I’m back on an airplane again, internet. We left Puerto Rico at 7 in the morning (ish) and it is currently 9:28, somewhere over the Atlantic. Current soundtrack? Tales of Girls and Boys and Marsupials, by arguably the best band of all time (if not, certainly my favorite band of all time) The Wombats. Current occupation? Not reading the crappy book I picked up at the drugstore the other day. You’d think 9 books would be sufficient for a 12-day vacation. Apparently not. Yet I digress (is still my favorite English idiom).
It is extremely hard to wax romantic about the intense beauty of Puerto Rico on a dingy grey airplane whilst listening to energetic English pop-punk boys sing-scream about female doctors, but I suspect it’ll be worse sitting at home with my two golden retrievers constantly head-butting me in the thigh. So here we go, the grand takeaway, the end-all-be-all, the moral of the story. The list of the absolute must-do’s in Puerto Rico, speaking as someone who has been to the island thrice and knows more of the layout of the place then I know about my home state.
To the engaged couple stumbling upon this page looking for honeymoon tips, the eager traveler, or the businessman with refined tastes and people to impress, welcome to hnw cassandra. Sit down and stay a while, why don’t you.
The Top Expensive Restaurants in San Juan/ Condado.
1. Budatai for the pork belly profiteroles and the harame.
2. Trois Cent Onze for the duck and the dirty martinis.
3. La Pearla for the lobster bisque.
4. Il Bacaro Venezia for the pasta and the awesome service!
The Top Inexpensive Restaurants in San Juan/ Condado.
1. Inaru for the ceviches and the sangria.
3. Ceviche House for the fried snapper.
4. Mojitos, for the mofongo.
The Best Breakfast Spots in San Juan / Condado
1. Café Saint Germaine for the Sunday Brunch.
2. La Bombanera for the mallorcas and the fresh pineapple (but it’s being renovated, so make sure it’s open).
3. Di Zucchero for the coffee.
4. Punk for the acai bowls.
The Best Adventure-y Things to Do
1. A combined trip to El Yunque and the Bio-Bay – or at least the Bio Bay! It’s stunning.
2. El Toro – Unless you have a serious fear of heights. But the views can’t be beat and neither can the adrenaline rush.
3. Go snorkeling. Just do it. You won’t be sorry.
Things That Are Over-Hyped
1. Marmalade – expensive, snobby, and they tend to drench everything in truffle oil. I’ve been twice and it’s just not worth the price tag.
2. The Bacardi Factory Tour – there’s just not a ton to see.
3. Flamenco Beach on Culebra – pretty, but crowded. Go to Playa Sucia near the south- east tip of the mainland or Playa Pieta on Vieques instead.
Things That Are Under-Hyped
1. The taxi services and police are very friendly and generally willing to offer directions or advice. English speaking abilities vary, but the taxi drivers are very knowable and organized.
2. Pinones is a boardwalk that you can wander or bike with beautiful beaches and a bunch of kioskos selling cheap local food. Definitely make sure you have the number of a taxi service with you to call for a pickup, however! They’re a little out of town, but well worth it.
3. Wandering around Old San Juan is breathtaking, especially during the morning or at night when it’s not too hot. Sundays are a little sleepy, but it’s still worth getting there to meander the perimeter along the wall.
4. There are multiple vendors wandering around with carts of ice-cream. It is absolutely worth getting a cup. I had the coconut and it was unbelievably fresh!
If You’re in Town Around
1. The first Sunday of the Month, go to the local market in Condado, next to the La Concha hotel.
2. If you are in San Juan while they are running the Saborea Food Festival, definitely check it out.
3. Ask your concierge when the cruise ships will be docking in Old San Juan – there are generally sales going on in town.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not you should go to one of the little islands off the coast, definitely go for Vieques. There’s a lot to do and see and the beaches are extremely beautiful. Culebra is idyllic, but there’s not a ton of food options and the beaches can be crowded.