I live in Chicago and try to escape its winter every year. Even though I love everything about my city, I was really looking forward to getting a tan and enjoying the beach every day, so I invited my BFF to come to this trip to Puerto Rico with me.

The Courtyard by Marriot in Isla Verde was a superb hotel. The reviews about it weren’t kidding! It was right on the beach, beautiful setting and great cuisine. I see it as a comfy hotel that would also be a good family resort in Puerto Rico. On our first night we went to Sirena Bar & Tapas and chose to sit outside with the spectacular view of the ocean. We ordered the Paella for two, which was filled with succulent chicken, mussels, clamps, shrimp, white fish and scallops. Excellent service!

by My Puerto Rico Experience

Over the next few days we explored the magnificent Piñones culinary experience. These little shacks by the beach offer authentic Puerto Rican food at really affordable prices. Rookie tip: bring cash! Some of the kiosks are cash only.

The first place we tried was El Guariquiten. It looked really clean for a kitchen made out of zinc and cement blocks. The piña coladas were yummy but the stars of the joint were the crab “piononos” and the rice with crab. Delicious! If you don’t like crab, the “bacalaitos” (fried cod) were amazing too.

After walking for a couple of hours we went to Kiosko El Boricua because they had fresh coconuts at $2 each. They were so refreshing we ordered 2 when we got there and 2 more before we left. The BBQ chicken kabobs and the fried foods are THE BEST in town. They didn’t have heat lamps so everything was fresh. Our favorites were the “arepas”, “alcapurrias” and “pastelillos”. The only caveat is the waiting time: 30 minutes. That and the fact that they don’t speak English. We pointed at the things we wanted and someone in line helped us make our order. Those same awesome guys recommended we go to El Pulpo Loco to try their “pulpo” (octopus) in a cup and mango frappes. We ordered two cups of octopus with fried plantain and two mango “batidas”.

The frappes were made of pure mango, nothing else, and they were the talk of the shack. We wanted to try more kiosks but were super full by then, so we decided to return the next day to have lunch at Donde Olga.

Two words for this joint: Freaking incredible! The fried red snapper in creole sauce with “mofongo” was to-die-for. We also ordered conch salad with beer and more fritters. The mayo-ketchup made an excellent addition to our repertoire of fritters and the owner even makes her own hot sauce, which you can buy to go! At the end of our trip we were tanned, relaxed and 5 pounds heavier. Not that we cared about that last part! See you soon, Piñones and Courtyard Puerto Rico!