Surviving San Sebastian Street Festival – Old San Juan
2017 San Sebastian Street Festival
The 2017 San Sebastian Street Festival kicks off in Old San Juan on Thursday Jan 19 until Sunday Jan 22, 2017. This is the largest festival in Puerto Rico with thousands of locals and visitors descending on Old San Juan to PARTY by day and by night. Think Mardis Gras or Notting Hill Carnival to get an idea.
You can find the 2017 San Sebastian Street Festival Schedule here.
There will also be be around 350 local artisans and a host musical groups taking part over the 4 days.
Saying that Old San Juan is going to be busy is an understatement. For those of you planning on attending the Festival or just staying in or visiting Old San Juan; here are my Survival Tips for the San Sebastian Street Festival
- If you are NOT staying in Old San Juan, plan to arrive there as early as possible. Traffic into Old San Juan is going to be extremely heavy and slow due to the influx of festival goers and road closures. On Thursday and Friday private cars will be stopped from entering at 6pm. On Saturday and Sunday car traffic will be stopped at 11am (these times may change depending on how quickly the Old San Juan Car Parks fill up
- Rather than drive into Old San Juan, consider taking the ferry from either Hato Rey or Catano – just make sure you know when the last ferry leaves Old San Juan (Thurs until midnight, Friday & Saturday until 1am, Sunday 10pm)
- Paid parking will be available at Hiram Bithorn Stadium as well as Sagrado Corazón Station
- AMA buses will run from AMA buses will run from Sagrado Corazón Station to Old San Juan station to Old San Juan (3pm – 10pm on Thursday & Friday, 9am – 10pm on Saturday, and 9am – 9pm on Sunday
- AMA buses will run from Old San Juan to Sagrado Corazón (until after midnight)
- There will be live music at the main stages at Plaza del Quinto Centenario, Plaza Colón, Plaza de Armas and Plaza de La Barandilla. You can also expect impromptu entaertainment throughout Old San Juan during the four day festival
- If there are any musical groups you really want to see, make sure you get to music stage early toget a good position, especially if it is the main stage at Plaza Quinto Centenario.
- The party continues until late, with huge crowds cramming the streets. If you are with a group decide on a place to meet (preferably away from San Sebastian Street), where you can meet up if you happen to become separated
- Concerts will end at 11pm
- Bars will close at midnight
- Vuvuzelas (loud horns) and whistles are not permitted. Anyone using a vuvuzela will be fined $1000.
- It’s ALWAYS hot in Old San Juan, so make sure you drink lots of fluids and not just the alcoholic kind.
- If it rains don’t worry, the party will continue and there is bound to be some entrepreneur selling plastic ponchos
- If you need a breather from all the action of the festival, just head down hill through Old San Juan and check out Paseo de La Princesa; it should be a little less crowded there.
- Finally if you have a fear of crowded places, then San Sebastian Street and Old San Juan might not be the best place for you this weekend. Consider heading out away from San Juan for a daytrip.
What: San Sebastian Street Festival
Where: San Sebastian Street and various locations in Old San Juan
When: Jan 19 – 22, 2017