Every Year, Puerto Rico Rings in Summer With an All-day Beach Party and Midnight Swim
Every year on June 23, “Noche de San Juan” — the eve of the feast day for Saint John the Baptist — turns into a day-long celebration in Puerto Rico. Although the summer solstice occurs two days prior, it marks the true kick-off to summer for everyone on the island.
Saint John the Baptist feast day is celebrated in many countries around the world, including Denmark, Ireland, and Spain, but no one does it quite like Puerto Rico. The city of San Juan is named after the saint, and statues can be found throughout the island. For Puerto Ricans and tourists alike, this day celebrates the start of an exciting holiday season spent at the beach.
Travel + Leisure sent photographer Marisol Pesquera to document the celebrations at Isla Verde Beach in Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Early in the morning, you could feel “the calm before the storm”; the busiest streets of San Juan and Carolina were quiet compared to a typical day. But local beaches told a different story, as the party had already begun very early in the morning by the water thanks to the holiday falling on a Sunday this year.
Marisol walked the 6.5 miles of shoreline on Isla Verde Beach and Hobie Beach throughout the day to fully capture the crowds who visit for San Juan’s celebration.
Noche de San Juan is one of the busiest beach days in Puerto Rico. Beach-goers set up camp with barbecues for day-long cookouts, playing the sounds of salsa, merengue, and reggaeton music on loud speakers, and sipping on the beer of choice, Medalla.
The day begins as family and friends play Dominoes and practice beach sports.
Dogs are invited to join in on the fun, too.
This celebration is also about ridding life of negative energy with at least three backward plunges at the stroke of midnight — though some do 7 or 12 dives.
It is also one of the best beach days to surround yourself with friends and family, sharing food and drinks with your neighbors, and dancing.
As midnight approaches, the long day ends with splashing in the rejuvenating ocean.
After a full day at the beach, not everyone makes it until 12 a.m., but those who do wash away bad vibes and welcome a fresh beginning with good luck for the year to come.
Noche de San Juan ended with the moon peeking above buildings in the distance. This special celebration in the Caribbean waters is worth traveling for, especially if you are looking for a bit of luck. And who isn't?