Exploring long days in Puerto Rico
Traveling to Puerto Rico is exciting. There is endless exploring and activities to see and do. From adventuring outside of the cities to beach hopping. If you are heading to Puerto Rico with some friends or family soon, in this blog post I will tell you about some great adventures that my friends and I did over Memorial Day weekend. Let me give you some amazing ideas for your time in PR.
Drive into the countryside of Puerto Rico
Rent a car from Popular Auto. The service was quick and straightforward. The tolls are included and they seemed very trustworthy. I know you will be hungry, but don’t settle for drive-thru food. Just 30 minutes away from the airport there is a restaurant named Sevilla. You will experience Puerto Rican & Spain-inspired cuisines. The Parcha (Passion Fruit) Mojito is amazing. Camarones with butter sauce and a side of Mofongo is the way to go!
Explore the Water Falls
After a nice lunch head onto Route 181 to Rio Siete Chorros . When you reach a tiny little town named San Lorenzo, you will see a quaint little bar called “Colmado Bar González”. Go in and ask for permission to go down to the waterfalls, because it is free. There are seven mezmorizing waterfalls and large boulders that you can relax at. The beauty of nature surrounds you and you are also greeted by the locals and family dogs & chickens. If you are looking for waterfalls in Puerto Rica and arent much of a hiker, this is the spot for you. It is located just a few steps below the bar owner’s home.
Eat Lechón in the Mountains of Puerto Rico
From San Lorenzo take a 50min drive to Guavate’s Pork Highway where any meat lover will enjoy Lechón (full roasted pig) and cold Medallas. The trip there was insane. When heading over there, the road narrows almost to a one-way. It may seem as if you are lost but the adventure is worth the views. It takes you up and over the mountains. Stop right at the top for quiet views and fresh mountainous air. Here are the google maps directions from Rio Siete Chorros to Guavate.
A little down the road, there is an amazing spot named Casita Guavate. The atmosphere is great with live music outside. The lechón mac n cheese is not to be missed. So amazing! Don’t be scared of the friendly dogs around. They are just looking for a little leftover pork.
Airbnb in Old San Juan, PR
Live like a local in a colorful condo. I highly recommend Inarú Vacation Homes which is right next to El Morro. During holidays, if you cannot find an Airbnb, then try searching on VRBO . Start the morning by grabbing a cup of coffee or chocolate at Choco Bar which is on Calle de San Francisco. Almost everything has chocolate in it. It’s a good idea to get there early because a line starts to form at 8 am on the dot. Walk around Old San Juan’s colorful streets which are filled with vibrant pastel buildings and blue iron smelting cobblestone roads.
Lunch in La Perla, PR
As we bought some local art, the owner mentioned a restaurant in La Perla. If you aren’t aware of La Perla’s history you can read more about it here. We walked down to the top street of this colorful urban community and found the best-recommended Puerto Rican restaurant from a local yet, La Garita. You get beautiful views of the community while feeling the ocean breeze and the Mofongo was rich with flavor. Don’t be a stranger and visit La Perla. Remember you are a guest so use common sense and be kind and respectful.
Nightlife in Old San Juan, PR
From fancy restaurants to bars within bars within bars. What??? Yes, La Factoria is a cool bar visit. As soon as you walk in you’re greeted with the smell of coffee. The next bar within that room is a smaller bar where the bartenders are rockstars in making espresso martinis! You can go further into the next bar where there is a dance floor, VIP area, and larger bar. You won’t want to leave this dark and full-of-life bar once you step foot in it. But let me add, it can get pretty busy so if you aren’t much of a crowds type of person then this place is not for you.
The younger crowds tend to come out a little after 10 pm and the streets of Old San Juan. After a couple more bar stops such as La Cubanita which has craft cocktails and La Taberna Lupulo, a great local brewery, that was it for us. It’s definitely safe to stay out longer, just remember to respect the locals as they are very welcoming to tourists.
Visit La Placita de Santurce
If you’re looking for a fun night out, grab a 10minute Uber to La Placita de Santurce one evening. La Placita is a market square that gets lively at night over the weekends. Many locals come here to dance salsa or reggaeton in the streets. We celebrated my cousin’s birthday here. It really is a place to enjoy the local nightlife.
There is a great spot we always go to called the Jungle Bird. Here they serve tropical craft cocktails with a more relaxed vibe than what’s going on outside. A new spot we discovered was Eltecho. A rooftop upscale bar that overlooks the whole square. You can hear the mumbled music from the streets all while enjoying crafted cocktails with views of El Condado.
Day Trip to Luquillo, Beach
Looking for some coastal beach time? Rent a car for the day and head to Luquillo Beach. This can be an alternative decision if all of El Younique’s reservations are booked. At Luquillo Beach, there are food kiosks well more like restaurants that are lined up between the highway and the beach. These restaurants range from authentic Puerto Rican foods to Spanish cuisine. We had to eat at AFuego A Puerto Rican/ Colombian mixed spot. As a Colombian, they killed the empanadas, & Bandeja Paisa! A traditional meal from Medellin, Colombia. Luquillo’s beautiful beach stretches for miles.
The waters are calm enough to enjoy a day of swimming, jet skiing, and other watersports. Join local families on their beach day as they love to grill out and play music all day. Nothing beats a fun friends & family day at this beach.
A great tip if you do visit Luquillo Beach, get there early and leave early! You don’t want to get stuck in the traffic that comes in from the highway around lunchtime, and you definitely do not want to leave at 4:30 pm, when everyone is packing up to leave the beach! We did and it took about an hour to get out. Make the best of it by letting the driver sit in line and go grab some beers.
Hotels & Restaurants around Condado, PR
If relaxing on one of Puerto Rico’s most popular public beaches has you ready to explore some more the next day, then head over to Condado. This area is on the way back to the airport and is very popular for tourists because it is lined with beachside hotels, casinos, and restaurants. Don’t be shy to just walk in and explore these hotels. They are stocked with overpriced bar drinks in the lobbies and some even have casinos for you to gamble. If you do decide to splurge, I suggest Tacos & Tequila margaritas inside this luxurious hotel named Vanderbilt.
We finished our trip by grabbing a nice lunch at The Oyster Shack. This cute little shack serves both cold and hot seafood. From oysters and ceviche to cooked octopus, muscles, & razor clams. A light lunch to get you through traveling home.
Final Day in Puerto Rico
Four days in Puerto Rico can seem like a lot, and you should choose how to spend it. Have it be exploring the mountainous roads & waterfalls, walking around the City of Old San Juan with some bar hopping, relaxing beachside with locals, or at a hotel all days of your trip. Whichever way you decide, I guarantee it will be a great cultural experience.
It may be hard to say goodbye to paradise so consider extending your trip and island-hop to Puerto Ricos surrounding islands such as Culebra, Vieques, or even the US Virgin Islands where I live. I recently had the pleasure of flying home with Uflyvi. They have a fleet of planes available for charter, air tours, & even flight classes. Check them out for one unique experience when visiting the Caribbean. If home is your final destination, then I hope you were able to enjoy some of the greatest ways to spend a long weekend in Puerto Rico.
Travel & Covid-19
Domestic flights into Puerto Rico are no longer required to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination. Yet those traveling Internationally, do require updated Covid vaccinations or a Negative test result. Check with PuertoRicos Travel Guide for more information on travel updates including cruises & private charters. You can also visit the CDC for Puerto Rico site.