We always love expanding our culinary tours into new destinations, and we could not be more thrilled with our newest culinary tours in Puerto Rico!
What could be better than a top culinary destination with a European feel, a ton of history and culture, miles of coastline, and part of the US? US travelers don’t even need a passport, and it’s a quick plane ride away.
Yes, you do currently need to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, but that just means you’ll be safer when you’re traveling. And for the return home you don’t even need to do that, since Puerto Rico is part of the US.
If that’s not enough to tempt you, here are our five best things about our new Flavors of Puerto Rico culinary vacation in the Caribbean.
#1 Old San Juan
Old San Juan is one of the most picturesque cities in the Caribbean, with 500 years of history, stunning architecture, and quaint cobblestone streets that will make you feel like you’re in Europe. The city is full of local shops, bars, and restaurants that range from casual eateries to high-end gourmet.
There are even free golf carts, called garitas, that you can catch around the city center to make exploring even easier.
#2 The Beaches
With over 300 mils of coastline, it should be no surprise that the beaches in Puerto Rico are spectacular. You can explore the on our Caribbean culinary vacation, whether your tastes run to a simple swim or to more adventurous water sports. We’re talking jet skis, parasailing, snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, and more.
Our 6-night itinerary includes 3 nights in the ocean-front Isla Verde neighborhood, as well an afternoon spent exploring the gorgeous and more remote beaches of Cerro Gordo and Mar Chiquita.
But you can get to the beach from Old San Juan during our 3-night stay as well. Isla Verde is reachable from Old San Juan, as are beautiful local public beaches such as Condado Beach or Carolina Beach. And if you head a bit farther afield you’ll hit Piñones, a favorite with the locals.
Head to the “pork road” with us on your Caribbean culinary vacation and explore the wonders of slow-roasted lechón, whole roasted pig. The animal is marinated in an adobo seasoning mix, then roasted until the meat is juicy and tender and the skin is crispy.
The road to Guavate is lined with lechoneras open-air stands selling lechón and other specialties.These eateries line the road from the base of the mountains for several miles.
#4 Rum, Rum, and More Rum
Did you know that the piña colada cocktail was invented in Puerto Rico? And did you know that over 70% of the rum consumed in the US comes from Puerto Rico?
If piña coladas aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There are hundreds of ways to mix rum in various cocktails, or to savor it on its own. You’ll experience a rum tasting with an expert mixologist in Old San Juan on our Puerto Rico culinary tours. And you can visit a sugar cane plantation and see how authentic rum is made on the island during our 6-night culinary vacation in Puerto Rico.
What is the Puerto Rican version of Spanish tapas, the Irish pub crawl, and beachside food stands all rolled into one? The chinchorreo. Chinchorros are food kiosks or casual, ocean-front restaurants that serve a variety of fritters and traditional Puerto Rican dishes like rice with gandules (pigeon peas), pork, and more. A chinchorreo is when a group of friends gets together to eat at their favorite chinchorros. Fun!
We can’t lie: we love fried foods when they’re done well. And Puerto Rico does them well. Some of the delicious fried foods you’ll try on our Flavors of Puerto Rico culinary vacations are:
- alcapurrias – These popular fritters are oblong shaped. The dough (masa) is made from green banana and yautía (a type of tropical tuber) seasoned with annatto, which gives the masa it a yellowish color. The filling is usually meat – either ground beef, braised meat, or blood sausage – or seafood.
- empanadillas – Similar to empanadas, these are half-moon shaped turnovers made with a thin, flaky crust and a meat filling.
- pastelillos – Very similar to empanadillas, but smaller and with a less flaky dough.
- tostones – These savory, crispy plantain chips are ubiquitous on the island. The plantains are cut into wheels, marinated in water and garlic, deep fried to soften, then flattened and fried again until crispy.
- bacalaitos – Try these golden salt cod fritters on our Puerto Rico culinary tours. They are made from a batter of flour, water, parsley, and chunks of salt cod.
- mofongo – Mofongo is Puerto Rico’s siganature dish, made from fried green plantains that have been mashed with garlic and sometimes pork, pork cracklings, butter, or oil. It can be served as a side dish or stuffed with meat or seafood as an entree.
Of course, we’ve just scratched the surface of the things that will amaze you on our newest Puerto Rico culinary vacations. For those of you who have been waiting for us to promote Caribbean culinary tours, the wait is over!
You can see our new 3-night and 6-night Puerto Rico culinary tours, Flavors of Puerto Rico. Contact us to book, or to start planning a custom tour.
By Peg Kern
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