Saturday, July 12, 2008

When to Visit Puerto Rico?

With Puerto Rico struggling to reclaim its tourist industry, visiting this exotic island is more economical than ever.

"When to visit?" is the next question that will come to mind. The weather is nice all year round and while you need to be cognizant of hurricane season (June through November), the mountainous coastline serves to protect much of the inland island from the fury of hurricanes.

Nearly every Puerto Rican town has a Saint's Day and those celebrations can go on for a single day, days in a row and in some cases for an entire week. The celebrations themselves are a melding of pagan and Catholic iconography and Indian, African and Spanish traditions all rolled into one celebration. Along with the long honored religious traditions there is also a lot of food, music, dancing and costumed processions through the towns.

One great fest to catch is the Fiesta de San Juan Bautista (Festival of St John the Baptist) in San Juan in late June, which wonderfully fuses the religious and the secular. The highlight of the parade is a communal luck-enhancing midnight walk backwards into the sea.

Early February brings Mayagúez's twinkling La Virgen de la Candelaria and Loíza's jubilant Fiesta de Santiago Apostal, which takes place late July and celebrates the town's African heritage with parades, drum ensembles and lots of music and dancing.

Old San Juan is the place to be the 3rd week of January and of course if you want to celebrate Carnival, schedule a visit to Ponce and feel the Madres Gras-like spirit that comes only with Carnival. Ponce, where revellers dress up in horned masks for dancing and parades, is the best place to celebrate Carnival in February. Love music? Check out San Juan's Casals Festival which honors Pablo Casals, the famous cellist who came to call Puerto Rico home. This fest draws classical musicians from all over the world and is a major cultural event.

And those are just a few more reasons to visit the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, grab your birth certificate, get your passport and come on!

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

U.S. and Puerto Rico Dispute Ancient Artifacts Ownership

In San Juan, there is a lady that was carved in rock over 800-years ago and it depicts a detailed scene. She's squatting down on frog-like legs and her decapitated head is dangling off on the right side. It's graphic and has sparked an ownership debate.

The carving had been serenely sitting on a rock bank for around 800-years and then in 2007, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers came upon her last year while building a $375 million dam to control flooding in the region. And then a fight for the artifact began.

The petroglyph is considered one of the most significant found in the Caribbean. The artifacts were sent to Georgia for analysis. Once the artifacts were in the United States, the U.S. began claiming ownership for the find because the artifacts
because they were discovered during a United States funded construction site.

As the debate raged, Puerto Rico ended it. The artifacts were buried again last week with the hope that someday specialists will study her and Puerto Rican children will visit and learn about the lives of the Taino Indians, who have been extinct for over 500 years, that created the petroglyphs.

Source : http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/5873538.html