I was told before we left for Puerto Rico that we were going at a great time of year because there would be a very popular festival going on in San Juan, las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, or el SanSe for short. It is a festival that celebrates the end of the holiday season in Puerto Rico, and gives everyone one last chance to eat, drink and be merry. And boy, do they.
The first night we arrived we headed to the festival to get an idea of what it was like. The festival takes place in the streets of Old San Juan so we needed to take a cab to get there from our hotel that was in Isla Verde. Although it was the first, and calmer night of the festival, there were still hundreds of people in the streets. There were two stages, one that played live salsa music and another that was playing club like, electronic music. Also there were a lot of free handouts since it was a great even to promote your product to all kinds of people. I got so many packets of gum, drinks, and snacks and other items that made it a fun event.
There, of course, were food vendors that were set up in the plazas by the music stages. The most common item were pinchos, or like any good festival, meat grilled on a stick. There were other sweets or fried foods that you could get but the most popular thing to consume were drinks.
I’m not a big fan of clowns but here were a lot of street performers, like at any festival. I was just surprised that they could walk around in stilts on cobblestone streets!
We heard that Friday and Saturday night can get a little crazy at the festival so we didn’t go back until Sunday. We really wanted to see Old San Juan during the day to appreciate all its beautifully painted buildings and architecture. Sunday of the festival is more of the family day so the crowd wasn’t as rowdy but that also meant that everyone and their mother, literally, was there.
We also spent some time checking out the Castillo de San Cristobal which was built as a military fort. We didn’t take an official tour but rather just climbed around on it and took pictures. At one point we made a new friend, an iguana! He came running out of his hiding place to say “hi.”