Africa Has Played A Huge Role In Creating The Culture Of Puerto Rico
José, also known as @jetsetjose on social media, lives just outside of New York City working as a registered nurse but finds the time to travel and share content with his followers on his social media platforms.
When the pandemic first broke out in New York, Jose did not feel like nursing was holding him back from traveling. "I was a travel nurse on COVID units and commuted from The Bronx to Long Island at the time. I was able to arrange my schedule in a way where I could have up to 6 days off in a row. I used those days off to get into travel content creation and started to explore states such as Maine and West Virginia, as well as explore the cities of NYC and Philadelphia on a deeper level."
With Jose's background being Puerto Rican he felt the importance of going home and sharing his experiences with his followers so they could experience the same thing when and if they decided to visit the beautiful island.
In 2021, Jose was able to make it back to Puerto Rico after almost 14 years. "I used to spend 1-2 months in Puerto Rico every year when I was growing up. I was long overdue for the visit". Being able to return home after such a long time was important to Jose. "To be able to return after so long was a super special experience for me. I was able to explore some of the best gems of the main island and I gained a new found appreciation for the beauty of my island. I also visited old neighbors and family. They were so proud to see the man that I have become".
One of the things that surprised Jose about Puerto Rico was the rate at which highways were created on the island. "I remember from my childhood that whenever I was in the car with my parents, we would have to drive through mountains and rural roads in order to go to different parts of the island. After 14 years, there are plenty of easily navigable highways all throughout the island. It is so easy to get from one end of the island to the other now".
Since Jose is hard at work being a nurse in New York City he may not get to go back home often be he said that Puerto Rican culture is something that runs deep in his DNA. At home, Jose still primarily speaks in Spanish, he eats all the typical Puerto Rican food, and he still listens to merengue, salsa, and reggaeton regularly. "Spending time with family, especially around our holidays, is also a way to keep the island connection alive".
We asked Jose what are the top 5 places he thinks people should consider visiting when they visit Puerto Rico and he recommended:
Take a walk through history in El Viejo San Juan.
Experience the natural mysticism of El Yunque.
Witness the glowing waters of the three bioluminescent bays of the island.
Island hop around the Puerto Rican archipelago. There are plenty of beautiful islands around the main island of Puerto Rico. Some of the world’s most beautiful beaches are on these smaller islands.
Explore the island outside of the Metro Area. There is so much more to see beyond the shores. That is where the true beauty and real culture is.
Jose doesn't just take amazing photos for social media but he truly travels to understand the history of the places he goes to. Jose explains to Urban Flight Collective how he thinks Africa has contributed to the culture in Puerto Rico:
Jose: Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island that embraces its African influence. Africa has played a huge role in creating the culture of Puerto Rico that it is absolutely undeniable. Puerto Ricans embrace the fusion of the three races that have created the modern Puerto Rican identity: Spanish, Taíno (Indigenous), and African. When it comes to cuisine, there are numerous, but mofongo is one that stands out. The ubiquitous dish is made from mashed plantains and garlic.
When it comes to the music, Bomba is a type of music that comes straight from Africa. It is a dance where the dancer controls the beat. Drummers play at the rhythms and moves of the dancer. One of the best towns to witness this music is in the town of Loíza, which has the highest concentration of Black Puerto Ricans on the island. It is a town that fully embraces its African roots and it is evident when you see its residents and the murals that celebrate African pride.
Culturally, during the Puerto Rican Carnival, dancers parade down the street wearing horned masks that resemble monsters. The masks are called vejigante masks. These are just a couple of examples of how Africa has contributed to the culture of Puerto Rico.
If you are looking for a travel blogger to inspire you to get up and go, provides valuable information, and has a passion for helping people then be sure to follow Jose on his social media platforms: