S A N
J U A N
THE PUERTO RICO TOURISM COMPANY
A GASTRONOME’S TOUR
Dining is an integral part of discovering Old San Juan, as much as sightseeing or shopping. TACAR/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
The neighborhood called SOFO — South of Fortaleza — is known for fine dining and for outdoor food festivals that draw many a hungry crowd. In the chic Condado and Isla Verde areas, chefs combine modern Latin-fusion meals with traditional Creole cuisine, and diners enjoy mouthwatering blends of Latin,
Sweet, scrumptious flan
French, Asian and even Indian cuisines.
a blend of onions, peppers, cilantro,
The lively town of Santurce offers
garlic and salt pork. And you’re sure
fashionable Spanish restaurants, a
to give in to a dessert of flan — baked
local farmer’s market and the delightful
custard topped with a caramel glaze —
fondas: small eateries serving home-
or tembleque, a bread pudding made
style Puerto Rican cooking at moderate
with coconut milk and custard. No meal
prices. Here you might enjoy asopao, a
is complete without a cup of rich Puerto
hearty chicken-and-rice gumbo. Your
Rican coffee; the locals often enjoy it
meal will likely come with a generous
with some frothy boiled milk.
helping of arroz blanco (white rice) and
ABOVE: The silver altar in Capilla del Cristo is said to cure those who seek its help. RIGHT: Illustration of Ponce de León.
Typical Puerto Rican lunch served at a local fonda
PUERTO RICO TOURIST BOARD
It stands to reason that the history of one of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere — it was founded in 1521 — would have some colorful characters, some better known than others.
LEGENDS AND LORE
Seafood by the sea CHRISTIAN SUMNER/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
habichuelas: beans stewed in sofrito,
Who hasn’t heard of Ponce de León
If you believe in miracles, a visit to the
and his search for the legendary Fountain
Capilla del Cristo, at the end of Cristo
of Youth? Unfortunately, Ponce de León’s
Street, might work wonders.
mission was cut short before he realized
Long ago, the story goes, the rum-
his dream: He met his fate at the hands
fueled young men of San Juan used to
of local Natives while searching out
race their horses down the steep city
magic potions in Florida.
streets. One day, a particularly lucky
His remains were eventually shipped
daredevil narrowly escaped death
to Puerto Rico, where he had served as
when his faithful horse stopped short
the island’s first governor. He was buried
just inches from the edge of a seaside
in the San José Church, the second-
precipice. The rider’s grateful family built
oldest church in the New World. In 1913,
a small chapel, the Capilla del Cristo,
his body was moved to the San Juan
on the spot of the near mishap. Now
Cathedral, where it lies today, encased in
true believers, hoping to be cured of
a marble crypt. Although Ponce de León
whatever ails them, place tiny replicas
never discovered the secret of eternal
of arms, legs and hearts on the chapel’s
youth, he did manage to find immortality
silver altar, dedicated to the Christ of
in Old San Juan.
Miracles. —G. D.
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES FUN ASHORE
1112 POC San Juan.indd 468
10/5/11 2:52 PM
Fun Ashore -- POC (ports of call) book, which includes Carnival Cruise Lines marketing, regional articles and port information.