Okay, I know, when someone says “let’s go to Puerto Rico” the first things you think about are probably beaches, boats, and fruity rum cocktails. Let’s be clear: all of those things happened on my trip to Puerto Rico, and I have some tips for all of those things, but one of my favorite parts of this trip was the FOOD.
First off, this wasn’t a couples trip, I made the trip to PR for a bachelorette party. All of my suggestions would be completely appropriate whether you’re doing the same or traveling as a couple though.
Where to Stay
We chose to stay at La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort. It’s a Marriott property for those who like their points. It was in the Condado area (about a 15 minute cab ride from Old San Juan), had numerous pools and was right on the beach. Ticked all of the boxes for a bachelorette party.
What to Do (besides eat):
A booze cruise and snorkel trip with Salty Dog. The marina is about an hour away from San Juan, so they can arrange transfer for you, or you can drive yourself if you have a rental car. However, if you plan to take part in the booze part of the cruise, I suggest you just let them arrange transport. You get about 5 hours on the boat and ride out to Icacos Island. (I believe there are other islands you may go to, but we went to Icacos). Unfortunately, as soon as we got there it started to rain, and lightning, and thunder. The lightning and thunder passed quickly but the rain never really let up. Of course, if you’re snorkeling you’re getting wet anyway so it’s not the biggest deal. We were on a catamaran boat that had a bit of shelter and they put up some additional covers and we were fine. They fed us a great lunch, and as many rum drinks as you could have. While I can’t speak for other boat companies, I would highly recommend Salty Dog, they were really laid back and fun.
Explore Old San Juan. There are lots of cobblestone streets and little shops (many are pure tourist traps) and lots of little bars and restaurants. We ate dinners and went out to the bars at night here as well, but it’s worth a morning or afternoon of wandering around. Very close by your can check out Castillo San Cristobal, a large fort overlooking the water.
RELAX! We had a short time in Puerto Rico and wanted to make sure we got some pool and beach time in, so we did! Especially for those who don’t get to live at the beach year round like I do, I think devoting a day to relaxing is perfectly fine!
Finally, the food!
Where to Eat
Marmalade: AH-MA-ZING. We did a tasting menu here the first night and ended up with 14 courses of delicious seafood, meat, pastas, and so on. Perhaps not the best place to go on your first night of a bikini vacation, but we did. Tip: if you make a reservation for 9pm (or later) the tasting menu is a bit cheaper. Marmalade is in Old San Juan so after your 14 courses you can walk around to different bars and walk off some of the food!
Asere Cubano Kitchen: You guessed it, Cuban food! We tried the different Cuban meats and some seafood and everything was delicious! Tip: Asere is located in La Placita, so make reservations for a Friday night – they close down the streets in La Placita and everyone buys drinks from the bars and drinks at tables outside. Here you’ll get a more local feel!
Dragonfly: Back in Old San Juan, but craving something a little different? Dragonfly is Latin Asian Cuisine. I love pretty much all Asian food so I was sold before we sat down. The restaurant looks small when you walk in but there is a large space downstairs filled with tables – I’d still recommend making a reservation though. We had everything from sushi to dumplings to spring rolls and tacos. For the third night in a row I consumed way more food than necessary but… I can’t say I regret a single bite!
Caficultura: on the last day we didn’t have any activities planned and were flying out later in the day so rather than get sandy or sweaty (okay, well, it was pretty humid walking around that day) we went into Old San Juan for the day. If you find yourself there around brunch, I’d highly recommend stopping here. It’s small and there was a little bit of a wait, but my sweet potato crepes filled with chicken sausage and goat cheese hit the spot.
One last tip: while there are many bars in Old San Juan (and other neighborhoods in San Juan) La Factoria is a must-visit if you find yourself out in Old San Juan one night. It’s a number of different rooms all with different vibes and music, filled with tourists and locals alike.
Whatever you do, wherever you stay and whatever you eat, I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Puerto Rico – what’s not to love?