With weeks of self-isolation ahead, more and more destinations are rolling out virtual versions of local activities. Puerto Rico was one of the first places to do so with dance lessons, cooking classes, and cocktail-making from afar – and now the island is keeping the party going throughout the month.
April’s offerings are still being finalized, but rum tastings and wellness experiences are on deck. The schedule will feature two events a week, with each week’s slate announced on Discover Puerto Rico’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. So far, the US territory’s programming has covered salsa dancing with choreographer Tito Ortos via Zoom and bomba with Sheila Osorio and musician Marcos Peñazola Cruz via Instagram Live, straight from Loíza, where the traditional Afro-Puerto Rican dance was born.
Roberto Berdecía, the co-owner of buzzy San Juan drinking dens La Factoría and Jungle Bird, led a cocktail-making tutorial starring one of his favorites, the piña colada – the national drink was invented on the island, though where, when, and by whom is up for debate. And renowned local chefs Wilo Benet, of Wilo Eatery & Bar, and Juliana Gonzalez, of the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel’s Caña Restaurant, gave cooking demos of dishes like onion soup and arroz mamposteao.
In between those escapist episodes, there’s also “Discover Puerto Rico with Lin-Manuel,” a YouTube series in which the uber-talented multi-hyphenate gives an overview of his favorite locations on the island, from colorful Old San Juan to beachy Isla Verde.
"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,” Discover Puerto Rico CEO Brad Dean said in a press release. “We encourage travelers to daydream about our island now and consider a visit later, when the time is right. In the meantime, we're excited to join them in their living rooms for this virtual getaway.”