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PR: Old San Juan

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The first couple days of Puerto Rico was spent scoping out Old San Juan. And I loved every minute of it.

Hmm…Taiwan or Puerto Rico??

Being the master of tourism that I am…I woke up very early the first morning and took a bus into Old San Juan to start doing touristy things. The city has a ton of historical importance in the development of Spanish culture in the Caribbeans. Puerto Rico is located perfectly where the westward Atlantic winds blow all the ships over from Europe… and Old San Juan is located perfectly at the mouth of the first sheltered bay where ships can restock on resources and supplies.  The very intelligent Spanish basically established dominance by destroying the crap out of any ship filled with tired sailors that sailed through not sporting a Spanish flag. Spain was able to control a lot of the import and export of stuff to and from the Caribbeans…and this includes the importing of fine looking Spanish ladies…my favorite.

Anyway, here’s day one:

The streets of Old San Juan

I walked around Castillo de San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro):

And some black and white shots…

The Spanish were also responsible for importing the super delicious recipe for making Mallorcas Tostadas de Jamon y Queso.

This is basically a grilled croissant with ham and cheese in the middle and powdered sugar sprinkled on top. And by powdered sugar I mean crack. I had this at La Bombonera in between visiting the forts.

It started pouring in the late afternoon so I called it a day and went back to the hostel to nap. I woke up feeling hungry and went down to the local favorite hole in the wall restaurant. It sold fried fish and plantain kebobs…which were super delicious. I also got a taco de pollo which is like a Spanish hot pocket…and nothing like the tacos we have back home in San Diego.

The next morning I moved hostels to one closer to Old San Juan. Not because I wanted to, but because I had no other choice. They were full so I had to relocate…but it wasn’t a bad thing.

My feet were aching from walking all yesterday, so the goal of today was relaxation and enjoying the Puerto Rican weather. The beach at La Ocho was nearby so I went there…not a bad choice:

Click for full size

I also did a practice snorkel run.

Here’s a picture of me two seconds before floating into brain coral. I realized later that night that I got a palm-sized brain coral imprint on my back shoulder.

How to get a free tattoo in Puerto Rico… Step 1: Swim into brain coral.

After five hours of 85 degree water and absorbing skin cancer, I walked around looking for a place to grab dinner. Instead I saw a bunch of people dancing in a street. Puerto Rico is too rad. I contemplated joining them but I didn’t want the mass dancers turning into a mass mob when they saw an Asian kid ruining their party by doing the running man or jerking. To them dancing means the fluid motion of hips…which I have none.


I grabbed dinner at Restaurante de Jibarita and tried an authentic PR soup. It was similar to a stew that my grandma used to make. It was filled with chicken, beef, pork, potatoes and came with some rice and avocados.

I believe the proper Spanish name of this dish is Soupo Delicioso.

I went back to the hostel to chill before heading out into Old San Juan for the night. Around 8pm you can hear music from all over the island and I decided to walk around and see what’s going on. I stopped at Cafe Princesa because they had a live jazz band. I sat there and talked to the waiters and waitresses about where I planned on visiting and they were all stoked to hear that I was going to see some places that a lot of locals don’t even know about. Sweet. Anyway, here are some pictures from the night.

The view from the hostel.

Oh, well look who it is…Carli Muñoz of the Beach Boys playing in his own Jazz Restaurant in Old San Juan.

Live music and dancing every Saturday night at Plazolete del Pueblo

I didn’t get a chance to try Tico Tripleta food cart because there was about thirty people in line! If you visit, try it and let me know how it is!!

A Few Notes:
– San Cristobal and El Morro each cost $3 or buy tickets for both for $5. The tickets are good for a week so take your time or hand them off to someone.
– La Bombonera is a local favorite and one of the best breakfast places in Old San Juan.
– The best advice I have for driving in Old San Juan is don’t.
– The trolley that runs around town is free.

Well that’s the quick update for now. I have been doing so many things that I barely have time to sit down next to my computer to update my readers (all four of you including myself). Puerto Rico is a giant playground for someone like me…or anybody who loves exploring the outdoors. I’ve already moved on and San Juan is in my rear view mirror but here’s a quick teaser for my next adventure:

Until next time, Cheers.


Written by jonewantsm3

August 29, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Adventures, Travel

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