Aibonito is a gorgeous, dainty little island town in the Sierra de Cayey mountain range. It is a horticultural hub that is often referred to as Puerto Rico’s Garden. This breath-taking town is well known for its poultry industry and its flowers and ornamental plants. In light of this, Aibonito flower festival is dedicated to the patron saint St. James the Apostle are held every year and yield quite the turn-out.
The Aibonito Festival of Flowers, or Festival de las Flores de Aibonito, as it is called natively, is a 10-day festival that is celebrated every June just outside Aibonito Pueblo. It usually runs from June 28th all the way up to July 7th. Participants are able to view and purchase various flowers that have been made available by authentic Puerto Rican growers and retailers. Fruit and vegetable exhibitions, live music performances, food kiosks, children’s activities, as well as traditional arts and crafts are but a few of the exciting forms of entertainment this festival has to offer.
History of the Aibonito Flower Festival
History has it that, the first edition was celebrated in 1969 and has since been celebrated for approximately fifty years. Originally, the reason for the showcase was to flaunt flowers and promote the island’s floral industry- it is good to know nothing has changed since then. No feat comes without its challenges, and the Aibonto Flower Festival has had its fair share. In 2017, the awful Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc with significant amounts of rain, wind and mass destruction causing ruin to this booming flower industry. Though held annually. the festival was unable to occur in 2020 and 2021 thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that restricted the globe. Not much has changed since the first held and the sights as still as captivating as ever.
What to Expect at The Aibonito Flower Festival
As aforementioned, there are flower, fruit and vegetable exhibitions, live performances, mouth watering foods for sale, and activities to keep participants entertained no matter their age. Be sure to enjoy the joyous atmosphere that leaves all who join in with a sense of feeling right at home.
Here is a mention a few of the flowers that can be found on display that are sure to capture your heart: love-inspiring lilies, captivating carnations, gorgeous gardenias, regal roses, beautiful begonias, and awe-striking anthuriums.
The festival opens daily from 8am to 7pm with weekends being the busiest days. During these times, one can participate in any number of the ongoing activities such as arts and crafts, for example. There are about 54 booths available, each with their specific product.
Be sure to come along with a camera to save all the memorable sights and performances, some money because displays will all but beckon to you with their alluring presence, and a heart and stomach that is ready to enjoy and will surely leave full and whole. There is no parking cost when attending and the lot has enough space for about 3000 cars. Although, a small entrance fee is charged for both adults and children ($5 per adult and $3 per child under 12) . There can be significant amounts of traffic-especially on weekends- so it is advised to arrive as early as possible in one intends to engage in the festivities. The festival grounds are easy to be located as there are many police men who are happy to help direct you on the way- from the highway all the way to the main grounds. It is probably best to come with a car. However, if you do not own one, hailing a taxi or other forms of public transportation will come to your rescue both to and from the festival grounds.
Accommodations and transportation
In case there is a need for accommodation during this huge event, hotels such as the Aibonito Inn and Suites provide lodging at great discounts to help lower the travel expenses to be incurred. Alternatively, CIQALA Luxury Suites is a bed and breakfast option that will surely not disappoint In addition, the San Miguel Plaza Hotel or Four Points by Sheraton Caquas Real Hotel and Casino are all great options to consider.
Other Attractions in Aibonito
The Flower Festival is not the only thing that will steal your heart. Aibonito is home to a number of tourist attractions such as La Llorosa Bridge, mountains such as Cerro El Indio, Cerro Amoldadero and many others (since Aibonito is a mountain town- after all). In addition to this, Casa Museo Federico Degetau is an art/history museum that can be visited. Also available is the Mirador La Plata; a cluster of observation decks and towers. So, in case there is a need to find something to do, either before or after the festival, the above mentioned attractions are a good place to start. There is one thing for sure, Aibonito, though peaceful, is never a dull place to be.
Come on down to Aibonito, do the inevitable; fall in love with the town, the scenery, the people and their customs, the food. Enjoy the flower festival with its vibrant colours and smells, its mouth watering delicacies that are sure to leave an imprint, the beautiful arts and crafts to be seen and done, and the music that leaves hips constantly swaying and hands clapping along of their own accord.
Discover the beauty of Puerto Rico at the Aibonito Flower Festival. Heed the calling. Accept the invitation of a lifetime. Make timeless memories. Go on, you know you want to.