Travel Guide to Puerto Rico- Planned by a Local!
As my MBA program is in full swing, I barely have time to draft up content. Lucky for you, I will keep of all my recommendations and travel guides super short!
Last month I went to Puerto Rico for the first time to celebrate my birthday and absolutely LOVED it. There is so much to adore about this island- the delicious food, the gorgeous beaches, the friendly culture, and the tropical rainforest. I stayed in Condado, which was walking distance from the beach, restaurants, and a short drive from Old San Juan. If I go back, I would love to stay in Rio Mar to explore that side of the island.
Below I have broken out my recommendations for food & drink, sites, activities.
Barrachina-You must grab a Pina Colada while you’re in Puerto Rico and why not get one from the very place that invented them. Also, the food is incredible-- I ate the most delicious fried grouper and tried mofongo for the first time! Barrachina is located in the heart of Old San Juan.
Olive Hotel Rooftop Bar- Great drinks, live music, young crowd. I am pretty much sold on any rooftop with twinkle lights. Plus somebody had a pet mini-pig with them.
La Factoria- If you want to get your Salsa on, go here! The bar is huge and extends back into a second room. Since I don’t know how to salsa, I spent my time admiring the other dancers. Salsa lessons soon to come.
Paseo Caribe- It is similar to the “Ponce City Market” of Atlanta, GA. It is an open market with different food vendors and bars. Swaths of people make their way here every weekend for dancing, and socializing. Interestingly, there were people of ALL ages present, even late into the night. This was one of my favorite evenings in San Juan.
Il Postino Miramar- This is a beautiful restaurant located in an old mansion. Very high quality wait-staff and the kitchen makes incredible italian dishes.
El Picoteo - Bar De Tapas- Darling little restaurant located in the courtyard of Hotel El Convento. This is the perfect place to grab a glass of wine and tapas for a mid-day stop in Old San Juan.
Pannes- For those wanting to keep to a diet, avoid this restaurant at all costs. They offer healthy menu items, but how could you possibly select something healthy when they have cheesy egg sandwich combos and a French toast to die for.... Honestly, I still dream about it.
Silk Sushi- Trendy sushi bar with specialty rolls to fix your sushi craving. The menu offers other Asian dishes if you are not a sushi fan.
Blonda-This was walking distance from the hotel. The menu was reasonably priced and packed for Saturday brunch (around 11am). I ordered a classic egg breakfast with toast and tomatoes. Everything was very fresh and healthy.
“El Morro” Visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro- El Morro is the most recognized landmark. Just about every child has ran on the Esplanade flying a kite. popular spot for photographers. you’re in San Juan for a day, this fortress is one attraction you don’t want to miss.
Catedral Metropolitana Basilica de San Juan Bautista- Situated in Cristo Street in San Juan, the San Juan Cathedral is a fascinating architectural wonder of great religious importance to people in the area. This attraction in Puerto Rico is both religiously and historically interesting.
Hotel El Convento- hotel in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, in an old monastery adjoining the San Juan Cathedral square. The cathedral is the second-oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere.
Parque de las Palomas- Pigeon Park is located in Old San Juan. Its name comes from the hundreds of pigeons that live there every day expecting to be fed by visitors.
Puerta de San Juan- The only way to enter the city was five doors that were built along the walls. San Juan Gate, the closest to the Fortress (1635), was the main entrance to the city by the bay side for many years.
La Fortaleza- Built between 1533-1540 to defend the harbor of San Juan, La Fortaleza is the official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico.
Paseo La Princesa- Located on the south side of Old San Juan near Plaza de Hostos and Plaza Darcenas. If you are driving into Old San Juan, head for either the multi-storey car parks on Calle Recinto Sur or the open air car park that is adjacent to Paseo La Princesa (this is the car park locals use).
El Yunque- For those wanting to get a little physical activity on your trip, I highly suggest walking/ hiking through El Yunque National Rainforest. This is the best place to go to experience Puerto Rico’s remarkable scenery and immerse yourself in nature.
Rio Mar Beach Club- Book a spa day or enjoy the many amenities available to hotel guests-- pools, golf, tennis, and the beach!
Bioluminescent Bay- I was unable to make it to the bay during my trip due to the recent hurricanes, but if you find yourself in Puerto Rico it is an experience of a lifetime. The water is full of a special type of light-emitting bacteria that only lights up when disturbed. Anything that moves in the water is completely illuminated, making for some surreal sights comparable to James Cameron’s film Avatar.