Culinary Walking Tour of Old San Juan

San Juan, Puerto Rico is known not only for its rich history and historical buildings and forts, but also for a delectable array of food offerings and restaurants.

During our recent visit to Puerto Rico, we jumped at the chance to take a culinary walking tour of  Old San Juan with Flavors of San Juan Food & Culture Tours. This tour was to be a 3 hour walking tour through Old San Juan which included tastings at different interesting restaurants as well as the chance to learn more about the architecture and history of Puerto Rico’s oldest city.

We were asked to meet our guide at the corner of San Justo and Rcinto Sur Streets and were told that we would know the right location when we spotted the sculpture of a cat/giraffe in front of Banco Popular.

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We met at the sculpture of a cat/giraffe in front of Banco Popular

It was there we met our tour guide Luli and where our group of ten embarked on a journey full of sensuous treats for our pallets and eyes.

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Luli – our tour guide

Luli explained that “Barriguita llena, corazón contento” or “Full belly, happy heart”  was a popular Puerto Rican saying and that she hoped we would experience this on our journey today. We began walking towards the first stop of the tour – Aromas Coffeehouse.

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Aromas Coffeehouse

At Aromas we were treated to a warm and creamy cup of Puerto Rican coffee and Mallorca with guava jelly – a delicious local sweet bread.

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A latte made with Puerto Rican coffee

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Mallorca with guava jelly

Onward we slowly wound our way through the magnificent buildings and blue cobblestone of Old San Juan with our knowledgeable guide highlighting many points of interest.

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Original blue cobblestone streets dating back to the 1700’s

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Next stop – Café El Punto, featuring fresh, authentic Puerto Rican cuisine with bright and lively, locally made masks and atrwork adorning the walls.

Here we savored the tastiest ceviche, and an alcapurria – a light and flaky pastry filled with ground beef but can also be filled with vegetables, shrimp or jueyes (a local crab). We washed it down with a frosty piña colada.

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Fresh Ceviche

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Next stop – a beautiful little restaurant close to Cathedral of San Juan Bautista called Rosa de Triana.

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Rosa de Triana

Here we got to mash our own plantains and experience Puerto Rico’s signature dish – Mofongo.

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Cooked plantains ready for mashing

We then filled our “plantain bowl” with a delicious mixture of chicken and spices and devoured our scrumptious Mofongo with a glass of sangria.

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Mashing the plantains

Full, but totally ready to sample the fare at our last stop, we leisurely made our way through Plaza de Armas,

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Child feeding pigeons in Plaza de Armas

and into Casa Cortés for….chocolate….

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Casa Cortés

The Casa Cortés slogan is “Where two great passions meet: Art and Chocolate”. The ChocoBar is downstairs, and upstairs in the recently refurbished building, there are two floors of beautiful paintings and artwork from Caribbean and Latin American artists.

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Chocolate delights at Casa Cortés

Several chocolate squares with cheese to dip in a warm cup of creamy hot chocolate and a churro later, we definitely had a full belly and a happy heart.

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Luli passing around Casa Cortes treats

We said goodbye to some new friends we made on the tour and our lovely tour guide, Luli, and headed back out on the streets of Old San Juan – full of excellent food and history of this vibrant city.

 The Old San Juan Food Tour is offered several times a day (except on Monday) and at the time of this writing, the cost for the tour is $69.99 per adult. There is some moderate walking involved. Included in the price: All food/drink tastings plus historical, cultural & architectural information and a savings guide for discounts at local businesses.

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