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Meet, Visit and Discover 2018 SPECIAL EDITION




The Beast

Coaster ROLLER

The new attraction

The Monster


Gazebo EL

Wild Bull 787-867-7020/6606

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The new extension to our restaurant

Open everyday from 8am to 5pm

Welcome to Puerto Rico Whether you are a business traveler or chasing adventure and exploring the new and the exciting or seeking leisure and tranquility, you have come to the right place. Puerto Rico has something for everyone and so much more.


With Puerto Rico’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and 21st century technology resources, business meetings, workshops and other activities can be held anywhere throughout the island. Our worldclass hospitality and commitment to excellence in service will ensure your business and leisure activities are both successful and fun.

When the meetings are over, there is a world of tropical adventure right outside the door. From ziplining to spelunking, scuba diving to hang gliding, perspective becomes an adventure in itself. And if adventure is not your thing, lay back, take in the sun, and savor a cool tropical drink under the warm sun surrounded by cool ocean breezes. As night falls, the city comes alive with music, dance, and great food. For a more intellectual experience, visit our theatres, museums and art galleries. There is literally something for everyone to enjoy. And because we take pride in ensuring our visitors experience the best we have to offer, be prepared to be wowed!

San Juan Gate




2:40 PM









Visiting the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System, El Yunque, or kayaking an unbelievable bioluminescent bay becomes even better when shared. With more than 7,500 unique experiences, world-class beaches, first-class food, and the longest zipline in the Western hemisphere – you'll have endless stories to show off. Inspire your next adventure by visiting SeePuertoRico, then tag us to show everyone what enchantment really looks like.

Island of Enchantment Popular among visitors for its breathtaking tropical beauty and cultural charm, Puerto Rico is steeped in Spanish influence, where you’ll find old world flavor in a 21st century setting. In addition to world heritage and historical sites, the Island also offers an eclectic mix of old and new architectural style.

MIGUEL VEGA Chairman of the Board of Directors

For more than five centuries the converging cultures of the Indians, Spanish, African, and North American have blended to create a uniquely Puerto Rican heritage evident in the food, music, language, religion, lifestyle, and arts and crafts. With a landscape dominated by majestic mountains, flowing waterfalls, lush El Yunque Rainforest, and white sand beaches and coral reefs - popular for snorkeling, diving, surfing, and sailing.

El Yunque is actually the only tropical rainforest in the entire United States National Forest System. You can hike through its many trails, experience breathtaking scenery, and even take a swim in the river! It’s truly a magical and mystical place.  And if you enjoy the sea and sun, Puerto Rico’s beaches lead into a one-of-a-kind underwater experience that will totally change the way you see the world. Take a scenic hike or exhilarating zip line, explore underground caves and nature trails, swim in crystal waters, snorkel and dive glimpsing exquisite sea life, eat, drink, gamble at the hotel casinos, dance, take in art and relive history. Puerto Rico definitely has it all.

San Cristobal Fort


A hefty dose of gambling excitement with an island flavor


Casino at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa Casino Metro at Sheraton Convention Center Hotel & Casino El Tropical Casino at Holiday Inn Mayaguez El Tropical Casino at Holiday Inn Ponce El Tropical Casino at Hyatt Place Bayamon Stellaris Casino at San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino The Casino at Costa Caribe Resort Ponce Hilton The Casino at The Ritz Carlton, San Juan Warning: Gambling may lead to addiction. If gambling causes you economical, family and occupational problems, call your mental health provider.

To redeem, take a snapshot of this coupon with your mobile device and then present it to the casino concierge. Valid only in table games.

Board of Directors PRESIDENT & CEO


Clarisa Jimenez

Maritza Toste, First Class Services Inc.




Pablo Torres, Caribe Hilton Hotel IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN

CPA Ismael Vega, Casino Metro at Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino SECRETARY/TREASURER

CPA Aida Ramirez, Kevane Grant Thornton 3 DIRECTORS FROM HOTELS WITH 300+ ROOMS

Sam Basu, Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino Michael Herrmann, InterContinental San Juan Beach Resort Jose Gonzalez Espinosa, San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino



Roberto Rodriguez, First Class Destination Services 3 DIRECTORS FROM HOTELS WITH 76-299 ROOMS

Marisol Colon, Embassy Suites Dorado del Mar Frankie Mariani, Hyatt Place San Juan City Center Resort Johanna Garay, Courtyard Miramar Hotel SMALL INNS

Tomas Ramirez, Combate Beach Resort RESTAURANTS/SHOPS

Raul Correa, Zest Restaurant At the San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel CASINOS

CPA Ismael Vega, Casino Metro at Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino AIRLINES

Cristian Hernandez, Delta Air Lines


Tomas Ramirez, Combate Beach Resort (Porta del Sol / Porta Caribe Regions) Bob Gevinski, Hix Island House (Vieques & Culebra Regions) SUPPLIERS OR PURVEYORS OF SERVICES OR DURABLE GOODS

Joanne Ferguson-Twiste, Destination Puerto Rico/ Travel Services, Inc. A DMC Network Company Marnie Marquina, The Mall of San Juan Eduardo Rodriguez, Human Capital EX-OFFICIO

Carla Campos, Acting Executive Director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company Alma Pedrosa, President & CEO, Meet Puerto Rico

Committee Chairs EXECUTIVE CPA Ismael Vega, Casino Metro at Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino CPA Aida Ramirez, Kevane Grant Thornton Miguel Vega, HI Development Noel Vera Ramirez, Luxury Resorts Clarisa Jimenez, President & CEO Pablo Torres, Caribe Hilton

CASINO CPA Ismael Vega, Casino Metro at Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino

ALLIED Carmen Portela, Synapse Social Media

MARKETING Letty Rivero, The Condado Plaza Hilton


MEMBERSHIP Xavier Ramirez, Combate Beach Resort

CONSERVATION Eddie Ramirez, Casa Sol Bed & Breakfast GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS Miguel Vega, HI Development

SECURITY Carlos Martinez, CM Security Consultant PORTA DEL SOL / PORTA CARIBE REGIONS Tomas Ramirez, Combate Beach Resort TRANSPORTATION Roberto Rodriguez, First Class Destination Services VIEQUES & CULEBRA REGIONS Bob Gevinski, Hix Island House

RESTAURANTS Raul Correa, San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel

Bienvenidos 2018 Official Visitors Magazine of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association PUBLISHER & CHIEF EDITOR

Migdalia Medina


Evelyn Guadalupe-Fajardo CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Peter Martin Eugenio Hopgood


Enrique Carrion


Jean Carlos Gonzalez SALES & MARKETING

Joaquin Dedos


Efrain M. Padro Gretchen del Carmen Hector E. Medina Joe Colon Jose Rodriguez Rafy Vega Ricardo Alcaraz Yamilette Arana


AC Hotel Autonomus Municipality of Caguas Bistro Café Casa BACARDI Casino Metro Cocina Abierta Eter Rooftop N Puerto Rico Magazine La Casita de Rones Levain Artisan Breads Lote 23 Miramar Food Truck Park Mist Rooftop Museum of Art of Puerto Rico O:live rooftop Orta Family Pannes Restaurant Paseo Caribe Plaza Las Americas Princesa Gastrobar Rare 125 Rums of Puerto Rico Soda Estudio de Cocina The Mall of San Juan Vivo Beach Club

T. 787-758-8001 PRESIDENT & CEO

Clarisa Jimenez


Miguel Vega


Natalia Robles

BIENVENIDOS is a registered trademark of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association. The reproduction of part or the entire publication is prohibited, including but not limited to art, photography or content without the written consent of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association.

Media & Marketing Partners 1612 Ponce de Leon Ave. 2nd. Floor San Juan, Puerto Rico 00909 T. 787-723-5220 Media & Marketing Partners Co., Corp. and the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association do not necessarily agree with, or are responsible for opinions expressed in this publication.

What to do and where to go BIENVENIDOS... Putting together our annual lifestyle tourism magazine is a tedious process since we pride ourselves in recommending only the best venues and locations that are worth visiting and will make your trip unforgettable.

MIGDALIA MEDINA Publisher and Chief Editor

We know our visitors travel far and wide for incredible food and drink, amazing culture and art, and to enjoy the most breathtaking natural landscapes.

Our glossy pages in Bienvenidos magazine feature Puerto Rico’s trendiest spots, some of the best rooftop bars to enjoy a delicious concoction made by one of our outstanding mixologists, and what you will uncover when exploring the charming cobblestone streets of Old San Juan. Hungry after seeing the sights or shopping for amazing souvenirs, well, there are a variety of gourmet food trucks island-wide that are the new eating craze and some of the best restaurants in town are taking brunch to an entirely new level. Puerto Rico has a wide range of sporting activities, which you can either watch or take part in. If you like your sports to be urban active and adrenaline fuelled there are plenty of exhilarating alternatives like visiting Camarero racetrack to cheer on the ponies or if you prefer a sedate round of golf there are a plethora of striking yet challenging golf courses set on beautiful settings. While beach vacations are timeless—you truly don’t need much more than a comfortable resort, warm waters, and a good book to read—but we highly suggest to take time from basking in the sun and visit one of Puerto Rico’s amazing museums because everything on this island will make you fall in love with it.


We Have What You Need! New vehicles, from economy size to minivans, passenger vans, pick-up trucks. Low daily, weekly, and monthly rates. Corporate and insurance replacement rates available. Pick-up and drop-off at most major hotels in Condado, Isla Verde and Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. Aguadilla Airport 787-890-4070 Fajardo Marina Puerto del Rey 787-860-2030

Carolina Marginal Los Ángeles 787-253-2525 Mayagüez Airport 787-834-1590

Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport 787-253-2525

Ponce Airport 787-290-2525

For worldwide reservations calls 1-800-FOR-CARS (1-800-367-2277) or access




18 En mi Viejo San Juan 22 Hot spots right now SCENE AND BE SEEN

28 Altitude is the hottest new cocktail ingredient 34 Puerto Rican stars in the global music scene 40 Land of Mixology CULINARY GUSTO

48 Weekends were made for brunching 54 Puerto Rico foodies flock to food truck heaven 57 Flavors around the Island





61 Beyond the beach lies Puerto Rico’s

77 Plenty of excitement at Camarero racetrack 81 Back into the swing of the things

dazzling shopping experience

65 Exploring Puerto Rico’s colorful

small treasures

70 A day at The Mall of San Juan INSIDE LA ISLA

73 Casa BACARDI a trip through

history and innovation


84 Toast a new life among art and whimsy 87 BE MY GUEST


Puerto Rico Convention Center is the largest convention facility in the Caribbean

Puerto Rico has the most meeting space in the Caribbean and venues range from intimate boardrooms for small groups to the largest ballroom in the Caribbean. Meet, Visit and Discover 2018 SPECIAL EDITION



Puerto Rico Convention Center 100 Convention Boulevard, San Juan, Puerto Rico PHOTOGRAPHER:

Efrain M. Padro

Along with hotels offering top notch service for meetings, Puerto Rico is proud of the visually stunning 580,000 sq. ft. Puerto Rico Convention Center, notable for its striking curved-roof structure that embodies its Caribbean Sea location, and having the largest Grand Ballroom in the Caribbean and Latin America, measuring 39,000 sq. ft. At the Convention Center, groups of up to 10,000 delegates can enjoy a high-tech, high-touch experience. The Center features 152,700 square feet of exhibit hall space, divisible into three individual exposition spaces, nestled below 15 meeting rooms on the second and third levels, which are divisible into 28 breakout rooms. Eight columns on a 90-foot-by-90-foot grid support the steel structure above the exhibit floor. Its ballroom is perched at the third floor beneath a soaring, exposed roof structure. The Center has hosted more than 1,500 events and has welcomed more than 1.5 million delegates. Prominent pre-function space and lobbies provide dramatic backdrops for any event. Arriving conventioneers must first pass through the landscaped outdoor plaza, covered by the soaring arched-high roof, particularly spectacular at night when lit up. Entering guests encounter a spectacular 130-foot-tall lobby space that is fronted by a full-height curtain wall. Views continue to improve as guests ascend the escalators to the meeting rooms and ballroom. A contiguous outdoor patio beneath the high roof offers panoramic views of San Juan, the cruise ship district, and the nearby beaches and surf that inspired the building form. Part of an ambitious waterfront development initiative, the Puerto Rico Convention Center District is comprised of beautiful promenades and walkways, surrounded by fountains and views of San Juan Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean; and popular restaurants.

E. Cosme

review Casino Metro

“I love it. The lounge and bar area are great to have a drink with some friends and the service is just as good!”

Come and live the experience of Casino Metro, San Juan’s best bet.

Puerto Rico





MUSIC, ART, FLAVORS, AND FUN, ALL IN ONE PLACE, ALL DAY LONG Whether you lose yourself in a cappuccino, a side table guacamole, a steak, or you prefer a hip new concoction by one of the mixologists serving up inspired cocktails, these are the new restaurants that will surpass your palate at Paseo Caribe.

Next to the PaseoCaribe ElMercadoPaseoCaribe

25 Ave. Luis Muñoz Rivera, San Juan PR 00901 787-721-2100

En Mi Viejo


Anyone who has spent enough time in Old San Juan to be seduced by this gorgeous Spanish colonial jewel by the sea will leave still longing for “en mi Viejo San Juan,” or “in my Old San Juan,” just like that classic romantic ballad by Puerto Rican song writer Noel Estrada says.

It won’t take long to get smitten. Old San Juan is the Americas’ most stunning restored Spanish colonial sector. Perched on a headland overlooking the dramatic ocean coast and the island’s main harbor, the mile-square city has museums, galleries, and boutiques selling fine art, crafts, and other unique items from around the island, region, and world, as well as some of the city’s finest hotels, restaurants, bars and other night spots.

Cristo Chapel is perched atop the ancient wall that once protected the old city at the very south end of Cristo Street.



Its blue-tinged cobblestone streets, originally built from the ballast of New World explorer ships, descend from an ocean-side boulevard to the wide promenade lining the tranquil

waters of San Juan bay. They are lined with colorful colonial homes, with balconies full of bougainvillea, and deftly designed office buildings, ancient cathedrals, and stately government buildings and city plazas. The architecture spans Spanish colonial to baroque to Gothic to Art Deco. At a minimum, you’ll want to spend a morning or afternoon shopping and seeing the sites in Old San Juan, but if time warrants, there is enough to do to fill a full day. Make sure to have a delicious, gorgeously set lunch or dinner (or both!) at one of the Old City’s prime restaurants.

San Juan


Photos by Hector E. Medina

The Old City is largely defined by its twin fortresses – El Morro, or Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, and San Cristobal, or Castillo San Cristobal – that tower over, respectively, the entrance to San Juan Bay and the narrow land-bridge connecting the old city to the rest of San Juan. They combine to form the San Juan National Historic Site, which is managed by the U.S. National Park Service. There is trolley service between the two installations, but the Oceanside sidewalk makes for a great walk, especially on sunny days. The fortresses and the massive wall surrounding the city have survived natural disasters and foreign invasions for some five centuries and still wield an enormous presence in the life of Old San Juan. They are filled with historic treasures and offer dramatic views of the tropical ocean, with historic exhibits, guided tours and informational brochures.

El Morro unfolds in a number of layers, with ramps winding from the dungeons to the troop barracks to the iconic guard towers. Its northernmost point overlooks the ocean surf crashing against the rocky coast. The great green lawn surrounding El Morro has become a favorite spot to fly kites and to picnics. Kites and refreshments are available at street carts outside the Spanish colonial fortress. San Cristobal’s vast walls rise more than 150 feet above the ocean, and various lookouts offer ocean and city views that will only add to you appreciation of Old San Juan’s beauty. The fortress was constructed in circular fashion with the interior area linked by tunnel and moats to its outer rings dedicated to defense. Make sure to check out the killer view from the Devil’s Sentry Box, where Spanish guards were said to disappear without a trace while on watch.

Plaza del Quinto Centenario (Quincentennial Plaza) was inaugurated in 1992 to celebrate the 500th birthday of the founding of the New World by the Spanish.


You can ponder in all its glory El Morro, stretching across its vast green grounds and the emerald blue Caribbean horizon, from the nearby Plaza del Quinto Centenario (Quincentennial Plaza). It was inaugurated in 1992 to celebrate the 500th birthday of the founding of the New World by the Spanish, and features a granite and clay totem-like monument and adjacent fountains and sculptures celebrating Puerto Rico’s rich cultural heritage. Beyond the plaza is the Cuartel de Ballaja, a 19th century army barracks that is one of the largest buildings constructed by the Spanish in the Americas. Today it house the Museum of the Americas, focused on indigenous and regional art, a pleasant outdoor cafe and a handsome courtyard that is often host to special events. The Asilo de Beneficencia, a former indigents’ hospital dating from 1832, is also nearby and the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. Also nearby is Casa Blanca, a charming home that once belonged to Puerto Rico’s first governor, Juan Ponce de Leon, with an interesting museum and gorgeous gardens.

The Old City is host to the Caribbean’s hottest street party, the Fiesta de la Calle San Sebastian in midJanuary, but you can catch its spirit on a visit to the street that bears its name on any of San Juan’s sultry nights. San Sebastian is a cobblestoned street lined with bars and restaurants, and art galleries and workshops are just around its many corners. Laughter and the salsa, bomba and plena music associated with the festival pour out of the bars, with their large wooden doors thrown open to the street. The party has been raging here for more than a century. This is also the birthplace of “Despacito,” the Luis Fonsi mega-hit featuring Daddy Yankee that has become the most streamed video of all time. The colorful seaside barrio that former Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera saunters through in the video is La Perla, which is sandwiched on the Old San Juan coast between the two historic churches. The joyous dance scene at the end takes places at La Factoria, which has been named one of the world’s best bars, on Calle San Sebastian.

Some of the finest churches in the New World are in the vicinity of Calle San Sebastian and Calle Cristo, including the recently restored San Jose Church, a Gothic rarity and the celestial Catedral de San Juan, a vaulted beauty that is home to the impressive works of religious arts and rare artifacts, as well as the tomb of the island’s first governor, Juan Ponce de Leon, and the mummy of Roman martyr Saint Pio. The Plaza de las Monjas, or Nuns’ Plaza, might be the most deliciously shady spot in all of Puerto Rico, with a bay breeze funneling through tow of the old city’s most gorgeous tree-lined streets, with some of the most gorgeous colonial homes. If you don’t stay at Hotel El Convento, you’ll want to come by for a tour anyway, if not a meal or a drink at the gorgeous restaurants located in its interior patio and street-level terrace restaurant. It was born in 1651 as a Carmelite convent, and has gone through many lives since then, but today remains a part of the beating heart of the Old San Juan. Its tiled courtyards and terraces are outfitted with gorgeous Spanish furnishings, palm trees, and Caribbean flowering

The Plazuela de la Rogativa is a gorgeous shady square overlooking the bay and Puerto Rico’s impressive governor’s mansion, La Fortaleza.



plants, under high-beamed ceilings that are iconic of Old San Juan. It’s really one of the perfect spots to soak up the unique Old San Juan vibe. In fact the Old City, as it is affectionately known by locals, has wonderful lodging options, including fullscale resort hotels like the Sheraton Old San Juan across from the cruise ship piers. There are also small guest houses and inns with big charm, like Casa Sol Bed and Breakfast, on a beautiful stretch of Calle Sol. The Plazuela de la Rogativa is a gorgeous shady square overlooking the bay and Puerto Rico’s impressive governor’s mansion, La Fortaleza. Its biggest charm however is a statute of a bishop and three women that recreates a religious procession in 1797 that legend has halted a British attack on San Juan, when sailors mistook the candles of marching nuns for the movement of Spanish reinforcement troops. La Fortaleza, the seat of local government for more than 300 years, is just down the block. The stunner incorporates neoclassical and Arabian elements and has a choice location overlooking San Juan Bay, with great views and breezes in most of the building, and from its many gardens and patios. Tours are available weekdays. You’ll pass San Juan Gate, which was the main entrance to the city when it was built in 1635, and today leads to the charming stretch of the San Juan bay, with small fishing boats docked just off shore. To the right is a walking path that hugs the base of the massive headland on which El Morro is built and the fortresses ancient walls. The saltwater and sun sprayed path passes dramatic seascapes and patches of sea grapes and tropical vegetation. The mood turns romantic when the El Morro is lit up at night. To the left is Paseo de la Princesa, a bayside promenade between the

Bahia Urbana, a bayside park on the outskirts of the old city that hosts concerts and special events, as well as ship tours and other tourist adventures.

bay and the massive wall of the ancient city. You’ll see the alluring “Raices” or “Roots,” monument and fountain, which is an impassioned tribute to the Taino, African, and Spanish roots of Puerto Rico and its people, complete with gorgeous gods and goddesses in all their naked glory riding huge sea and land creatures. The beautifully restored La Princesa housing the Puerto Rico Tourism Company Headquarters is also on the promenade, which hosts artisans and sidewalk cafes.

fountains and shady corners. Plaza de Las Armas, located at Old San Juan’s heart, is home to the stately San Juan City Hall and Puerto Rico State Department, as well as a number of restaurants and boutiques. The fountain was built to represent the four seasons, and the statue of the gentleman sitting on the bench is Titi Curet, and Old City fixture during his life who was perhaps Puerto Rico’s most prolific writer of salsa music. There are also a number of plazas near the cruise ship ports along the bay.

Cristo and La Fortaleza streets have some of the old city’s smartest boutiques and galleries, but you’ll also want to look to Calle San Francisco, as well as San Jose. There are great cafes, bars, and restaurants throughout the historic sector, but Recinto Sur has become its restaurant row, where you can find classic comida criolla in authentic settings, Spanish food with live flamenco show, inventive contemporary cuisine to live U.S. and Latin Jazz shows and so much more.

Artisans often hawk their wares in the plazas and promenades while musicians perform in these public spaces as well. In fact, the city of San Juan has a continuing live music program throughout Old San Juan and the rest of the city that take place on certain nights and weekends throughout the year. The newest addition to the ports area is Bahia Urbana, a bayside park on the outskirts of the old city that hosts concerts and special events, as well as ship tours and other tourist adventures.

Of course one of the joys of the Old City is stumbling around its side streets and cooling off in its gorgeous plazas, which offer shady benches and refreshment stands. Plaza de Colon, at the main entrance to Old San Juan, is centered on a monument of Columbus, but different levels of terraces and

Old San Juan is only one-square mile, but it can take days to explore its many charms. When it comes time to say goodbye, you’ll already be plotting a return to, as the Estrada song says, “search for my love, and dream again, in my Old San Juan.”


The coolest, hippest places 22 go in San Juan to WWW.BIENVENIDOSPUERTORICO.COM

Cocina Abierta in Condado.

Cocina Abierta in Condado is an interactive open kitchen where culinary ideas are inspired and created.

In San Juan, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Caribbean, trendy and new restaurants are on nearly every corner. There’s no denying the appeal of hitting up the trendiest spots in town to get those hearts pumping and taste buds delighted. Cocina Abierta in Condado is an interactive open kitchen where culinary ideas are inspired and created. Just like the restaurant’s name suggests, the chef opens his kitchen to share best-kept secrets and knowledge inside this unique Atelier kitchen. The contemporary and eclectic décor is a mélange of concrete walls, modern light fixtures, custom-made furniture, and repurposed decorative pieces; making it one of the most creative multilayered spaces in Puerto Rico. The menu is divided into five acts, allowing you to mix, match and create your ultimate tasting menu. Three wine pairing suggestions accompany each dish. Don’t skip on the cocktails! They are hand-crafted at the Tiki Bar by expert mixologists who use local ingredients and top-shelf liquors from the worldclass collection. VIVO Beach Club is Puerto Rico’s liveliest oceanfront destination featuring an outdoor beach club and pool, restaurants and bars, and a full-scale brewery called Ocean Lab. It serves comfort food in a casual environment with 9 plasmas to watch sports or just relax and taste the diverse offering of local beers. Guests can experience how beer is produced by taking a tour in the microbrewery.   Situated on one of the island’s top

ranked beaches and next to the Isla Verde’s hotel district, VIVO Beach Club has the perfect ingredients for a great Caribbean experience. This hip venue has established itself as the best day and night club in the metropolitan area. VIVO’s AT&T Arena includes a 9,000 square foot stage that can easily cater to over 30 musicians for a large array of performances, as well as a dance floor and multiple staging areas to accommodate over 5,000 people.   La Placita, the last of the traditional fresh food markets in Puerto Rico before the arrival of supermarkets in the 1970s, is still the heart and soul of Santurce’s hottest nightlife scene.

of white tablecloths, providing topnotch service. The lunch options are enticing, with bento box–style steak lunches. Rare 125° refers to the ideal preparation of the perfect steak, and while this is not a house rule overriding your preferences, it is a commitment to providing the ultimate restaurant experience. House specialty appetizers are the

Beef Tataki and Pork Belly Chicharron. The pork belly is a crowd pleaser of crispy comfort served with whipped black refried beans and a cleansing lemon crème. The Tataki consists of a few slices of the house specialty pastrami rubbed steak, a small mound of dulcet mushroom escabeche, ponzu sauce, and thinly sliced cucumber. Rare 125° opens for lunch every day from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features wraps, burgers, and $15

You can still buy fruits, vegetables, flowers, street food, and fruit shakes during the day. But La Placita is now known for its dozens of restaurants with extensive menu selections, cafes, and nightclubs that surround the traditional food market building. Especially good on Thursday and Friday nights, the historic market plaza and its surrounding streets host what becomes a street party with people of all ages crowding the square to mingle, talk, drink, listen, and dance to music until the wee hours. The vibe is fun and laid back. Move over old-school steakhouses, Rare 125º Neighborhood Grill in Miramar has arrived with a modern approach, excellent cuts, sides, and sauces. The restaurant is upscale and trendy without the pretensions

VIVO Beach Club is Puerto Rico’s liveliest oceanfront destination featuring an outdoor beach club and pool, restaurants and bars, and a full-scale brewery called Ocean Lab.


Rare 125º Neighborhood Grill in Miramar.

lunch boxes like the pork tenderloin with vegetable risotto and guava marmalade. Puerto Rican artisan wholesale bakery Cidrines opened a stylish venue, SOBAO by Los Cidrines, located at the AC Hotel by Marriott in Condado. The name SOBAO originates from Sobao sweet bread, the company’s star product responsible for its success.

The menu at La Bodeguita has a good selection of wines and fresh fish, meat, chicken and pasta and its famous Cocas (similar to pizzas), burgers and tapas. Sobao by Los Cidrines has live music every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening.

Along with the bakery, the venue also includes a restaurant called La Bodeguita, which offers a genuinely spectacular culinary experience.

El Mercado de Paseo Caribe is a modern, upscale food market inside a luxurious waterfront residential complex that brings together a mix of local gourmet restaurants, butcher shops, and other gourmet food boutiques under one roof.

Upon entering the restaurant, you will see a display of photos and tasteful memorabilia honoring the life of Doña Lidia Miranda and her family, the Cidrines.

The market has a vibrant feel with its restaurant kitchens and food vendors complimented by the vast, colorful mural created by renowned artist Tom Christopher.

Princesa Gastrobar is nestled in a beautiful garden patio surrounded by lush vegetation and trees next to the old La Princesa jail.

Eateries like Café Alto Grande, Napolitana pizzeria, and the Noodle Merchant rub elbows with wellknown local favorites like La Hacienda Meat Market from Miramar, Señor Paleta from Old San Juan, and El Pescador from Santurce, just to name a few.

El Mercado de Paseo Caribe is a modern, upscale food market.

Along with the impressive array of food options, El Mercado de Paseo Caribe also hosts live entertainment. Princesa Gastrobar, nestled in a beautiful garden patio surrounded



by lush vegetation and trees next to the old La Princesa jail which today houses the offices of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., sits at the edge of the famous city wall that historically encompassed all of Old City. The restaurant’s menu features some unique recipes found in an 1800’s Puerto Rican cookbook that blends Spanish and Puerto Rican dishes. These recipes are marked on the menu by a local tree frog called the Coqui. Its specialty is Spanish croquettes,

La Casita de Rones in Old San Juan.

heavenly bites made with chicken and Iberian ham and served over béchamel sauce. Princesa Gastrobar also offers a variety of refreshing rum cocktails and educates its visitors about the history of the Rums of Puerto Rico. This exclusive venue will make its visitors feel the magic of the story behind its unique location. Casa Cortes ChocoBar is a restaurant and art gallery in Old San Juan operated by the Cortes family, the biggest chocolate-makers in the entire Caribbean. They opened this popular and unique venue, voted Best Restaurant in the Caribbean by the readers of USA Today, to share tasty meals and drinks that incorporate the family’s greatest treasure -- wickedly delicious chocolate. The chocolate drinks are out of this world. Get them hot or cold, or with marshmallows. The menu includes specialty drinks like a Choco Martini or Bloody Choco Mary. There are breakfast items, appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, and pastries where chocolate infuses every bite. On Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday

a gallery upstairs offers a glimpse of the family’s private contemporary Caribbean art collection. Looking for a stiff drink? Then La Casita de Rones in Old San Juan is the right place. This pink-colored lovely venue (once the home of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company Information Center) has two bars, a restaurant, and shop developed by the local government to promote the Rums of Puerto Rico program. This charming venue in the touristic area of the Old City next to the cruise ship terminals and with views of the San Juan Bay sells and promotes brands like Bacardi, Serralles, Club Caribe, Barrilito, Caray and Trigo and artisanal products by Destileria Cruz, and El Pitorro de Destileria Coqui. A variety of mouthwatering rumbased signature concoctions, handcrafted and pressed sangrias, and tropical classics, like the famous piña colada, are masterly crafted here to compliment a varied selection of Puerto Rican appetizers, salads, sharing dishes, and entrees. So check them out. You might just spot some celebrities while you’re there!


District Puerto Rico: Perfect Combination of Business and Fun


... ,., -

I 'I:_ •?:



hen people think of Puerto Rico, the first few words that come to mind are probably "vacation", "beaches", "sun" or "tropical island". But, do people ever think, "business"? Yes, Puerto Rico is Open for Business, and is the perfect destination to combine business and fun! Puerto Rico offers a wide variety of venues that can accommodate any type of business or entertainment need.

events. Coliseo de Puerto Rico continues as the preferred entertainment center for Puerto Ricans and the Caribbean people, according to Pollstar Magazine and the Top 200 Arenas chart. During the first quarter of 2018, Coliseo de Puerto Rico had a great start in contrast with last year's results, achieving a higher position on the list No. 46 worldwide, No. 17 in USA and No. 21 in North America, including Mexico and Canada markets.

The Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority (District Puerto Rico) is the owner of several venues that can be used either for business, social or entertainment events. They are also owners of several real estate land that can be used for other kind of developments. The venues that are part of this group of properties are the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the Coliseo de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico's Coliseum), the Antiguo Casino (Old Casino) and Bahfa Urbana (Urban Bay).

The Antiguo Casino is a marvelous building with beaux-arts architecture, distinguished by its Spanish and French design. It can host a variety of events such as wedding celebrations, galas, corporate functions, fashion shows, graduations and others. Its stunning gardens, balconies, and its beautiful chandelier makes up for the elegance of this building.

The Puerto Rico Convention Center is the largest Convention Center in the Caribbean and one of the most technologically advanced in the Americas. Inaugurated in 2005, this architectural masterpiece is the home for conventions, trade shows, consumer shows and conferences, placing Puerto Rico at the forefront of groups and conventions destination. � .§ � �

The Coliseo de Puerto Rico is the largest indoor arena in the Caribbean with state-of-the-art sound, lighting, acoustic and theatrical systems. Since 2004, this avant-garde facility serves as a multi-purpose arena used for concerts, sports, and other entertainment

Bahfa Urbana is a full revitalization project, where a 21-block area is being transformed into an entire neighborhood that will feature shopping and dining areas, hotels, housing, parks, trails, and a stunning It has a passive park with waterfront esplanade. restaurant, dock, stage for events, and other amenities. "The venues at District Puerto Rico offer a wide variety of opportunities to hold any kind of business, social or entertainment event. All the venues have an amazing architecture, and an enviable location. Hotels, beaches, museums and airports are within a 5 to 15 minutes distance. Old San Juan is just a few minutes away, and there is availability to enjoy all kinds of water sports within a very short distance, since beaches are

Hyatt Place

District Live!

Some of the projects included in the renovations and repairs are: upgrading the lighting system, re-conditioning streets' pavement and sidewalks, making landscape and hardscape improvements, building controls and efficient technology integration, upgrading surveillance and security systems, and repairing the beautiful fountain that adorns the Convention Center, among others. Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino Convention Center

walking-distance from most venues. For the 'foodies' there is a wide range of options just a few minutes away, from fine-dining to local mom & pop restaurants, from Puerto Rican food to French, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Italian, just to mention a few. For those that enjoy shopping, there are many boutiques around the Old San Juan and Condado area, and Plaza Las Americas, the largest mall in the Caribbean, is just 10 minutes away." said Omar J. Marrero, Executive Director for the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority. District Puerto Rico also has three hotels on its premises, and within walking-distance of the Convention Center: the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino Convention Center, the Hyatt House, and the Hyatt Place, providing over 775 rooms for guests. The Luis Munoz Marfn International Airport is 15 minutes away and the Isla Grande Airport, which serves regional airlines and private jets, is less than 5 minutes away. "Even though these venues offer all the modern amenities that our guests need, it is a priority for Governor Ricardo Rossell6's administration to keep the properties in top condition and installing high-efficiency technologies to enhance user experience. Therefore, we will make $20 million investment in a five-year period for upgrades and we will be investing an additional $10 million repairing some areas that were damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria." Marrero said.

Marrero also explained that at the Puerto Rico Convention Center and at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico they will be building new entertainment areas like bars, lounges and restaurants. "We want our visitors, tourists and locals, to enjoy their stay in our venues and we will provide all the necessary amenities and upgrades to cater to their every need," Marrero said. "The future is even brighter for District Puerto Rico. In the Fall of 2019 we will be inaugurating District Live!, a world class entertainment center. District Live! will have an 8,000-seat theatre, 18 commercial spaces for bars, a 750-room hotel, restaurants and shops, eight movie theaters equipped with high-tech features, interactive screens and videos and open spaces and green areas. It will be an amazing entertainment area that will have amenities to please everyone, business tourists, leisure tourists, and locals," Marrero said. Each venue has its own personality, but they are all flexible and can accommodate a very diverse range of events. Most of the venues can host events from small groups, to large crowds. But the best attribute that the venues have are the employees, who are service oriented and very committed to their work. They make sure that our guests feel welcomed and taken care of. So, if you are thinking about holding a conference, convention, trade show, producing a sporting or entertainment event, or any other type of business gathering, we invite you to come to Puerto Rico. Here you will be able to find top-notch services and venues to combine having some fun around the city; fun in the sun, great restaurants, shopping and nightlife.

For more information about the venues, please contact Noelia Garcia at 787-722-3309 or write to

Altitude is the hottest

new cocktail ingredient By BIENVENIDOS STAFF

Eter Rooftop at Ciqala Luxury Suites in Miramar with its endless views of San Juan is the ideal place to watch the sunset.



uerto Rico, known as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, has some amazing restaurants with stunning decor, but nothing beats a hot rooftop bar. Chilling on a rooftop never gets old especially when combining breathtaking views, tropical Caribbean breezes, and world-class cocktails. Whether you are seeking spectacular views of the ocean, bay, cobblestone streets, historic homes, or a bustling city, you’ll find what you’re looking for at these cool, classy, and spectacular rooftop bars. ETER ROOFTOP & LOUNGE After a long day, the Eter Rooftop at Ciqala Luxury Suites in Miramar with its endless views of San Juan is the ideal place to watch the sunset, or take a dip in the pool accompanied by seasonal cocktails and scrumptious culinary Caribbean infusion creations. The View: Miramar and San Juan Bay. What to Order: “Mofongo” stuffed with skirt steak. Insider Tip: Brunch of champions every weekend with free valet. Location: 752 Ave. Manuel Fernandez Juncos, San Juan; (787) 998-1176. MIST ROOFTOP BAR+KITCHEN At MIST ROOFTOP Bar+Kitchen at San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel, you get awe-inspiring

vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, white sand beach, and the incredible skyline of Isla Verde glittering with towering hotels and condos. The MIST ROOFTOP ambiance features sexy white pillow sofas and couches for total relaxation, a custom designed Cîroc bar serving a unique selection of cocktails and wines, and a restaurant with mouthwatering lunch, dinner, and a one-of-a-kind brunch culinary delights. For a seductive evening under the stars, the MIST ROOFTOP offers daily Happy Hour specials as well as the sounds of electronic and house music. The View: Atlantic Ocean and Isla Verde skyline. What to Order: Signature pizza verde with Boursin cheese, kale, brussels sprouts, asparagus and mushrooms and risotto sprouts served with pork, butifarra and pecorino cheese. Insider Tip: Things heat up with DJs spinning house and lounge music from Thursday to Saturday, starting at 9 p.m. Location: 2 Tartak Street, Isla Verde; (787) 728-3666. AL FRESCO ROOFTOP WINE BAR Located on the corner of Sol and Cruz streets in Old San Juan, this super cozy terrace perched atop a colonial rustic orange painted building is

“Mofongo” stuffed with skirt steak.


Try Mist’s signature pizza verde.

MIST ROOFTOP Bar+Kitchen at San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel.

also home to the quaint and amazing St. Germain Bistro & Café and The Mezzanine bar, which serve a variety of delicious, mouthwatering tapas and fine wines. The View: Historic Old San Juan. What to Order: Homemade sangria or wine with tapas. Insider Tip: Thursday nights are Ladies Night! Enjoy 2-for-1 drinks from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Location: 156 Calle Sol, Old San Juan; (787) 723-3427. PUNTO DE VISTA Located on the rooftop of the Hotel Milano in Old San Juan, Punto de Vista has a well-deserved reputation for serving the best mofongo relleno in the city. A glass wall spanning the width of the dining room offers its guests views for days while drinking and dining outdoors provides vistas of the capitol building, San Cristobal Fort, San Juan City Hall, the San Juan Bay and Calle Fortaleza below. So bring your camera or pop out your Iphone and be ready to capture amazing selfies with stunning sunsets in the background.

rooftop bar even has a pool, completing the ultimate oasis package. The Rooftop offers a taste of the high life inspired by the Mediterranean travels of the property’s owners, attentive and helpful staff that looks out on the high-rises of Condado and the waters of the Condado Lagoon.

The View: Condado Lagoon. What to Order: Order a bite from the enticing menu of Sage restaurant operated by Chef Mario Pagan, one of Puerto Rico’s top chefs who participated in Food Network’s Iron Chef. Insider Tip: Must try signature drink Kiwi Collins especially at sunset. Location: Aguadilla St. #55, Condado; (787) 705-9994.

LA TERRAZA DE SAN JUAN Nothing is more relaxing than taking a dip in a rooftop terrace infinity plunge pool while enjoying

birds eye views of Old San Juan and sipping a tropical drink from its patio bar. Guests can chill out watching cruise ships come and go, admire beautiful sunsets over the Old City and San Juan Bay. On the very clearest of days, you can see El Yunque Rainforest, located at the eastern end of Puerto Rico.

The View: Old San Juan and San Juan Bay. What to Order: Mimosas and smoothies. Insider Tip: Tasty tapas and cocktail menu in evenings from Thursday to Saturday. Location: 262 Calle Sol, Old San Juan; (787) 722-2014.

AC ROOFTOP Indulge on delicious drinks, warm breezes, and superb dining at this unique rooftop lounge at AC Hotel San Juan that features a swimming pool and one-of-a-kind views of the bustling Condado district. This stylish property with a European urban

The View: Old City and San Juan Bay. What to Order: Mofongo (garlic-flavored mashed plantains) with choice of chicken, shrimp, pork or skirt steak with fresh garlic sauce or sautéed in a white wine mango peach creole sauce. Insider Tip: Tip: Buy 1 get 1 free mojitos every day until 5:00 p.m. and Medalla beer on tap for just $2. Location: 307 Calle Fortaleza, Old San Juan; (787) 725-4860. OLIVE BOUTIQUE HOTEL O:live Rooftop atop the luxury O:live Boutique Hotel is the epitome of chic and sophistication, where even its location screams exclusivity. It’s



O:live Rooftop looks out on the high-rises of Condado and the waters of the Condado Lagoon.


Discover the best of Ponce and Mayaguez. IN PONCE The liveliest Boardwalk in the Caribbean – La Guancha A Rum Dynasty’s Castle – Serrallés Puerto Rico best museums, archeological sites, iconic Spanish Colonial architecture like our famous Parque de Bombas

Holiday Inn & El Tropical Casino Ponce, Puerto Rico A landmark in southern Puerto Rico, Holiday lnn Ponce, with its awesome view of the city and the Caribbean Sea, has it all: fantastic facilities, great food and a lively casino within a short drive to all the good things Ponce has to offer.

Holiday Inn & El Tropical Casino Mayagüez, Puerto Rico The perfect place to start your western tour of the island. From here you can drive to an incredible water park, bowling alleys, hemisphere... Fantastic rooms, great service, excellent rates, a dynamic casino to try your luck, and Fat Tuesday Daiquiri Bar.

IN MAYAGÜEZ A World Class Zoo on a Tropical Setting The Museum at the Coffee Plantation where “the Citizen of the Americas” grew up – Museo de Hostos The Best Sangría on Earth – Fido An Agricultural Research Station where the BountifulTropics Come Alive – UPR Mayagüez E-mail:

Howard Johnson Closer to town, this fantastic hotel is the perfect place to stay to a base for short drives to several great spots in the south coast of Puerto Rico. The ideal family hotel, with kid’s suites, home and great rates.


Rooftop lounge at AC Hotel San Juan features a swimming pool and one-of-a-kind views of the bustling Condado district.

vibe is steps away from the beach and has modern décor with contemporary furnishings. The View: Condado District. What to Order: Light tapas. Insider Tip: Co-working space by day and hub of social buzz by night with live DJ and bands. Location: 1369 Ashford Ave, Condado (787) 827-7280. BAY POOL BAR & GRILLE The rooftop Bay Pool Bar & Grille at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino overlooks the marina in the heart of the city that captures vibrant ocean and bay views, as well as the city’s varied cityscape, from the gleaming condo towers of Condado to Spanish colonial splendor. The terrace situated on the hotel’s fourth floor has plush sofas and cabanas, and a great bar and grill;

there is nowhere else you will want to be during a splendid San Juan afternoon. There is an impressive menu of tropical cocktails and frozen drinks, and a simple menu that delivers with great taste.

The View: San Juan Bay and cruise port. What to Order: Chino Latino wrap, fish tacos, mahi mahi skewers and guava chicken wings. Insider Tip: Reserve your pool cabana early; voted one of the best hotel pools in Puerto Rico by US News. Location: 200 Convention Boulevard in San Juan, (787) 993-3500.

VISTAS Vistas rooftop terrace at Vistas Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge has spectacular panned views of the city of Ponce. Imagine sitting high above the town on a warm and

sultry evening while sipping on a cocktail experiencing a cosmopolitan vibe while overlooking at one of the most recognizable landmarks in Puerto Rico, Parque de Bombas (former Ponce Fire House) with its emblematic black and red colors and Cruzeta El Vigia (The Watchman Cross). The staff at Vistas is friendly and the food is yummy as well.

The View: Nearly all of Ponce. What to Order: Pasta, pork loin, St. Louis ribs, BBQ chicken and mofongo. Insider Tip: $4 Margaritas Happy Hour every Tuesday and Wednesday and a 2-for1 Mojitos and Sangria Happy Hour every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Location: Cristina Street #76, Ponce; (939) 350-2407.

So make sure you take advantage during your visit of Puerto Rico’s near-perfect year-round weather and stress-reducing views.

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Puerto Rican

stars in the global

music scene By EUGENIO HOPGOOD

Paoli Mejias is one of the foremost Conga drummers in the world.

Photo by: Jose Rodriguez

Photo by: Ricardo Alcaraz

The Miguel Zenon Quartet has been together for 15 years.


wo sax players – David Sanchez and Miguel Zenonhave established themselves as stars of the contemporary international jazz scene. Paoli Mejias, a master conga drummer, has paused in his solo career to travel the world as a multi-percussionist for Carlos Santana. And Tito Matos has been a critical figure in the renewed vitality of the Afro-Puerto Rican plena tradition and its contribution to World Music. The quality and success of these performers solidify Puerto Rico’s ability to produce world-class musicians. Sanchez and Zenon: from humble beginnings to world’s jazz elite David Sanchez and Miguel Zenon, both jazz sax players, composers, and bandleaders; grew up and started their musical education in Puerto Rico. Both settled in New York City, where they developed highly successful careers and became international stars in their own right.

Sanchez, who is 48, has the looks and moves of a 28-year-old athlete. He walks into La Junta, a small club in Santurce’s Loiza Street checking messages on his cell phone, greeting friends and fans with a shy smile, wearing bright green sneakers, black slacks, and polo. After a while, the leader of the local jazz trio performing that night calls Sanchez on stage, and he plays two tunes ending with a vibrant, engaging solo that sends the crowd its feet. It is a feature guest performance, and a sort of aperitif to promote his concert “Carib” -- a blend of Afro Caribbean, Haitian, and Puerto Rican influences -- held the following weekend at Old San Juan’s historic Tapia Theater. After high school, Sanchez won a scholarship to study music in Rutgers University in New Jersey where he took classes with masters like Kenny Barron and Ted Dunbar. Soon Sanchez jumped into the New York jazz scene with pianists Eddie

Palmieri and Hilton Ruiz, and trumpeter Claudio Roditi. But his career took off at 23 when he was recruited to play in the Dizzy Gillespie United Nations Orchestra. Mentored by the legendary Gillespie, Sanchez toured 27 countries and a hundred U.S. cities in three years with the band, drawing attention as the ensemble’s young virtuoso tenor sax player. Sanchez went on to record eight albums as leader of his ensemble and earning six Grammy Award nominations. He won a Grammy for the CD “Coral” in 2005. Four of his releases have been named Billboard top jazz albums. The CD “Carib,” which will be the first volume of a series, is scheduled to be released this year. “The concept is a fusion of the CongoGuinea traditions of Haiti with variations of the different Bomba rhythms

and chants of Puerto Rico. It’s not only the rhythms but also the melodies and cadence of these folkloric songs that have inspired me,” he explained. Haitian music had a significant influence all over the region from Puerto Rico to New Orleans, he adds. Last April Sanchez released the single “Canto,” inspired by Haitian folk chant. It is a haunting and intimate tune he dedicated to the memory of his wife Karla Davis Sanchez, who passed away at age 50 in August 2017. Sanchez grew up in the town of Guaynabo listening to his parents’ records of classic Latin music greats from the 50’s and 60’s like Machito’s Orchestra and Tito Rodriguez’s big band. He sang with his mother and brothers in the church choir and began playing the conga drum at eight-yearsold but took up the tenor sax at school by the time he was 12. In high school, he got a hold of some Miles Davis, and John Coltrane

From contemporary jazz, to Carlos Santana’s Latin rock band, to World Music; Puerto Rican top performers weave traditional local sounds into a diverse musical production. 35

records were wholly absorbed into jazz. “I wasn’t thinking about making it as a professional musician. I just loved it so much, and that journey took me to that path and next thing I knew I was playing with famous guys and thinking to myself hey I didn’t know I was going to get paid for this,” Sanchez recalled laughing.

Degree in Performance in 2001 at the Manhattan School of Music starting a brilliant career playing with the David Sanchez group. He was mentored in this early stage by Sanchez, who was already established in the New York City and international jazz scene and had been impressed by Zenon’s talent since they met in Boston.

The Grammy Award winner emphasizes the need to invest in art education on the island. He praises San Juan’s Free School of Music, where he and Zenon also studied. “That’s a treasure, and you have to invest in it,” he said. “The graduates of that school play the first chair in the New York Philharmonic, like clarinetist Ricardo Morales. You have bassist Eddie Gomez, myself, Miguel Zenon in jazz. In other genres, from (rapper) Tego Calderon to (salsa singer) Gilberto Santa Rosa, are you kidding me? What governor or businessman can say they have had that much influence outside of Puerto Rico? Just think about it.” After kicking off his tour in San Juan, Sanchez ended 2016 introducing his “Carib” project in Barcelona, Paris and the Jazz in Marciac festival in southern France. That year he performed as a featured special guest in the International Jazz Day Concert in the White House hosted by then-president Barrack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Earlier in March 2017, Sanchez performed in Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Fest, the island’s most important yearly jazz event, which

Legendary bassist and two-time Grammy winner Eddie Gomez.

also featured Miguel Zenon’s Quartet. He has continued presenting “Carib” throughout 2018 in concerts in San Francisco, Santa Monica, Phoenix, in the Earshot Jazz Fest in Seattle, and in Chicago’s Jazz Showcase. Sanchez alternates this activity with national and European tours with the San Francisco Jazz Collective, an allstar ensemble, of which he has been a member for the last five years. The San Francisco-based collective has included Bobby Hutcherson and Joe Lovano among its members.

Photo by: Jose Rodriguez

Sanchez performs side by side with fellow Puerto Rican star Miguel Zenon, one of the founders of the group in 2004. Zenon, who just turned 41, has a similarly brilliant career as an alto sax master, leader, composer, arranger, and educator. In 1996 he went to Berklee School of music in Boston after he decided not to accept a scholarship at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Engineering School, to pursue his musical goals. After he graduated, Zenon went to New York and completed a Masters

The path hasn’t been easy for Zenon who was born and raised until the age of 12 in San Juan’s Llorens Torres public housing project, one of the toughest in the city. Intelligence, talent, and hard work have been his recipe for success. “When I finished high school in 1994, there was no formal education in jazz in Puerto Rico, so I had to go out, but I didn’t have the money. Then I spent a couple of years searching for funding and working to save some money by doing all kinds of gigs; dance bands or whatever came up and teaching until I was able to get into Berklee,” Zenon remembered. At the age of 24, Zenon started his recording career as a bandleader with a bang. The Miguel Zenon Quartet’s debut album, Looking Forward, was selected by the New York Times as the Alternative Jazz Recording of the Year. Zenon has kept producing great recordings and performances in the U.S and worldwide receiving critical acclaim and obtaining multiple Grammy nominations. Jazz Review magazine All About Jazz hailed his second album, “Ceremonial” (2004) as a “head-on crash of Latin, Jazz and

TREAT YOURSELF Aguadilla Carolina

David Sanchez is a Grammy-winning jazz tenor saxophonist from Puerto Rico.

Classical traditions–modern Jazz at it’s very best.” This mixture and exploration of influences is a big part of Zenon’s career as it is also true about that of Sanchez. In 2008 Zenon became a MacArthur Fellow, and the institution described him as “creating an entirely new jazz language for the 21st Century.” A fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation supported his album, “Esta Plena,” exploring the traditional plena rhythm of Puerto Rico. Zenon explores multiple angles with straight-ahead jazz, classical and Latin jazz and Caribbean folk influences but he sees it as a reflection of where jazz music stands today. “I’m from a generation that grew up around very global and inclusive jazz; one that is opened up to include information that comes from other art forms, like literature. It’s the time we live in, and the music reflects that. It also reflects my need to discover myself as a Puerto Rican, as a Latin American musician in the jazz scene and to see what I have to give,” Zenon explained.

Photo by: Ricardo Alcaraz

The Miguel Zenon Quartet has been together for 15 years and features drummer Henry Cole, also from Puerto Rico, Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo, and Austrian-American bass player Hans Glawischnig-Klavishnik with Zenon on alto sax. Their last album, “Típico,” was released in February 2017 and has been played by the quartet in Europe, America, and Puerto Rico. One of Zenon’s favorite projects is the Cultural Caravan, a series of free concerts that he produces in rural small towns on the island, introducing the classics of jazz to audiences that generally are not exposed to this music. “We have done eleven concerts in five years, and I really enjoy it,” says Zenon, who usually starts with an educational talk about the music they will perform and organizes the Caravan with money from donations and out of his own pocket. “We use jazz to expose a cultural experience to society; I do it with jazz because that is what I can offer, so I see it as a cultural investment.”

Rafael Hernandez (BQN) Airport L.M.M. International Airport (SJU – Car Rental Building) Intercontinental Hotel, Isla Verde Ceiba Roosevelt Roads Mayaguez Sears Mayaguez Mall Ponce Sears Plaza del Caribe Mall Mercedita Airport San Juan 1021 Ave. Ashford Sears Plaza Las Americas Sheraton Centro de Convenciones Vieques Carr. 200 Montesanto USVI – St. Thomas Cyril E. King Airport Havensight Port Seaborne USVI – St. Croix Henry Rohlsen Airport Seaborne Cruises Port

787-890-3311 787-253-5926 787-982-4331 787-885-0505 787-805-5911 787-290-0581 787-842-6154 787-721-4499 787-753-3083 787-993-3633 787-741-0284 340-774-1468 340-774-6660 340-776-7329 340-778-9355 340-713-1347 340-778-9365

For reservation contact your travel agent or call us at 787-253-5906

Adventure awaits. Aguadilla Carolina Ponce

Rafael Hernandez Airport (BQN) L.M.M International Airport (SJU – Car Rental Building) Mercedita Airport

787-890-1110 787-791-0600 787-848-0907

For reservation contact your travel agent or call us at 787-253-5906

Photo by: Ricardo Alcaraz

Tito Matos is the leader of the band, Viento de Agua.

Zenon continues to tour with the S.F Jazz Collective, where he is the senior member and only remaining founder. In May, the ensemble finished the Spring Tour with gigs in New York’s Jazz Standard, Detroit, Denver, and San Francisco, where they played originals together with arrangements by Miles Davis. In October, they will put together a new season dedicated to the music of Brazilian composer Carlos Antonio Jobim and kick off their Fall Tour on the West Coast and two weeks of concert dates in Europe. Zenon, who is also a professor at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, will release a new album in late September of his compositions for Alto Sax and String Quartet titled “I am the Tradition.” “It combines jazz elements, contemporary music and folklore inspired in several Puerto Rican musical traditions such as the Rosary songs, the Three King’s Promesas, among others, and I’m very excited about it,” he said. TITO MATOS, ALL ABOUT THE ROOTS Tito Matos is the leader of Viento de Agua, a band that will impress music fans in any part of the world with their afro Caribbean rhythms mixed with sharp jazzy arrangements and a pulsing beat. In 1994 Matos went to City


University of New York to study landscaping but began playing with Los Pleneros de la 21, New York’s leading plena group. He made a name for himself in the big city. In the ten years, he has lived in New York; Matos has collaborated in musical fusions with pop superstars, jazz artists, and Salsa greats. Those gigs include a Latin percussion performance with Celine Dion and Gloria Estefan at Radio City Music Hall and performances and a recording with Puerto Rican mega pop star Ricky Martin. In 1997, Matos founded Viento de Agua with reedman and arranger Ricardo Pons. The 13-piece band created essential pathways in the evolution of Puerto Rico’s bomba and plena African rooted genres. Matos returned to Puerto Rico in 2004 and reconstructed Viento de Agua on the island where it remains active. The band has released three albums and work in two different formats – the 13-piece group and a smaller version of six or seven players. A third version of the ensemble, dedicated to straight ahead plena music, is made up of pandereta drums and chants. It mainly does gigs at pubs, small clubs or folk music events and is known as La Maquina Insular.


Matos, known for his engaging onstage persona, is highly regarded around the world as a premier performer and expert in bomba and plena and other Caribbean rhythm’s. Last year the 49-year-old musician was at Austria’s Vienna University offering workshops for music teachers. In France, he also conducted workshops and played the music for dance performances. His Viento de Agua band has been featured in the American Folk Music Festival in Bangor, Maine, and the Smithsonian Folk life Festival in Washington D.C., which is considered the premier world music festival. Matos has also increased his touring activity outside of Puerto Rico. “We have just returned from a tour that took us to New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. In June, we’ll be in Maryland with La Maquina Insular, and in September we’ll be performing with our large band, Viento de Agua, in the North Carolina Folk Festival in Greensboro, so we’re on the move. The Puerto Rican diáspora in the U.S. has been very supportive of local musicians, especially those of traditional genres, inviting us to perform and even funding events in the island,” Matos explained. One of the things Tito Matos enjoys about performing his music for an international audience is that people from very different countries and cultures will respond enthusiastically to the mix of plena and other Caribbean sounds that his ensembles play. “Plena has a simplicity to it. And when it is well played, when you get to feel it, it enters through your feet, gets into your belly, and you need to move and dance,” Matos said with a laugh. PAOLI MEJIAS – MASTER DRUMMER, ON TOUR WITH SANTANA Paoli Mejias never took a music lesson in his life. His love at first hearing with the sound of the Conga drums sparked an obsession that led him to

become one of the foremost Conga drummers in the world and a master of multiple percussion instruments from different cultures. “It was an instinctive thing. When I heard the drums as a kid, I suddenly felt so connected to that sound. I felt the need to have a drum and play it. I got myself a little conga drum and just imitated the sounds I heard in records. I didn’t even have this dream about being a musician. I just did it because I felt passionate about it and would play all day without stopping until my family begged me to stop at night,” Mejia remembered with a broad smile. By age 14, Mejias had moved to Toa Baja where he began to play with a Calypso group in the hotels of Dorado, and at 17 he participated in legendary rumba jam sessions in Rio Piedras with conga masters Giovanni Hidalgo and Richie Flores. Mejias jumped to the big stage at age 23 as a bongo and conga player for multi-Grammy laureate, salsa, and Latin jazz bandleader Eddie Palmieri. “There I made a name for myself because I was featured as a conguero doing many solo improvisations. We did France, Germany, UK, Spain, all of Europe and the U.S.,” he said. Reedman Paquito D’Rivera and pianist Chick Correa are among the other jazz greats with whom Mejias has performed. In 2005 Mejias decided to go his own way and formed the Paoli Mejias Latin Jazz Quintet and released three independent albums. The first one “Mi Tambor” was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the Latin Jazz category competing with legends as Poncho Sanchez and Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes. For several years the quintet played on the international jazz circuit of festivals and clubs. “I put together my own group because I like to break old patterns and rules and I hate doing the same things, the same way all the time,” said the

Photo by: Jose Rodriguez

47-year-old percussionist. “I tried to incorporate other musical influences into the conga playing, sounds from India, Greece, Africa and Puerto Rico, for example. It used to be that Latin jazz congueros did mostly Afro-Cuban jazz more or less but I wanted to expand that, and I did.” Then Mejias paused his career as a bandleader to accept an invitation he could not refuse. In 2013, he was recruited as the conguero and multiethnic percussionist in the band of legendary Rock guitarist and pioneer of the Latin Rock sound, Carlos Santana. For several years, Santana had used different percussionists and was searching the right person for a steady job, and he found Paoli. “This is a big organization led by a megastar,” notes Paoli. “And it requires certain energy, a positive attitude on stage, and they found this in me. Carlos says that he sees the light in me, those are his words, not

mine,” he laughed. “He told me that he sees in me something he expects of band members: to be someone that adds positively not only in the music but in the good energy, the discipline, the ability to get along with the rest of the band, and the idea is that this energy projects itself on the stage to the audience and everybody can feel it,” Mejias added.

hectic and demanding his calendar with Santana may be, Mejias he has kept producing original music and releasing various single tracks.

Paoli Mejias is the master drummer on tour with Carlos Santana.

The Santana band is always on tour doing 40 concerts a year in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay House of Blues where Santana is a resident artist. Mejias and wife Sarah Vogel recently bought a house in her hometown of Seattle, and they live part of the year there and part in Puerto Rico.

Johannesburg and Capetown. “In two weeks we’ll be with Santana in Las Vegas where we do four months a year, and we will have two European Tours in the rest of 2018 that include cities in Spain, Italy, France, Finland, and Norway among others,” the master percussionist explained.

But most of the time Mejias is in Vegas or on the road with Santana and is continuously on the move. This year Mejias played with Santana in Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, as part of the major Grand Prix race, and toured South Africa, with concerts in

“I see this stage with Santana as a parenthesis in my career as a group leader, and at some point, I’ll be back because it’s important for me to be able to display my musical creativity and concepts to the fullest extent,” he said. But no matter how

“Then I realized I have enough material for a CD so I am working on the final mixing of two of those tracks and it will be ready for release this year,” he said. “My previous albums have been mostly of jazz music, but these have some salsa tracks, and also my original fusions and invented polyrhythm. They all have music and lyrics written and performed by me,” Mejias added. “Oh, I forgot to tell you, my signature conga with Latin Percussion just came out, it’s called ‘Jazzambia,’ the name of one of my first recordings.” LP signature congas are considered a sort of Hall of Fame distinction for Conga drummers. “What’s so unique is that I was able to design my signature conga, which is not how it usually works, so I’m very happy about it.”

Luis Pagan from La Coctelera won the 2018 World Class Bartender Puerto Rico Competition.Â

Land of

Add artfully crafted cocktails to your list of things to look forward to when visiting Puerto Rico.

mixology By PETER MARTIN

Photo courtesy of IN Puerto Rico Magazine

“The cocktail scene in Puerto Rico has grown 150 percent in less than five years. We’re at the level of many cities in the world,” enthuses Roberto Berdecia, a World Class bartender and co-owner of several bars, including Jungle Bird on Canals Street, off the famous Santurce market, and the popular La Factoria in the historic section of San Juan. Based in what was once old San Juan’s most iconic bar, Hijos de Borinquen (The sons of Borinquen), La Factoria is actually four distinctive bars within an old corner building whose rundown facade and mazelike interior affect a carefully cultivated environment of chick grunge, in the style of a grand movie set.

Roberto Berdecia from La Factoria in Old San Juan was named Bartender of the Year 2017 by the International Rum Conference.


hether you fancy the classics like a Moscow Mule or an Old Fashioned, or seek the thrill of a hot new alcoholic elixir, you won’t be disappointed. The island’s urbane cocktail map leads to an eclectic mix of hip bars and lounges where dedicated mixing professionals whip up memorable cocktails for today’s discerning drinkers. Bars are aplenty in Puerto Rico, people are drinking and having fun, and there are plenty of beverage practitioners behind bar counters ready to satisfy the thirst for tantalizing libations. Menus cater to the casual drinker or the cocktail obsessive. You’ll find

the new, the classics, and the latest trends, like the current resurgence of Polynesia-inspired Tiki cocktails, heady mixes of high-octane rums and fruit flavors, syrups based on almonds, coconut or pineapple, cherry and banana liqueurs just to mention some of the ingredients that go into these favored concoctions. Equally popular is the emphasis on health and farm-to-table. Cocktails made with vegetables and fruits are all the rage these days and Puerto Rico’s beverage practitioners are finding exciting ways of pairing spirits with unlikely partners such as spinach, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, and fresh herbs like basil, sage, mint, or rosemary, some of which are locally sourced for an even fresher, healthy taste.

Thanks to competitions that advance brands and promote higher levels of creativity among the island’s bartenders, the opening of new bar concepts and the rise of the mixologist, Puerto Rico can pride in having a world-class cocktail scene.

Soon, it will add another three bars: one on the second floor and the other two stem from the recent purchase of La Cubanita, next door to La Factoria. Actually, both businesses are part of the same building so connecting the new spaces was no problem. “We have bartenders who in competitions rank among the top four in the world and bars that have won prizes at the national and international level. I always think we still have a ways to go, but I believe that’s how you keep growing,” Berdecia said.

La Casita de Rones at Plaza Darsenas in Old San Juan hosts bartending competitions.


For the past nine years, the World Class Competition has stood out for its educational seminars for bartenders who work at premium bars and restaurants in Puerto Rico, which offer the Diageo Reserve brands.

Star bartender Luis Pagan from La Coctelera, a small but very pleasant bar on Loiza Street, near the Condado tourist area, agrees the cocktail scene is flourishing but finds the local palate needs to expand a bit further to be on a par with the leading drinking capitals of the world, “the island

has very good bartenders and the level of creativity is growing,” said Pagan, who is considered among the island’s top 10 bartenders. Further proof of Puerto Rico’s rising status as a land of mixology is the scheduled opening of a rarefied

resource: a laboratory to foster experimentation and innovation in the craft of mixing drinks. The brainchild of Berdecia and his Factoria partners, Leslie Cofresi and Pablo Rodriguez, the lab called Licoreria Miramar will be

open to professionals and aficionados on a membership basis. The 4,000-square-foot space, in San Juan’s Miramar section, will have all the equipment necessary for users to explore new ideas and techniques. Such creative laboratories dedicated to alcoholic beverages are not unheard of even if the concept owes credit to Spanish gastronomic superstar Ferran Adria whose famous restaurant el Bulli, on Spain’s Costa Brava, functioned as a laboratory for the creation of haute cuisine dishes. Adria popularized molecular gastronomy by applying principles of physics, chemistry, and biology to the preparation of food, creating spectacular new flavor sensations. Not surprisingly, the world of spirits was inspired to pick up this new science, bringing the art of mixology to a whole new level.

Roberto Rodriguez is the owner of Tablas Restaurant in Salinas, on Puerto Rico’s South coast.



Basically, bartenders and mixologists aim for the same thing: to deliver a wow drink. Still, there are differences between the two roles. Bartenders know all the basic drinks and tend bar; mixologists spin the old classics into exciting new cocktails and create

Further proof of Puerto Rico’s rising status as a land of mixology is the scheduled opening of a rarefied resource: a laboratory to foster experimentation and innovation in the craft of mixing drinks. award winning master blender and consultant whose company, Gourmet Business Solutions, supplies ingredients like syrups used in making drinks and foods. He also must know about molecular mixology, nutrition, and techniques like infusing and smoking cocktails. According to Lopez, “He must have more experience and years of study.”

Tiki cocktails are in like Hurricanes, Mai Tais, and Planter’s Punch.

new taste experiences using different techniques. The two categories are not mutually exclusive: a bartender can also be a mixologist and vice versa. Being a mixologist calls for a great deal of knowledge, according to Jorge Lopez Albarran, outgoing president of the Puerto Rico Bartenders Association. An affiliate since 1992 of the International Bartenders Association, the group, which has around 800 members island wide, has contributed to professionalizing the field through workshops, courses, and competitions whose winners go on to participate in international events, such as the upcoming Pan-American Cocktail Championship in Havana, Cuba, in August, and the IBA World Cocktail Championship to be held in Estonia in October. Think of the mixologist as a type of polymath. As described by Lopez, he must know about spirits, wines, coffee, the pairing of foods and drinks, which spirits go best with cigars and chocolate. Lopez is an

Puerto Rico has various educational institutions that train people for work as a bartender or mixologist but this is a career that some take up without any formal training. Others come to it by chance as happened to bartender/mixologist Roberto Rodriguez, the owner of Tablas Restaurant in Salinas, on Puerto Rico’s South coast. Rodriguez, who is 34, took a job in the banquets division of the Ponce Hilton Hotel to earn extra money while studying to be a physical education teacher at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, where he excelled as an elite athlete. When a position opened up at the bar, he signed up out of curiosity. Besides, none of his coworkers was interested. He had no experience mixing drinks but he knew he was a quick learner and could rise to the challenge; besides, as he told his superior, “Tell me the recipe once and I can repeat it for the rest of my life.” Although he went on to study cooking at the Institute of Banking and Commerce and bartending at the Puerto Rico Hotel School, Rodriguez admitted he wasn’t convinced bartending could be a permanent career but in 2009 he represented Puerto Rico at IBA’s

Bartender Night at Santaella. In photo, from left to right, Rafael Reyes, Lauren Mote, Jonatan Melendez, Xiomara Rosado and Michael Norat.

annual competition in Berlin and “it opened my mind. It taught me this was a serious profession and you could live off it.” More importantly, “I didn’t win this competition but it made me completely fall in love with the industry,” Rodriguez said. In 2013 and 2014, Rodriguez was part of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association culinary team that won the Taste of the Caribbean competition. He has been named Bartender of the Year and Bartender of the Caribbean, also entering the mixologists’ hall of fame in these competitions. A year and a half ago Rodriguez parlayed his experience working in hotel and independent bars into opening his own business, Tablas Craft Cocktail, a breezy open air restaurant in Salinas that features more than two dozen cocktails of his own creation that have been recognized in local and outside competitions. “I’m doing very well but it was a challenge after Maria,” he said. La Coctelera’s Pagan is a slightly built young man with a hip hop haircut and an easy smile who looks younger than his 30 years of age. Turns out that he’s a natural at his craft and never formally studied to be a bartender. In fact, his first experience as a bartender was kind of a trial by fire. He was working in


a restaurant while going to college and one busy December day the bar was short an employee and he was asked to fill in. He had made it a habit to watch the bartenders at work so he managed just fine. Tending bar didn’t last long, however. Pagan said he dropped out of university when his mother fell ill and decided to study holistic medicine, going on to work for many years as a masseur. Four years ago he came back to bartending only to find to his surprise that the cocktail scene had changed dramatically: different cocktails, new ingredients, mixologists, homemade infusions. To get up to speed he studied on his own and signed up for competitions. In 2016 he was a finalist in the Puerto Rico edition of the Diageo World Class event and last year he won the title of Bombay Sapphire Most imaginative Bartender by preparing two cocktails — one creative and the other a gin and tonic — in the assigned time of 13 minutes. Named “The Four Thieves,” his imaginative drink struck an intriguing balance of tastes and aromas from ingredients that included Bombay Sapphire gin, lime juice, spiceinfused honey syrup featuring clove, eucalyptus and cinnamon, rosemary sprigs and sage leaves. “Competitions are a challenge,


Puerto Rican mixologist Joymar Herrin took the People’s Choice category with her concoction Sand Break at the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America in Las Vegas.

they motivate you to be more creative,” he said in an interview at La Coctelera, which has a simple but appealing decor. Its centerpiece, next to the bar counter, is a striking wall assemblage of square and rectangular blonde-wood cabinets filled with colorful liquor bottles.

they mix flavors, knowledge of local rums, technique, even how they express themselves and interact with the public. Another CBG event is the Speed 4 Tips competition: it tests the bartender’s speed, correct usage of techniques, ability to remember recipes, neatness and precision.

Puerto Rico has plenty of liquor competitions. According to Joel Vasquez, American Beverage Marketers’ Caribbean general manager, the island’s liquor distributors have created their own competition platforms “in order to give value to and elevate the knowledge about their brands.” International competitions with Puerto Rico editions also provide exposure for local participants.

The biggest competition in the world is the Diageo Reserve World Class which is held in 60 countries, including Puerto Rico and since its launch in 2009, this competition “has supported, educated and inspired over 250,000 bartenders through its training and advocacy program,” according to the World Class Club website.

Mixo Madness, an event developed by the Crafted Barrel Group for Rums of Puerto Rico, seeks out the best bartenders in various categories; winners go on to compete on the mainland at a grand finale pitting finalists from other states. Bartenders are rated on how well

For participants, competitions are not just an opportunity to show off their skill, talent and professionalism but also a chance to learn from interacting with and observing other professionals. It doesn’t hurt that prizes include traveling, either nationally or internationally, as an ambassador for the sponsoring liquor brand.

orange, coconut, lime, egg white and a splash of Disaronno amaretto. Combine all ingredients in shaker and serve in a glass with its rim covered with brown sugar and coconut.

Award-winning cocktail, Sand Break is made with 3 Star Barrilito Rum.

Sometimes, a competition can prove a turning point for a bartender as was the case for Tablas’ Rodriguez, or even teach an important lesson as happened to Berdecia when he participated in the 2011 World Class Final held in India. He had won the Puerto Rico leg of the competition with two creative cocktails, one of which he named in honor of murdered Guatemalan environmental activist Myrna Mack. A variation of the Classic Rob Roy, a mix of Scottish whisky with vermouth and amaro, his version teamed up Guatemalan Ron Zacapa with vermouth, apple infusion and orange amaro.

Although he prepared for the international showdown by reading 10 to 15 books of recipes, Berdecia realized that winning wouldn’t be easy. So he recalibrated his attitude and decided that “instead of going to win, he would go to learn.” Over at the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America in Las Vegas, Puerto Rican mixologist Joymar Herrin took the People’s Choice category with her concoction Sand Break made out of 3 Star Barrilito Rum. Sand Break also has a pinch of

“Sand Break is my interpretation of the moment right before emerging in the ocean. Your feet are in the sand and the waves are breaking on the edge. As a good ambassador of my island I like to use quality products that presents something authentic and traditional of Puerto Rico,” said Herrin. Puerto Rico’s bar scene is evolving and getting better. In recent years, bartenders have noticed a greater openness by local drinkers to try out new drinks instead of staying within the confines of a safe comfort zone. Drinkers are more demanding and are changing consumption habits:

they are more likely to savor a few cocktails than drink to excess, according to Tapas’ Rodriguez. They also are more informed and will look up information about cocktails on the internet so they know if the bartender gets it right, Lopez said. In a service industry based on making people feel good, the experience of having a great drink in a great bar is ultimately what brings repeat customers. “People may forget your name, the drink you fixed for them and even what you talked about but they never forget how you made them feel, how you treated them, the service you gave,” said Pagan. If the bar and bartender made the person feel good, you can be sure they’ll be back.

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The menu at Bistro Café in Isla Verde satisfies those with a sweet tooth or a salty side.



eekends are for brunching — chatting with friends, digging into a delicious stack of syrupdrizzled pancakes, lingering over a café con leche, zesty Bloody Mary or a fruity mimosa. Fortunately, Puerto Rico knows how to brunch, and there are a plethora of chic and



cozy restaurants where the food is both delicious and highly Instagrammable. Soda Estudio de Cocina is a charismatic and unique restaurant tucked away in Cuevillas St. in Miramar, just a few blocks from the Fine Arts Cinema Café. Its eclectic decor, laid-back atmosphere,

unique charm, and great food touted as urban creole make it a perfect place to enjoy brunch and connect with friends. Some of the best menu items include steak and eggs with a side of truffle fries; pastrami, Serrano ham, and mozzarella cheese; the egg breakfast pizza;


Dig into a delicious stack of powdered sugar drizzled French toast, lingering over a café con leche, or a fruity mimosa.

asparagus-wrapped bacon with eggs and hollandaise sauce; the mac & bacon cheese omelet; or whatever your little heart hungry heart desires. Combine these delicacies with Soda’s delicious mimosa mojito or watermelon Moscow mule to spice up your dining experience. Brunch hours are every weekend from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Looking for a seriously good brunch spot? Look no further and visit Choices Restaurant at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino in the Convention Center district. It’s sophisticated yet casual with live music and traditional brunch choices with a creative twist. Try the crab cake Benedict, or the Brunch Burger prepared with sweet Mallorca bread rolls, bacon, cheese, topped with crispy onions and eggs, or the fantastic Guava pancakes, or the Boricua Omelet with pork, local white cheese, and tomato avocado salad topping. All are absolutely yummy! And all dishes come with a complimentary Mimosa. The brunch menu is available every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Over in the Condado, widely known as a chic tourist area with fabulous beaches, shops, and hotels in the heart of San Juan, there is a slice of brunch heaven called Blonda for those with pure food indulgence in mind. This cozy and modern restaurant serves lobster frittata; doughnut sliders; chicken and waffles; pancakes with bananas, strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream or Nutella; ranchero

eggs; salmon Eggs Benedict; and an incredible French toast prepared with thick-sliced bread topped with caramel sauce, strawberries, and vanilla or Nutella. Brunch hour is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. With the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop, Ola Oceanfront Bistro at the sophisticated Condado Vanderbilt Hotel provides the exquisite and unique flavors of Puerto Rican fare. Its Sunday buffet brunch with live entertainment is out of this world with dishes prepared with the freshest products. Enjoy fluffy pancakes, frittatas, chicken escabeche or Paella del Campo made with chorizo, pork, ham, chickpeas and plantains accompanied by artisanal bread, fresh fruit, assorted fresh pastries, or bacon. Combine these classic brunch favorites with bottomless mimosas or signature cocktails like the spicy Bloody Mary, Mai Tai, Old Fashioned, Perfect Martini or Dark and Stormy - made with dark rum, ginger beer, and lime. Sunday brunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. And you can never go wrong with the Boozy Brunch Party at Serafina San Juan every Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy breakfast and lunch dishes like delicious orange-cinnamon brioche French toast, lemon ricotta pancakes, smoked salmon benedict and steak and fabulous eggs accompanied by a lively stream of Bloody Mary’s, mimosa’s and more.

Soda Estudio de Cocina is a unique restaurant in Miramar with great food touted as urban Creole and a perfect place to enjoy some great brunch items.


Brunch at Pannes in Condado is available all day.

The Brunch Burger at Pannes is a beef patty topped off with bacon, onions, and an egg.

Cucina Rustica is the place to go. Sunday brunch hour is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Isla Verde boasts the best beaches and water sports in the metro area, but Bistro Café rules the brunch scene. Its menu is exceptional, and its options satisfy those with a sweet tooth or a salty side.

Puerto Rican Codfish Salad at Pannes.

Bring your friends and make an afternoon at Serafina as your new weekend kick-off tradition. Looking for something different for brunch that is available all day, than Pannes in Condado may be a perfect option. When visiting ask for the “French Mess,” made with three fried eggs, bacon, melted cheese served between two French toasts with cream cheese. Mmmm what a delicious mess! Or try the Brunch Burger where a beef patty is topped off with bacon, onions and an egg or the famous Ashford Special Royal, which consists of French toast with Nutella and fresh fruit. Fresh squeezed fruit nectar and Prosecco make for one refreshing brunch Bellini. But why not pair your morning feast with a glass of Sicily. It’s made with lime juice, simple syrup, Luxardo Maraschino Liquor, angostura bitters, and vodka. Or try the Julius Caesar cocktail with Cynar, Fernet Branca, red grapefruit, and vodka - all perfect concoctions to sip on while eating at Nonna Cucina Rustica. This inviting restaurant located on San Jorge St. in Santurce has a similar vibe to Italian bistros found in NYC mostly due to its exquisite five-star cuisine. Whether you’re looking for delicious steak and fried eggs; frittata with mushrooms; Eggs Benedict with red potatoes as a side; or flavorsome French toast made with homemade brioche bread overflowing with almonds and fruit than



The Mendoza consists of scrambled eggs with longaniza and mixed veggies and the irresistible Romeo and Juliet, a French toast dish full of cream cheese, bacon, fruit, and Nutella. And you can’t forget to point out the 2 for 1 mimosas. Brunch hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s no doubt that San Juan’s plate is full of fresh brunch options and its restless chefs are turning the city into the nation’s breakfast capital. There are way too many excellent places to have brunch especially in the artsy and hipster town of Santurce like Gallo Negro. The restaurant is famous for its mac and cheese prawns and French toast made with Mallorca bread and Barrilito rum. Abracadabra Counter Café with the perennial brunch favorite of scrambled eggs with veggies and goat cheese, French toast made with brioche bread topped with fruits and whipped cream. And there’s Tostado with its breakfast bowel cooked in a mini cauldron with spinach, mixed veggies, and goat cheese topped with two fried eggs. BEST IN THE WEST Over on the west coast, famous for its beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, tranquil turquoise waters and colorful reefs with active marine life, is the famous bakery Levain Artisan Breads in Aguadilla. This shop serves a no-frills brunch menu on Sundays full of traditional comfort foods at its next door Debut Cocina Rustica venue. Here you will find the best lattes, breakfast

sandwiches as well as the classic Eggs Benedict served with a side of home fries and greens, pan fried brioche with eggs and bacon and of course the all-time favorite Croque Madame sandwich made with three kinds of bread with ham, gruyere cheese, and béchamel sauce topped with a fried egg. Uva Playa Restaurant in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico’s third largest city, is a casual and stylish eatery perfectly positioned at the water’s edge where you can enjoy an expansive view of the Atlantic Ocean through its large windows or outdoor terrace. You can’t go wrong with ordering its simple brunch options perfect for the hungry or hung-over and make sure you order the passion fruit sangria or coconut mojitos which are dangerously delightful. For those who love to eat, the English Rose in Rincon is one of the best places to get your brunch on. This lovely quaint restaurant located inside a country inn has a Caribbean feel with old English charm. Even though the venue is small, it makes up for its size with breathtaking panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and its artistic menu. A must-try is the Full Monty; a classic British breakfast combo made with bacon, homemade pork sausage, two eggs any style, oven-crisped potatoes with butter, caramelized onions, and cabbage with a slice of toast. Or opt for the Encore Eggs Benedict (poached eggs on an English muffin, Canadian bacon, and hollandaise) or the Benny Hill that substitutes the bacon for smoked salmon. English Rose has an impressive menu and only opens for breakfast and brunch from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is often packed with people. If anything, take that as a marker of great food. SOUTHERN COMFORT Ponce es Ponce (Ponce is Ponce), a simple yet telling Puerto Rican saying about the second oldest city

crispy bacon. But the headliner of this starstudded cast of multi-faceted delectables is the coffee.

Eggs Benedict with a side of red potatoes is served at Debut Cocina Rustica in Aguadilla.

Debut Cocina Rustica’s homemade brioche bread French toast with a side of eggs and bacon.

of Puerto Rico. And Lola Eclectic Cuisine is simple and all about brunch.

classic comfort fare, all-encompassing a key ingredient, eggs.

If you’re hungry for more than just bites, La Plaza three-egg fluffy omelet is the way to go. It’s served with ham, bacon, Italian sausage, tomato, green peppers and American cheese. The French toast is made with Puerto Rican criollo bread. What can be more savory? After stuffing your tummy, a walk around the city of Ponce, known as the Pearl of the South, will make you feel the magic of this city with its elegant neoclassical and European style architecture.

Signature dishes include Mallorca bread filled with eggs, ham, and American cheese; the Melao Omelet with ham, bacon, Italian sausage, tomato, green peppers and American cheese with a side of sautéed potatoes; the classic scrambled eggs wrap; and the Spanish Florentine Omelet made with spinach, tomato, mushrooms, peppers, and muenster cheese.

At Melao Coffee Shop at the Ponce Plaza Hotel and Casino, their all-day breakfast and brunch menu (from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.) appeals to both the novice and foodie through

Or try the sweet treats like a home-style French toast with loads of powdery white sugar, maple syrup, and fresh strawberries. The fluffy flapjacks or light waffles are perfect with Nutella, whipped cream and fresh fruit with a side of

The menu features a variety of hot beverage options like espresso, café Bombon (espresso with sweetened condensed milk), macchiato with a dash of milk, latte, American, American cappuccino, Italian cappuccino, chai latte, mocha latte, Mexican spiced cocoa, and hot chocolate. Also, house-crafted natural juices, smoothies, Acai bowls and more. Over in Guanica, you can enjoy the shimmering coastline and swimming pool area of Copamarina Beach Resort and Spa while you tuck into a delicious pork sandwich on sweet Mallorca bread basted with garlic and pepper sauce, and Swiss cheese accompanied by corn fritters at Alexandra restaurant. The delicious brunch menu (every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) offers bottomless mimosas and live music. Looking for an egg dish with a twist than try the steak and eggs with a side of fries or the smoked salmon and boiled eggs with purple onions, olives, and toast with a side of tomato and asparagus salad with lemon dressing. Buen Provecho.

Island Highlights


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Puerto Rico foodies

flock to food truck


Lote 23 is a culinary oasis located in the art and music district known as Santurce.

The trend of dining at food trucks, seen across the U.S., is now increasingly popular in Puerto Rico especially in the hip and fashionable city of San Juan. 54


Food trucks are popping up like mushrooms and are quickly gaining prominence on the island of enchantment. They draw everyone from hungry college students and office workers searching for quick meals

to discerning foodies who know that sometimes the best food doesn’t always come from a fancy restaurant. San Juan has two popular food truck spots – Lote 23 and Miramar Food Truck Park.

El Joint Burger serves beef, lamb and salmon sliders with innovative toppings.

Lote 23 has turned a once abandoned lot, wedged between two building, into a culinary oasis located in the art and music district known as Santurce. With four terraces, a stage, and plenty of parking spaces, Lote 23 showcases a variety of kiosks and Airstream trailers serving tacos, pizza, donuts, burgers, popsicles, noodles, cocktails, coffee and more. Large table umbrellas and overhead canopies, as well as outsized industrial fans, provide diners with plenty of shade and cool breezes. Culinary offerings provided by veteran as well as up and coming Puerto Rican chefs include: Panka​which serves Peruvian street

food with a creative twist; noodles or rice bowl with meat and veggies made by Wok It!​; Dorotea’s Pizza ​and it’s wood fired thin crust delights and homemade cocktails; Sr. Bigotes M ​ exican tacos; Pernileria Los Proceres​serving roasted pork inspired options and craft beer; savory buttermilk dipped fried chicken at Hen House​; Caneca​ a mobile cocktail house serving fresh juices and top shelf liquor; donuts by Do de Donas​; El Joint Burger​ serving beef, lamb and salmon sliders with innovative toppings; espresso, specialty coffee, and experimental coffee drinks by Café Regina;​ Belgium-inspired fries at Bayard; La Alcapurria Quema​’s Puerto Rican soul food; Poke bowls at El Jangiri; ​tasty desserts at La Postreria;​

lobster and salmon mac & cheese as well as variety of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches at Lolo’s Mac & Cheese​; Croqueteria s​ erves all types of gourmet croquettes; and Señor Paleta w ​ ith its fresh fruit popsicles. Lote 23 is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday it closes at midnight. Average price, depending on the kiosk, ranges from $9 to $12. This facility hosts two weekly events. Cine 23 is held every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. where international, documentary and short films are shown on an outdoor screen. Santurce Yoga held every Sunday at 9 a.m. in collaboration with El Estudio.

Noodles with meat and veggies made by Wok It!

Miramar Food Truck Park opens every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


Today, there are around 80 food trucks all over the island, most are in the San Juan metro area but there are fantastic food trucks everywhere from Caguas to the popular beach towns of Aguadilla and Rincon — and the number grows monthly.

Que Toston serves a delicious twist on Puerto Rican classics like arroz con pollo.

Also on weekends guests can expect to enjoy live music. El Miramar Food Truck Park at Stop 15 is like its counterpart, transforming the palate of the Puerto Rican diner and adding much-needed entertainment thanks to the island’s Millennials. The Meatball Company​offers its customers a variety of delicious handcrafted meatballs made out of chicken, beef, pork, and lamb served up in sliders, subs, and gyros. Yummy Dumplings m ​ akes an assortment of tasty dumplings filled with chicken, skirt steak, pork, sweet plantains, and malanga, among other combinations. Its sauces include peanut, ginger soy, and spicy mustard as well as Korean tacos. Peru Rico​has a variety of Peruvian treats, and its ceviche is to die for. The empanadas fried plantains, yucca fries, and fried mahi mahi are packed with savory depth. Pa’l Pita’s​specialty is yummy gyros filled with skirt steak, lamb, or chicken. Que Toston​serves a delicious twist on Puerto Rican classics like arroz con pollo (yellow rice with chicken), fried cheese and arepas (corn cakes), not to mention its canoas (sweet plantain


canoes) and patacon (fried green plantains used as bread substitute) with plenty of delicious toppings. Miramar Food Truck Park opens every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Average plate varies from $5 to $15. This venue holds activities such as Movie Nights, BBQs and BYOB. Food trucks in Puerto Rico were only known to serve inexpensive food like hamburgers, hot dogs, and tripletas (a skirt steak, ham, and pork sandwich) and local staple foods like comida criolla consisting of rice, beans, stews, pork, and plantains.

Diners now have everything in Caguas from Mexican food at La Chilanguita ​in Gurabo to El Churry​(also located in the towns of Carolina, San Juan, Luquillo and Levittown) with its special tripletas on sobao sweet bread to Persian food at the Mill Urban Bistro​to mofongo, plantain soup, nacho criollos and pasta at La Mancha de Platano. And FOK Brewery s​erves up craft beers and microbrews with unique flavors. Another food truck inspired by traditional Puerto Rican cuisine is Cosechas, which elevates its cooking with modern and innovative touches. Try the turnovers, skirt steak, fried pork, steak sandwich, fried plantains, soup of the day, sweet potato gnocchi and rice and beans. Absolutely delicious! In Rincon, Fire Island Surf & Turf Co. in Rincon provides casual street grub

from tacos and tosadas to kebabs and sandwiches and Jack’s Shack shines with its grilled tuna tacos, homemade veggie burgers, acai bowls and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. On the northwestern coast, there is yet another much-visited food truck park called the Aguadilla Food Truck Park. This casual gastronomic retreat features mouthwatering delights from Tako-G which features Japanese street food fare with everything from ramen noodles to pho; succulent gourmet burg ers at Bluefin​; Tuk Tuk ​and its amazing Thai food; Ribs Smoke Shack​with plenty of BBQ options; and Demitasse ​with its gourmet coffee and artisan ice cream. The Aguadilla Food Truck Park opens from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every Sunday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Slowly but surely, these food trucks have done the unimaginable: reshape the Puerto Rican palate. Whether you are looking for a slice of pizza or a new gourmet creation, you will definitely find a food truck for your inner foodie in Puerto Rico.

This pattern changed in 2012 when a different breed of food trucks — pioneers Yummy Dumplings ​and El Ñaqui​-- began offering casual gourmet food like ribs, Korean style chicken, pulled pork, Asian style skirt steak, wings, salads, sides, and soup. These food trucks threw the old and familiar menus out the window and started introducing innovative flavors to their customers. Both trucks quickly gathered a cult-like following and their success inspired others to take a chance and start up their own food trucks.


Cosechas located in Caguas elevates its cooking with modern and innovative touches.


The north fountain at Plaza Las Americas.

Beyond the beach lies PUERTO RICO’S

dazzling shopping experience By PETER MARTIN

A panoramic view of Plaza Las Americas.

With stylish malls and charming shopping areas across the island, Puerto Rico is the Caribbean’s most sophisticated shopping destination. It’s not all about the beach even though it’s a major distraction when visiting Puerto Rico. The island’s unique and fun shopping experience will dazzle you as much as its sparkling blue shoreline, lush green rainforest, highlands, and its majestic centuries-old castles and cathedrals. Puerto Rico, a center of Caribbean trade for at least 500 years, retains the feeling of an exotic tropical bazaar with wonders from across the world brought all within your reach. There’s no better shopping paradise to venture to on your holiday. With stylish malls and charming shopping areas across the island, Puerto Rico is the Caribbean’s most sophisticated shopping destination. It offers the glamour of New York City’s Fifth Avenue and Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive, as well as an inspired shopping experience in beachfront and tropical urban areas. In Old San Juan, and at historic downtown squares across the island, chic boutiques rub shoulders with trendy shops, exquisite fine jewelers, and art galleries that are housed in renovated Spanish colonial and Art Deco architectural dreams. Artisans sell plenty of unique trinkets and beautifully fashioned wooden statues, original


works of art and handmade ceramics, cigars as well as fashion accessories from stands set up along bayside promenades and on historic plazas. Treasure hunters just might find what they never knew they needed. Meanwhile, fabulous haute couture and jewelry emporiums – emblazoned with the most famous names in fashion are ensconced in gleaming luxury condominiums that share space with swimsuit and trendy surf shops, local independently owned boutiques, and souvenir stores, along palm-lined ocean-side drives in the swanky and highly popular Condado and Isla Verde beach districts. Elsewhere in San Juan, there is an explosion of retail creativity taking place in up and coming urban renaissance zones in downtown Santurce and along Loiza Street by the beach at Ocean Park as well as in the Miramar neighborhood and the Hato Rey financial district. You’ll find street fashion boutiques, dazzling food shops, and beachwear stores among others. There are lots of fun finds here. The retail scene plays out across the island, with other coastal towns and cities having similar seaside boulevards with stores near historic


downtown harbor and tourist districts, all along Puerto Rico’s coastline. In small towns on the island, local artisans often sell their wares from stands along the waterfront area, known as el malecón, or harbor district. Areas of urban retail renewals are flowering in towns from Aguadilla to Humacao, along the coast and through the central highland. Patron Saint festivals held in towns across the island are showcases for Puerto Rico’s best artisans, as are agricultural fairs, musical festivals and other special events that take place through the year. Meanwhile, a modern shopping mall is within reach from anywhere in Puerto Rico as a palm-lined beach, so there is always the ability to escape into a nearby world of cool air-conditioned retail wonder, whether it’s just to get a break from the sun or to get out of the gloom of a rainy day. Island shopping malls offer as spectacular retail experience as malls throughout the rest of the U.S. but are livelier. Many hold live classical and jazz concerts, fashion shows, art exhibits, agricultural fairs, car and boat shows, and other special events. Malls offerings go way beyond just

shopping; they are home to gourmet restaurants and popular bars, health and beauty spas, cinemas and an ever-changing array of additional entertainment options. They also often radiate a contemporary, tropical sophistication - a celebration of the island’s natural beauty and its refined culture. You’ll find long-time favorite names and unique local and international

Kury at Plaza las Americas is recognized as an official Rolex retailer in San Juan.

brands still unknown in the U.S. market. Famous stores like Macy’s, Victoria Secret, Sears, Gap, Banana Republic and JC Penny have multiple locales. There are also international fashion boutiques, such as Zara from Spain and Totto from Latin America, among others. Home-grown island boutiques like Valija Gitana and Hecho a Mano have also established a presence in the malls. The shopping districts collide with island culinary hot-spots. Some of the best chain restaurants in the world – like P.F. Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden,

and Macaroni Grill – operate out of island malls, and island tourism districts abound serving flavorful culinary creations by talented chefs from Puerto Rico or who have adopted the island as their new home. Plaza Las Americas, which turns 50 this year, has been the largest – and most influential – mall not only in Puerto Rico but the whole Caribbean since it opened, and with more than 300 stores, it continues to exert an outsize influence on the retail scene today. Plaza, as it is called, has the broadest array of stores in the region and is also a perfect place to have

Puerto Rico Premium Outlets, which looks like a colorful country offers big bargains on famous clothing and other accessories.

The Outlet at Route 66 in Canovanas.

dinner, check out a live event or movie or run errands, since there is also a post office and office buildings with doctors and healthcare professionals.

Enjoy every night Videos & Music while you experience the best Daiquiris in San Juan. Frozen daiquiris, jello shots and a variety of local and import drinks and beers…


Mayaguez Holiday Inn & Tropical Casino

The fabulous Mall of San Juan, the newcomer on San Juan’s retail scene, has brought the island’s shopping experience to storied new heights, while also serving as an important hub for local boutiques and talent, and incredible restaurants. It all takes place in a thrilling, luxurious modern design, built on a privileged location just outside San Juan’s International airport. The mall goes out of its way to cater specifically to tourists. The San Juan metro area also offers the Outlets at Montehiedra, a mix of brand name outlet stores and local offerings housing more than 100 stores ranging from Marshall’s to Guess. Other major cities in Puerto Rico also have quality shopping malls like Plaza del Caribe in Ponce and the Mayaguez Mall in Mayaguez. There are two outlet malls, The Outlet at Route 66 in Canovanas and Puerto Rico Premium Outlets in Barceloneta that are shopping destinations in their own right and can be combined with a visit to other area tourist attractions. You’ll find familiar names like Perry Ellis, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap and Guess in the midst of exotic island locales. The Outlet at Route

66, which is situated east of San Juan, offers both discount pricing on brand names and a platform for local shopping experiences, in the shadow of El Yunque, Puerto Rico’s majestic rainforest. This outlet mall is home to Burlington, Urban Planet, Lids, Marianne, Tommy Hilfiger, Novus, Bakers and Caribbean Cinemas just to name a few. But the newest attraction in this outlet mall will be a bowling alley, crazy car ride, arcade games, a tight rope walking platform and go karts. Visiting the rainforest and the mall in a single trip is easy, and there are also beaches nearby at Luquillo and Fajardo, what else can you ask for. You’ll have to drive through karst country, marked by limestone haystack hills, towards the northwest to get to the outdoor park and walk Premium Outlets, which looks like a colorful country village but house brand name outlet stores like Adidas, American Eagle Outfitters, Forever 21, Lacoste, and Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store offering big bargains on famous clothing and other accessories. After your shopping spree you can hit the nearby underground wonderland of the Camuy River Cave Park and the celestial splendor of the Arecibo Observatory. The range of shopping in Puerto Rico is so vast that some visitors can simply book their plane tickets purely for one reason: to shop til they drop!

Exploring Puerto Rico’s

colorful small treasures By PETER MARTIN 65

Photos by: Ricardo Alcaraz

No visit to the island of enchantment would be complete without taking a deep dive into Puerto Rico’s colorful folklore and traditions, and there’s no better way to experience this than through the rich talent fits artisans and their stunning crafts. Make sure to explore crafts like the exquisitely carved Santos figures, delicate Mundillo lace fit for a queen, horns-bedecked carnival masks, and the wooden mortar and pestle known as pilons, and numerous other works of art produced by these skilled crafts persons. Items span home decorations in clay, wood, paper and metal; hammocks; greeting cards; jewelry; clothing; tote bags; foods like sweets and rum cake; musical instruments such as guiros; cigars; and knick knacks. All locally produced, all mostly made by hand. From San Juan to Rincon, Ponce to Humacao, you will see talented artisans sell their beautiful wares at street stands, during crowded fairs and at popular parks and beachfront. There are also stunning craft stores and boutiques and art galleries across the island, especially around renovated downtown areas and at shopping malls. Old San Juan, however, is a must-visit for the craft aficionado, with some of the finest crafts shops in the Caribbean. At Mundo Taino (Taino World) and Puerto Rico Art & Crafts the full diversity of small-scale production is in full display souvenir shops and crafts specialty shops are not the sole



places to find Puerto Rican crafts. Craftspeople can be found most days in different sections of Old San Juan. On weekends, there’s the Plaza La Casita market next to Pier 1 and the Paseo La Princesa Market, both of which are sponsored by the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Maria V. Rivera Delgado, a tourism administration official, said some 38 artisans show their wares along the Paseo, a wide, scenic promenade that runs along San Juan Bay and the ancient ramparts and leads up to San Juan Gate, one of five entries that once led into the city. The markets are held Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Craft making in Puerto Rico is a rich tradition hewing to time-honored ways but that’s not to say it isn’t stepping up to the times. In fact, some of the crafts being produced these days by ceramists look more like art than artisanal objects. Some craftspeople are dropping autochthonous imagery and instead concentrating on more universal themes. While cheap and crudely made crafts are still to be found in souvenir shops, local production mostly reflects a high level of workmanship and skill. Tony Amador, the owner of Puerto Rico Arts & Crafts, which his mother Charm Amador founded in the late 70s,

said the field is changing, with some artisans now incorporating technology into their process. It’s all an outgrowth of competition, the ubiquity of the internet which exposes artisans to new ideas and the artisans’ own evolution, he said. One craft that remains strongly rooted in age-old tradition is Santos, Puerto Rico’s greatest contribution to the plastic arts, according to some art historians. These hand-carved figures, representing patron saints, angels, and Marian titles, have achieved such a cultural standing that antique Santos are now considered works of art and can be found in private collections as well as museums in Puerto Rico and the U.S., including the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Santos are found in all the countries that were at one time part of the vast Spanish empire. According to historians, Puerto Rico’s Santos may also have a link with the Tainos, the island’s indigenous people. It was their custom to keep small statues as objects of veneration in tribal villages. Carved in stone or wood, the statues — known as Cemi — represented a god, spirit or ancestor.

Photo courtesy of Orta Family

The allure of the Santo is essentially its pared down simplicity. As one writer put it, “Santos are made with a humble touch and homespun beauty.” In addition to Botello, on Cristo St., another old San Juan store that carries Santos is Antiguedades Olé, on Fortaleza St. Its Santos are between 80 to 100 years old.

Masks have always fascinated people and Puerto Rico’s caretas certainly stand out for their flamboyance and wild colSanteros tend to stick to a single figure but when ors. The masks are worn at carnival times they resort to a group scene it is usually to portray by vejigantes, revelers who wear batThe Nativity or The Three Kings. winged jumpsuits and roam the streets The men and women who carve santos are singly or in groups. According to Amador, of Puerto called santeros and santeras. Their tools are Rican Art & Crafts, two types of masks are made in Puerto Rico, each tied to a different part of the basic: a knife and paint to add color to the figure. The best of these artisans are considered island. The ones made in the southern town of masters and it has become their practice to sign Ponce, a major center for this craft, are made out each piece as proof of its value. This was not of papier maché while those made in Loiza Aldea, always the case. Juan Botello, whose Botello an area near San Juan known for its artisans and dancers, are fashioned out of corn husks. Gallery carries antique santos made between 1850 and 1950, noted that santos dating from 1800 to 1900 were not usually signed and are Though differently crafted, the mask portrays the same type of devilish figure. Its main features are characterized by a primitive style that contrasts the classic Spanish Santos made in a more a leering mouth ringed by fangs, bulging eyes, realistic vein. and long horns that some artisans render as wavy Medusa-like tentacles. Santeros tend to stick to a single figure but when they resort to a group scene it is usually Scary-looking, sure, but fun, the masks are to portray The Nativity or The Three Kings. painted in vivid, contrasting colors set off by Religious figures are usually identifiable through pointillist details for greater decorative effect; the symbols they carry. For example, St. Joseph the palette takes in practically all hues though might be depicted holding the child Jesus in one the more traditional masks lean towards black, red and yellow, colors associated with hell, to arm and a staff in the other while St. Francis which the masks are believed o allude. is usually portrayed with birds and animals.

Craft making in Puerto Rico is a rich tradition hewing to time-honored ways but that’s not to say it isn’t stepping up to the times.

Masks have always fascinated people and Puerto Rico’s caretas certainly stand out for their flamboyance and wild colors. The typical pilon is made from the wood of the Caoba or Guayacan trees, fine and durable hardwoods native to the island.

According to historians, carnivals and masks are rooted in medieval Spain where, starting in the 17th century, processions of marching devils were held to scare sinners into returning to church. The vejigantes surfaced in Spain as part of the patronal festival of Santiago (St. James); they were meant to be a representation of the devil in the fight of good versus evil but also of the “evil moors.” In Puerto Rico, these Spanish traditions melded with others brought in by African slaves. To experience the thrill of vejigantes in full mask regalia, consider attending the Fiesta de Santiago Apostol, or St. James Festival, held yearly in Loiza Aldea during the month of July. More masks are to be seen at the Ponce carnival. It has been running for more than 250 years but you’ll have to wait for the next edition in 2019 as the event is typically held the week ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. One craft that seemed headed towards extinction has instead experienced a welcome revival, bringing it back to the forefront. It is the ancient art of mundillo or bobbin lace making. Mundillo is a decorative lace made by braiding and twisting lengths of thread bound on bobbins. The word mundillo, which means little world, refers to the cylindrical pillow on which the weaving is kept in place. The finished product can be used as clothing, border finishes for tablecloths


and handkerchiefs, or to decorate shirt collars, dresses and wedding gowns.

large mortar were also carved out of trees. Tainos used the pilón and the maceta to mash corn, spices, and m edicinal herbs.

While some claim Mundillo lace is made only in Spain and Puerto Rico. Benito “Mokay” Hernandez Vale, founder and director of the Mundillo Museum in Moca, begs to differ. He said this type of lace making is popular in many European countries and likely originated between the third and seventh century A.D. though it could even be older as bobbin lace has been found in ancient pharaonic tombs. According to Hernandez, interest in the craft has been growing over the past 15 years and he estimated that more than 3,000 people on the island are now practicing it, and it’s not just women. The Mundillo Museum, located in a one-story building in the heart of Moca, on Puerto Rico’s north-western side, was inaugurated in July 2005. Its collection of hundreds of lace items includes a tablecloth from 1896 and, its most valuable piece, an 8 foot high by 4 foot wide lace map of the town of Moca made by a group of lace makers in 2014 to celebrate the institution’s 10th anniversary. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm (telephone: 787-877-3815). In San Juan, mundillo products can be found at Plaza Las Americas where lace maker Mary Quiñones runs a cart business named MQ Mundillo


Today, this kitchen utensil comes in handy to grind herbs for sofrito (the base for delicious rice, beans and stews), to prepare spice mixes and condiments, and for all sorts of crushing of garlic, plantains, corn and coffee. It’s the key tool to make mofongo, one of Puerto Rico’s most iconic dishes consisting of mashed plantains stuffed or accompanied by meat, fish or fowl.

Mundillo is a decorative lace made by braiding and twisting lengths of thread bound on bobbins.

de Moca on the ground floor of the shopping center, near the Banco Popular branch and the tower. Items for sale include handkerchiefs and baby clothing, bibs and blankets made by her family workshop. No self respecting Puerto Rican kitchen would be caught without a pilón. The mortar and pestle has a long history dating back to the island’s indigenous people. But unlike the small-sized mortars most people are familiar with, the ones used by the Tainos were waist high receptacles made from hollowed out tree trunks. The cavity, measuring approximately 25 inches in diameter, was burned out. The large pestle, or maceta, that went along with the

The typical pilón is made from the wood of the Caoba or Guayacan trees, fine and durable hardwoods native to the island. Artisan Antonio Rivera, whose workshop is in the town of Morovis, in the island’s central region, said people tend to prefer pilones made out of caoba for its warm, red color. He has been making pilones since he was 13, a craft he learned from his carpenter dad. The pilones for kitchen use typically range in size from 6 to 10 inches high; Rivera also makes them larger by request. He can be contacted through his Facebook page under the heading Pilones de Puerto Rico. Crafts, a source of independent jobs for countless Puerto Ricans, are an expression of a people’s artistry and history. Making an object by hand is an activity that takes time and effort. Either as a gift for family and friends or as a keepsake of a memorable trip, a crafts item is a small treasure.


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A day at

The Mall of San Juan 70




rom high fashion boutiques and affordable stores to gourmet eateries, a kids playground and ample parking, The Mall of San Juan truly has it all. Begin your morning shopping spree with a hearty Italian style breakfast at Starbene Caffe with freshly baked breads, pastries and brewed coffee. Or sit back and relax and enjoy a cup of Puerto

An affordable and fashionable experience for both locals and those visiting. Rican coffee, sandwich and pastry at Cafeto. Mornings never tasted so good at The Mall of San Juan. Now it’s time to shop ‘til you drop. Discover the latest collections from the world’s hottest luxury labels including Carolina Herrera Giuseppe

Zanotti Design, Bulgari, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Tiffany & Co., Versace, and Salvatore Ferragamo are but a few among the mall’s lavish lineup of tenants. This fashion precinct features a number of innovative amenities and conveniences made possible by a lineup of partners,

including Wyndham hotels, which sponsors the shopping center’s visitors center and customer service desk and Visa, the preferred method of payment at the center’s shopping, dining and entertainment venues. Visa offers the “Visa Club,” exclusive to The Mall of San Juan, with cardholder promotions, access to special events and premium discounts. JetBlue sponsors a variety of entertainment events, while Garage


Europa Porsche sponsors valet parking services and car exhibits inside the sprawling mall. Nevertheless, you have just scratched the surface. As one of the most high-end shopping centers in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, this retail paradise with 80 stores also offers tourists a mix of tenants that includes popular yet affordable retailers like Zara, Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, Footaction, Loft, Pandora, Vans, Hollister, and Coach. So, there’s something for everybody’s budget! And unique local retail concepts like jewelry shops Lido Jewelers and Bared Jewelers as well as fashion designers Gustavo Arango, and Luis Antonio.


You can cap off a long day of shopping with a lunch or dinner at The Mall of San Juan at Brio Tuscan Grille and Cantina Laredo that offer authentic Italian and Mexican fare, respectively, while Kona Grill — the only one in Puerto Rico — offers a menu of sushi, modern American entrees, creative cocktails, wine and beer. But if sitting down for a hearty meal in a rock and roll environment is more up your alley then Burger & Beer Joint will hit the spot with its extensive menu of gourmet burgers, drinks and out-of-this-world desserts. Or opt to go on an Italian culinary journey at the Il Nuovo Mercato food court, offering variety in each of its bottegas, such as pizza, pasta, breads, gelato, meats and seafood while savoring a natural infusion of fruits, beer


or sparkling wine and cheese platter at the Prosecco Bar with stunning views of the Laguna San Jose. Located across from the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport and the Isla Verde hotel strip, The Mall of San Juan is a short ride away over the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge. It is about 20 minutes from the Vanderbilt Hotel in Condado and cruise ship piers in Old San Juan, and about half an hour from the St. Regis Bahia Beach hotel in Rio Grande, via Route 66 to the east.

The list of amenities for tourists also includes: • “Passport to Shopping” — Outof-town guests traveling from more than 50 miles away are encouraged to stop by the customer service desk to pick up their passport and learn more about the program’s special offers and discounts • Shopping packages • Children’s play area • “Personal shopper”service in some stores

This 650,000 square-foot shopping destination, which opened its doors in March 2015, is taxi and Uber-friendly, offers free valet parking service and even stores for free your luggage so you don’t have to drag them around while shopping.

Follow The Mall of San Juan on its social media platforms in Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, and Tripadvisor, for the latest news about upcoming sales and special events. The shopping center also has an app available at Google Play and the Apple Store.



Casa BACARDI offers a range of tours and tickets can be purchased online or on site.


A trip history and innovation through



Learn about the crafting of its aging barrels in the creation of Bacardi’s celebrated rums.

Casa BACARDI is the largest premium rum production facility in the world.


uerto Rico is synonymous with rum. From the pirates who plied their trade in the surrounding seas over past centuries, through the once-mighty sugarcane industry and into the pulsing nightlife that marks the modern metropolis, the celebrated spirit runs through the island’s rich history and continues to hold sway to this day. None more so than Bacardi, the iconic brand and standard-bearer that has conquered the world from


its outpost at the western edge of San Juan. Known as the King of Rums and the Rum of Kings, the treasures inside those iconic bat logo bottles found in fine establishments in the far corners of the world took flight at the company’s distillery in the seaside town of Cataño, an upcoming diamond in the rough that proudly proclaims itself home to the globe’s best-selling premium spirit. Rum is where Caribbean cool meets tropical heat. And while an


Casa BACARDI offers an adults-only Rum Tasting Tour.

air of mystery and adventure has always surrounded the spirit, Casa BACARDI pulls the curtain back a bit on the Caribbean’s famed libation and throws open its doors to visitors for a range of tours. Tickets can be purchased online months in advance or on site. Reaching Casa BACARDI’s 127-acre

campus is a breeze. Hop on the ferry in Old San Juan for a quick crossing of the deep water bay that is short on price but long on million-dollar views. Taxi cabs and Uber are also both sure bets and vacationers with rental cars will find the trip out is headache free – an exit here and a turn there and you’ve arrived.

FPO Bat Bar Pavilion was designed by Spanish architect Felix Candela that was built in 1962.

We want you to have fun while learning about rum, soak up the beautiful view and to experience everything new we have to offer.” the same time the Civil War was raging in the United States.

The Visitor Center is both a step back in time and a glimpse into a cutting-edge future.

Christened the Cathedral of Rum by former Gov. Luis Muñoz Marin in the middle years of the last century, the sprawling bayside property is the largest premium rum production facility in the world. Head through the gates and along the palm-lined and pond-fringed drive to the bat-winged visitors Bat Bar Pavilion, a soaring open-air creation of Spanish architect Felix Candela that was built in 1962. With a steady schedule of tours on tap, you won’t have to wait long to get started – although what’s the rush to leave the waterfront bar

that serves up a fresh supply of renowned Bacardi-based cocktails including the iconic Cuba Libre, musthave Mojitos, potent rum punch and delicious Daiquiris. Kick back and take in the sights, which include epic views of the Spanish-colonial ramparts of El Morro. All Casa BACARDI options are fully bilingual, educational and experiential, mixology and rum tasting particularly set for adults-only. The Historical Tour can be fun for all

ages. It starts with a complimentary cocktail for adults before climbing on board an open-air trolley for a guided tour that uncovers the family-owned company’s history of craft and innovation. Out of the trolley and into the air-conditioned Visitor Center is both a step back in time and a glimpse into a cutting-edge future that stays true to the vision of quality established by Don Facundo Bacardi, a Spanishémigré who after years of experimenting with distilling rum in his adopted hometown of Santiago, Cuba started his first distillery there – producing his signature light and elegant spirit -- at

While rich in history, Bacardi has never been satisfied with resting on its laurels. A clear case in point is the ongoing evolution of its Casa BACARDI, which since its opening in 1961 has continued to tantalize visitors a true rum paradise. The addition of the highly rated mixology and in-depth rum tasting tours are proof positive of Bacardi’s unquenchable thirst to outperform expectations at every turn. “Casa BACARDI needs to be on your Puerto Rico bucket list. We want you to have fun while learning about rum, soak up the beautiful view and to experience everything new we have to offer. Be our guest and come have a Mojito where rum was created,” said Wesley Cullen, Casa BACARDI's general manager.


In-depth rum tasting continues to tantalize visitors. Bacardi’s distillery is located in the seaside town of Cataño that proudly proclaims itself home to the globe’s best-selling premium spirit.

Visitors can put together the pieces of the rich Bacardi legacy through museum pieces.

While staying true to Don Facundo’s standards and its Cuban roots, political upheaval and the promise of progress prompted the family to pull up stakes and head to Puerto Rico, the sister island that was, and remains, Bacardi’s springboard to the world. Visitors can put together the pieces of the rich Bacardi legacy through museum pieces that include centuryold copper distilling posts, bills of sale and the very furniture on which the course of the company was charted into its seventh-generation. Follow the evolution of Bacardi’s bottles and branding - all with the bat logo that was adopted early on at the suggestion of Don Facundo’s wife Amalia Moreau as a tribute to the fruit bats, symbols of good


fortune that nested in the tin-roofed distillery – into a glamorous art deco bar where guides walk through the company’s growing range of rums. On the adults-only side of the spectrum is Casa BACARDI’s Rum Tasting Tour, a guided tour that covers the history of the company while also diving deeply into the process behind the creation of Bacardí’s celebrated rums from the fermentation of the molasses, the crafting of its aging barrels and blending of its signature offerings. This is not a look but don’t touch kind of tour as it includes expert tutelage and tastings of five Bacardi rums, including Legacy, another blend available exclusively at Casa BACARDI.


If that’s still not enough of a hands-on experience, opt for the Mixology Tour, a truly interactive thrill that puts visitors behind the bar as a Bacardi specialist pulls, pours and shakes them through the paces of mixing three classic rum cocktails. With cocktail-culture booming, this tour is a must for those looking to unleash their inner bartenders. It also includes the distillery visit to uncover the history and craft that goes into those rum recipes that are being learned – cheers indeed. The gift shop is packed to the gills with all-things Bacardí – from hats to shirts to Mojito mixing sets. It is there that visitors can take the tour to the next level with a one-of-akind experience bottling their own

Casa BACARDI Special Reserve complete with name, date and wax seal. Aged in white oak barrels and finished in sherry casks, the sweet aromatic rum with tones of vanilla, fruit, hazelnuts and almonds – can only be found onsite. In short, the Casa BACARDI tour is a can’t miss trip for any traveler. Think of it as an easily doable microcosm of Puerto Rico itself, which at roughly 100 miles long and 35 miles wide packs a plethora of memories in a relatively small but potent package. Like Puerto Rico, Casa BACARDI is sun drenched and soaked in history, accessible with an ever-present hit of intrigue.

With cocktail-culture booming, Casa BACARDI has a tour to unleash the inner bartenders.


Photos by: Jose Rodriguez

Camarero is the island’s only horse racing track located 15 minutes from the Isla Verde hotel sector and a 20 minute drive from San Juan taking Route 66.

Plenty of excitement at

Camarero racetrack By EUGENIO HOPGOOD

Infectious energy, the majesty of the thoroughbreds, jockeys wearing vibrant silks, and stunning park-like grounds with El Yunque mountains as a backdrop is the perfect way to describe the setting at Camarero racetrack.

If you enjoy horse racing, or just want to spend a few exciting hours during your vacation in Puerto Rico– than add this on your To-Do list. Grab your binoculars and sunscreen for a fun-filled day of fresh air and adrenaline,

and hopefully you’ll leave with some extra money in your pocket. “To see a live race is very different than seeing it on TV,” said Alejandro Fuentes, executive vice president at Camarero Inc., the Puerto Rican


Race days at Camarero racetrack are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with post time at 2:50 p.m.

company that manages the racetrack and horse racing business on the island. “You get to hear the fans cheering for their favorite horse and the sound of the horses galloping on the track; it’s truly exhilarating.” Camarero is the island’s only horse racing track located 15 minutes from the Isla Verde hotel sector and a 20 minute drive from San Juan taking Route 66. There is plenty of parking, admission is free and the norm is casual attire. BACK ON TRACK Race days at Camarero are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with post time at 2:50 p.m., and a fifth day will be added soon. However, Sunday is the perfect day to go for people watching. If it’s your first visit to a racetrack, you may get a more rewarding experience finding a spot where the entire track can be seen. The horses are paraded about 10 minutes before each race prior to trotting off to the starting gate. You sit outdoors at the grandstand –which is an open air multi-leveled seating near the center of the action where you can watch the parade, race, and winner circle picture taking up close and personal. Kids, especially, will enjoy this part of the track.



The Clubhouse and Terrace Restaurant, THE place where horse owners and anybody who simply preferred to leisurely eat a meal in air conditioning while watching the races through its huge windows, is currently closed and expected to be reopened soon.

and third place finishers in the exact order; and the multi-race bets that include daily double (pick the winner in two consecutive races), pick three (choose the winner in three consecutive races), pick four, pick five and pick six referred to as el Poolpote in Puerto Rico.

Learning the ins-and-outs of how to bet before you arrive at Camarero will save an incredible amount of time. So get a racing program, pick your horse of choice, and hurry to the betting window and hope the odds are in your favor. Stick to a budget. A racetrack can be one of the most affordable entertainments around.

Payouts are determined by the number of horses in the bet, the odds, and the wager amount.

There is important information you need to know before you approach the clerk’s window: the race number, dollar amount of your bet, type of bet and number (NOT name) of the horse(s) you’re betting on. The types of straight wagers are win, where you pick a horse to finish first; place, where you select a horse to finish first or second and show, where you pick a horse to finish first, second, or third. Exotic wager bets include exacta, where you pick the first and second place finishers in the exact order and trifecta, where you pick the first, second,

Daily wagering at Camarero currently fluctuates $400,000 to $500,000. Its monthly event “Night at the Races,” where the race card begins early, followed by a live band is expected to make a comeback soon. This event, held every Friday night, attracts a large crowd and high number of wagering. “It is like a whole world in itself, an entire industry revolves around the track activity,” said legendary racetrack announcer Norman H. Davila, who is one of the faces and voices of Puerto Rico horse racing. There are more than 1,000 employees and contractors at the racetrack, especially in the stables - from hot walkers, grooms and trainers to blacksmiths and vets.

Puerto Rican jockeys have proven their dominance for decades at top racetracks in the world. in the world, in order to test their luck and begin demonstrating their talent. Puerto Rico’s pioneer adventurer was jockey Eddie Belmonte who attracted attention in the New York racing circuit and was the first Puerto Rican to win a race (Preakness) of the Triple Crown aboard ‘Personality’ in 1970. Jockey Angel Cordero followed suit and dominated for years the racing circuit in New York at Saratoga, Acueduct, and Belmont Park racetracks. He competed for 30 years (1962-1992) and was the jockey with the most earnings on four occasions in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Cordero, referred to as the King of Saratoga, has the most wins in Triple Crown events including three Kentucky Derby victories.

“When you add up indirect jobs there are about 8,000 that include owners and employees in over 400 off track wagering agencies island-wide, the horse breeding farms, producers and distributors of food,” said Fuentes. AN ISLAND FULL OF WORLD-CLASS JOCKEYS In horse racing there are two types of athletes: the horse and the jockey. Puerto Rico has had its share of excellent thoroughbreds that have won important international races like the Caribbean Classic. Half of the 600 horses that normally are active on the island are native specimen while the rest are imported mainly from the U.S. mainland. But more impressive are our exceptional Puerto Rican jockeys who have proven their dominance for decades at top racetracks in the world. Camarero’s horse racing vocational school, affiliated to the Puerto Rico Horse Racing Administration, is where trainers, blacksmiths, and jockeys are trained. This school graduates about 15 jockeys a year that begin their racing careers as apprentices. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, several young apprentices ventured out into the racing circuits in Florida, New York and California, three states that have some of the most important racetracks

John Velazquez has been active in New York since he left at the young age of 18 in 1990. He is also another Puerto Rican superstar in the horse racing scene. Velazquez has been a leader in earnings for four consecutive years (2001-2004) and has won two races of the Triple Crown – the Belmont Stakes in 2007 and the Kentucky Derby in 2011. In the past two years, besides Velazquez, there have been other Puerto Rican jockeys who have

stood out in the U.S. mainland horse racing panorama – brothers Irad Ortiz and Jose Luis Ortiz. The Ortiz brothers have been ranked among the top five jockeys in the U.S. mainland in overall earnings. In 2017, the 24 year-old Jose Luis won the Eclipse award for being the most outstanding jockey in the U.S. for highest earnings ($22.9 million) while the 25-year-old Irad was the jockey with most wins. By winning an Eclipse Award, Jose Luis has joined the exclusive club of Cordero and Velazquez, an honor comparable to winning a MVP award in Major League Baseball. JUAN CARLOS DIAZ, THE KING OF CAMARERO Nevertheless not all stellar jockeys migrate to the north. When at Camarero racetrack and making a wager you may see names like Edwin Castro, Hector Berrios, Javier Santiago, Wilfredo Rohena, among others on the racing form that offer a guarantee that the horse will be in good hands and could possibly be a winner. However the most outstanding of the local crowd is currently Juan Carlos Diaz, a jockey that holds the title of having the most wins in Puerto Rico’s horse

Jockey John Velazquez is one of Puerto Rico’s superstar in the horse racing scene.


Brothers Irad Ortiz, on left, and Jose Luis Ortiz have been ranked among the top five jockeys in the U.S. mainland in overall earnings.

Jockey Edwin Castro

Jockey Juan Carlos Diaz

racing history with more than 4,700 victories under his belt. He has also been the leader in victories and earnings for 17 straight years showing his absolute dominance on the island. “I have had the opportunity to ride in the U.S. but have decided to stay in Puerto Rico because I have led for many years here and am economically solid,” said the 40-year-old Diaz. “I have my home and family in Puerto Rico and my son is enrolled at the jockey school.” Besides Diaz’ family life, that has a major role in his decision to remain in Puerto Rico, there are other factors. Diaz was raised near the ocean – not riding sea



horses but rather fishing, scuba diving and surfing, even though he loves horses. His passion for surfing and boats continues despite the fact he has to be at the track at 10 a.m. to then race from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. four days a week. But he does find a way to escape to the beach to ride those waves. “Sometimes after the morning workouts at the track, if there are waves, I escape to surf for an hour in Luquillo at La Pared or La Selva beach and then return to the racetrack. Besides the fact that I love the ocean and it relaxes me, it’s a good workout and provides balance, which helps me as a jockey.” Come and witness the passion of Puerto Ricans as they cheer on riders like Diaz and play the

Jockey Hector Berrios

Poolpote jackpot, and if you are lucky to pick all six winners of the afternoon’s race card you can win lots of money. Feel the excitement of seeing your horse fight for the lead and who knows maybe you’ll have beginner’s luck.

Back Into the Swing of Things

One of Puerto Rico’s best golf courses at Coco Beach in Rio Grande, designed by PGA Tour professional, Tom Kite.



uerto Rico’s rebound in the wake of Hurricane Maria can be likened to a round of golf at one the islands world-class courses —there was bound to be some rough, some ups and downs, and some unexpected turns along the way. And while landscapes may change, the renewal of the island’s lush greens seemingly blossomed overnight as its mountain forests, palmlined coasts – and yes its 18-hole oases – sprang back to life under the healing tropical sun. Like many of its best hotels, Puerto Rico’s golf courses seized the opportunity presented to grow back better than ever through a host of upgrades including a new fleet of GPS-equipped golf carts at Dorado Beach through the remodeled club house and re-imagined courses at Rio Mar, to cite just two examples. Check out Costa Caribe to Coco Beach and El Conquistador, Palmas del Mar, Punta Borinquen and beyond, where restoration contractors who arrived on the island in droves could be heard extolling the

virtues of Puerto Rico’s range of golf courses on their hard-earned days off from the work of rebuilding. Puerto Rico is known as the premier location for golf professionals and enthusiasts in the Caribbean where golf enthusiasts travel from all over the world to play throughout the year on the island’s 20 championship golf courses. This year’s tournament calendar features the PRGA’s annual signature event, the PRGA Championships, as well as seven World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) points tournaments for both juniors and amateurs. For the second straight year, Puerto Rico will also host a USGA U.S. Am qualifier. With global media attention focused on Puerto Rico’s challenges and can-do attitude, the island’s profile in the golf world was also elevated through the likes of its touring professionals such as Maria “Marife” Torres, the first Puerto Rican to play full time in the LPGA and Rafael Campos’ solid presence on the PGA Web.Com Tour.

Rafael “ Rafa” Campos, the first Puerto Rican to lead a PGA Tour event since the 1979 Tallahassee Open.


Costa Caribe Golf & Country Club in Ponce.

Further shining a bright light on Puerto Rico’s competitive golf scene were a range of signature tournaments stretching from spring into winter – no need to worry about the weather on an island where balmy 80 degree days are the rule. JULY 9-10 USGA US Amateur Qualifier AUGUST 11-13 PRGA Junior Match Play Championship NOVEMBER 2-4 PRGA Match Play Championship  But the biggest sign of the solidity of the island’s competitive golfing future may well have been the PGA’s bet on bringing the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open back to the island at least through 2020. Dating back a decade, the 2018 event could have been carried out, but the PGA Tour and the main sponsor the Puerto Rico Tourism Company opted instead to hold a special, unofficial PGA Tour event in March to support recovery efforts on the island featuring PGA Tour golfers, athletes and

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Golf Club has two 18 Hole Courses in Rio Grande.

celebrities. The charitable event was held at the TPC Dorado Beach, which is home to three legendary championship golf courses, including the famed East and West courses originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. Since its inception, the Puerto Rico Open has supported the work of local charities and donated nearly $700,000 to non-profit organizations that work with children, youth and health-related issues. While putting relief before dollars was a move right from the heart, the PGA Tour doubled-down on Puerto Rico when it inked in the return of the four-day, official PGA Tour event in 2019 and also in 2020. “The Puerto Rico Open has been part of the PGA Tour for the last 10 years and our commitment to golf on the island has never been stronger,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Our hope is that this special event in 2018 would benefit Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts to the fullest extent, while reminding the world that Puerto Rico is a premier golf and travel destination.”

The Dorado Beach Plantation Sugarcane Course.

In partnership with tournament officials and the PRTC, the PGA Tour heavily considered all factors following Hurricane Maria to determine a course of action for the 2018 Puerto Rico Open and examined what would provide the greatest support and economic impact for the island during this period of recovery. Therefore, the tournament in Puerto Rico was re-imagined as a special, unofficial PGA Tour event to support the recovery efforts and to celebrate golf and Tourism on the island.

Maria “Marife” Torres, the first Puerto Rican to play full time in the LPGA.

Toast a new life

art whimsy

among and 84


The Museum of Art of Puerto Rico.

Photo by: Yamilette Arana



appy couples dancing inside an iconic building designed by MoMA architect Edward Durell Stone greet their guests among masterpieces by Jose Campeche and Francisco Oller, and pose for photos in front of a soaring sculpture by American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein or outdoors in an awe-inspiring romantic botanical garden.

All across the country, museums of art, history, and science are opening their doors for wedding receptions—and an increasing number of brides and grooms are discovering: There’s no better place to hold their own historic events, and Puerto Rico is no exception. Puerto Rico definitely has plenty of stunning hotel ballrooms that

Photo by: Gretchen del Carmen

Puerto Rico’s chic museums shine as bright as the island’s blazing blue skies, shimmering Caribbean waters, and sultry nights. They provide beautiful and unique venues to host wedding receptions with dramatic spaces, open courtyards, elegant galleries, and other variety of rooms so the special day can be remembered for years to come.

and has a spectacular stained glass window designed by Puerto Rican artist Eric Tabales where the natural light from outside softly illuminates the entire area; and cocktails can be served outside overlooking a lush and beautifully manicured botanical sculpture garden.

The Grand Hall at the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico can fit up to 600 guests.

make for lovely venues, but commemorating your special day in a museum is unique. They offer great backdrops for wedding portraits, as well as vast indoor atriums and halls that comfortably accommodate hundreds of guests for dining and dancing. Best of all, museums often offer exclusive access to their collections. Guests can enjoy a one-of-akind wedding experience as they mingle among masterworks dating back to the 17th century to the

present and world-class temporary exhibitions. The Museum of Art of Puerto Rico situated between San Juan’s Condado bustling tourism hub and its cultural hub of Santurce is especially popular with couples who want a level of luxury. The main room, where you dine and dance is called the Grand Hall (which can fit up to 600 guests) and it’s sure to impress. It has a height equivalent of three stories Photo by: Yamilette Arana

Its 2.5 acre botanical sculpture garden is a true oasis that can transport the wedding guests a world away from the bustle of the city and can be combined and tented for a magical seated dinner for up to 130 guests. A walkway around the freeform pond eases through individual settings including a grove of native trees, a bamboo forest, and a prairie. More than a dozen sculptures are positioned in harmony with the scenery while several gazebos serve as perches for rest and relaxation. A terrace with a natural amphitheater sets the stage for open-air events. Designed in accordance with the strictest and most modern standards, the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico was built by architect William H. Schimmelpfennig in 1920 and its 130,000 square feet of space includes 24 exhibition galleries. Just blocks away is the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art in Santurce, which offers brides, grooms, and guests urban charm and historical elegance. Housed in a small but charming building, guests at the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art can stroll through galleries of work ranging from paintings and sculpture to mixed-media, sound, and video installations. But the party happens within its enchanting interior courtyard that can accommodate about 500 wedding guests. The Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art used to be a former


Recognized as an important center for European art in the Americas, its stunning collection - the finest in the Caribbean, provides a rich panorama of western art stretching from the Renaissance to the present day. Inside are more than 1,000 paintings and 400 sculptures covering classical, ancient and contemporary works. Among the prizes of the collection are works by Velasquez, Rubens and Rodin.

The Serralles Castle Museum in Ponce lies on 2.5 acres of magnificent landscape.

Photos by: Rafy Vega

public school built in 1918. The Georgian-style structure designed by architect Adrian C. Finlayson as part of a U.S. Department of Education’s drive to build public schools in urban zones, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since the late 1980s and was renovated under the direction of Puerto Rican architect Otto Reyes Casanova for its new role as home to the island’s top collection of contemporary art. Another fashionable museum in Puerto Rico is the Ponce Museum of Art, a charming enclave of strong Catalonian heritage that captivates visitors with its small town flair and laid back atmosphere. The museum is located on the island’s sere south coast overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea in Ponce, known as the Pearl of the South, the second largest city outside the San Juan metropolitan area, and an interesting town for history buffs. Inside, the architecture of the Ponce Museum of Art is simply ideal for dreamy wedding receptions with its stunning backdrops, sweeping spiral staircase, spacious halls,


The sweeping spiral staircase at the Ponce Museum of Art.

spectacular balcony and amazing garden. The striking building is comprised of seven interconnected hexagons topped with glass cupolas, which allows natural light to pour in though its corners creating a perfect setting for wedding photos. The exterior garden that can fit up to 500 guests is distinguished by the Archipelago sculpture inside the central fountain. Situated on the second floor are the balconies that can accommodate between 60 to 300 people and


have views of the garden and the impressive Roy Lichtenstein, Pinceladas al vuelo sculpture. Also on the second floor but in the annex building is the Caribe ballroom that fits up to 130 people and can be divided into two rooms and for receptions there is the intimate Granada room that was designed by Dr. Rene Taylor, the first director of the Museum who was an expert in Spanish baroque art and architecture, which is why this small space that fits up to 40 guests has fountains and brick floor detailing.

Also in Ponce is the Serralles Castle Museum, a Spanish Moroccan architectonic masterpiece that captures the history of the town. Framed in an elegant and tasteful environment, this venue offers beautiful terraces, charming gardens, and breathtaking views of the city of Ponce and the Caribbean Sea that will be longed remembered by wedding guests. It’s no wonder this luxurious mansion, once the home of the affluent Serralles family who built their fortune from sugar and rum, its most famous brand being Don Q, has won consecutively the Weddingwire Couples’ Choice Award from 2014-2016. The bride and groom can opt to rent either the east terrace to accommodate up to 200 people or the west terrace that fits 300 or reserve both for a large wedding reception of 500 guests where sprawling cityscape and majestic ocean views is the astonishing backdrop. There is also the Don Juan Café terrace to accommodate smaller affairs up to 50 guests, the exterior fountain for 100 guests, and Japanese Garden for a maximum of 120 guests, all situated on the property’s 2.5 acres of magnificent landscape filled with impressive architectural details. Explore Puerto Rico’s unique options for weddings and receptions that stand out from the rest and where dreams are made reality.



METRO AREA AC Hotel San Juan Condado 787.827.7280 787.727.2023 Acacia Boutique Hotel At Wind Chimes Inn, Boutique Hotel 787.727.4153 Azul ESJ Collection 787.791.5151 787.728.8400 Borinquen Beach Inn 787.725.0668 Canario Boutique Hotel Caribe Hilton 787.721.0303 787.722.7139 Casa Caribe Bed & Breakfast Casa Castellana B & B 787.200.5752 787.630.5974 Casa Isabel B & B Casa Sol Bed & Breakfast 787.980.9700 787.725.2729 Ciqala Luxury Home Suites Comfort Inn San Juan 787.721.0170 Coral by the Sea Hotel & Restaurant 787.791.6868 787.977.7700 Coral Princess Hotel 787.721.7400 Courtyard by Marriott SJ Miramar 787.925.1490 Decanter Hotel 787.688.5818 Dreams Hotel 787.791.1000 El San Juan Resort & Casino Embassy Suites Hotel & Casino San Juan 787.791.0505 Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan 787.791.8777 787.724.4160 Holiday Inn Express San Juan 787.977.1000 Hotel Miramar 787.977.5000 Hyatt House San Juan 787.779.5000 Hyatt Place Bayamon & El Tropical Casino Hyatt Place San Juan City Center Resort 787.721.3000 InterContinental San Juan Beach Resort 787.791.6100 Milano Hotel 787.729.9050 787.724.0600 Olimpo Court Hotel San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino 787.722.7000 787.728.3666 San Juan Water & Beach Club Hotel 787.420.1617 Serafina Beach Hotel Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino 787.721.5100 Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino 787.993.3500 787.977.0770 SOFO Hotels LLC / Hotel Casablanca Tarpon’s Nest Lodge, Inc. 787.523-1220 787.721.1000 The Condado Plaza Hilton The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan Hotel, 787.253.1700 Spa & Casino 787.721.9010 The Wave Hotel Tres Palmas Inn 787.727.4617 OUT OF METRO AREA Blue Horizon Boutique Hotel 787.741.3318 Casa de Amistad 787.741.3758 Casa Flamboyant, LLC 787.559.9800 Casa Grande Mountain Retreat 787.894.3939 Casa Isleña Inn 787.823.1525 Casona Ventures 484.941.0820 Club Seabourne 787.742.3169 Coconut Palms Inn on the Beach 787.823.0147 Combate Beach Resort 787.254.2358 Coqui Cabaña at Sea Beach Village 787.379.2249 Costa Bahia Hotel & Convention Center 787.835.3335 Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve 787.626.1100 Dos Aguas, LLC 787.585.7010 El Blok 787.741.6020 El Conquistador Resort, 787.863.1000 A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Embassy Suites Dorado del Mar 787.796.6125 Beach & Golf Resort Grupo Pelicano Culebra Inc. 787.398.8635 Hacienda Siesta Alegre B&B Inn 787.887.7500 Hacienda Tamarindo 787.741.8525 Hector’s By The Sea 787.741.1178 787.259.7676 Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort Hix Island House 787.741.2302 Holiday Inn Mayaguez & Tropical Casino 787.833.1100 787.844.1200 Holiday Inn Ponce & Tropical Casino Horned Dorset Primavera 787.823.4030 787.742.0762 Hostal Casa Culebra Hotel Belgica 787.844.3255 Howard Johnson Hotel Ponce 787.841.1000 Hyatt Place Manati 787.854.1000 Las Casitas Village & Golden Door Spa 787.863.1000 Las Palmas Inn 787.823.1525 Luquillo Sunrise Beach Inn 787.889.1713 Malecon House 787.741.0663 Mamacitas Guest House Bar & Restaurant 787.742.0090 Melia Coco Beach 787.657.1051 787.355.7775 Ocean Pearl Guest House Palmas de Lucia Parador 787.893.4423 Paradise Villas and Vacations, LLC 508.740.4690 Parador Costa del Mar 787.266.6276 Parador Guanica 1929 787.821.0099 Parador Mauna Caribe 787.861.3330 Parador Turtle Bay Inn 787.899.6633 Parguera Plaza, Inc. 787.920.4215 Ponce Plaza Hotel & Casino 787.813.5050 Rainforest Inn 787.809.3333 Rincon Beach Resort 787.589.9000 Rincon Inn 787.823.7070 787.609.5888 Royal Isabela Tamarindo Estates Beach Resort 787.742.3343 Tamboo Beside The Pointe 787.823.8550 The Lazy Parrot Inn 787.823.5654 787.809.8000 The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico 787.823.0558 Tres Sirenas Beach Inn Villa Cofresi Hotel 787.823.2450 Villa Coral Guest House 787.741.1967 W Retreat & Spa Vieques 787.741.4100 Wyndham Extra Holidays 407.626.6436 Wyndham Grand Rio Mar 787.888.6000 Beach Resort & Spa

Tropical Casino @ Holiday Inn & Tropical Casino Ponce



METRO AREA Aurorita’s Restaurant 787.783.2899 Buenos Ayres Bar & Grill 787.725.1818 Choices Restaurant @ Sheraton 787.993.3587 Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino El Patio Latin Bar and Cafe 787.791.0505 Malafemina Inc. DBA Melanzana Bistro 787.722.1010 Marisqueria Atlantica 787.728.5444 Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar 787.724.3969 NICHE @ Acacia Boutique Hotel 787.725.0668 Ocean Bar & Grill, The Ritz Carlton 787.253.1700 San Juan Hotel, Spa & Casino Paellas y Algo Mas/ 787.598.4766 Caribbean Kitchen of Puerto Rico Palio Restaurant @ Sheraton Old San Juan 787.721.5100 787.721.0303 Palmeras Restaurant Caribe Hilton Platos Restaurant & Bar @ Coral By the Sea 787.791.7474 Trattoria Italiana @ 787.791.6100 InterContinental San Juan Beach Resort ZEST Restaurant @ 787.728.3666 San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel OUT OF METRO AREA Bistro Tartine 787.961.4044 787.894.3939 Casa Grande Cafe Casitas Cafe @ Las Casitas Village 787.863.1000 Holly’s Cafe @ Holiday Inn 787.833.1100 & Tropical Casino Mayaguez Horned Dorset Primavera, Restaurant 787.823.4030 La Ana de Cofresi @ Villa Cofresí 787.823.2450 La Cava @ Hilton Ponce Golf 787.259.7676 & Casino Resort NAMI @ Gran Melia 787.657.1026 Palio Restaurant @ Wyndham 787.888.6000 Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa Palmas Athletic Club Restaurants 787.656.3001 Palmas de Lucia Restaurant 787.893.4423 Pito’s Seafood Cafe & Restaurant 787.841.4977 787.888.6000 SHIMA’S @ Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, A Wyndham Grand Resort Tamboo Sea Side Grill & Restaurant 787.823.8550 @ Tamboo Beside The Pointe Tanama Restaurant At Holiday Inn 787.844.1200 Ponce Hotel & Tropical Casino

Tapas Bar @ Casa Isleña Inn TEMPO @ Gran Melia Toro Verde Restaurant

787.823.1525 787.657.1051 787.867.6606

ALLIED MEMBERS A & A Tours 787.792.4060 ACEMLA Asociacion de Compositores 787.758.0011 y Editores Musica Latinoamericana Acrecent Financial Officer 787.706.9292 AFLAC 787.665.7030 Aireko Services & Installations, Inc. 787.273.0300 Airlines Reporting Corp. 787.250.0835 ALM Emporium Hotel 787.688.7827 Ambiente Moderno, Inc. 787.275.0303 American Airlines 305.520.3437 American Beverage Marketer 787.360.1927 Anecdote Productions, Inc. 787.720.3286 Angie Comas / Tourism & Travel Specialist 787.391.7475 Angora Properties 787.746.7180 AON Risk Solutions of Puerto Rico, Inc. 787.754.8787 Aquino, de Cordova, Alfaro & Co., LLP 787.253.9595 Arecibo Observatory 787.878.2612 Asociacion Comerciantes de La Parguera 787.384.9802 Asociacion Puertorriqueña 787.765.1654 de Agencias de Viajes At InMedia, Corp. - Mi Boda Magazine 787.579.7560 Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. 787.253.5903 787.288.7272 B. Fernandez Hnos. Bacardi Corporation & 787.788.1500 Casa Bacardi Tourist Attraction Ballester Hermanos, Inc. 787.788.4110 Bar Evo 787.205.6046 Bella Group 787.620.7010 Berlitz Puerto Rico, Inc. 787.753.2585 Bonnier Corporation 407.913.4945 939.336.7416 Bright View 787.236.9420 Budget Rent A Car 787.253.5903 Cadillac Uniform and Linen Supply 787.785.5757 Caguas, City of Promotion & 787.653.8833 Economic Development Department Camara de Comercio de Puerto Rico 787.721.6060 787.645.1800 Cape Air 787.455.4216 Caribbean Consulting Caribbean Culinary Consulting, Inc. 787.722.1459 787.860.7777 Caribbean Food Products Corp.


METRO AREA Casino Metro @ Sheraton Puerto Rico 787.993.3500 Hotel & Casino Casino - The Ritz Carlton, 787.253.1700 San Juan Hotel, Spa & Casino Oasis Casino @ Embassy Suites 787.791.0505 San Juan Hotel & Casino Stellaris Casino @ San Juan 787.722.7000 Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino Tropical Casino @ Hyatt Place Bayamon 787.995.8300 OUT OF METRO AREA Casino Atlantico @ Hyatt Place Manati 787.854.7373 Casino Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort 787.259.7676 787.265.4200 Tropical Casino @ Holiday Inn & Tropical Casino Mayaguez

Casino Metro at Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino.



GUEST Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Carlos Jeep Rental Carolina Autonomous Municipality Turistic Development Office Carrion Carpet Cleaning Carrion Laffitte & Casellas, Inc. / Hub International CLC Casa Cortes Castillo Sightseeing Tour & Travel, Inc. Catamaran Spread Eagle CC1 Foods, LLC CentiMark Corporation Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A.Ferre Charter Coach / Gray Line Puerto Rico Cintas Corporation City Park Equipment City Sightseeing Claro Puerto Rico Club Nautico de San Juan CM Hotel Security Consultant Coco Beach Golf Club Colon & Colon, P.S.C. Concierge Medical Services, PSC Conwaste Services LLC Cooperativa de Porcicultores de Puerto Rico Cotton International, Inc. CPA Providencia Iglesias Culebra Beach Rental Dade Paper Co. DDC Design & Decor Center Yañez Diaz Delta Air Lines, Inc. DEO Juvante Media, Inc. Destileria Serralles, Inc. Destination Puerto Rico / Travel Services, Inc., a DMC Network Company Deya Elevators Service, Inc. Dollar Rent A Car Dorado Beach Resort & Club Draco - Risk Consulting Dragonfly Adventures DMC Duarte Waste DUSTCO EAS Systems, Inc. East Island Excursions, Inc.

305.443.3040 787.742.3514 787.701.5137 787.536.4445 787.641.2738 787.717.6772 787.728.2297 888.523.4511 787.876.9191 678.648.4641 787.724.4747 787.766.0789 787.250.8297 787.261.5159 787.447.6647 787.774.4248 787.722.0177 787.201.0041 787.657.2000 787.758.6060 787.692.2072 787.636.3660 787.273.7639 787.595.6599 877.511.2962 787.753.5695 787.767.7575 787.275.1414 787.782.2040 939.292.3067 787.236.3742 787.707.1000 787.982.1200 787.266.8777 787.791.5600 787.626.1060 787.395.7299 787.889.7430 787.756.0135 787.755.7700 787.284.4007 787.860.3434

EC Waste LLC EcoElectrica Ecolab Manufacturing, Inc. EGlobal EMP Group, Inc. Empire Gas Company, Inc., ‘La Compañia Jibara’ Enterprise, National and Alamo Car Rental Entrepreneurs Successful Group, LLC / DBA ‘Quedaste Retratao’ Escuela Hotelera de San Juan Eventos de Events Design Group, Inc. Executive Solutions Expedia.Com & Hotels.Com Explora PR Fedelta Insurance Corp. First Class Destination Solutions First Class Services, Inc. Flagship Services Corporation Flavors of San Juan Food & Culture Tours Foundation for Puerto Rico Frances Rios Communications Fruttery Company Fulcro Insurance, Inc. G4S Security Services, Inc. Gaither International, Inc. GBG Recycling Soutions, Inc. Geo Builders. Inc. Grand Events Group Services, Inc. Hacienda Muñoz HI Development Puerto Rico Corporation HMC PR Consultants, Inc. HMS Gaming, LLC Human Capital I Tour Puerto Rico, Inc. ICPR Junior College Innovations DMC Innovative Hospitality Solutions Instant 360 Instituto de Banca y Comercio-Manati Inter American University, Aguadilla Campus

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Golf Club in Rio Grande.



787.852.4444 787.836.2740 787.796.1290 801.663.3459 305.213.9842 787.751.5725 787.791.1805 787.667.0779 787.766.0606 787.629.6200 787.727.5903 787.925.1167 809.227.3028 787.900.7755 787.705.8547 787.296.5466 787.722.8536 787.791.2332 939.397.3343 787.773.1100 787.231.7347 805.350.5001 787.725.5880 787.641.3300 787.728.5757 787.946.0247 787.782.3301 787.775.0777 787.863.6890 787.396.4279 787.736.8427 787.723.0121 787.791.6270 800.381.6522 787.622.3380 787.244.0099 787.753.6000 787.215.3287 787.249.1859 888.266.5360 787.854.6634 787.891.3450

Inter American University Fajardo Campus Inter American University Ponce Campus Interactive DMC of Puerto Rico Interlink Development Counselors Co., Inc. International Business Solutons Island West Properties, Inc. Joe Colon Studio, Inc. Jose Santiago, Inc. Juan Santoni Kevane Grant Thornton LLP Kitchen Cleaning Services, Inc. Latin Financial, LLC LGA Strategies, LLC Lote 23 (El Market LLC) Lucerna Hospitality Lucre Ruisanchez & Associates, Corp. MABUDEG Corp. Marketing & Business Development Group. Macy’s Management Search & Supporting Services MCS Life Insurance Company Medal Sports Media & Marketing Partners Co. Mendez & Company, Inc. Microgreens del Caribe Mind Source Intl. Com MIPG Corp DBA Map Me Adventure Monteclaro Escuela de Hoteleria y Artes Culinarias Montequin Distributors, Inc. Municipio Autonomo de Mayaguez Nanny International Group, Inc. National Building Maintenance Nayda Cumpiano Consultant NPR Solutions Inc. O’Neill & Borges One Film & Video Productions Organizacion Pro Ambiente Sustentable Out of the Box Solutions, Inc. Palmas Athletic Club Corp. Pan American Grain Mfg., Inc. Pan Pepin, Inc. Para la Naturaleza, Fideicomiso de Conservación de Puerto Rico Paradigm Associates, Inc. Parguera Plaza Inc. Park Place, LLC Plaza Las Americas Plenativa Pontificia Universidad Catolica de PR Recinto de Mayaguez Portable Radio Solutions, LLC Portofino Development Corporation PR Seating Commercial Restaurant Furniture Presentation Services Audiovisuals Prime Janitorial Service Corporation Professional Security & Surveillance Serv. Inc. Puerto Rico Bartenders Association Puerto Rico Convention Center

787.863.2390 787.284.1912 787.396.3912 787.753.8455 787.671.4014 787.823.2323 787.724.6819 787.288.8835 787.510.2741 787.754.1915 787.993.5030 844.587.6775 787.963.1831 787.599.2807 787.462.1550 787.723.0290 787.238.8312 305.577.2012 787.758.7700 787.758.2500 787.632.7676 787.723.5220 787.793.8888 787.645.3181 787.248.1658 720.469.7551 787.888.1135 787.781.6390 787.832.1310 787.728.9999 787.758.6400 787.722.8023 787.799.5000 787.282.5767 787.649.6886 787.407.5829 787.708.6464 787.656.3000 787.273.6100 787.787.1717 787.722.5834 787.782.2929 787.362.0935 787.294.9388 787.767.5202 787.633.4181 787.834.5151 787.512.0433 787.837.3800 787.995.7034 787.300.6737 787.840.3942 787.472.3288 787.475.2855 787.722.3309

Puerto Rico Fast Ferries, LLC 787.791.2332 Puerto Rico General Distributing Company 787.757.3333 787.929.1920 Puerto Rico Internet Corporation Puerto Rico Premium Outlets 787.846.5344 Puerto Rico Shuttle 787.400.2100 787.710.1109 Puerto Rico Tour Desk Puerto Rico Tourism Company 787.721.2898 Ram-Sal Music & Entertainment 787.602.5667 Recurso: CIUDAD, PSC 787.647.0901 Redfeather Green Enery Development 518.369.2100 Red Sismica de Puerto Rico/UNIV PR 787.833.8433 Resort at Cayo Largo, LLC 787.791.2332 RM Productions 787.728.4947 Rodriguez, Rivera & Toro 787.834.3100 Royal Star Limousine 787.253.2355 RST-Rico Suntours 787.722.2080 Rulifes Wellness Integral 787.515.7796 Sagrado Corazon University 787.728.1515 San Juan, Ciudad Patria, 787.722.0200 Oficina de Turismo 787.880.1131 Save A Life, International Corp. 787.409.7831 Say I Do in Puerto Rico Scholarship Foundation for Hotel 787.977.3393 and Tourism Studies Seaborne Airlines 787.946.8257 Seagull at the Sea 787.796.0099 Sons Advertising Specialties 787.728.7059 Sprint 787.775.6700 StageBoom 787.605.0959 Starlight Advertising 787.745.8700 615.824.8664 STR (Smith Travel Research) SuperClubs Puerto Rico, LLC 787.644.0021 Surfside Palmas Resorts 787.850.3030 787.731.4551 Swirl Corp. 787.300.8959 Synapse Social Media, LLC System Shred 787.784.5220 Tables Magazine 410.837.1116 787.671.2418 Tamboricua, Inc. Team Works 787.626.6423 Technetpr Systems 787.586.6017 The Entertainers PR: Care for Kids 787.423.9639 The Mall of San Juan 787.759.6262 The Wonderful Company 787.509.9700 Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park 787.867.6606 Tour Coop of Puerto Rico 787.762.7155 Tropic Ocean Airwaves 800.767.0897 Tropical Weddings 787.671.1690 Tropigas de Puerto Rico 787.641.8002 TrueBle Hospitality 787.765.3226 Union Church of San Juan 787.726.0280 Universidad del Este 787.257.7373 UPR Carolina, School of Hotel & 787.257.0000 Restaurant Administration 787.792.1212 V. Suarez & Co., Inc. Vacation Rental-Bahia Beach 787.809.8848 Vamonos Tours, Inc. 888.366.6121 Velauno Paddleboarding 787.728.8716 Vieques Air Link 787.523.1660 Villa Ensenada Inn 787.823.5807 Vitrifrigo America LLC 954.979.7737 VITRO Caribe 787.996.0910 Vivo Beach Club 787.648.5655 Yellow Media Group 787.304.4444

THE YACHT-MASTER II The ultimate skippers’ watch, steeped in yachting competition and performance, featuring an innovative regatta chronograph with a unique programmable countdown. It doesn’t just tell time. It tells history.



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Bienvenidos Edición 2018  
Bienvenidos Edición 2018