Traditions from the Caribbean and Central and South America

Discover time-honored traditions, like intricate embroidery and delicious national dishes, at these culture-rich destinations on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
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A cruise can take you to various countries, from the Caribbean to Central and South America, to discover a myriad of cultures.

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Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated in the U.S. annually from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, was once Hispanic Heritage Week. It started in 1968 to observe the many contributions, diverse cultures and different histories of the Latinx community in the U.S., and it was then extended into a month in 1988. President Ronald Reagan also added commemorations for the independence days of nations like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, Belize, and Puerto Rico—all of which place between Sept. 15 and 23.

Of the 240-plus destinations that you can visit when you vacation on a Royal Caribbean cruise, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America are on many of the itineraries. Each has its history, cultures, traditions, beliefs and customs to enjoy, from local cuisine like Puerto Rico’s mofongo to music and dances, like Honduras’ punta.

Cheers to Hispanic Heritage Month and discover five unique customs at several culture-rich destinations you can visit with Royal Caribbean:

A favorite in Puerto Rico, mofongo combines fried green plantains with crispy pork in a tasty broth.

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Mofongo – Puerto Rico 

One of the best ways to experience Puerto Rico is through the incredible food—starting with mofongo and its unique blend of Indigenous, African and Spanish flavors. Among the country’s most iconic and popular dishes, mofongo is a ball-shaped mash of fried green plantains that’s mixed with pork skin or another meat, seasoned with garlic and sits in a tasty chicken broth. Also keep an eye out for dishes like pernil, a slow-cooked pork roast, and arroz con dulce, a delicious rice-based dessert.

To set sail to Puerto Rico and its tasty dishes on a ship like Oasis and Wonder of the Seas, look at the cruises that will get you there


Mexico’s embroidery is famously bright and colorful, and it’s found in clothing, blankets, jewelry and more.

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Embroidery – Mexico

The art of decorative stitching, or embroidery, reportedly dates back to at least 1400 B.C., and it has evolved from one generation of artisans to the next. Members of Mexico’s Indigenous communities are known to be particularly skilled in this craft, especially in the creation of traditional clothing like huipil, embroidered tunics.

Embroidery is also a key aspect of charro suits, which are elaborately decorated and worn on the Day of the Dead. As you travel around Mexico, you’ll notice regions have their own styles, patterns and color schemes. They each hold great historical and cultural meaning. Otomi embroidery, for example, hails from central Mexico and is filled with symbols that represent the area’s native plants and animals.

Book one of many Caribbean cruises on ships that sail to Mexico, from Allure to Mariner of the Seas, to see the beauty of the local embroidery yourself. 


Punta is a lively, celebratory Afro-Indigenous dance from Honduras that originated with the Garifuna people.

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Punta – Honduras

For many cultures, dancing is a beloved form of celebration. In the nation of Honduras, one of the most famous celebratory dance styles is punta, which dates back centuries, originating with the Garifuna people. It is also known as bunda or banguity—meaning the continuity of life. Punta is a joyful, lively dance. It is also an expression of the stories of struggle of Honduras’ Indigenous communities and a physical representation of their endurance. There are different versions of the dance that exist in other Caribbean nations as well, like Belize and Guatemala.

Discover adventure as you cruise to Honduras on Harmony and Symphony of the Seas.


Traditional Colombian dishes often include rice, corn, potatoes, plantains and a variety of meats and seafood.

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The Pot Gathering – Colombia

There are few things more important than slowing down and enjoying quality time with your favorite people. In Colombia, this is frequently done with “El Paseo de Olla” or “The Pot Gathering.” Similar to a cookout, friends and family gather outdoors, usually near a river. Everyone brings a portion of the often 50-plus ingredients and supplies needed to cook a traditional sancocho stew over a fire, and they prepare it together before letting it simmer for a few hours while everyone hangs out. While recipes and ingredients vary, sancocho usually features beef, corn and plantains.

To taste the flavors of Colombia and more on a ship like Voyager and Rhapsody of the Seas, see which cruises you can choose from here


Punto Guanacasteco is one of the most magnificent dance traditions of Costa Rica.

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Punto Guanacasteco – Costa Rica

Much of Costa Rica’s history and traditions come to life through dance. Punto Guanacasteco is one of the most popular local dances, considered by many to be Costa Rica’s national dance. Performed to sounds of marimba and bold percussion, the folkloric style is an expression of the country’s people, places and customs. The dance is also very visual, thanks to performers circling the room with their partners, with colorful dresses dramatically whirling behind them.

Explore Costa Rica’s beauty on the Caribbean cruises you see here, with a ship like Serenade of the Seas.


Ready to experience these traditions firsthand? Head here to see how you can explore many Caribbean destinations and more on a Royal Caribbean cruise.