One of my favorite things in life is traveling to new places. Learning about a culture first-hand through their history, traditions, and food is just fascinating and pure joy for me. I was glad to tag along on Rich’s business trip to Puerto Rico for a little relaxation after a crazy couple of months and a bad case of cabin fever.
I’d been to Puerto Rico for a wedding a couple of years back but didn’t get a chance to see too much outside of our lovely beach. This trip would be an opportunity to learn about San Juan’s history and try the cuisine. I am always on the hunt for new beers too, but knew that I was going into rum-country, so no high hopes here (spoiler – I did manage to try some new beers).
Rich was working so I kept busy by checking out museums, forts, galleries, and some good ol’ beach/pool time. It’s such a beautiful place and so full of history.
I am a fiend on Tripadvisor prior to any trip to get an idea of what are the must dos, so asked the San Juan forum where to eat like a local. The tip I got was to eat at a fonda, or cafeteria, where the Puerto Ricans go for lunches. I bellied up to the counter at Café Manolín in Old San Juan and had a wonderful meal of rice, beans, fried chicken, and a cold Medalla. I was handed a bottle of Pique to spice up my meal which was new to me and delicious! I knew at that moment what my souvenir would be, I brought back several bottles of another brand. I am planning to make my own once pepper season rolls around in MN, can’t wait!
I did check out the
only microbrewery on the island, Old Harbor Brewery, located by the pier in Old San Juan. I ordered a flight which included a pilsner, helles, pale ale, porter, and an IPA, they were out of the stout on that day. I enjoyed the pils and the pale the best. Note the disco lights on my glassware…
I had tons of fun checking out San Juan and learning about its history but can’t wait to go back and learn more. Call it the anthropologist in me, but I am now intrigued by the African, Taino, and Spanish heritage the people share in addition to how historic events have shaped the island’s current status. I’ll have to do some reading to supplement what I learned on the island.
I can’t wait to go back and dive a little deeper into the culture. What are some of your favorite things to do when you travel to a new place?