Guavate, Cayey, Puerto Rico
A Whole Pig, A Local FeastGuavate, a section of Cayey better known as the Ruta del Lechon ("Pork Highway"), bursts into a rush of food-infused ecstasy every Friday and Saturday. People from all parts of the island come to watch someone roast a whole pig over the open fire before chopping it with a machete. Side dishes abound. I recommend sorrullos (corn sticks), bacalaitos (cod fritters), alcapurrias (fritters made of plantain dough and stuffed with meat), and rice with different types of beans. The blood sausage is not for me, but my father and boyfriend devour it every chance they get.
Here in the mountains, shacks of all sizes let you pick your poison—beer, piña colada, or mojito (made from lime, mint leaves, rum, and sugar)—and drink to the beat of salsa and reggateon music. This creates the euphoric atmosphere for which Puerto Ricans are so famous. The cherry on top of the piña colada: Guavate lets you absorb the laughter, music, and food for a reasonable price.
If you want the pig, but not the rambunctiousness, take your food to El Yunque National Forest and eat it by a waterfall (see my "Swimming Under a Hidden Waterfall" highlight).
To find it, get on Luis A. Ferre Expressway, take the exit toward PR-184, and follow the signs for Guavate. You’ll start seeing pork soon after you take PR-184, but wait about fifteen minutes (until you’re around km 27) before you stop to get all the real action.
about 4 years ago
Let the pig roasting begin!
Before noon Guavate seems like a sleepy little mountain town, but once the bands have set up and the pigs are posted on their roasting sticks, game on! Salsa bands duel up and down the main drag and lines weave 30-people long to get their fill of pig and plantain. You want a cultural experience? This is it. Eat your heart out—then dance that hog off.