Where Reggaetón Rules

In recent years, the island of Puerto Rico, has experienced a massive surge of energy taking over its nightlife and the progressive Puerto Rican music scene.

Whether you have heard the music, or at least heard about it, the Reggaetón movement has taken the island by storm. Reggaetón is a combination of Rap and Hip Hop, and Jamaican style dancehall, blended with other Caribbean rhythms such as bachata, meringue, and salsa. The now ubiquitous sound, with its rapid tempo and bold Spanish beat has become the necessary accoutrement to any block party, fair, club, and car stereo, provided you have the speakers to handle it.

Upon stumbling into a crowded club in Old San Juan, the scene is not unlike the clubs in other parts of the world. At the door, one is greeted by a metal detector and a friendly security agent who is more than willing to offer a prisoner-style pat down that leaves very little left to the imagination. Because Reggaetón garners from the hip hop culture, it tends to attract a heavy thug element, so consider the metal detectors like you would velvet ropes, as they both designate upscale clubs.

Like the salsa craze of the 1970’s, Reggaetón has spawned its own sexually provocative style of dance called perreo (better known as doggie-style). As the name suggests, perreo is when the female patrons, dressed in impossibly tiny skirts atop stiletto heels, grind their backsides into their male counterparts’ crotches. This is by far the most prolific of dance moves to been seen in a club in San Juan. However, there are other variations on the classic perreo moves, one being called “The Doghouse.” Often being described as an “X-rated conga line,” the Doghouse is characterized by the 3-1 ratio of female to male participants, as opposed to the traditional one on one style of perreo.

The legal drinking age in Puerto Rico, is 18 years of age so naturally, the clubs in San Juan draw crowds whose ages range from their teens to their late twenties. For those who are unfamiliar with the San Juan area, to find the best clubs one must venture away from the beaches and tourist spots, and head into the neighborhoods of Old San Juan, or Carolina. The crowds tend to show up around midnight or later, and because there is no mandatory closing hour for clubs, they usually stay open until the crowd dwindles at around 6 or 7 in the morning.