A wedding is a joyous celebration and that is no different in Puerto Rico. There are a few traditions that are associated with a conventional Puerto Rican marriage. One of these traditions is the offering of the bride and groom a beverage called caf? con leche and is served in coconut cups.
The Bride’s Bouquet
Bridal bouquets in Puerto Rico are abundant with the amapola, which is a traditional flower often used at a Puerto Rican wedding. The bouquet may also contain a fan as it is a part of traditional wedding attire in Puerto Rico. The maids of honor also carry bouquets made of amapola flowers whether real or silk, and fans as these things are said to signify good luck for the couple.
Traditional Wedding Favors
Typical wedding favors presented to guests at a Puerto Rican wedding are called capias. They are narrow ribbons imprinted with the names of the bride and groom on one end and the date of the wedding on the other. The bride and groom snip them off the bouquet before they are pinned upon their guests by the happy newlyweds.
The Wedding Ceremony
A Puerto Rican wedding ceremony is similar to most others except for one thing. During the wedding ceremony, a priest will bless a plate of coins and gives it to the groom. Once the wedding vows have been exchanged, the groom gives the same plate of coins to his new wife as a gift to her. This gift is a symbol of prosperity and good luck for the marrying pair. While the ceremony is being performed, you can usually hear the soft strains of the sounds of coqui, lending the atmosphere a most romantic air.
At the Reception
Puerto Rican custom dictates that at the head of the main table, a doll that is similarly dressed as the bride is placed. The doll is covered with charms and these charms are passed out to the wedding guests. A typical Puerto Rican wedding cake is decorated with seashells and is often a rum, pineapple or coconut flavor.
Puerto Rican weddings are chock full of delicious foods and joyous music. For their first dance, the bride and groom might choose a traditional Puerto Rican waltz called a “danza criolla.” Centerpieces are usually made from palm trees and utilize “abeto” ferns and then decorated with shells. Candles are also popular as decorations at a traditional Puerto Rican wedding.
Cabarete in the Dominican Republic has long been known for its fantastic kite surfing beaches that attract droves of college aged travelers from around the world. Cabarete is a popular destination where the young come to surf, drink, tan, and party.
Most people don’t realize that Puerto Plata’s towns of Sosua and Cabarete offer much more that a few all inclusive resorts. This is particularly true if you’re younger and looking for a place to have a few nights of romance.
By day Cabarete is a quiet little beach town, only a few miles long. By night it becomes a happening beach strip. Unlike its neighbor Sosua, Cabarete is known more for its European travelers than for the working girl locals.
There are a strip of restaurants along that beach with outdoor seating. These restaurants are a great place to catch dinner and watch the sunset. Once the sun goes down the restaurants turn into nightclubs. There is Casanovas, Ohm, Blue, and a handful of others that offer late night drinking and dancing.
The party does not stop at these clubs though. Once these clubs shut down the truly vibrant head over to the Casino where the action goes well into the morning. The Casino is the after hours place that offers a trendy nightclub and gambling. What else do you need?
Cabarete is a small town and if you find yourself up for adventure you are just a quick cab ride away from Sosua where the streets are filled with “beach bars.” Beach bars are small open bars, mostly frequented by Dominican working girls. Even if that doesn’t sound like your scene its worth it just for the experience.
My recommendation for those of you heading to Cabarete is to rent a condo or villa instead of booking a week at a hotel. While a hotel might offer some nice luxuries you will most likely wind up missing out on the fantastic Cabarete nightlife.
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The Caribbean is the world’s number one choice for cruise goers, and it’s no wonder why. With their jaunts through clear blue waters, beautiful beaches, and tropical climates, today’s Caribbean cruises offer the vacationer a taste of paradise on Earth.
The peak cruise season runs through the winter months, when people are trying to find relief from the cold weather of harsher climes. Because more people are looking to travel in the Caribbean, cruise fares will be higher at that time. Some savvy travelers like to tour the islands in the early spring, when fares have come down, and the temperatures are still tropically mild.
The best part of taking a Caribbean cruise is the accessibility. There’s no need to go all the way to the South Pacific to find unspoiled tropic islands; you can find them right next to the USA’s front door, in the West Indies. This arc of islands, curving from the northern coast of South America to Cuba, just south of Florida, includes such lovely Caribbean cruise destinations as St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. Adjacent mainland areas, like the Yucatan Peninsula, or the Gulf Coast of Mexico, are also sometimes included in Caribbean cruise packages.
On a Caribbean cruise, you’ll make port of call stops at these and other harbors, where you can taste the slow pace of life, and easy going nature of living in the tropics. Each island has a unique history, blending the cultures of the original inhabitants and the colonial-era powers to make an ambience like nowhere else in the world.
At each port-of-call on Caribbean cruises , you’ll be able to book tours of the island. You can choose from attractions such as historic forts, plantation recreations, and white sand beaches.
The Caribbean isn’t just about taking it easy on a slow boat, though. For the younger crowd, destinations like Cancun, Mexico, or Kingston, Jamaica offer a party atmosphere, and a non-stop carnival ambience. And at every port, cruise-goers can sample the local foods: conch chowders, fresh fish, and the famous West Indian rum. So give your next vacation a calypso beat, in the Caribbean.
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A town hidden from the luxury resorts of Puerto Rico; simple, charming and antiquated, Old San Juan is a historic landmark for the country, a cluttered jut of white and creme buildings, palm trees, and dilapidated walls that trace an outline of the town.
San Juan offers all the quaint, old-world Spanish elements one would expect from a Caribbean town prefixed with “Old”. In the summer months, the temperature and humidity are raging, but the city retains its perpetual beauty. The brave tourists, those not to be thwarted by heat, discover what was the scene for many famous movies, the infamous Cathedral of San Juan, San Cristobal Fort, a field of marble graves and statues, and much more striking scenery.
What visitors are initially taken by are the narrow cobblestone streets and passageways that circulate throughout; curvaceous and erratic, they mount and sink with the town’s inconsistent elevation. Tiendas are scattered throughout the town, but what dignifies Old San Juan are the extravagant cultural and governmental structures and vestiges of a civilization that no longer exists.
Venturing to Old San Juan is a trip suggested for the early and later months of the year. As the weather is at its coolest and breeziest state, the potential for experiencing the town and not leaving with your clothes plastered to your body is greatest.
Renting a car or commuting the town by taxi is an option but, because of the confining nature of the streets, is an option that is commonly nixed for walking. If not for the history, the culture, a change of pace to compliment the beautiful hotels in Puerto Rico, visit Old San Juan for the lush scenery and the vivid memories.
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