Young Thais are drawn by the big city lifestyle
Cuisine in San Juan’s SoFo district
When cruise ships shimmer like floating cities at the docks, the world-class restaurants of SoFo (short for “South of Fortaleza”, naturally) rise to the occasion, impressing international audiences with the most inventive plates of fine dining in the Caribbean. Recent years have seen a revolving door of hot restaurants in this corner of Old San Juan, but only the most creative survive. Expect the traditional, elemental essence of Puerto Rican flavours fused with preparations from across the globe. Try the classic Parrot Club where the concept of SoFo started, or Dragonfly to eat Latin-Asian fusion with the beautiful people.
If you tried to savour every single example of colonial grandeur – all the fountains and historic squares, every dignified plantation house or buttressed 19th-century town hall – Puerto Rico’s architectural gems would demand a month-long stay. Even if nothing else outside of Old San Juan earns time on your agenda, make sure you take a stroll around the Plaza Las Delicias in Ponce, a place downright littered with statues, lined by colonial edifices, and crowned by the regal Fuente de los Leones (a rescued relic from the 1939 New York world’s fair).
The lush forests, verdant hills and crashing waterfalls of El Yunque are part of the only true rainforest in the US, and are the perfect place to take a short hike through the oxygen-rich mist, explore waterfalls and gawk at Jurassic-sized ferns. Make sure you bring binoculars; of the 26 species found here and nowhere else in the world, you will want to keep a sharp eye out for the Puerto Rican parrot, one of the 10 most endangered birds on earth.