This is a busy month in Puerto Rico. February welcomes the biggest celebration of the year in the Ponce Carnival, the region's preeminent classical music festival in the Caribbean, and sports events that bring the Harlem Globetrotters, runners and sky divers to the island. Add a BBQ fest and whale watching, and you've got something going on all month long.
- Nothing eclipses the pageantry of the Ponce Carnival, an event that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Puerto Rico's Second City each year.
- The Casals Festival, Caribbean's premier classical music event, begins in February and extends through March.
- It's prime whale-watching season on the west coast of Puerto Rico, and there are several boats that will take you out and get you up close to migrating humpback whales.
- February 1: The Harlem Globetrotters bring their unique brand of basketball to the Coliseum with their Fans Rule World Tour.
February 6-8: Dubbed the "Best Half Marathon in the World." the San Blas Half Marathon brings athletes from around the world and an expected 250,000 spectators to Coamo.
- February 8-9: If you're a fan of equestrian events, don't miss the 25th Annual Felix Santiago International Championship in Ponce, and catch the majesty and pageantry of paso fino horses.
- February 9: Bobby Valentín invites you to an afternoon of Salsa on the Bay at the newly renovated Bahía Urbana park by the cruise ship piers in Old San Juan.
- February 12-16: Think you're a daredevil? How would you stack up against these guys? Launching from Arecibo, Xtreme launches its annual freefall festival just before Valentine's Day.
- February 14: Valentine's Day is quite popular on the island. Check my blog for special deals and dinner offers at hotels and restaurants. Or you can catch über-crooner Enrique Iglesias at the Coliseum.
February 15-16: Puerto Rico's first Circo Fest, or International Circus & Street Performers of Puerto Rico Festival, comes to Old San Juan's San Francisco Street. Admission is whatever you feel is worth it for the performance.
- February 23: The World's Best 10K Race has become the largest family sports event in Puerto Rico, drawing more than 10,000 people a year. Its been held annually in Puerto Rico since 1998.
February 22-23: The 7th Annual Cattlemen's BBQ Competition takes over the Puerto Rico convention center. It's the largest barbecue competition in the Caribbean, and is open to all entrants.
- February 22-March 15: The internationally renowned Casals Festival is the premier classical music festival in the Caribbean, a storied tradition that brings the world's best performers to Puerto Rico. This year that list includes violinist Joshua Bell, pianist André Watts, and fiddler Viktoria Mullova, to name just a few. Events will be held at the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center in San Juan.
February 26-March 4: The Ponce Carnival is Puerto Rico's answer to Mardi Gras, Rio'd Carnaval, and every other pre-Lent celebration. And if New Orleans has its beaded revelers and Rio its costumed dancers, Puerto Rico has its Vejigantes, elaborately masked figures representing local folkloric demons.
February 27-March2: The small town of Guaynabo has an interesting carnival that it has held since 1976 in honor of Mabó, a local Taíno Indian chieftain.
- Throughout February: Whale-watching season continues in the west coast of Puerto Rico, when humpback whales can be spotted off the coast. An excellent spot to see them is the observation park at the Rincón lighthouse.