Travel to Puerto Rico – Episode 363

categories: caribbean travel, USA Travel

Hear about travel to Puerto Rico as the Amateur Traveler talks to Kaleb Garcia about his home.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory in the Caribbean with its own culture, language (Spanish), history, and food.

Kaleb starts us in San Juan, particularly in the historic Old San Juan. El Morro, the fortress built in the 1600s still guards the old city of San Juan. El Morro and the fortress of San Cristobal were built to guard the port when the threat was more from pirates than from cruise passengers. Casa Blanca, the home of Ponce de Leon, is also in Old San Juan. While Ponce de Leon was exploring Florida looking for the fountain of youth his family stayed in Puerto Rico and later founded the city of Ponce. The tomb of Ponce de Leon is found in the cathedral of Cathedral de San Juan. La Fortaleza is the governors’ mansion where the clock still shows the time when the last Spanish governor left. Kaleb also suggests you walk around the old city walls on the Paseo de la Princesa.

Before you leave Old San Juan, stop at the Museum of Our African Roots and at the Museo del Indio focusing on the indigenous population. The Puerto Rico Museum of Art and the Contemporary Art Museum are also in Old San Juan.

In a previous episode on Puerto Rica, we recommended stopping at the Arecibo Observatory, which Kaleb still recommends for kids but he prefers the Camuy Caves in the area instead.

After San Juan, the most colorful city is the city of Ponce on the Southern coast. The Hacienda Buena Vista in the area is a must-stop for coffee lovers as it is a coffee plantation. You should also stop at the Centro Ceremonial Indigena de Tibes Ponce, another museum about the native Taínos people.

For favorite beaches, Kaleb recommends Luquillo Beach near San Juan and Flamenco Beach. We also talk about swimming with jellyfish in the Bio Bay on Vieques, but there is another bio bay near Seven Seas Bay that is easier to reach.

To taste the local food Kaleb recommends the La Ruta del Lechon, the route of the spit roast pig. A number of smaller family-run local eating areas along this route will serve you roast pig while entertaining you with live music in outside eating areas.

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Show Notes

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan National Historic Site
La Fortaleza
Museo del Indio
Museum of Our African Roots
Arecibo Observatory
Camuy Caves
El Yunque


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More Brazil Please

Hi Chris,

I’m Rafaela from Brazil. I’m getting a degree in English and listening to the Amateur Traveler episodes has been a delightful way to test my language skills. I’ve listened to the show for about two years now and I’m still excited to get to know to what place the next episode will take me.

To be honest, I’ve never been outside of Brazil, but thanks to your show I can say that I’ve been travelling around the world somehow. I just have one request: Please, record more episodes about Brazil. I know that you may have many other places to cover and that it is hard to find guests sometimes, but I’d love to hear about my country in your amazing show.



Kirsten on Travel to The Guianas – French Guiana, Suriname, and Guyana – Episode 362


I’m a new listener and I think I’m going to enjoy following Amateur Podcast.

I have a few comments about the latest show:

I was unsure of what to make of the guest’s assessment of French Guiana as the most sophisticated and developed country in South America. I should preface this by saying I have never been to South America but I know that French Guiana is not the only country with strong European influence. What about Argentina or Chile (or at least parts of these countries) which are more popular destinations than French Guiana? Would they be considered comparatively less “developed”? Since the terminology of “development” as ascribed to countries and regions carries some subjectivity I was left wondering what he meant.

Lastly, as a native of Trinidad & Tobago, I was pleased to hear him mention the islands and pronounce Tobago correctly. It’s amazing how often people insist on calling it TOE-BAAH-GO.

Keep up the good work,

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

2 Responses to “Travel to Puerto Rico – Episode 363”

Darrell Hickman


Hey Chris, great show on Puerto Rico. I was just in San Juan in January and with this episode I learned some things about some of the buildings I walked past in Old San Juan. The host is right about Christmas. We was there the middle of January and they still had Christmas decorations up both in the Old town and in Condado a beachfront area of San Juan west of the international airport. One great thing we did in San Juan that the host didn’t mention was we went to this great restaurant in downtown San Juan called Triana that had flamenco dancing as entertainment. They had shows upstairs and downstairs but the best place to see the shows is downstairs which is an old bank vault that was transformed to a old hidden speakeasy during prohobition during the 1920’s A great place to stay in San Juan is the Caribe Hilton cons expensive and not much in the immediate area the pros is that it is a great resort by the water and you can walk to the Condado area and can make the 1 and 1/2 walk to Old San Juan along the coast. Of course do not do this walk at night. Another thing is close to one of the fountains the host mention there is a night market with food trucks and crafts for sale. Not sure if this is all of the time or just during the extended Christmas season. One warning for the few people (like my wife) who are not really cat people is there are stray cats everywhere in downtown San Juan. Thanks again for the podcast it brought back great memories

Spencer Q


Great podcast! Chris’ guest seemed to make conflicting statements on safety. Plus, there’s been a lot written recently about violent crime in Puerto Rico, especially the number of murders. However, looking at statistics Puerto Rico (26.2 homicides per 100K people have a better homicide rate than Bahamas, US Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Detroit, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Oakland (International source UNODC, US source FBI).

I’m looking at visiting Puerto Rico this fall and I’d like to know how bad is crime in Puerto Rico? Is most of the concern in isolated areas or widespread across the country? I prefer to get away from the resort areas and spend most of my time in remote areas with locals. So, are there non-resort/tourist areas away from San Juan where I can visit and that are relatively safe? I’ve traveled to other countries 18 months after a coup, but had assurances from locals that it was stable? Does anyone have local knowledge?

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