To cap off an already great to trip to Puerto Rico, we boarded the tiny plane on Day 7 to spend the last two days exploring some interesting parts of the US Territory’s capital, San Juan.
After touchdown at the airport, we gathered our duffles and found a taxi for the quick drive to the old part of the city, arriving at the Plaza de Colon, one of the more popular hubs for activity. The natural sounds of Vieques were replaced with the cacophony of people milling around the square and cars bustling down the cobblestone streets. We checked into our hostel and strung our beach clothes up to dry from the rooftop balcony, a great place to survey the city before heading out on foot for some good eats and interesting history.
Cafe Mallorca was the first stop, just a few blocks down Calle San Francisco. This place is popular with both locals and tourists and serves up one of the best treats in the Caribbean. Like the name on the sign, a mallorca is the establishment’s specialty - imagine the best grilled cheese you’ve ever had, topped with powdered sugar. Delicious right? You better believe it.
With sustenance in our bellies and guidebook in hand we walked between Castillo San Cristobal and El Morro, immersing ourselves in each location behind the monolithic walls of over 500 years of history. As we watching the sun sink into the Caribbean Sean, we pondered what life was like back in the days of new world discoveries.
Stuffed with mallorcas and history, we spent our last day getting even more local, exploring the Santurce district. Just slightly outside of the tourist zone and known for its vibrant street art scene, this barrio of San Juan has the highest concentration of galleries, museums and street art in the Caribbean. We wandered for a few hours up and down different streets, finding vibrance and energy in beyond life-sized murals around every corner. Many of the buildings in the neighborhood serve as giant canvases for artists who are constantly working and re-working their craft, creating a visual exchange for social and cultural ideas.
After absorbing as much art and culture possible, we headed back to Old San Juan for one last dinner and time to talk about all the fun memories we had collected from a week in Puerto Rico. We agreed that its definitely worth a return trip and more time to explore the outdoors, great food and fascinating culture.
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