Savor the Delicious Local Flavors of Puerto Rico in San Juan and Beyond

Taste your way around the Caribbean Island—from chocolate and coffee to ice cream and roasted pork—on this self-guided road trip.

Lunch on the Pork Highway

Lunch on the Pork Highway

Photo by AFAR

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!


Trip Highlight

The Pork Highway

You’ll find an abundance of classic Puerto Rican dishes in Guavate, the Island’s Ruta de Lechón or Pork Highway, which is lined with restaurants offering lechón and other traditional recipes.
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Trip Designer

Discover Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a premier destination for leisure, business, and events for a reason. The knowledgeable team of experts at Discover Puerto Rico is thrilled to share the inside scoop, including all the best outdoor experiences and hidden gems that make this Island paradise so unique.
Mofongo from one of the food trucks of Lote 23

Mofongo from one of the food trucks of Lote 23

Photo by Jen Ruiz

Day 1Taste of San Juan

There’s perhaps no better way to start your day than with authentic Puerto Rican coffee. Caficultura in Old San Juan is in a central location and has several options to give you the boost of energy you need, from Cafi Coco with coconut syrup and cinnamon powder to an affogato with vanilla ice cream. Stroll through the neighborhood afterward to enjoy the architecture and scenery.

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.
Chocolate truffles at Montadero Chocolate

Chocolate truffles at Montadero Chocolate

Photo by Jen Ruiz

Day 2Chocolate in Caguas and the Pork Highway of Guavate

Head inland to Caguas and start your day with a chocolate-making class at Montadero Chocolate. This family-owned shop uses all local ingredients from internationally award-winning cacao farms on the Island. Its exquisite truffles are almost too pretty to eat, from champagne to passion fruit and dulce de leche.

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.
A couple toasting in Papa Rupe Brewing

A couple toasting in Papa Rupe Brewing

Courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico

Day 3Ice Cream in Lares

Lares is a small town in Puerto Rico that’s well-known in large part due to its distinctive ice cream. Heladería Lares offers savory flavors you won’t find anywhere else, including rice and beans, cazuela (a type of meat stew), and even garlic ice cream. This family-owned establishment was founded in 1968, and its recipes are a well-kept secret.

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.
The entrance to the restaurant Vaca Negra

The entrance to the restaurant Vaca Negra

Photo by Jen Ruiz

Day 4The Farms of Hatillo, Morovis, and Manatí

To dive into all things dairy, head to Vaca Negra. The cheesemaker specializes in cheese, and guests can make their own cheese wheel as part of a special class. During the weekends, they have a D’ La Ubre brunch menu, meaning “from the udder.” The hot chocolate is to die for, and the croque madame comes with brioche, cheese, and an egg on top.

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.