Paradores Expect Surge in P.R Guests Over Easter Weekend
SAN JUAN – Like customary during Holy Week, thousands of Puerto Ricans and their families will make use of their days off to enjoy themselves at the beach.
While just about every beach around the island will be receiving thousands of revelers during the week, and particularly during the Easter weekend, Puerto Ricans seem to have a penchant for the beaches on the west side of the island. So, Boquerón and Combate in Cabo Rojo, La Parguera in Lajas, Playa Santa in Guánica, Playa Domes in Rincón and Crash Boat in Aguadilla are some of the beaches preferred by sun and sea lovers.
It is not surprising then, that most paradores—and the largest ones—are located in that area. Boquemar, El Faro, Villa Parguera, among many others, have well over 70 rooms, all of which have been booked for the week, sometimes months in advance.
Because Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are moveable feasts (dates change from one year to the next) comparing occupancy rates for the occasion is somewhat complicated. Despite the occasion being the same, its date may vary as much as a month, from one year to the next.
Last year, Good Friday was on March 25, and Easter Sunday on the 27th. The occupancy rate in paradores during March 2016 was 48.7%, or 6.4% higher than in 2015. However, the spike in the occupancy rate could be explained by the fact that Good Friday and Easter Sunday fell on April 3 and 5, 2015, respectively, not in March.
By the same token, the occupancy rate for April 2015 (the month when part of Holy Week fell) was just 0.3% higher than April 2014, when the entire Holy Week fell in the same month (April 13 to 19). This could explain why the occupancy rates for paradores virtually stayed the same from one year to the next.
According to Puerto Rico Tourism Co. statistics, the number of registrations (people checking-in) between 2012 and 2015 has been dramatically decreasing, from 135,780 to 118,626, respectively (or 17,154 fewer guests, or a 12.6% drop).
In 2016, registrations increased from 118,626 to 121,201—but it was still below 2012’s total number of registrations.
Still, occupancy rates for the Holy Week, regardless of the month in which it falls, is one of the highest for the year.
The influx of local tourism to the coastal towns represents an important segment of their revenues, so mayors and local officials have been making preparations to receive the thousands of people who will be crowding not only the beaches, but also the local hotels, paradores, restaurants and shops in their municipios.