Puerto Rico’s local businesses are a window into the island’s history and culture. The hotels, restaurants, cocktail bars and boutiques are all infused with tradition, thanks to the island-born residents who keep them thriving. This makes them a wonderful way to experience authentic Puerto Rican life and customs.

When you step through their front doors, you expose yourself to the unique passions of the local business owners, and are welcomed with open arms. These businesses give visitors the opportunity to see the island authentically through their eyes.

In 2018, these local businesses represent the resilience of the island of Puerto Rico, and the undeniable spirit of its people.

Fresh and Inventive Food Experiences
Along Calle Loíza in Santurce, you'll find an eccentric selection of businesses, including Kamoli Kafe Butik, a café-and-boutique opened by designer Karen Redondo in 2010. Healthy eating is paramount here, and it's done in an exciting and creative way. Its juice bar, where local and organic ingredients are used, also supplies the cocktail bar. It hosts yoga classes upstairs alongside a cozy and perfectly curated boutique featuring clothing and accessories made by local designers.
Redondo has watched the Santurce area blossom in the years since she first opened. Today, the area is a bustling part of town where you’ll find adventurous food and drink destinations. Options include Loíza 2050, an innovative pizzeria, and La Coctelera, a forward-thinking gastropub and cocktail bar. Cafe Tresbé serves up local fare in the low-key setting of its patio, or hop across the street to Sabrina for an elevated weekend-brunch option.

Nearby, on Ashford Avenue, Sobao by Los Cidrines is a must. Named for the sweet bread (pan sobao), it’s owned by stalwarts of the panadería (bakery) industry that established their company back in 1978. Behind Sobao, there's La Bodeguita, an eatery inspired by the legacy of the owner’s grandmother, whose charm was introduced to the island many years ago after moving to Puerto Rico from Cuba.
In the same area of Condado, you’ll find Cocina Abierta — meaning “open kitchen.” An ever-evolving menu of seasonal items keeps this unique offering exciting and dynamic, though classics like filet mignon and glazed duck are mainstay favorites.

It is the commitment of these restaurants and others like them to continually serve high-quality and creative cuisine that highlights why a trip through Santurce and the surrounding neighborhood needs to be on every traveler’s itinerary. With the area’s fusion of tradition and inspiration, a love for both the past and the future is tangible. By traveling beyond the neighborhood of Santurce, one can continue exploring unique cuisines. Take a seat at La Copa Llena in Rincón — you might never leave after you’ve done a bit of whale watching and tasted their creative approach to dishes that highlight fresh, local ingredients. Or explore the menu at La Pasión por el Fogón in Fajardo, which is a tasty testament to Chef Myrta Pérez-Toledo’s love of cooking — the restaurant's name literally means “love for the stove,” and this passion is evident in every bite.
Luxurious Hotels and Local Hidden Gems
Accommodation options in Puerto Rico are as varied as they are plentiful. Hotels and resorts like La Concha in Condado and Wyndham Rio Mar in Río Grande offer restorative luxury and a slew of first-class amenities, making them the ideal choices for people wanting to relax and rejuvenate during a vacation. Wyndham Rio Mar has recently invested more than $20 million to revamp the property, including with the construction of its new Caicu Rum Bar.

Over in Old San Juan, local boutique hotels offer a unique experience in a historic and charming setting unlike any other. The Gallery Inn, a well-kept secret, is a 17th century mansion with lush gardens and a pool with two waterfalls, all encompassed by ancient walls. The luxurious Hotel El Convento is more widely known, mainly because of its longstanding history — 350 years ago, the Spanish Colonial structure was a convent and sits in front of the Cathedral of San Juan.
Staying in the historic district of Old San Juan has extra bonuses, including incredible local shopping opportunities. Memorable shops like Concalma and Puerto Rico Arts & Crafts are close at hand. Concalma is a purveyor of goods from an array of independent local designers and artists, while Puerto Rico Arts & Crafts offers a carefully curated selection of oil and acrylic paintings, ceramics, handmade jewelry and more that are worth exploring if you want to take home a unique piece of design from the island. Additionally, a superb selection of restaurants and bars are accessible, including La Vergüenza, which boasts a great view from its rooftop, Carli's Fine Bistro, worth stopping by to grab a drink and catch some jazz, and Latin Roots, the perfect spot for a night of salsa dancing.

By simply allowing yourself to get lost in Old San Juan, you'll discover even more treasures found on its cobblestone streets.

This is an exciting year for Puerto Rico, and tourists can impact the continued recovery of the island’s economy and people simply by visiting any of the numerous local businesses that make our community so unique. Regardless of which area of Puerto Rico you choose to explore, businesses led by inspired locals are always nearby. From time-honored business people to young entrepreneurial mavericks, the island is truly a melting pot of passionate locals looking to share their inspiration with travelers.

Experience Puerto Rico’s incredible local businesses for yourself as you explore every corner of the island.