Destination San Juan Puerto Rico

My mantra is to say “Yes” more often than I say “No”   This leads us on occasion to travel destinations simply because without further thought we said “Yes”.

Surrounded by the Caribbean and the Atlantic oceans and easily lured by the pristine beaches and tropical weather it is easy to imagine why you would easily say “Yes” to Puerto Rico.

Our ideal travel experience is discovering the local culture, food and the neighborhoods.  We take the opportunity to walk, and walk some more.  We enjoy being part of the local community and shy away from the tourist crowds.
We visited the local Farmers Market on a hot humid Saturday morning where citrus was front center.
 A local artisan cheese maker who produced a delightful semi-hard sheep’s milk cheese.  We purchased a small wedge of her cheese, a baguette, a few slices of cured meat and fruit and called it lunch.

A small farmer selling his fresh plantains to the local restaurants that lined the cobblestone alley way of our rented loft. Our loft faced the back of a busy restaurant and it was a rare experience for us to be able to gleam restaurant life from their back door.
Love the Spanish colonial neighborhoods in San Juan. 
A refreshing local drink that is often sold by street vendors was Agua Frescas literally translated means “Fresh Waters”  A blend of pureed fruit, water, a squeeze of lime juice and a hint of sugar.  To say these refreshing drinks were delicious would be an understatement.  They were thirst quenching in the tropical heat of the afternoon.
You can easily make Agua Frescas at home and any ripe fruit is fair game.  My favorite on the island was a watermelon fresca which I enjoyed immensely.  
Watermelon-Lime Agua Fresca
Serves 4


Ingredients:
2 pounds seedless watermelon
1 cup cold water
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup or agave nectar
Directions:
For the simple syrup: Mix 1/4 cup water with 1/4 cup sugar.  Bring to boil over medium-low heat and simmer without stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs ( e.g basil or mint).  Let steep for 15 minutes until flavor has infused the syrup.
Blend all ingredients, adjusting sweetness as needed.  Strain through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth (optional).  Serve over ice.
Enjoy!

33 thoughts on “Destination San Juan Puerto Rico

  1. I went to San Juan last month as well as completely fell in love with the city and cuisine. Hope you found some good mofongo while you were there as well! I didn't have an agua fresca and am kicking myself for it. But I'm not worried because I've already decided to make PR a yearly trip.

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  2. I have never been to PR but it looks gorgeous. I am really craving a beach vacation these days…but we are closer to Hawaii so I imagine that is where we will land. Regardless: I love agua fresca and watermelon is my favorite flavor!

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  3. oh! wow! What a wonderful trip! Seeing your images reminded me of my Spanish course where the narrator travels throughout Latin America and ends up in San Juan. She did not go visit Cuba though. (it is called Destinos). Enjoy!

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  4. Dear Velva, Wow!!! What a beautiful vacation to say, \”yes\” to. I am happy that you are bringing in the New Year with such beautiful memories made. I hope you put more pictures. I love looking at pictures. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

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  5. I love the photos, the pne with the truck and produce in the back is very interesting abd cool! What a nice trip. I saw your comment and thank you so much for visiting :-)It sure will be cold tomorrow but we are taking off to spend time with our son. he has leave from Ft Stewart.

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  6. I love the photos, the pne with the truck and produce in the back is very interesting abd cool! What a nice trip. I saw your comment and thank you so much for visiting :-)It sure will be cold tomorrow but we are taking off to spend time with our son. he has leave from Ft Stewart.

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  7. It looks like a wonderful trip! Puerto Rico has been so high on my travel list. I'm not sure when we'll make it now that we are on the west coast, but I love learning more about it through posts like this. The agua fresco sounds so good!

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  8. Spur of the moment excursions are thee best!!! I'm all warm and cozy just looking at these colorful pictures, Velva. Although it's pretty darn cold out, I wouldn't even mind a sip of that Agua Fresca. Thank you so much for sharing…

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  9. Velva, how fun! And that watermelon drink looks so refreshing. I've always (and I mean for decades!) wanted to make a watermelon drink, but then I start eating the watermelon and it's so crisp and wonderful to eat that I hate to put it into the blender. But this summer, I'm going to sacrifice one little watermelon to the blender!

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