Saturday, November 18, 2023

Navigating the Roads: A Guide to Buying a Car in Puerto Rico

 jeep compass

In the enchanting island of Puerto Rico, where vibrant culture meets picturesque landscapes, owning a car is often more than just a means of transportation – it's a key to unlocking the island's hidden gems. However, buying a car in Puerto Rico comes with its unique set of considerations and nuances. In this guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of purchasing a car in this tropical paradise.

Choosing the Right Vehicle

The first step in your car-buying journey is determining the type of vehicle that suits your needs. Whether you're navigating the bustling streets of San Juan or planning to explore the more remote corners of the island, consider factors such as fuel efficiency, size, and off-road capabilities. Compact cars are popular for city living, while SUVs or trucks may be preferred for those who enjoy weekend getaways to the lush rainforests or pristine beaches.

Navigating Dealerships and Private Sellers

Puerto Rico offers a mix of car dealerships and private sellers. Dealerships are often found in major urban centers, offering a range of new and used cars. It's advisable to visit multiple dealerships to compare prices and negotiate terms. On the other hand, private sellers might have unique deals and can provide a more personalized experience. Utilize online platforms, local classifieds, and social media to explore private sale options.

Paperwork and Legalities

The legalities of buying a car in Puerto Rico are similar to those in the mainland United States, but with some distinctions. Ensure that the seller provides all necessary documentation, including the vehicle's title, registration, and a recent safety inspection certificate. Puerto Rico requires annual vehicle inspections, so confirming that the car has passed this examination is crucial. Additionally, have your driver's license and proof of insurance ready before finalizing any transaction.

Financing and Payment Options

Financing a car purchase in Puerto Rico can be done through banks or credit unions. It's advisable to shop around for the best interest rates and loan terms. Keep in mind that a good credit score can significantly impact the interest rate you receive. Some dealerships may also offer in-house financing options, but be sure to carefully review the terms and conditions. Cash transactions are common in Puerto Rico, so be prepared to negotiate the best deal if you plan on paying in full. For a great deal on your next new Dodge, Jeep or Ram vehicle, view the Inventory at Cabrera Grupo Automotriz in Arecibo.

Understanding Local Driving Dynamics

Driving in Puerto Rico has its own set of dynamics. While traffic rules are similar to those in the United States, road conditions can vary. Potholes and narrow roads are not uncommon, especially in more rural areas. Consider the terrain you'll be traversing regularly and choose a vehicle that suits those conditions. Additionally, traffic congestion can be a challenge in urban centers, so having a reliable and fuel-efficient car is beneficial.


Buying a car in Puerto Rico is a unique and rewarding experience that opens the doors to endless adventures on this Caribbean gem. From exploring the historic streets of Old San Juan to embarking on scenic drives along the coastline, the right car can enhance your Puerto Rican experience. By understanding the local market, navigating the paperwork, and selecting the ideal vehicle for your lifestyle, you'll be well on your way to cruising the picturesque roads of this tropical paradise.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Comite Noviembre


Twenty-seventh Annual Benefit Dinner
Celebrating 37 Years of Puerto Rican Culture & History

Buscando Nuestras Raíces
2023 Puerto Rican Heritage
Nuestro Orgullo Awards

Isabel Abislaimán, Esq., Attorney at Law
Law Office of Isabel Abislaimán, San Juan, PR

Dr. Mildred Garcia, Chancellor, California State University

Ivan Enrique Rodriguez, Composer, Conductor &
Comité Noviembre Ernesto Malave Scholar

Belkis Moya, Pastor, Casa Amor, Fe y Esperanza

The Alma y Corazón Award
Wallace Edgecombe, Arts Activist & Retired Director
Hostos Center for the Performing ArtsFriday, November 17, 2023

The Water Club
500 East 30th Street, New York City
(on the East River on 30th Street)

6PM Cocktail Reception ▪ 7PM Dinner
▪ 6PM–8:30PM Silent Auction


Make reservations by November 8, 2023

The proceeds from this event go towards Comité Noviembre scholarship and youth leadership development programs as well as our continued work in Puerto Rico

For More Information or to Make A Reservation Please Contact:

Teresa A. Santiago
Angel Santini Palos


Established in 1987, Comité Noviembre is a nonprofit organization that commemorates and pays tribute to the contributions Puerto Ricans have made to this nation. Its mission is to create educational opportunities for youth through college scholarships, as well as promote, acknowledge, and create awareness, of the importance of young people knowing their rich culture, language, and history. Comité Noviembre creates open forums to discuss critical issues affecting the Puerto Rican community specifically in the areas of education, youth leadership development, and civic involvement. Comité Noviembre is the only collaboration of its kind in the United States that brings together the collective talents and resources of some the oldest and most prestigious Puerto Rican organizations: ASPIRA of New York, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños Hunter College/CUNY, El Museo del Barrio, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College/CUNY, Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly, (IPR/HE), La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, Inc., La Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular-PR, Justice Committee: NCPRR, National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, (New York Chapter), Puerto Rican Institute for the Development of the Arts, Inc. (PRIDA) and the White Plains Puerto Rican Cultural Committee. This coordinating body plans and promotes Comité Noviembre’s annual programs and events.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

25th Annual National Cuatro Festival


Tres Mujeres, Tres Estrellas

Saturday, November 18, 2025 @ 7pm
Harris Theater at Millennium Park, 205 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL


Welcome to the 25th Annual National Cuatro Festival!

The Cuatro is regarded as the national instrument of Puerto Rico and is revered by the Puerto Rican community as an important part of our history. It is recognized and acknowledged as “our guitar” and holds important traditional and historical value. The Emmy Award-winning Annual National Cuatro Festival (NCF) is a unique music event that brings the best Cuatro musicians “Cuatristas” from Puerto Rico and the mainland to Chicago for a one-of-a-kind concert experience. This cultural event highlights the national instrument of Puerto Rico as an important part of our heritage and history.

Each year there is a special dedication and one of the highlights of the concert is an opening performance showcasing students from the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance’s Latin Music Project Ensemble. It is more than a concert, it as a gathering of Chicago’s most long time Latino residents, the Puerto Rican community, and an opportunity to join together with pride to celebrate the beauty of the Chicago’s diversity. Preserving Puerto Rican traditions is at the heart of PRAA’s work and the National Cuatro Festival is a key part of our cultural and educational initiatives.

Over the years the National Cuatro Festival has presented great cuatristas like Yomo Toro, Pedro Guzman, Alvin Medina, Luis Sanz, Prodijio Claudio, Christina Nieves, Manny Trinidad, Emma Colon Zayas, Madibel Delgado, Juradito, Quique Domenech, Javier Mendez, among others. Additionally, great iconic popular and folk music singers/groups such as Victoria Sanabria, Tavin Pumarejo, Odilo Gonzalez, Felito Felix, Andy Montañez, Yolandita Monge, Charlie Aponte, Ismael Miranda, Jose Nogueras, Los Cantores de Bayamon, Mapeye, La Rondalla de Humacao, Puerto Rico Philharmonic, Angel Cucco Peña, Jose Luis Ortiz, Los Hermanos Olvarria, Andres Jimenez, Modesto Nieves, Angel Luis Torruellas, Los Hermanos Sanz and Danny Rivera have graced our stage.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Pasteles de Masa - Pasteles Recipe

Pasteles de Masa

Pasteles Recipe | Pasteles de Masa
4 lb carne de cerdo

1/4 taza de aceite de achiote
10 hojas de Recao
1 cdta Orégano
1 pimiento verde - picado
1 md Cebolla, picado
10 ají dulce - picados
6 dientes de Ajo
2 tomates - picado
8oz Salsa de Tomate
24 aceitunas esañolas
Sal y pimienta a gusto


7 lb de Yautia blanca
4 lb plátanos verdes
1/4 aceite de achiote
3 1/2 cdta de Sal
Hojas de guineos lavadas.

Pica la carne en pedazos pequeños y sazona con sal. Cocina el resto de los ingredientes, -NO LOS DE LA MASA- por 5 minutos. Añada la carne, permite hervir y luego baja a fuego mediano, cocinado por otros 20 minutos o hasta que la carne este tierna.

LA MASA - Monda las yautias y plátanos y guayelos hasta que tengas una masa blanda. hecha un poquito de la carne y un poco del aceite de achiote a la masa y mezcle bien.

Moja la hoja de guineo (12x12) con aceite de achiote.. y en el centro pones de 6 a 8 cucharadas de Masa. En el centro de la masa pones 2 o 3 cucharadas de carne. Ahora doblas la hoja con cuidado, cubriendo la carne de masa, para formar un rectangulo. Amarras el pastel con hilo de cocinar. Repita el procedimiento hasta que se halla usado toda la masa.. como 36 pasteles

En una olla grande hechas 5 litros de agua de sal, entonces hechas como 12 pasteles en el agua hiviendo, y cocinas como 45 minutos. Quítalos del agua enseguida que esten cocinados.


English: Pasteles 

Pasteles Recipe

4 lb pork - very lean
1/4 cup Annatto oil
10 Cilantro leaves (recao)
1 tsp Oregano
1 red bell pepper - chopped in fine strips
1 md Onion, chopped
10 sweet peppers (aji dulce)
6 cloves of Garlic
2 large tomatoes - Chopped
8oz can of Tomato sauce
24 Stuffed spanish olives
Salt and pepper to taste

-----PASTEL DOUGH-----

7 lb White Yautia (spanish root)
4 lb green Plantains
1/4 cup Annatto Oil (recipe follows)
3 1/2 tablespoon Salt
Store bought Banana leaves (washed)

Wash and pat dry the meat. Chop into very small pieces and season with the tablespoon of salt. In a large saucepan add the remaining ingredients (NOT THE DOUGH INGREDIENTS) and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the meat, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 30 more minutes or until meat is tender.

Peel the yautia and green plantains. Grate them until you have a smooth dough type mixture. Slowly add a little of the meat sauce to the dough and mix well. Add 1/4 cup Annatto oil and the salt to the dough, mix well and set aside. (dough should be smooth but not to soft.)

Brush the leaf with a little annatto oil and place 6 or 8 tablespoons of the dough mixture in the center of a 12x12 piece of banana leaf which has been washed. ( these leaves can be purchased at most spanish stores and are pre-cut. But if you can not find them, you can use parchment paper, which is also available at the spanish market.) Spread the mixture in the center of the leaf and form a well in the center of the mixture. In the well; place 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Carefully fold the dough so the meat mixture is covered over. Then fold the leaf to form a rectangular shape and tie with string (tight enough where the mixture won't come out of the pastel). Repeat this until all of the dough mixture has been used. There should be about 36 pasteles.

In a very large pot, place 5 liters of water and 3 1/2 tablespoons of salt; allow to boil. Place about 12 pasteles in the boiling water and allow to boil for about 45 minutes. Immediately remove from water once they are cooked.

recipe courtesy of Bobby's Pedacito de Puerto Rico

You can buy the produce locally, but if you need these


shop on line at in Chicago.

Maquina de Pasteles

Pasteles Paper

Hilo String to tie them

If you just want to buy Pasteles pre-made, you can purchase them from these places:
Taino Flavor - Cleveland Ohio
Buen Provecho - Atlanta Georgia
PR Pasteles on Facebook


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5 Must-Have Traditional Puerto Rican Dishes
Puerto Rican Recipes - Puerto Rican Food
Preserving our traditional Puerto Rican cuisine
Piragua - Puerto Rico Piragua
Introduction to Arroz con Gandules
Pasteles de Masa - Pasteles Recipe

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Asopao de Camarones Recipe

 Asopao de Camarones

Asopao de camarones is a delicious Puerto Rican dish, often described as a cross between a soup and a stew. It's made with shrimp, rice, and a flavorful broth that is infused with a variety of spices and herbs. Here's a recipe for Puerto Rican asopao de camarones:


For the Sofrito (Aromatic Base):

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Asopao:

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 cups chicken or seafood broth (preferably homemade)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper (red or green)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lime wedges for garnish

Yield: This recipe serves 4-6 people.


1. Prepare the Sofrito:

  • In a food processor, combine the onion, bell pepper, tomato, garlic, cilantro, oregano, cumin, and paprika. Pulse until you have a thick paste.
  • In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sofrito and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to turn golden and fragrant.

2. Cook the Shrimp:

  • Add the shrimp to the pot with the sofrito and cook for 2-3 minutes until they turn pink. Remove the shrimp from the pot and set them aside.

3. Prepare the Rice:

  • Add the rice to the pot with the remaining sofrito and stir to coat the rice with the mixture.
  • Pour in the chicken or seafood broth and tomato sauce. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil.

4. Add Vegetables:

  • Add the green peas, diced carrots, bell pepper, celery, and green olives (if using) to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Simmer and Cook:

  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has thickened to a porridge-like consistency. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

6. Finish with Shrimp:

  • Return the cooked shrimp to the pot and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until they are heated through.

7. Serve:

  • Ladle the asopao into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

8. Enjoy:

  • Asopao de camarones is often served as a hearty meal on its own, but it can also be accompanied by tostones (fried green plantains) or a simple side salad for a complete Puerto Rican dining experience.

Enjoy your homemade Puerto Rican asopao de camarones with some tostones!


Friday, September 22, 2023

Puerto Rican Mofongo Recipe



For the Mofongo:

  • 4 green plantains
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup pork rinds (chicharrón)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or lard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Garlic Sauce (optional, but traditional):

  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Yield: Approximately 4 servings


1. Prepare the Plantains:

  • Start by peeling the green plantains. Cut them into 1-inch thick slices.

2. Fry the Plantains:

  • In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil or lard over medium-high heat.
  • Add the plantain slices to the hot oil and fry them until they are golden and crispy, about 5-7 minutes per side.
  • Remove the fried plantains from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

3. Make Mofongo Base:

  • In a large mortar and pestle or a sturdy bowl, add the fried plantain slices along with the minced garlic, and optional pork rinds or bacon bits.
  • Use the mortar and pestle or a masher to mash the ingredients together until they form a dough-like consistency. You can also add salt and pepper to taste while mashing. Continue mashing until well combined.

4. Shape Mofongo:

  • Traditionally, mofongo is shaped into a ball or mound using a pilón (a wooden mortar and pestle), but you can also use your hands to shape it. Wet your hands with a bit of water to prevent sticking.
  • If you like, you can make individual portions by shaping smaller mofongo balls.

5. Prepare the Garlic Sauce (optional - Okay not really):

  • In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté until it becomes fragrant and starts to turn golden.
  • Stir in the dried oregano, black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

6. Serve:

  • Place the mofongo on a plate and pour the garlic sauce over the top.
  • Mofongo is often served with a side of broth-based soup, such as chicken soup or seafood soup. It can also be served alongside grilled meats, seafood, or vegetables. It's a versatile dish, and you can choose your favorite accompaniments.

7. Enjoy your homemade Puerto Rican Mofongo!

Mofongo is a beloved Puerto Rican dish that's rich in flavor and history. It's a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine and can be customized to suit your taste by adding different meats or seafood on the side. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Exploring the Rich Tapestry of Juncos Puerto Rico



Juncos Puerto Rico

Nestled in the verdant hills of Puerto Rico, the town of Juncos boasts a rich and vibrant history that dates back centuries. Founded in 1797, this picturesque town has grown from a small settlement to a thriving community known for its warm hospitality, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. In this essay, we will delve into the early history of Juncos, its founder, town colors, notable sites of interest, its patron saint, and the significance of the Catholic church located in the town square.

Founding and Early History

Juncos, a town situated in the eastern region of Puerto Rico, was officially founded on August 2, 1797. Its origins can be traced back to a Spanish settlement that was established in the early 18th century, during the colonial period. However, it wasn't until 1797 that Juncos was officially recognized as a municipality by the Spanish Crown. The town's name, "Juncos," is believed to have been derived from the Spanish word "juncos," which means reeds. This name likely pays homage to the lush vegetation and natural beauty that characterize the area.


The town of Juncos owes its establishment to Don Marcos Xiorro, a prominent figure in Puerto Rican history. Don Marcos Xiorro, whose full name was Marcos Rivera Pérez, was a freed African slave who played a pivotal role in advocating for the town's independence from neighboring municipalities. His tireless efforts and leadership in the fight for Juncos's autonomy earned him a revered place in the town's history. Today, a statue of Don Marcos Xiorro stands proudly in the town square as a symbol of the town's resilience and the legacy of its founder.

Town Colors

Juncos, like many towns in Puerto Rico, has its own distinctive town colors. The official colors of Juncos are blue and white. These colors not only represent the town's identity but also evoke a sense of serenity and tranquility, reflecting the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Sites of Interest

Juncos is a town with a wealth of cultural and natural attractions that captivate both residents and visitors alike. One notable site of interest is the Juncos Historical Museum, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the town's history, including its colonial past and the struggle for autonomy led by Don Marcos Xiorro.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the lush and serene surroundings of the Carite Forest Reserve, which is located nearby. This protected area offers hiking trails, picnic spots, and breathtaking views of the lush tropical rainforest. The Carite Lake, within the reserve, is a popular destination for fishing and water sports.

Patron Saint and Catholic Church

The patron saint of Juncos is Saint Michael the Archangel, or "San Miguel Arcángel" in Spanish. The town celebrates its patron saint with great fervor each year during the San Miguel Festival, which typically takes place in late September. The festivities include religious processions, traditional music and dance, and delicious Puerto Rican cuisine, all of which showcase the deep religious and cultural roots of the town.

At the heart of Juncos, in the town square, stands the Immaculate Conception of Mary Catholic Church, or "Iglesia Inmaculada Concepción de María" in Spanish. This historic church, built in the 19th century, is not only a place of worship but also an architectural gem that reflects the town's rich heritage. The church's imposing façade, adorned with intricate details and a bell tower, is a testament to the town's strong Catholic tradition. Inside, visitors are greeted by a serene and reverent atmosphere, with ornate altars and religious artworks that inspire reflection and devotion.


Juncos, Puerto Rico, is a town steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty. Founded by Don Marcos Xiorro in 1797, it has grown into a vibrant community that cherishes its identity, celebrates its patron saint, and welcomes visitors with open arms. With its captivating historical museum, lush forests, and the iconic Immaculate Conception of Mary Catholic Church in the town square, Juncos is a testament to the enduring spirit of Puerto Rico and its people. As one explores the charming streets and rich traditions of Juncos, it becomes clear that this town is not just a place on the map but a living, breathing testament to the resilience and heritage of Puerto Rico.