What to Pack for a Foodie Weekend in Puerto Rico
It’s 10 pm. You’ve booked a weekend jaunt to San Juan, Puerto Rico and your flight is leaving in the morning. The gaping black hole that is your suitcase mocks you from across the room. The contents of your closet smother your mattress in what looks like some sort of chaotic bedtime murder scene. Panic is mounting like the clothing on your bed. One thing is certain – your scheduled flight is leaving with or without you. We’ve been there. We’ve been there the night before at 12 am after our pre-vaycay happy hour extended well beyond the bounds of its intended happy timeline. Don’t be like us. Put a little planning into your packing list and become a streamlined machine of agility and preparedness.
To assist you in this aim, we’ve partnered with Nordstorm of Puerto Rico in the magnificent new Mall of San Juan. Spoon Food Tours and Nordstrom are here to help. Put down the 5 year-old tube of body glitter sunscreen. Step away from the tribal arm cuff you haven’t worn in 15 years. No you don’t need a spearfishing gun!
As the Nordstrom stylists will tell you, packing light doesn’t mean sacrificing style. While preparing for the grand opening of The Mall of San Juan, many members of the Nordstrom team took tours with us. Hands down, they are some of the most stylish and well-accessorized guests we’ve ever hosted. Consulting them on the chicest in vacation styles was a no-brainer. Check out their top picks, shop your own closet first, and then head down to your nearest Nordstrom to snag any of these finds. If you’re so inclined, book yourself a Nordstrom personal styling session. Best of all, from July 17 to August 2 Nordstrom will be celebrating their legendary Anniversary Sale! Some of the items below will be majorly marked down.
- Get Real
First thing’s first. Be honest with yourself regarding your timeline. Are you really going to hike the rainforest in the two hours you have free on Saturday morning? Is it a good idea to cram an unpredictable ferry ride to Culebra into one day? Don’t stress yourself out with what-ifs. Get over your vacation #fomo. You simply can’t do it all. Prioritize the frontrunners on your wish list and make the most of these moments while you live them.
If you only have a long weekend and you’re like us, your vacation vibe will be R&R paired with F&F (food and food). Here is what your 3 day itinerary might look like.
- Friday Evening – Arrive, Cocktails or a Spoon Food Tours Rum Tour
- Saturday Morning – Spoon Food Tours Walk and Taste of Old San Juan
- Saturday Afternoon – Pool or Beach for R&R
- Saturday Night – Dinner and dancing (after a cocktail or 3) in La Placita de Santurce
- Sunday – A day of exploring the food shacks and beaches of Piñones
- Sunday Night – Bioluminescent Bay of Fajardo and dinner at La Estación
- Monday – Womp womp. Bye Bye.
- Get Stuffed – Luggage and Carry-Ons
Second, streamline. Can you fit everything into one carry-on? Do it. Why waste time at baggage claim? If your bag is lost and you find yourself sitting under florescent airport lights instead of watching the sunset with a whiskey coconut in hand, you’ll never forgive yourself. If however you know that you’re a big shopper, by all means take a checked bag. Just don’t use it as an excuse to overpack. Earmark the extra space for the truly essential things you’ll pickup along your travels: rum, chocolate, and coffee. True essentials.
Most airlines allow one carry-on bag and one small personal item. Think ahead and your personal item can serve double duty on the plane and on the beach. We love this Herschel backpack for both men and women. As for your luggage, if you travel often, invest in a great piece that will last you for years to come. It could mean the difference between zipping out of the airport or popping a zipper as you drag a rectangle from hell with a snapped wheel. Check out classic American standby Tumi. Now on sale!
- Get Him Going
Left to Right: Bonobos Slim Fit Short Sleeve Chambray Shirt, Bonobos Slim Fit Washed Cotton Chinos, Ted Baker London Elastic Belt, 1901 Webbing Belt Navy, Swims Penny Loafer Blue/White, Bonobo ‘Nomad’ Cotton Knit Gym Shorts, Bonobos Madras Print Slim Fit Short Sleeve Sport Shirt, Herschel Supply Co. ‘Heritage’ Backpack, Ted Baker London Multifunction Leather Strap Watch 42mm, Ray Ban ‘Clubmaster – Modern Temple’ Polarized Sunglasses , Herschel Supply Co. ‘Chapter’ Toiletry Case, Ferragamo ‘Nizza’ Flip Flop Carrot, True Religion Brand Jeans Logo Graphic T-Shirt, Boss ‘Snapper’ Swim Shorts Orange, Barney Cools ‘Sharky’ Print Stripe T-Shirt, Barney Cools ‘Classic 17’ Swim Trunks
On this vacation, it’s all about keeping it simple. No pants? No problem. Choose sharp, crisp shorts in light cottons with neutral hues that can be mixed an matched throughout the weekend, like these grey Bonobo Cotton Shorts. Pair with smart button-ups so that you don’t relegate yourself to ‘beach-only access.’ The Blue Madras Print Short Sleeve Sport Shirt is perfect for exploring Old San Juan on one of our tours, but can also take you down to the local beach bar. A stylish timepiece and a good pair of sunglasses, such as these Ray Bans, will serve you well throughout the weekend no matter where you are.
The same goes for dual-purpose shoes. Can’t get your dude to wear anything other than flip-flops? These amazing Swims Penny Loafers are some of the most versatile vacation shoes we’ve ever seen. With durable rubber soles, removable insoles, and mesh top-lining these stylish boat shoes are fully submersible in water! No more fighting with your toddler partner to put on big boy shoes. Pull him off the beach, slap these puppies on him, and pair with navy chinos and the Chambray Button-Up. This is perfect for a casual yet refined dinner at one of San Juan’s best restaurants, Jose Enrique located in La Placita de Santurce. After dinner, soak up the convivial party vibe in the square. Should you decide to go full local and try your feet at salsa dancing, you’ll be thankful it’s only a lightweight rubber sole crushing your toes.
As for swimwear, pack a couple of options. After spending an entire Sunday exploring the beaches of Piñones, driving to Fajardo, and kayaking in the bioluminescent bay, you’ll probably want to change into something a little less, ahem, musky, for dinner. Snappy sets in fun prints will allow you to transition active wear to outdoor dining. The killer hammerhead shark print on this Barney Cools t-shirt and matching swim trunks is perfect for dinner at laid-back La Estación. This hip restaurant offers some of the best food on the island in a completely unpretentious setting. Think, retro gas station BBQ chic. Sit outdoors on the reclaimed wood deck built by chef Kevin Roth and sample his delicious take on Puerto Rican cuisine. Using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients, freshness is foremost at a restaurant where you can select your Caribbean spiny lobster table side. Table side live lobster roundup! It doesn’t get any fresher. If you’re lucky, chef Roth will have prepared lechon, a traditionally roasted whole pig.
- Get Her Going
Missoni Mare Wave Stitch Cover-Up Romper, Rebecca Minkoff Crossbody Bag, Havaianas ‘Slim’ Flip Flop , Sub_Urban Racerback Tank, Articles of Society ‘Madre’ Distressed Denim Shorts, Pedro Garcia ‘Judith’ Sandal , John Hardy Cuff, Maaji ‘Blue Rubik’ Colorblock Bandeau Bikini Top, Maaji ‘Blue Sky’ Bikini Bottoms, Kate Spade New York ‘Fairmont Square’ iPad Air Hardcase Folio, Prada ‘Triangle Logo’ 53mm Sunglasses, Volcom Tote, Topshop Pineapple Foil Bandeau Bikini, St. Tropez Self Tan Starter Kit, Supergoop ‘Daily Correct’ CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35, Supergoop ‘Everyday’ Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, COOLA Suncare ‘Liplux’ Sport Lip Treatment SPF 30, Gorjana ‘Bali’ Body Chain, Alice + Olivia Back Twist Keyhole High/Low Knit Dress, Topshop Lace Inset Coverup, Eileen Fisher Scoop Neck Tee
Ladies, same goes for you with regards to recycling. Consider what you can layer or multipurpose on this vacation. Be sure to pack mixable separates. White shorts, white tees, white coverups, all neutrals for that mater, are very useful. Choose anything neutral that will give you the opportunity to rock this sensational Parker sequined skirt!
When by the beach why not just go nude? This on-trend color is a great choice for footwear and accessories. Whether you strive for comfort or want to show off your stems in stilettos, neutrals will give you the option to swap styles without clashing. Whip out all of your vibrant colored clothing, a nude purse will go with virtually everything. We particularly love the Rebecca Minkoff ‘Mini 5 Zip’ Crossbody Convertible Bag. Exterior pockets, convert it into a clutch at night, now on sale at the Nordstorm Anniversary Sale – what’s not to love?
When it comes to your colorful Caribbean palette, go big and go bold, but choose clothing that affords you versatility. This Missoni Romper can pair with heels for cocktails by the trendy pool bar at La Concha Hotel in Condado or at hip La Factoria where flats might better suit the cobblestones of Old San Juan.
When traversing the cobblestones on one of our tours, think comfort. This easy breezy Alice + Olivia maxi dress in of-the-moment orange, is perfect for a morning on our Spoon Food Tours Walk and Taste of Old San Juan. Accessorize with your favorite sunnies, a super on-trend body chain, or a chunky bracelet like this amazing John Hardy Bamboo Cuff. Choose jewelry you know you can pair with other outfits, but leave the big baubles safe at home. What’s missing from this picture? A sun hat. No we didn’t forget, we just want you to have a unique handmade souvenir from Puerto Rico. On a recent episode of A Broad Abroad with Paula Froelich we took Paula hat shopping in Ole Curiosidades. While in town, you too have to stop by and snag a customized Panama hat fit just for you.
Time to think about ladies swimwear. Will you be off doing power yoga on a paddle board in Condado Lagoon every morning? Or will you be straight lounging in your Prada sunglasses, Gorjana body chain, Kate Spade iPad encased iPad in hand, letting the cabana boy do all the work? Choose a suit compatible with your activity level in which you’ll feel your most comfortable and confident. This Maaji bikini has removable straps and the bottoms are reversible for multiple wears. Popular with the local bathing beauties, we’ve seen this all over the beaches in Puerto Rico.
The gals at Nordstrom also shared their top trend tip – pineapples will soon be a thing. Pineapples, palm leaves, solids, or stripes, don’t forget a pair of flip flops for traipsing across hot sand. These rubber Havaianas are durable, light, fully waterproof, and are now on sale!
- Get Protected
The #1 most vital accessory, no matter your creed or color, is sunscreen. In this climate, nothing is more important than protecting your skin from harmful UV rays and nothing is worse than suffering a sunburn. Self tanning kits have become quite popular in the past few years as part of pre-vacation planning. St. Tropez make great easy apply/quick-dry products. Afterwards you can slather on a lightweight SPF 50 and come home glowing, rather than looking like an angry irradiated tomato. Gentlemen, get with it, skincare is not just for girls. Before heading out into the sun, use a good moisturizer like Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Moisturizer SPF 15. Use it as a base in the mornings, but be sure to give it a boost with something stronger. As always, if you are bringing a carryon bag, be sure to limit your FAA approved liquids allowance.
- What to Get
Don’t forget to leave a little room in your luggage for your killer new hat from Ole Curiosidades, a bottle of our favorite local rum Ron del Barrilito, and a bag of locally grown single origin coffee from our favorite, Cafe Don Ruiz.
- Get Gone!
We’ll see you on the Island of Enchantment.
By: Caroline Johnson