Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cruising From Puerto Rico

Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Looking for an exotic vacation without the inconvenience of numerous airports and hotels?  Taking a cruise from Puerto Rico is your answer.

The main port for a Puerto Rico cruise is San Juan.  San Juan is the second largest cruise port in the Western Hemisphere.  The city welcomes over a million cruise ship passengers every year.  In San Juan, you will either meet up with your ship, or just stay for the day, if you plan on visiting other Caribbean islands.  Meeting up with your ship in San Juan, is usually more convenient if your traveling from the States, as it saves you the time of cruising from different departure ports in the mainland, and getting you faster to the Caribbean.  The Caribbean, is the most popular destination in the world for the cruise ship industry, and Puerto Rico is one of the most popular places to visit. 

The cruise terminals are located in the San Juan Bay (Bahia de San Juan).  The ships dock in two places: In Old San Juan, where you walk off the ship, into the center of this historic city.  The other location, is on the other side of the bay, at the Pan American terminal, across from the Convention Center.  

These are some of the cruise lines that schedule cruises to Puerto Rico: Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise, Cunard, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and Royal Caribbean.

These are some of the destinations served by the cruise lines: Aruba, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Florida, Jamaica, Mexico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.

A Puerto Rico cruise will allow you to explore the top attractions of this exotic island.  There is so much to see, and do, and cruising takes care of your food and lodging accommodations throughout your travels.

Bon voyage! 


Monday, January 24, 2011

Puerto Rican Food In Los Angeles


If you live or are visiting  Los Angeles, California, make sure to stop by Mofongos Comida Caribena, the only Puerto Rican restaurant in Los Angeles.  If you are looking for authentic food from Puerto Rico, this is the spot.  Mofongos Restaurant is small (they are currently expanding), and Puerto Rican decorations are proudly displayed.  The restaurant is located in the North Hollywood Arts District.  Their signature dish is mofongo, a bowl of mashed plantains where seafood, meat, or vegetable is added.  I went to the restaurant on a recent visit, their mofongo was delicious with a homemade taste, as well as the other items on the menu:  
Steak and onions with rice and pigeon peas/arroz con gandules, pasteles/Puerto Rican tamales, sorullitos de maiz/cornsticks, and alcapurrias.

Arroz Con Gandules
Sorullitos De Maiz

So, if you are having cravings for Puerto Rican food, or if you have never tasted food from Puerto Rico, head over to Mofongos Restaurant.            


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

La Vuelta Puerto Rico: The Cycling Tour Of Puerto Rico

Looking for a challenge to start the new year?  Have you gained a few pounds during the holidays?  La Vuelta Puerto Rico could be a fun and adventurous challenge for you, and at the same time help you eliminate those extra pounds.

La Vuelta Puerto Rico is the ultimate cycling adventure, in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, for athletes with the ability, and stamina to complete the tour.  La Vuelta (The Tour) is a loop around the entire island.  The Tour is a fast-paced, fully supported, three-day, 375-mile ride.  La Vuelta is not a race, but a tour with three different pace groups of riders, cycling together at their respective speeds along the course ( with no-drop policy so slower riders are not left behind ).  La Vuelta Puerto Rico is held every year in January.  This year, La Vuelta will take place January 28-30, 2011.

Along the tour you will enjoy breathtaking landscapes, stunning ocean views, and beautiful coastal towns few visitors, to the island, ever get to experience.  In addition La Vuelta, offers optional excursions to Old San Juan, El Yunque Rain Forest, and Bioluminescent Bay, so you can visit and experience the top attractions of Puerto Rico.

Currently, close to 600 cyclist have registered to participate in the three-day event.  Bikes are available for rent or cyclist can bring their own bikes. 

Be a part of La Vuelta Puerto Rico 2011.  To register click here.

Take a look at La Vuelta Puerto Rico 2010:


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How To Make Arroz Con Gandules (Rice With Pork & Pigeon Peas): A Favorite In Puerto Rico

Ingredients to make arroz con gandules
Arroz con gandules (Rice with Pork & Pigeon Peas) is a favorite dish in Puerto Rico.
Arroz con gandules is enjoyed all year through,  especially during the Christmas season.


2 Pork Chops (bone in) cut into bite
size pieces, including bone
Garlic Powder
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Pam Spray (Olive Oil)
1-16 oz can Goya green pigeon peas*
3-4 Tablespoons of prepared Goya
"Sofrito" *
1 envelope Goya Sazon with cilantro and
achiote *
1-8 oz can tomato sauce
2 Knorr ham broth cubes
1-1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
Several dashes of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cilantro leaves
3-1/3 cups water, including liquid from gandules
1-1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cups short grain rice

Wash pork pieces and season with salt and garlic
powder, to taste.
Saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan
until golden brown and almost done.

Spray the bottom and sides of a 4-quart
microwaveable pot, with Pam spray.

Add all the ingredients to the pot, except for pork
gandules, olive oil, liquid, salt, garlic powder,
and rice.  Stir the ingredients.
Microwave covered, for 4 minutes on High.

Drain the liquid from gandules, measure
and add enough water to make 3-1/3
cups.  Add the gandules, pork, and 1/2 of the
liquid to the pot. Microwave covered on High Power
for 15 minutes.

Stir the ingredients.  Add rice, remaining liquid
and olive oil to pot.  Stir well.  At this time, you
should taste.  If needed, add additional salt and/or
garlic powder.
Microwave covered for 15 minutes on high Power. 

Stir well, bringing rice on the bottom to the top.
Cover, and microwave for 16 -18 minutes at Medium power.

Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.  Taste rice to
make sure it is cooked and that all the water has
been absorbed.

If after the resting time, you find that the water is
not completely absorbed, cover rice with paper
towel.  Microwave covered for 4 to 5 minutes more
at Medium power.

If, on the other hand, you find that rice needs more
cooking, place 4 to 5 ice cubes on top of rice.
Microwave covered for an additional 4 to 5 minutes
at Medium Power.

Place on serving dish.  Serve with roast pork,
roast turkey, or baked ham.

Buen provecho (bon appetit).

* Available at most Hispanic supermarkets.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shania Twain Finds Puerto Rico Is The Place For A Wedding

Country singer Shania Twain, has married Swiss businessman, Frederic Thiebaud on New Year's Day in Rincon, Puerto Rico.  Twain and Thiebaud have found Puerto Rico Is The Place for a wedding.  Rincon, Puerto Rico is on the west coast of the island.  It has been reported, that the wedding ceremony took place at a private mansion, at sunset, in front of 40 guests.  Twain, confirmed her engagement to Thiebaud on December 20.  The couple have been dating since 2009.  Congratulations to the happy couple!

For more on the wedding:


San Sebastian Festival: Mardi Gras In Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico celebrates The San Sebastian (Saint Sebastian) Festival every January.  It is a big festival that resembles Mardi Gras.  Every year, thousands of Puerto Ricans await for the arrival of the "Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian."  This year The San Sebastian Festival will be held Thursday, January 13 through Sunday, January 16, 2011.  For four straight days Puerto Ricans from all over the island, flock to San Sebastian Street in Old San Juan, to celebrate Puerto Rico's culture.

Saint Sebastian was a martyr who died in the name of Christianity, during the height of the Roman Empire.  Originally, the festival began as a way to commemorate his life.

The traditional "Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian" bring more than just music to the festival.  The festivities include: traditional parades with the "Cabezudos" ( which are people wearing giant heads made of peppier mache), folkloric dancing, traditional and contemporary music, food and art exhibitions.  Live bands perform on stage with a variety of Salsa, and bomba y plena groups.  People can also participate in the "Rumblon de Plena," where anyone can join with other participants and musical instruments, like "panderos" in singing and dancing.  All this great music, and joyous celebration can go until the early hours of the morning. 

The San Sebastian Festival has become the largest community cultural event on the island, and it also marks the end of the Christmas season in Puerto Rico.  Make plans to join the festivities of The San Sebastian Festival.  The "Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian" is an experience not to be missed.

Have you been to the "Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian"?  What was your experience?

Take a look at these videos from the San Sebastian Festival: