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Popular Festivals in San Juan Puerto Rico You’ll Love in 2024

man smiling and wearing a costume at a parade festivals in san juan puerto rico banner

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard that festivals in San Juan Puerto Rico are next-level, massive celebrations. 

Imagine picturesque streets completely taken over by artists, local musicians, big floats, people in the most creative costumes, and of course, fried food everywhere. Everything about these events is loud, colorful, and happy –the perfect setting for any party lover!

Each festival is rooted in a tradition, often associated with religious beliefs or historical commemorations, drawing hundreds of families, friends, and friendly strangers to celebrate together and join the festive spirit of this Caribbean island.

So, here are Puerto Rico’s most popular festivals so you can join, too!

Festivals in San Juan Puerto Rico You Can’t Miss This Year

Each festival is different and offers something special to visitors. Usually, they last several days with different activities, games, and ways to involve the community so everyone can participate.

Some events are held in the historic district of San Juan, while others take place in other smaller towns. This is great for taking day trips and exploring hidden gems in Puerto Rico.

Día de los Reyes Magos – Januaryman in a costume sitting on a green throne float at a parade fiesta de reyes magos

Día de los Reyes Magos, also known as “Three Kings Day”, is a significant cultural festivity that comes from the Catholic religion. The Biblical story says that when baby Jesus was born, the Three Wise Men (los Reyes Magos, in Spanish), traveled to Bethlehem to visit him and present him with gifts.

Across Puerto Rico, this is celebrated on January 6th as part of the holiday season. Different towns and cities host parades and festivities in honor of this day. Families and communities gather together in the streets to enjoy floats, music, traditional food, and people dressed as the Three Kings as they hand in presents to children. A popular festival is Fiesta de Reyes Isabelinos in the town of Isabela.

Where to Stay In Isabela

Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián – January

Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián is one of the largest and most popular festivals in San Juan Puerto Rico, marking the unofficial end of the holiday season. Every year, in mid to late January, this event takes over the picturesque cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, spanning from Thursday to Sunday. 

During these four days, the streets of San Sebastián are closed to traffic and instead, they fill with music, dance, food, and lots of people celebrating culture and art together. You can find everything from local artists and artisans selling crafts, and stages with live music, to markets and food kiosks.

Once the sun goes down, the fun keeps going until the late hours of the night with concerts and parties.

So, if you’re visiting San Juan early in the year, this must-attend event is one of the best ways to experience the vibrant spirit and cultural heritage of this lovely town. Besides, you can also explore other San Juan neighborhoods which are just as lovely.

Where to Stay in Old San Juan

a crowd on the streets of san juan waving puerto rico flags

Festival de la Novilla – January

Festival de la Novilla is another popular festival that takes place in San Sebastián, a small town on the west side of the Island. Celebrated on the third weekend of January, the annual event is dedicated to the novilla (heifer in Spanish) and serves as an important fundraiser for local scholarships.

This Puerto Rican festival is known for having a parade of floats led by a heifer adorned with a crown of flowers, but there’s also a variety of amusements focused on the town’s agriculture. You can find live folk music, dance, vendors selling typical dishes and fresh agricultural products, and even amusement park rides.

The Novilla Festival draws visitors from all over the island and is another great way of diving into Puerto Rico’s culture if you don’t want to attend an event as big as the San Sebastián Street Festival.

Where to Stay In San Sebastián

Festival del Frío – February

Festival del Frío –meaning Cold Festival– is a celebration of cooler weather that takes place on the coldest part of the island – the mountainous municipality of Adjuntas. Although Puerto Rico is known for its warm temperatures year-round, it certainly gets colder in these elevated regions than in the coastal areas. 

The three-day event features various activities, entertainment, and a family-friendly atmosphere. Visitors gather at the Parador Villas Sotomayor and spend the day enjoying live music, street food, local artisans, and activities for the whole family. Some people even go camping in the area or come here for a day trip because there’s so much to see and do! So, if you’re planning a fun winter trip, this must be on your list of festivals in San Juan Puerto Rico.

Where to Stay In Adjuntas

Carnaval Ponceño – February/Marchpeople celebrating, monster costumes, amusement park carnaval ponceño puerto rico

Carnaval Ponceño is actually a worldwide celebration that takes different names, such as Carnaval in Brazil and Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The Ponce Carnival takes place in the historic district of the city of Ponce, it lasts a full week and is usually held in February or March. 

During this week, visitors can enjoy different events and activities each day, including one of the most popular traditions of the Carnival, which is the appearance of the “vejigantes“. This is a local folk character that runs around town wearing a colorful costume and a mask with multiple horns, traditionally representing the devil.

Besides its characteristic parades with colorful papier-mâché costumes and masks, other special events are the King Momo Entrance Parade, the coronation of the Carnival Queen, and a masquerade ball.

Finally, the Carnival ends with probably the strangest event ever – the Burial of the Sardine – which involves a symbolic funeral and singing as a way to mark the beginning of Lent.

After this, bars and restaurants in Ponce stay open late in the night for the people who want to keep partying!

Where to Stay In Ponce

Festival de Teatro Internacional – May to June

If you love art and theater, this is the one festival in San Juan you shouldn’t miss. From May to June, multiple theaters in the heart of Saturce welcome everyone to see a wide selection of outstanding performances. From classic international plays to local independent productions, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Being known as an art district, Santurce is one of the best places to go to for festivals in San Juan Puerto Rico. Streets are full of restaurants, pretty coffee shops, art galleries, and colorful murals painted at every turn.

Need a little help planning your trip? Grab my San Juan 3-day itinerary!

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Festival de la Piña Paradisíaca – May/June

Believe it or not, there is an annual festival in Puerto Rico entirely dedicated to piña coladas! The festival takes place in La Parguera, a community on the southwest coast of the island. You’ll see lots of vendors selling this tasty drink served in whole pineapples, fried foods, pineapple-themed souvenirs, and various agricultural products.

What is more, the celebration features a live music concert with various local bands, providing a lively atmosphere to the evening. 

There are also many things around to keep yourself entertained. La Parguera is a very popular destination for a quick getaway on the island, where you can find restaurants, bars, boutique hotels, and water activities like kayaking on its bioluminescent bay.

Where to Stay In La Parguera

a man and two girls wearing flower crowns and drinking from a mango at the beach

Noche de San Juan – June 23

Noche de San Juan, or the Night of Saint John, is a festival held annually on the evening of June 23rd of June. As they celebrate the birth of Saint John the Baptist, hundreds of locals and tourists take part in this Catholic festivity involving beach parties, bonfires, and more.

The most common way to celebrate Noche de San Juan is to throw parties at the beach and gather around a bonfire while enjoying music, food, and drinks. Another tradition is to jump over these bonfires, which is believed to cleanse the soul. Others also write down their wishes or resolutions on pieces of paper and throw them into the fire, as a way to symbolize good luck and a fresh start for the year.

Noche de San Juan is a lively and magical celebration you can’t miss, especially if you’re visiting town and you’re looking to make new friends.friends making a toast around a bonfire at the beach

Festival de Santiago Apóstol – July

Festival de Santiago Apóstol is not only a religious event, it’s among the most significative festivals in San Juan Puerto Rico where people celebrate their faith and cultural heritage. The festival receives its name in honor of Saint James the Apostle and it often includes religious ceremonies, processions, and Masses at local churches and chapels.

But the main event is the parades dedicated to the Saint. People participate in this event by marching through the streets carrying religious banners, statues, and symbols. There are often live bands, folklore demonstrations, and people in colorful costumes as well.

Whether or not you share the same religion and beliefs, you’ll find that lots of locals and visitors join the celebration to enjoy the lively and festive atmosphere. Besides, streets will be filled with artistic performances, artisanal markets, and food vendors during the parade.

woman painting on the floor and woman wathing paintings at an art fair in san juan puerto ricoLa Campechada – November

La Campechada is one of the main events and most important art festivals in San Juan Puerto Rico. During a few days, its old cobblestone streets fill up with music stages, paintings, acting performances, and all kinds of artists showcasing their talents. 

Every year, this festival is celebrated in honor of a different Puerto Rican artist to educate visitors about local culture. Besides, you’ll see that many of the artworks and exhibits will be inspired by these prominent figures, including those in the Artisan Fair, the Book Fair, and the Art Fair.

Furthermore, visitors of all ages will be able to take part in guided walks, conferences, workshops, live drawing, and more.

Although La Campechada is most frequently held in San Juan in November, it is common for this event to take place in different cities and in different months each year.

Festival Nacional Indígena – November

Festival Indígena in the town of Jayuya –or Indigenous Festival– is an annual tribute to Puerto Rico’s indigenous roots. And what started as a small experimental activity organized by local communities, today is one of the most relevant National events in Puerto Rican culture.

The Indigenous Festival focuses on the cultural heritage of the Taíno people who inhabited the island before the arrival of European colonizers. For this reason, the event offers visitors an immersive experience of Taino traditions and culture, highlighting everything from ancient music, dance, and crafts to cuisine, agriculture, and spiritual practices.

Visitors are invited to participate in different activities to honor the ancestors, including ceremonies, rituals, artistic performances, and a market selling various items inspired by Taino designs.

What is more, Jayuya is a very interesting place to explore on a day trip, where you’ll find various archaeological sites, cultural museums, and coffee plantations.

Where to Stay in Jayuya

Festival de las Máscaras de Hatillo – December 28

Festival de las Máscaras –meaning “Mask Festival”– is a cultural celebration held annually on December 28th in the town of Hatillo. It’s also known as the Fiesta de los Santos Inocentes –Feast of the Holy Innocents–, and it is characterized for being a lively and playful event that combines religious traditions with artistic expression.

The highlights of this festival include a joyful parade with colorful floats and people wearing eccentric, elaborate costumes and masks as they walk through the town, accompanied by music and cheering crowds. Along the way, there are several stops where performers engage in dances, interpretations, or interactions with the audience.

Participating in Festival de Máscaras is a unique experience that no other festivals in San Juan Puerto Rico can provide. Not only will you have a great time, but you’ll be immersed in this lovely culture and create bonds with locals and visitors from all over the island.

Where to Stay in Hatillo

people in colorful costumes marching in a parade

What is the biggest festival in Puerto Rico?

There is no doubt that Puerto Rico’s largest festival is Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián. Not only because the streets get absolutely crowded with people from all over the world, but also because it’s a multi-day celebration with different events and things to see each day. 

Other important festivals on the island are Carnaval de Ponce and Noche de San Juan, which have great cultural significance and are pretty concurred. 

If you’re looking to have a good time, go crazy among the crowds, dive into Puerto Rican culture, and enjoy the explosive festive spirit, you can’t go wrong with either of these!

Where To Stay In San Juan?

Last Thoughts

All in all, we can agree that attending cultural festivals in San Juan Puerto Rico is a unique experience worth trying. Not only for the fun –which is guaranteed!– but also for the opportunities to connect with the fascinating culture, traditions, and history of the place through various educational activities, workshops, and exhibits.

Finally, the fact that these massive events bring people together –Puerto Ricans and tourists– to celebrate their diverse culture makes it even more special.

I hope you have fun and dance a lot!



I may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay, it helps me keep the blog up :) Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

Anna is a traveler, blogger, and entrepreneur who can’t keep herself still. She’s always on the move, whether working hard on a new passion project or exploring a new city as a part-time digital nomad. Dare to keep up? Check out The Tatted Nomad for everything digital nomad, social media marketing, mental health, and travel (and to see her latest addition, Novah, her service dog and travel companion). As a psychotherapist (to be) she also offers insights about your mental health related questions – anything you see that isn’t covered but you have questions about? Let her know!

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