Puerto Rico in January: A Guide to the Island in January

Everyone loves the holidays, and Puerto Rico is a great destination to be at to spend this time of the year. The New Year and Christmas festivities continue into the month of January, allowing tourists to attend events and festivals all over the country, giving them a truly memorable experience.

Weather in Puerto Rico in January

View of the coast of Puerto Rico
(Source)
Puerto Rico experiences tropical climates throughout the year. January is the coldest month, yet temperatures stay well above 77℉ for most part of the day. The day lasts for almost 8 hours, giving you ample time to laze around in the sunlight. The temperature dips to around 73℉ during the night. There is a constant chance of rain, with light showers being a regular occurrence during the month.  
Maximum temperature: 83℉
Minimum temperature: 72℉
Rainfall: 3.76 inches

Events in Puerto Rico in January

1. New Year’s Day

Fireworks Display on New Year’s Day
Fireworks Display on New Year’s Day (Source)
The first day of January marks the beginning of the New Year in the Greogrian calendar, which is followed across the world. The night before, people gather together at home, or at various parties to celebrate the onset of the new year. Fireworks light up the sky as the clock strikes 12, marking new beginnings.

On New Year’s, family reunions take place over dinner, with traditional Puerto Rican dishes served as part of the meal. Do watch out for buckets of water being thrown out of the window, as this local tradition is believed to keep evil spirits away!

2. Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián

Crowds enjoying the festivities
Crowds enjoying the festivities  (Source)
The Puerto Rican holiday season is amongst the longest in the world, and the Fiesta de la Calle San Sebastian is the grand ending to this season. Spread over multiple days, the celebrations take center stage in the Old San Juan area.

Tourists are invited to visit local arts and handicraft stalls through the morning to take home mementos of their stay in the country. When the sun sets, the streets come to life as parties and concerts entertain one and all late into the night!

3. Fiesta de los Reyes Magos

Artwork depicting the Three Kings
Artwork depicting the Three Kings (Source)
Commonly known as the Feast of Epiphany to Christians, the Fiesta de los Reyes Magos marks the day the Three Kings visited Jesus after his birth with gifts. The festival falls on January 6th of every year, with open-for-all parties happening across the neighborhood.

As the evening sets in, the streets are filled with carols (known as parrandas). Children leave small gifts and candy, receiving bigger gifts the next day! Churches in the area also celebrate the festival with depictions of the scene of the birth of Jesus, called the Nativity. Make sure to visit Old San Juan to enjoy the festivities to its fullest!

4. Rincon Beach Festival

Crowds watching a surfer compete
Crowds watching a surfer compete  (Source)
Hosted at Maria’s/Domos Beach every year, the Rincon Beach Festival is a competitive surfing competition and music festival. The festival aims to invite elite surfers to test their skills against the mighty waves of the ocean, and is open to adults and children. As the evening rolls in, the beach transforms into a party scene, with local artists performing traditional music. Both tourists and locals are thoroughly entertained, celebrating the sport of surfing with the local community.

Things to Do in Puerto Rico in January

1. Attend the Legend Surf Classic

A surfer at the Legend Surf Classic
A surfer at the Legend Surf Classic (Source)
If you are someone who loves adventure sports, then you will love the Legend Surf Classic. The best surfers in the world come to the beaches of Rincon in the third week of January to surf the ginormous waves and prove their mettle. While live music keeps the eager spectators entertained, make sure to enjoy the festivities and local cuisine.

2. Enjoy the Carnival Festivities at La Feria

Entrance of La Feria with the giant ferris wheel in the background
Entrance of La Feria with the giant ferris wheel in the background  (Source)
If you’ve got kids and are looking for some family friendly fun, then head to the La Feria - The Park. The holiday festivities run till mid January, offering rides, games and light displays to fascinate the young ones. The main attraction of the park is the giant ferris wheel, which gives you a great view of the surrounding areas. Refreshments and food stalls are located across the park to ensure you have a great time with your family!

3. Explore the Beauty of Nature at El Yunque National Forest

Roads cutting through the El Yunque National Forest
Roads cutting through the El Yunque National Forest (Source)
Nature lovers looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of urban life must definitely take a trip to the El Yunque National Forest. It is known for its natural beauty, thanks to the numerous waterfalls across the forest. It has a number of established hiking paths and camping facilities to keep visitors comfortable through the night.

Make sure to notice the unique flora and fauna of the forest, especially the reptiles and amphibians. If it rains, be aware of falling coqui frogs that descend from the canopy during rain showers to escape predators!

4. Take a Boat Ride to Culebra Island

Overview of Culebra Island
Overview of Culebra Island (Source)
If you are someone looking to enjoy the privacy of your vacation, then head to the Culebra Island, which is away from the Puerto Rican mainland. The white sand beaches make it the perfect place to laze around in the sand, while its pristine waters and active reef ecosystem make it the ideal spot for scuba diving and snorkelling.

Tips for a Great Stay in Puerto Rico in January

  • The tropical weather means you will have increased humidity even during the colder month of January. Make sure to drink a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated. Use sunscreens, caps and hats to prevent sunburns due to extended exposure to sunlight while on the beaches. Having an umbrella or light raincoats in hand will help you be prepared for an unexpected downpour.
  • Pack light clothing and jackets for your visit to Puerto Rico in January. If you plan to enjoy the water and the beach, make sure to have your swimsuits packed. Evening wear will come in handy if you plan on visiting clubs and pubs in San Juan and other metropolitan areas.
  • The official currency is US Dollars (USD). Even though most locations accept credit cards, make sure to have some cash in hand for roadside stalls that accept only cash. 

What To Pack for Puerto Rico in January

Puerto Rico is a vibrant and lively city and proudly boasts bright and bold colours. Here are some packing suggestions:
  • Women: Do not worry about the January weather, it won’t be chilly as hell! The days are mild and warm, it is only the evenings that make you wonder if you have travelled to some other place just in a day. Pack your chic tops, shorts and jeans. Skirts and half-sleeved blouses are comfortable and you can go for knee-length shorts and tank tops too but only during the day. You can also go for coloured denim and neutral-colour blouses or tops to go with them. Stick to layers of cardigans and heavy jackets for the evenings.
  • Men: For the warm days, you can go for lighter clothes such as casuals like Bermuda shorts and Polo neck t-shirts. Chinos will look great with full-sleeve shirts or polo-necks. You can also wear semi-formal shirts and trousers. Collared button-down shirts can be worn with formal trousers and jeans. When the sun goes down, cover up with a hooded jacket or a blazer or stick to a heavyweight sweater.
  • Footwear: Stick to tried and comfy pair of shoes. Go for trainers with socks or best – boots. Plenty of styles and types here!
  • Accessories : You will not require much except the normal like sunscreen, sunglasses and bags. Do carry a raincoat or an umbrella because rains can also be expected.

So what are you waiting for? Head down to Puerto Rico in January if you are looking for the perfect way to celebrate the New Year

This post was published by Peter Nikhil David

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