Like I said the last time we explored the Caribbean with Holland America, Puerto Rico has long been one of my favorite travel destinations. And I was downright giddy at the prospect of once again basking in its amazing fusion of vibrant people, multi-hued façades, intoxicating scents and jaw-dropping scenery.
So now let’s check out more of the island history and have a few knife and fork adventures Puerto Rican style!
Tributes to History
One of the newest and most poignant historic sites in Puerto Rico is the Monumento a la Memoria del Holocausto (the Holocaust Memorial).
Although many think of the Holocaust only as a remembrance of the thousands of Jewish people who were murdered, it is really in numerous ways about the history of mankind and the atrocities that a particular people sometimes are forced to endure, while also imploring future generations to ensure that they are not repeated. Forming a semi-circle behind the beautiful main sculpture is a series of historic markers which illuminate various aspects of that time in history and the people involved.
Right next to the monument is another memorial, to the Masacre de Lod (Lod Masacre), when in 1972 at the Lod Airport (now Ben Gurion Airport) in Israel three Palestinian terrorists opened fire on passengers waiting for their luggage, ultimately wounding 78 and killing 26—17 of whom were Puerto Ricans traveling to the Holy Land.
Another eye-catching historic site in town is the Walkway of the Presidents situated, fittingly, across the street for the San Juan Capital Building. Here you will find spectacular, bronze, life-like and life-sized statues accompanied by historical markers of Ford, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, Roosevelt, Hoover, and my favorite, President Barack Obama!
Or in English, absolutely delicious!
Although providing just a snapshot of the excellent epicurean adventures in Old San Juan is like getting all dressed up for a fancy dinner then only ordering an appetizer, I couldn’t leave here without giving you at least a few morsels about the amazing Puerto Rican, Caribbean and international cuisine served everywhere from quaint neighborhood cafés to upscale establishments.
Again, so many wonderful ones to mention – don’t hate it one of your favs is not on the list!:
* The Parrot Club – Distinctive Puerto Rican fare plus Latino cuisine with a creative modern twist.
* Dragonfly and Dragonfly Too – Creative, Asian-inspired fare and exotic cocktails in a fun and funky nightclub atmosphere.
* Barrachina – A San Juan landmark for over 40 years and reportedly where the Piña Colada was first created.
* Amadeus Bistro Bar – Amazing international epicurean delights with a very Caribbean and European feel and flavor.
* Tantra – Innovative Indo-Latin cuisine with Asian with Indian flavors.
* Melao – Traditional Puerto Rican and Caribbean fare coupled with innovative steak and seafood dishes.
* Restaurant Panorama Bar and Latin Grill – Delicious Creole and International food in a unique casual atmosphere overlooking the harbor at the top of the boutique Hotel Milano.
* Aguaviva – Specializes in seaside Latino cuisine complemented by a comprehensive wine list with offerings from around the world.
* Bodega Chic – A delightful French/Algerian bistro serving mouthwatering Caribbean and Mediterranean dishes.
* Bossa Nova – Featuring outstanding Brazilian fare in an electric ambiance.
Alas, it is time to head back on the ship and set sail for our last two exciting ports of call – St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.
To start at Part 1, click here.