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dec 22 2008

This weekend: Puerto Rico's annual holiday mask festival

(Courtesy oscalito/Flickr)

Our online trip coaches always have inside information and tips for us. Stephen Keeling, author of the first-edition "Rough Guide to Puerto Rico," recently told us about a nifty festival happening this weekend on the island. Here it is, in his words:

The Hatillo mask festival (Festival de las Máscaras) is one of Puerto Rico's most exuberant celebrations, so you are in for a real treat! Held on December 28, the festival actually commemorates King Herod's attempt to kill baby Jesus by ordering the murder of all first born sons. These days it's a big party; the men of the town wear florid masks and costumes to collect money for local churches or charities (with as many pranks as possible), there's a big parade with floats, lots of mouth-watering food and plenty of music and dancing.

Given the thousands that turn up to celebrate, visiting the festival can be tricky! The best way would be stay near the town: the Parador El Buen Café is a decent three-star hotel on the main highway just outside Hatillo. Once there, the hotel should be able to help with local taxis. Failing that, you can drive to Hatillo from San Juan in around one hour, but I'd leave really early!

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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