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San Juan - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events

Facts for the traveller for San Juan

The historic architecture and Spanish colonial history make Old San Juan a joy to visit

When to Go to San Juan

San Juan is balmy year round with daily highs between 75-85°F (24-30°C). The peak tourist season is between December and April, but this has more to do with the climate in North America than anything else. During these months the city is swamped by visitors, prices are highest and accommodations can be hard to find. The best time to avoid the crowds is the low season between May and November. This is also hurricane season and, as the terrible destruction wrought by Georges in September 1998 shows, it's worth keeping an eye on weather reports if you're heading to San Juan at this time of year. Usually, hurricane season means that the weather is a fraction hotter, wetter and gustier than at other times, not that debris routinely flies through the streets. Note that temperatures in the mountains are significantly cooler than the coast, so if you intend to travel inland bring a sweater for the evenings regardless of when you visit.

San Juan Events

San Juan's Festival of St John the Baptist in late June wonderfully fuses pagan and Catholic iconography and Indian, African and Spanish traditions. There are solemn religious aspects and plenty of feasting, music, dancing and colorful costumed processions. The highlight of the parade is a communal luck-enhancing midnight walk backwards into the sea. The three weeks of Las Navidades, beginning on 15 December, are the peak period of socializing and religious observation, though many of the celebrations take place at family homes. The climax comes on 6 January, when hordes of children advance on La Fortaleza to receive presents from the governor.

Old San Juan takes to the streets during the Saint Sebastian Festival in the third week of January. The Casals Festival honors the famous Puerto Rican cellist in June. It attracts classical musicians of international repute and is one of the Caribbean's major cultural events. In Bayamón, July's Festival del Chicarrón celebrates the smoked ham delicacy. The International Old Lacers Convention in August gives you a chance to get wrapped up in traditional Puerto Rican mundillo lace. Sanjuaneros get baseball fever when the season starts in November, reaching its climax in February.

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