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sanjuan sweets and eats

Last week I shared the phone-camera highlights of my recent trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Today I’m back with some slightly more profesh photos!

Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico

I say “slightly” because, as I mentioned, this was a vacation for me. A real, legit vacation without the pressure of perfect photos, the rule of thirds, flat-ironed hair, or chic camera-ready apparel. Just me, my family, my flip-flops, my wind-tossed hair, and whatever camera I happened to have ready for an impulsive Kodak moment.

Translation: I did not try. If I pressed the shutter and ended up with a good photo? Fabulous. If I didn’t? Fine.

That’s the beauty of a true vacation. It’s more about the memories than the prints.

Pool at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico

As I told you a few days ago, I was lucky enough to stay at the Caribe Hilton. Though the rooms weren’t quite as sleek and shiny as I expected, the grounds were beautiful and full of places to lounge. I could have parked by myself near the water for weeks!

Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Above is the view from my room. I wouldn’t quite call this an “ocean view,” but I spent most of my time outside near the water, anyway, so I got to see the ocean up close. 🙂

Outdoor Starbucks at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan

Not to mention there was an all-too-close outdoor Starbucks! Is there a better sight to behold than icy Frappuccinos being served right on the sand? 🙂

On the opposite end of the hotel, the Piña Colada Club offered some more substantial choices. Here’s an up-close slice of the coconut cake I gave you a preview of last week:

Pina Colada cake from the Pina Colada Club at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan

It was dense and moist, with just enough frosting and flaky toasted coconut on top. Yum! I’m pretty sure I need to reinvent it in cupcake form in the near future…possibly with just a tad more frosting. Thoughts? 🙂

Cobb salad from the Pina Colada Club at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan

Along with my dessert, I also ordered a Cobb salad to go. This was a treat, too – albeit a healthier one – topped with blue cheese, avocado, and bacon. There was clearly no shortage of food on this trip!

Outside of my hotel, there was also plenty of food to be found. Although the Caribe Hilton was supposedly the original home of the pina colada, I ended up sampling a nonalcoholic version elsewhere.

Cafe Berlin in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cafe Berlin provided the perfect place to people-watch and sip my pineapple-coconut smoothie in Old San Juan. The cafe was very busy at lunchtime so it took nearly a half-hour just to get my blended drink, but it definitely hit the spot!

Virgin Pina Colada from Cafe Berlin in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Pictured above is my virgin pina colada, with my mom’s virgin strawberry daiquiri in the background. They might have cost more than $5 each, but they were worth it after all the walking we did across Old San Juan! Learn from our mistake and pack water bottles with if you decide to walk very far…it can get pretty warm in the Puerto Rican sunshine! Not that I can complain – I love me some vitamin D!

There was a lot to see in the downtown area, from the colorful buildings to the historic forts. I loved how so many building exteriors were painted in bright shades and decorated with almost-European flair.

Downtown San Juan, Puerto Rico

I was constantly on the lookout for authentic Puerto Rican sweets, but I actually didn’t find too many. Maybe I just wasn’t looking in the right areas – or I got distracted by the shopping – but I did spot a couple pastries in the center of the downtown area. I didn’t sample any for myself, but it’s always fun to see what different desserts look like in different places.

Pastries in Old San Juan

Those cream-filled ones make my mouth water!

The main sightseeing areas were a few miles from the Caribe Hilton, but free trolleys looped between the most popular destinations, and taxi rides were only about $15.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan

Castillo San Felipe del Morro was by far the most-visited and probably the most architecturally impressive landmark to visit. Although “castle” isn’t a literal translation, this once-upon-a-time fort has some of the thickest walls I’ve ever seen, countless nooks and crannies to explore, a lighthouse, and a beautiful view of the city. You could easily spend the better part of a day walking around this historic landmark.

It also turned out to be a good place to pick up a Puerto Rican cookbook! Who knew? There’s a good chance you’ll be seeing some mofongo on here in the near future… 🙂

Well, that’s all I have for you from my trip to San Juan! I hope you enjoyed a little peek into my visit – “profesh” or not!

Tell me: Have you been to Puerto Rico? What was a highlight for you? The fort? The food? Or something else altogether?

Have a fabulous Monday, friends! Hope these pics of warm weather bring a little bit of sunshine into your corner of the world on this cool morning!

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