I apologize for the length of time it is taking me to get this done. I have had an upper respiratory infection since I returned, and have been mostly sleeping. That said, here goes.
After three extremely pleasant days in Rincon it was time to head back to the big city. We drove Highway 2 back to San Juan. Along the way we stopped at a grocery store and picked up some crackers and cheese for lunch. We sat in the parking lot of the supermarket and looked at the sea while we ate. Here is the view.
Yep, in PR even the supermarkets have nice views.
We made it to San Juan with no problems, turned the rental car in, and took a cab to our hotel. Our hotel was Villa Herencia a very charming small hotel half a block from the main cathedral in San Juan Viejo (Old San Juan). The location could not have been better. This is the central courtyard.
The next day we took a very fun market tour with Flavors of San Juan. This was a great tour. Our guide not only took us to the market and explained lots of things to us, but also showed us some very near architecture and told us some about the history of the area as well. Well worth the money and highly recommended. Next time we are in San Juan we plan on taking another one.
One of the best restaurants we ate at was El Jibarito. This place had very affordable food, with entrees around $10, and was one of the best meals we had, continuing with the PR tradition of the cheapest meals being the best.
Here is a typical Old San Juan street view. Old San Juan is very cool. It's kind of touristy, and the prices reflect that, since cruise ships dock right there in Old San Juan. Even so, it is well worth visiting. The Spanish Colonial architecture is amazing, and there are a ton of historic sights to see, and shopping galore. A tip for anyone whose spouse might want to shop more than you do-there is a bar called El Batey in Old San Juan. It is near the cathedral and the El Convento hotel. It is a rough looking little dive bar, and is without a doubt one of the best bars I have ever been in. This is what a bar is supposed to be: good music, strong drinks, and no food served. Plus you can smoke a cigar in there. I highly recommend it. Again, it's a rough looking place, and some of the patrons look a little rough, but don't have an attitude or start any trouble and you won't have any problems.
This was once the main gate into San Juan. The road that enters this gate goes straight up to the cathedral.
This is the street that goes up from the gate to the cathedral. I cannot imagine what houses on this street must cost, but I'd buy one if I could afford it. Streets don't get much more picturesque.
In summary, Puerto Rico is awesome and you should go. It has great food, friendly people, beautiful scenery, and US citizens don't even need a passport. Please consider it for your next trip. I know we will.