforest. there's also some very interesting WILDLIFE in the rainforest, monkeys and birds and such... the excursion ended up at a very nice clean beach...

  • While times are changing, keep...

    While times are changing, keep in mind the following details which were ingrained in me as a young man growing in the island: (1) upon introduction, you shake a man's hand, but not the lady's; (2) when invited to dinner by someone, you always ask for seconds (you insult the cook if you don't); (3) personal titles are important (i.e., Don Carlos,...

  • The People of Puerto Rico are...

    The People of Puerto Rico are Americans of Hispanic descent, and most are bi-lingual, so many things are similar to what you might find in a place like Miami. As with any place you are unfamiliar with local customs and traditions, be observant of the locals, and if in doubt about something, ask.

  • Try any Spanish you have, its...

    Try any Spanish you have, its appreciated. Don't dress like a tourist (wild shorts, cameras, big hats, etc. See what the locals are wearing, day or night and follow. Styles change a different times of the day and night. Men, no shorts at night at any hotel.

  • Most of population speaks...

    Most of population speaks English and a lot of signs are in both English and Spanish. But if you make the effort to speak Spanish, the people get very flattered (I guess that's true whereever you go). Things are slightly cheaper there than the US but don't expect that a dollar will take you too far there.

  • Puerto Rico is full of...

    Puerto Rico is full of beautiful customs and traditions. Though it is a commonwealth of the United States it does have its own unique traditions which I love and admire. For more interestng information please go to: http://welcome.topuertorico.org/people.shtmlPuerto Ricans are said to be considered friendly, genourous and emotionally expressive. It...


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Puerto Rico Local Customs

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