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Travel Puerto Rico – Saborea the new boricua culture

Saborea Festival

Photo: Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association

There is nothing stuffy about Puerto Rican culture. Boricuas know how to have a good time, and you never know what to expect.

At the Saborea culinary festival last year, Food Network celebrity chef Robert Irvine heated up more than the sauce with his sexy striptease. And when Saborea returns to San Juan from April 21-22, 2012, visitors will find that the island of enchantment brings that creative spark beyond the food scene. Boricuas are redefining traditional culture and giving travelers new reasons to discover Puerto Rico.

Discovering Food
Nuevo Caribe Cuisine is s culinary fusion of European, Afro-Caribbean and Latin American cultures, deep-fried traditional Puerto Rican favorites – tostones, bacailato, and mofongo – are now as likely to be joined by eclectic seafood entrees – lobster risotto, Passion Guajillo Dorado Ceviche, or Caribbean sushi.

Here are a few places that you can sample the delicious Nuevo Caribe Cuisine:

Discovering Music
Traditional Puerto Rican music and dance can be heard at one of the best deals on the island, the free Le-Lo-Lai Festival. Listen to the power behind the music of island instruments – the cuatro, guiro, bomba, and guitar – and you might begin to see how Boricuas went on to shape the rhythmic beats of salsa, Latin jazz, and reggaeton.

Listen and dance to Latin beats at these venues:

  • Le-Lo-Lai Festival – Free traditional cultural program, multiple locations.
  • Nuyorican Café – Old San Juan, PR – One of the best venues to hear old school salsa, but also merengue, bomba, and a diverse mix of music, theater, and poetry.
  • Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Fest – March 29-April 1, 2012 in San Juan, PR pays tribute to Latin Jazz roots while presenting all jazz genres.
  • Ventana al Jazz Fest – Condado, PR – Free jazz program every last Sunday of the month.
  • Club Flow – Old San Juan, PR – The best place to hear reggaeton, Club Flow hosts local bands, including some of the biggest acts and the most talented up-and-comers.
Saborea Festival

Photo: Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association

Discovering Art
Touristy Old San Juan has long been home to prestigious art galleries, but now Santurce is beginning to rival it as the epicenter of Puerto Rico’s hot new art scene. Young artists are spearheading a new artistic explosion – that’s neither Latin American, North American, nor Caribbean art, but all three in an innovative force that can only be described as uniquely Puerto Rican.

Explore Puerto Rico’s  hot art scene at these galleries:

  • Santurce es Ley -Santurce, PR – Cultural festival put on by local gallery owners and artists every few months.
  • Galería Botello – Old San Juan, PR – A mix of established Latin American artists, but also a small but impressive collection of locally hand-carved santos.  
  • Galeria Petrus – Santurce, PR – One of the first galleries to open in Santurce, at the forefront of contemporary Puerto Rican art since 2003.
  • La Repuesta – Santurce, PR –  A bar decorated with music posters and stuffed superheroes that holds art exhibitions and shows by local indie bands.

Film Festival brings it all together – Food, Music, and Art
Combining the best of all of Puerto Rico’s cultural traditions, the Rincón International Film Festival returns from April 10-12, 2012 for a fifth season. This year’s program will showcase 91 films and 16 music videos from 19 different countries including 33 world premieres and 43 Puerto Rican films. Running the gamut from comedy to horror, themed dinner events will treat audiences to entertaining films and the freshest island cuisine on moonlit beaches. Shirts, optional.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Woo hoo! I’m going there next month!

  2. Viva Puerto Rico!


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