San JuanThings to Do in San Juan Puerto Rico ⎜ Cultural Experiences

San Juan Puerto Rico - Cultural Experiences

#1 San Juan Food Tour - Save a Spot

Old San Juan is the heart and soul of Puerto Rico, cherished by residents as the ultimate epicenter of culture, music, culinary delights, and cherished traditions. In this vibrant city, every moment offers a reason to rejoice, dance, and reunite with loved ones.

Locals from all corners of the island converge upon San Juan to partake in its year-round cultural festivities, indulge in exceptional entertainment, savor exquisite cuisine, and sway to the captivating rhythms of Salsa, Bomba, and Plena resonating through its elegant squares and restaurants.

We warmly welcome our visitors to fully embrace the vibrant tapestry of Puerto Rican culture by participating in local events, exploring authentic restaurants, unwinding at charming squares, and embarking on day trips to lesser-known towns around the island.

Move to the Sounds of Salsa

Dance Salsa - Best Cultural Experiences in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Music is an integral facet of Puerto Rican culture, and Old San Juan offers an immersive experience in its rhythmic delights. The roots of Salsa rhythms draw from African, Puerto Rican Native, and Cuban influences.  Puerto Rico boasts a rich tapestry of musical genres unique to the island, with Salsa reigning as a perennial favorite and the rhythm of choice for dance enthusiasts.

The infectious beats of Salsa animate town squares, weddings, birthdays, backyard gatherings, and upscale events throughout Puerto Rican culture. Salsa compositions feature percussion instruments such as timbales, güiros, conga drums, maracas, bongos, bass, and horns, with lead singers harmonizing alongside a chorus.

Here’s a taste of the rhythms of Salsa by Puerto Rico’s favorite classical Salsa band El Combo de Puerto Rico

The pinnacle of musical festivities unfolds during the Christmas season, commencing in early December and culminating in the vibrant Sanse Festival, where premier bands showcase their talents. We extend a warm invitation to immerse yourself in the local culture, whether by joining the dance floor in spontaneous revelry or seizing the opportunity to book a Salsa lesson with your loved ones or friends, an experience guaranteed to linger long after you depart from Puerto Rico. Return to San Juan and let the rhythms guide you once more as you dance the night away with newfound confidence in the art of Salsa!

Book a Salsa Dancing Lessons in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Taste the Flavors of San Juan

Fusion of Taino, Spanish & African Flavors

San Juan is a foodies destination, often described as the gastronomic capital of the Caribbean.  San Juan has turned cooking into a delicious art, and many of the island’s most talented world-renowned chefs have restaurants in Old San Juan and Condado Tourist Districts.  Dig into the sultry flavors of Puerto Rican food or try the many restaurants that take fusion cuisine to a new level.  There are many options, from fine dining to relaxed outdoor cafes, and food trucks.  

Puerto Rico is the rum capital of the world, where the Piña Colada was born; the best bars and lounges are in the districts of Old San Juan and Ashford Drive in Condado.  If you love coffee, you’ll fall in love with Puerto Rico’s bold flavor and aroma, grown deep in the verdant mountains.  As you tour Old San Juan, enjoy a great cup of Cafe con Leche in romantic, relaxed cafes on narrow streets or along San Juan Bay. 

If you’re in San Juan for a short time, we recommend you book a food tour; Flavors of San Juan is an award-winning tour; spaces are limited, so be sure to save a spot.  Check out more great food tours below.

Popular Food Tours in San Juan Puerto Rico

Foods you Should Try in Puerto Rico

Be sure to try the following traditional foods:

  • Mofongo – made with plantains and seasoned with sofrito (Traditional Puerto Rican marinade), typically served with chicken, churrasco (steak), or seafood.
  • Piña Colada, there’s no other place on earth that makes them better, after all, it was invented right in the heart of San Juan.
  • Mallorca – a sweet and soft bread delicious all by itself or used on a sandwich.
  • Quesito – yummy crispy pastry filled with cheese.
  • Flan – a custard dessert, you’ll find variations of flavors, the most traditional are cream cheese, vanilla, and coconut.
  • Piragua – a refreshing cup of shaved ice with your choice of fruit syrup.  You’ll find piragua stands around the city, especially Old San Juan.
  • Cafe con Leche – Puerto Rican’s favorite coffee drink, which is espresso with hot milk.
  • Empanillas – favorite street food for Puerto Ricans. Pastry turnover fried and stuffed with ground beef, chicken, seafood, or pizza (tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese).

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More Food Tours in San Juan

More Food Experiences you may like in San Juan

Go on a Rum Distillery Tour

Rum Distillery Tours - San Juan, Puerto Rico

For aficionados of fine spirits, a distillery tour is an absolute must-do, offering an enriching journey into the world of quality rum and an invaluable understanding of the intricate manufacturing process.  Just a brief ferry ride to Cataño or a short drive from San Juan awaits the opportunity to explore Casa Bacardi Distillery or historic Hacienda Santa Ana among others, where you’ll be treated to an immersive rum-tasting experience as part of the tour.  Whether you’re embarking on this adventure as a couple or with friends, the distillery tour promises to be an unforgettable experience brimming with discovery and delight.

Learn more about Rum Distilleries in Puerto Rico

Top Rated Rum Distillery Tours

Attend Cultural Events

Cultural Events - Cultural Things to Do in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is often called the happiest place in the world; there’s always a reason to celebrate, and on a regular day, Puerto Ricans seem to invent a reason to gather.  San Juan is the epicenter of Puerto Rican culture, with the top and most beloved festivals celebrated in the colorful, historic city of Old San Juan.  With tropical warm weather year-round, squares in every town, and a gorgeous coastline, Puerto Ricans never run out of places to gather and celebrate.  Christmas in Puerto Rico is celebrated from early December to mid-January, the longest Christmas celebration in the world.  We invite you to join in these festivities and savor the richness of our cultural heritage.

For an updated list of events while you’re visiting, please stop by one of the tourism offices in San Juan.

Sanse - Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián (San Sebastian Street Festival)

People from across the island flock to Old San Juan to bid farewell to the Christmas season.  Throughout the Historic District, many events unfold, accompanied by live music and one of the most esteemed artisan markets, showcasing the finest works of Puerto Rican artists for locals and visitors to cherish.

From morning until mid-afternoon, the atmosphere is family-oriented, with artisan stands and captivating performances tailored to entertain all ages.  As night falls, the ambiance shifts to a vibrant party scene, with the streets transforming into lively gathering spots where friends come together to revel, dance, and indulge in spirited celebrations.

Indulge in Exquisite Puerto Rican Cocktails

Cocktail Tours in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico stands as a global powerhouse in rum production, with a dedication akin to the pride the Italians and French exhibit in their wine.  For an authentic taste of this esteemed tradition, we highly recommend booking a distillery tour to gain insights into the meticulous craft behind Puerto Rican rum-making.

To delve deeper into the artistry of cocktails, Old San Juan serves as an ideal starting point, offering enticing tours designed to acquaint you with the finest drinks and most revered bars. From the iconic Piña Colada, born right here in San Juan, to the tantalizing tropical flavors of Don Q, and from the quintessential mojito to the velvety smoothness of Ron del Barilito referred to as the Cognac of the Caribbean, there’s a libation to suit every palate and preference.

Top Rated Cocktail Tours in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Rum Tasting Experiences in San Juan

Move to the Sounds of Bomba

Art Cultural Tours

Video Gallery - Culture in San Juan Puerto Rico

San JuanThings to Do in San Juan Puerto Rico ⎜ Cultural Experiences