Old San Juan
San Sebastian Street Festival (SanSe)
GROUP LIMITED TO TEN (10) PARTICIPANTS
January 15-20, 2020
Reservation Deadline – September 1, 2019
At the center of this program is the 2020 San Sebastian Street Festival in Old San Juan. Our participation in the San Sebastian Street Festival will include the opening ceremony, parades, arts and crafts exhibits and live music entertainment in different plazas.
Called "La Ciudad Amurallada," (The Walled City), San Juan was founded in 1521. In 1508 Juan Ponce de León founded the original settlement, Caparra, behind the almost landlocked harbor just to the west of the present metropolitan area. The settlement was abandoned and moved to the site of what is now called Old San Juan. San Juan is one of the biggest and best natural harbors in the Caribbean and is the second oldest city in the Americas.
During our first day our Program Leader and a Puerto Rican architect will lead a full day walking tour through the narrow streets of Old San Juan to experience five centuries of Spanish Caribbean history. We will become acquainted with significant architectural features of the city, historical sites, forts, plazas, cultural centers, fountains, museums, and galleries and with Old San Juan lively people's cultural life and idiosyncrasy.
In addition to our participation in the main venues of the San Sebastian Street Festival, we will expand on our understanding of Puerto Rican culture when will visit the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico, a modern five-story structure in a 1920 neo-classic building. The Museum supports Puerto Rico's 500 years old tradition in painting, sculpture, graphics, ceramics, folk art, photography and other contemporary media; nothing like art history to learn the history of a nation. In addition, we will get a glance at contemporary arts visiting the Puerto Rican Contemporary Art Museum. Founded in 1984, the Puerto Rican Museum of Contemporary Art was the result of collaboration between a number of generous artists and the civil society to create a collection of a variety of art forms and contemporary art expressions.
To experience Puerto Rican dance and music we will explore night entertainment venues.
$ 2600 single room
$ 2200 per person in a double room
Opening ceremony and dedication of the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián.
Over 350 artisans will be displaying and selling works at Cuartel de Ballajá, plazas and along
San Sebastian Street
Photos courtesy of Puerto Rico Historic Buildings Drawings Society
THE VIBRANT SAN SEBASTIAN STREET FESTIVAL
Amongst the cobblestone streets, restored buildings from the sixteenth and seventeenth century, and the charm of a district in Puerto Rico that has existed for more than four hundred and ninety years, tourists often loose themselves in an ocean of attractions. They come here to explore the history of Old San Juan, try their hand at the casino, take walks along the picturesque beaches and explore the noteworthy sights and attractions, such as the Plaza de San Jose, Plaza del Quinto Centenario and Plaza de Armas. But in January, they come to take part in a tradition that is rooted in the culture of Puerto Rico, the San Sebastian Street Festival.
The annual celebration of the San Sebastian Street Festival has been taking place for more than fifty years. It is a festival that was created for the local community, giving artists and handcraft traders the opportunity to exhibit their work, as well as to bring business to the area. The plan worked better than expected, as within a few years thousands of tourists flocked to Puerto Rico to attend the San Sebastian Street Festival, creating a lucrative tourist industry and bringing business and prosperity to an almost forgotten district.
During the day, the streets of Old San Juan are jam packed with people, food stalls, live music, artists, craft exhibits and vendors. The only way to reach San Sebastian Street is on foot as no vehicle of any kind will be able to make it through the mass of festival enthusiasts. It is an eventthat is looked forward to all year and the parades of color and noise attract thousands of spectators who come to see the parade participants in their vibrant costumes and traditional vejigantes masks.
Many might think that as night falls, while the artists start to pack up their stalls and the municipal workers come in to clean the streets, that the festival is over for the day, but they would be wrong. It can be viewed as the calm before the storm. At night, the massive stage that has been set up sets the musical and rhythmic tone for dancers to show off their best salsa and merengue moves, drinking beer and partying the night away.
The San Sebastian Street Festival is a lively and energetic event that sets Old San Juan on fire. It is a magnificent blend of art, rhythm, entertainment and enjoyment that starts when the sun rises, and gains more momentum when it sets. The festival has become one of the vital tourist attractions in Puerto Rico, a time for dance and laughter.