Because we could all use a vacation right about now.

By Alisha Prakash
March 26, 2020
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Let’s not beat around the bush: Your weekends have been looking a little lackluster these days. Us too. Even worse, your version of a trip entails traveling from the kitchen to the living room and back again. Us too.

Thankfully, all of that is about to change.

Discover Puerto Rico is inviting those confined to their home to spend a weekend on the island — virtually, of course. From March 27 through April 30, you’ll be able to learn how to salsa dance, craft cocktails, cook some globally-inspired food, and more — all for free. Two new virtual activities will be revealed weekly on the Discover Puerto Rico social channels, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico

“We take great responsibility in helping stop the spread of COVID-19, so we’re not encouraging travelers to visit us right now as everyone needs to stay safe in their homes,” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, in a statement. “Instead, we want to extend an important part of our culture – our salsa music and dancing, our mixology, and our delicious cuisine – to uplift people during these challenging times. We encourage travelers to daydream about our island now and consider a visit later, when the time is right.”

With that in mind, here is a sneak peek at your weekend itinerary.

Friday, March 27 (8 - 9 p.m. ET): Learn How to Salsa Dance

Courtesy of Tito Ortos and Tamara Livolsi

Make the most of your temporary homebound situation by picking up a new skill. Strap on your dancing shoes and join Tito Ortos, choreographer to the stars and director of the San Juan City Salsa Dance Program, and his partner, Tamara Livolsi, for a fun evening of hip-shaking, toe-tapping moves. (Ortos also danced in movies like "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," and both instructors work as judges for the World Salsa Summit and World Salsa Championships, so you can be sure you’re in good hands.) The lesson, which will include a rundown of fundamental salsa steps and a full-on dance party, can be streamed for free via Zoom (use meeting ID 293-759-126 to join). All skill levels welcome.

Saturday, March 28 (7 - 7:30 p.m. ET): Craft Refreshing Cocktails

Courtesy of La Factoria

Your virtual weekend escape continues with a cocktail-making session, which will successfully fuel your daydream of sipping delicious drinks on a beach. Leading the lesson is Roberto Berdecia, co-owner of the famous La Factoria in Old San Juan, which rose to fame following its appearance in the music video of the popular song Despacito. To participate, join via Instagram Live at @discoverpuertorico.

Sunday, March 29 (7 - 7:30 p.m. ET): Cook Globally-inspired Food

Get a taste of the island from the comfort of your own kitchen, thanks to this cooking demo with Puerto Rican chef Wilo Benet of Wilo Eatery & Bar. During the half-hour tutorial, you’ll learn to whip up some of the chef’s favorite dishes. For a sneak peek, Bennet, a Culinary Institute of America graduate who also authored "Puerto Rico True Flavors" and served as a guest chef of the James Beard Foundation, described his culinary style as “contemporary global cuisine, a concept that combines traditional Puerto Rican ingredients with Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Spanish, Italian, French, and Arab influences.” In other words, it’s just what you need to break up the boredom of staring into your fridge, wondering what to eat, every hour. To join, you’ll want to head over to Instagram Live at @discoverpuertorico.

Friday, April 3 (6 - 6:40 p.m. ET): Enjoy a Bomba Dance Performance

Let loose after a long week and get your body grooving to the rhythm while watching this vibrant dance performance. Sheila Osorio and musician Marcos Peñazola Cruz will put on quite the show featuring bomba, a traditional Afro-Puerto Rican dance, which originated in the Puerto Rican town of Loiza. Tune in on Instagram Live at @discoverpuertorico.

Saturday, April 4 (7 p.m. ET): Whip Up a Traditional Puerto Rican Meal

Stuck on what to cook for dinner? Bring the flavors of Puerto Rico home with this cooking demo from Juliana Gonzalez, chef at Caña Restaurant at the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel. Check out the Instagram Live at @discoverpuertorico to join.

And don't forget, you can find more virtual activities each week on Discover Puerto Rico's Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages.