Take a walking tour around the historic landmarks of Old San Juan city and get your fill on unique and fresh Puerto Rican cuisine at the places locals love
Even before arriving in Puerto Rico, we had heard that the island has its own unique and exotic cuisine...but we didn’t know a thing about it. So we turned to a local for some help and support! After a bit of research we came across Flavors of San Juan, a locally run and locally operated food tour, that keeps things local and groups small.
Although we typically don’t do organized tours, as we prefer to discover things on our own, a food tour of San Juan sounded like a pretty good idea. When we read that our guide would only take us to “locals only” places, we were sold. Plus, there were cocktails and mofongo on the menu — how could you go wrong? Plain and simple, it’s impossible not to have fun on a food tour. We were constantly entertained as we snacked our way around the city and absorbed the local culture.
Wait... What is Puerto Rican Food?
Puerto Rican cuisine, or what the locals call cocina criolla, is a conglomeration of Latin American styles. At first impression, it feels a little bit like Spanish, Cuban, and Mexican food. But Puerto Rican food is really a blend of Spanish, African, Taino, and American flavors. The cuisine honors the indigenous roots of the island by incorporating traditional spices and ingredients like coriander, papaya, cacao, plantains, loquat, and Indian yams in their recipes. But what’s most important about Puerto Rican cuisine is that it’s really, really good.
Eight Puerto Rican Foods You Have to Try
While in Puerto Rico, we really couldn’t get enough mofongo. The fourth stop on our food tour was Rosa de Triana. We helped make plantain mofongo with chicken in a Creole sauce, served with white rice and red beans. Mofongo is an African-Puerto Rican dish made of smashed plantains. Usually cooks add seafood, meat, or other seasonings.
Beef Alcapurrias & Ceviche
At Café el Punto, we tried beef alcapurrias with hot sauce and grouper ceviche. Alcapurrias are a traditional fritter dish served in Puerto Rico and also make the best beach snack!
At Princesa Gastrobar, where we sampled chicken and ham croquettes topped with bechamel sauce (a classic French sauce made from white roux and milk).
Did you know piña coladas were invented in Puerto Rico? On our tour, we sipped on original, super fresh piña coladas at Princesa Gastrobar.
Natural Ice Pops
The next stop on our food tour was Senor Paleta, where they served us ice-cold popsicles made from natural flavoring. It was a nice tropical touch to compliment a toasty day.
Coffee... And GUAVA CAKE (ANYTHING GUAVA!)
Puerto Rico has long been one of the world’s coffee origins. We finished our tour at Cuatro Sombras, where we had phenomenal Puerto Rican coffee. Even non-coffee lovers will appreciate this roast!
Puerto Ricans love Guava and there is plenty to go around. You can find guava in just about anything from sweets to savory dishes. So to compliment our coffee at Cuatro Sombras, we enjoyed guava cake for dessert. It hits the spot without being overly sweet.
Flavors of San Juan Food & Culture Tours was started eight years ago by travelers that have a passion for local culture and really amazing food. Since opening the business, they have focused on building strong relationships with local restaurant owners in San Juan. Together with the Old San Juan community, they show visitors an authentic version of the city through delectable tastes and cool historical insights.
- Booking a tour: The tours run every day, all year long, with the exception of major U.S. holidays. You can book a tour at 10 AM or 3 PM. Once these two tour times fills up, they add more times on the schedule.
- The cost: $79.99 for adults and $69.99 for children, and both are given adult-size servings. For the price, you get 10 tastes and sips in total from the various stops as well as a historical walking tour. Kids under two-years-old are free but don’t receive food.
- Who can go: Anyone! The walking required for the tour isn’t difficult, but there are cobblestone streets and stairs involved. The tour group will be anywhere from 2-14 participants.
We loved every dish provided for us on the food tour. The restaurants on the itinerary truly feel like local spots and provide high quality eats that everyone enjoyed. By tasting our way around San Juan, we got a unique glimpse of the city. But perhaps even better, we acquired a more comprehensive idea of Puerto Rican cuisine and knew what to order more of later!
For more information about Flavors of San Juan, visit their website: