Experience Puerto Rico’s culinary delights on this itinerary that takes you to some of the Island’s best artisanal purveyors and immerses you in its thriving food scene. From classic dishes like lechón (roast suckling pig) to farm-to-table meals, you can eat well around Puerto Rico with these different dining concepts. Plus, no passport is needed for U.S. citizens wanting to taste these plentiful treats, including passion fruit ice cream and coffee with coconut. ¡Buen provecho!
ItineraryPLAN YOUR TRIP
Day 1Taste of San Juan
For lunch, visit Lote 23 in Santurce. This food truck park and entrepreneur incubator features all local vendors and a variety of flavors in an outdoor space with plenty of seating and large fans.
Come y Calla is a creative hamburger spot with hearty portions. Try the Gaucho burger, a mix of Angus beef, churrasco (grilled beef), and chorizo topped with mozzarella cheese and chimichurri sauce. Pal Cilantro is a fusion place with dumplings and steamed bao buns. They also have a different take on Puerto Rican alcapurrias, a type of fritter stuffed with the protein of your choice, from spicy crab to pork.
For dinner, don’t miss Cocina al Fondo, with Chef Natalia Vallejo at the helm. She won the 2023 James Beard Award in the Best Chef: South category and was the first Puerto Rican woman to be nominated. The restaurant is in a house and plays on typical Puerto Rican recipes. Dishes include mini celery mofongos stuffed with minced rabbit or goat fricassee in a cabbage leaf with sweet potato.
You’ll sleep well at La Botánica Hotel, the newest project by hotelier and ayurvedic consultant Sylvia De Marco. The property started as De Marco’s house and has evolved into a boutique experience with six rooms. All stays include a vegetarian breakfast and herbal tea infusion available all day, and add-ons include yoga in the morning and in-room massages.
Day 2Chocolate in Caguas and the Pork Highway of Guavate
Next, get your fill of pork by heading to the Pork Highway in Guavate. Start at Lechonera Los Amigos to see the pigs roasting in the window and try morcilla, Puerto Rican blood sausage. For outdoor seating with peaceful mountain views and a creek for ambiance, head to Lechonera El Rancho Original. Be prepared to bring back leftovers.
Thankfully, your hotel at Four Points by Sheraton Caguas has a mini-fridge and plush beds to fall into a food coma. There’s also a casino and pool onsite. For dinner, keep it light at El Grifo, a vegan restaurant that makes healthy food taste good. Fan favorites include the lo mein, with semolina durum wheat noodles stir-fried in a ginger-sesame sauce, and the house pizza, with unbleached wheat crust, marina sauce, and cashew mozzarella cheese.
Day 3Ice Cream in Lares
Just down the street, you’ll find Heladería El Grito. Its classic Puerto Rican flavors are a must-try, from corn and arroz con dulce to acerola, the Caribbean cherry. The ice cream parlor also offers options like squash, banana, and ginger.
Balance out all the sweetness at Hacienda Lealtad, a longstanding coffee estate. You can take a tour to learn about the history and purchase coffee to take back with you, the ideal souvenir to transport you back instantly with its rich aroma.
Spend the night at Hacienda Horizonte, owned by famous Puerto Rican musician Draco Rosa. This adults-only farm stay has private villas on 100 acres of the Monte Sagrado Reserve. Guests can access hiking trails, a river and lake, organic fruit grown on the property, and optional tours and activities like horseback riding or ziplining.
If you have the time and feel up for a drive or want to extend your trip, try Papa Rupe Brewing Co. in Ponce which serves local craft brews, including its own. Among more than a dozen beers on tap, the Papa Rupe IPA is popular with patrons enjoying the cozy setting downtown.
Day 4The Farms of Hatillo, Morovis, and Manatí
Next, stop by Panadería La Patria in Morovis. This Puerto Rican staple, in business since 1862, makes its bread in a brick oven and its specialty is the pan de la patita echá, a twisted bread that looks like crossed legs. It also serves hot lunch, sandwiches, pastries, and coffee available.
Finish the day with a pre-arranged tour of Frutos del Guacabo, as seen on the Netflix series Down to Earth with Zac Efron. The family-run business is on a mission to provide ample and diverse produce options to the Island. Its fresh-squeezed orange juice tastes like home, and its Thai butterfly pea flower tea changes color from blue to purple with a squeeze of lime. If available, you can try milking a goat, and we highly recommend the goat cheese. Frutos del Guacabo offers special pop-up dinners by chefs in a barn setting by reservation only.
Get some rest after a long day at Hyatt Place Manatí, conveniently located right off the expressway and near many restaurants and shops. Despite being in the middle of everything, it’s a quiet place to sleep. There’s free parking and breakfast, and the property is a 10-minute drive from the beach, where you can catch the sunset.