After we checked in to the Hyatt House San Juan, we stopped by the front desk to get a map of the area and figure out where we could go. We knew we’d be going to Old San Juan Puerto Rico the next day, so for now we just decided that we wanted to walk around and check out the area. The front desk pointed out the Condado San Juan Puerto Rico area. They suggested a taxi, but we decided to walk again (it was about 30 minutes one way), and headed over to the Avenida Ashford, which is kind of the main drag of the Condado San Juan Puerto Rico area.
Condado San Juan Puerto Rico restaurant – Hacienda Don Jose
For kind of a late lunch / early dinner, after our walk down Avenida Ashford, we stopped in at the Hacienda Don Jose in Condado San Juan Puerto Rico. Originally it looked like just somewhat of a hole in the wall, but when we went in, they led us all the way to the back, where there were beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea. They had one window open that was giving off a great breeze, so we decided to not open any other ones. Since it was only about 3:30 or so in the afternoon, we pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves.
Since we weren’t super hungry (and didn’t want to pay like $15-20 each for a plate), we split a few of the appetizers / side dishes. We got arroz y habichuelas (rice and beans – a throwback to my time in the Dominican Republic), mofongo (plantains smushed together in a pyramid-like shape) and corn arepas.
The food was really good and ended up being about $17 for the 2 of us (with tip)
Our waitress said something about her English not being that great, so I talked to her in Spanish. It turned out that she was originally from the Dominican Republic and that I had been in a few of the places where her family was from. It was nice having a conversation with her.
We actually ended up going back there on Saturday and the food was still good, but our waiter that time was not as good. I mean I don’t demand top of the line service, but if I ask you to refill my water glass (and even there, you’re -1 for not noticing in the first place), but if you then take my water glass AND DON’T COME BACK WITH IT, I think that’s a bit below the line 😛
It actually reminded me of some of the Mexican restaurants back home, where everything seems a little shady and things are written down just more for guidelines than any type of rules. For example, on our 2nd trip, we ordered the arroz y habichuelas, mofongo and tostones, and the bill came out with each of those charged at $4.50. Compare that to the actual menu (our appetizers are in the bottom of the middle column and have menu prices of $4.00, $4.95 and $5.00)
I mean I know it’s only 50 cents (and they actually undercharged me) but cmon people!
Condado San Juan Puerto Rico beaches
There is a small beach called Playita Condado San Juan Puerto Rico right after you cross over the bridge on the Avenida Ashford (near the Condado San Juan Puerto Rico Plaza Hilton). Those of you who know some Spanish will recognize the -ita suffix as meaning small, and it is indeed a super small beach with no waves to speak of.
We decided to go down Avenida Ashford to a larger beach that is in between the Condado Vanderbilt and the La Concha hotel. The beach is open for anyone, but the chairs and umbrellas are reserved for guests of those hotels, as we quickly found out when we just tried to act like we belonged and put our stuff down on a chair. We were quickly “shooed” down the beach, which was fine.
The beach was pretty fun, minus the part where a giant wave knocked off my sunglasses and they were lost to the ocean (errr Caribbean Sea). Here’s a video we took of some birds (pelicans?) diving into the Caribbean.
Condado San Juan Puerto Rico is one of the main nightlife areas of San Juan – and although we aren’t much of “partiers” ourselves, we had a great time there on the beaches, restaurants and taking in some of the great views. I definitely recommend it if you’re in San Juan Puerto Rico.