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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Gonzalez Matos

How to Plan the Perfect Destination Event in Puerto Rico




If you are reading this you are considering or you are fully embarked on planning a destination event in Puerto Rico . This happens to be our area of expertise and we already like you because you are bold enough ( not to say crazy enough) to take your corporate or social event abroad. I will dive right in and give a no-bull-shit approach to event planning in Puerto Rico.


 

Choosing Your Date


The best time to host an event in Puerto Rico is from mid-January to May, right after the busy holiday season and just before the rainy summer. The spring weather is very pleasant, barely escaping the mid-80s on most days. I advise avoiding holiday weekends, spring break, and Valentines.


Aside from spring, October is a great month to plan events on the island. The weather is starting to cool off and there are no big local events.


If you dream of a corporate holiday affair, plan a year or at least 6 months in advance and bump up your lodging budget. Stay off from planning events on Christmas or New Year. Local vendors do not work those Holidays and if they do they will slap on a hefty holiday fee.


No matter what time of the year you decide to come, you are guaranteed to have a great time; so make sure to book at least 2 extra days to enjoy the beaches, the people, and the culture.


Best Locations for Events


Puerto Rico is 100 miles by 35 miles, not sure how many times it fits in Texas but my guess is more than a few times. The island has event spaces and lodging options all around: the coast, mountains, and plains. It is very safe so it is common for tourists to rent cars and explore.


The most popular area to host events is the "metro" area which comprises San Juan ( the capital), Carolina, Trujillo Alto, Guaynabo, Cataño, and Bayamon. Unarguably Old San Juan, Condado, and Isla Verde are among the most sought-after neighborhoods for corporate events; because of their abundance of hotels, shopping and nightlife.


However, the "west", comprised of Aguadilla, Aguada, Rincon, and Cabo Rojo, has become a close second popular destination for corporate & social celebrations in Puerto Rico. You will find the best beaches Peña Blanca, Crash Boat and Steps, and a variety of critically acclaimed restaurants. You can expect a quieter experience filled with local flavor,"hippy" shops, surfing & local music.



Choosing Your Event Space


There are four types of event spaces where you can host your destination event in Puerto Rico: hotels, restaurants, "canva" spaces & airbnbs. I recommend booking hotels if you are hosting a large conference, trade show, or activation.


The benefits are large meeting spaces, concierge services, and amenities ( AV, wifi, golf carts, pools, spas, restaurants, beach access). Some of my favorites are La Concha and Hyatt Regency in Rio Grande. The downside, be prepared for 8k-25k consumption minimums and a 36% hotel fee, service charge, and tax fee.


Some restaurants can hold small groups of 5-25 guests for events. They can reserve a special room or a section of the restaurant for your special occasion. Some offer a la carte or a pre-set menu to make service times speedier.


Canva spaces are rental event spaces where you can bring your own vendors (i.e Casa Blanca Museum, Casa España, and Miramar Event Center) to name a few. These are my favorite types of spaces because you can have fun experimenting with food, beverage, and decor. It gives the client and us the freedom to choose the vendors that best fit our event's vision and needs. You can expect these to be in the 2.5k-4.5k range.



Creating Your Onsite Team


I said I was going to keep it real and I will/ Hiring vendors in the island is time-consuming and can be frustrating. Because of high demand and a laid-back "island life" factor, vendors take longer than usual to respond to emails and calls. I am Puertorican, live in Puerto Rico and am maried to a Puertorican, but this is just a reality.


I advise doubling your planning time, especially with corporate events and productions. Also hiring a local event planning or production firm that has years of experience, a great portfolio, and amazing client testimonials.


Here are some other reasons you will need an onsite team:

  1. Translation: Many locals do not speak English, and contracts are written in Spanish.

  2. Scouting Vendors: Even great vendors have terrible social media accounts making it hard to make the right decision, those that have good portfolios can be extremely overpriced & overbooked. Then there are a few that are well known locally and live from word of mouth so they LITERALLY have no social media at all.

  3. Hours of Operations: PR has local holidays, rental companies close on Saturdays and Sundays, some spaces close from 12 pm to 1 pm for lunch or require an appointment to visit and there are sound ordinances until 11 pm in some areas.

  4. Vendor Mgmt issues: If you do not know the vendor and you take time reviewing a proposal, they might give your date to someone else without a notice. Others only accept cash or checks even for deposits and these have to be mailed or wired from abroad. Some vendors will not manage expectations on what items are in stock or can be delivered to PR on time for your event, causing potential mishaps on your original vision.


Destination event planning firms, like us at Island Life Events PR, offer hourly consultations, staff, and partial and full coordination services to help you mastermind a glittering awards gala or spice up the next annual conference in paradise.


We work hand in hand with you to communicate a clear vision of your brand. Then, we create a custom design that efficiently and powerfully delivers your message. Production is a concise process handled by our team of experts who use decor, fabric, staging, lighting, furniture, and unique, and custom touches to transform venues into mind-blowing experiential environments.





Univision & L2 - A Taste of Puerto Rico Event

event planners @islandlifeeventspr

all images copyright @dianaweddings


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