Puerto RicoPuerto Rico Things to Do ⎮ Guavate, Puerto Rico

Guavate Puerto Rico - Tourism Guide

If you’re a traveler that is into experiencing and feeling part of the local “fiestas” and real traditional flavors, Guavate is the place for you. You can literally let your nose lead the way up Route 184 through the mountains of Cayey.  The smells of whole slow-roasted pork will drive every taste bud in your mouth crazy and eager to taste it as you drive through the spiraled mountain route.

In Puerto Rico, the whole slow-roasted pig is a huge part of the culinary tradition and is often cooked to celebrate holidays and festivities, but in Guavate, known as “La Ruta del Lechón” (Pork Highway Route) you will find numerous spots where you can stop by and enjoy the flavors of the island.  Guavate is a barrio (neighborhood) in Cayey, Puerto Rico, well-known as the popular “pork highway” and its weekly festivities.

As you may have heard, Puerto Rico is known as one of the happiest places on our planet, Puerto Ricans love to celebrate just about everything you can imagine and in Guavate you are sure to witness this as there is live music, parties, people dancing, laughing and enjoying themselves all down the Pork Highway Route.  These culinary spots are called “Lechoneras”, basically small outdoor barbecue huts or restaurants where the meat is slow roasted either by coal or wood on an open fire, making the meat juicy and tender, and giving it its signature wonderful smoky flavor.  Aside from the pork, you will also have a variety of dishes and side teams to choose from.

The Food at Guavate, Puerto Rico

Most of the “Lechoneras” have the food served in a buffet/cafeteria style, and a staff member serves what you wish.  Presentation is not restaurant style, you’ll be served in disposable dishes, food is rustic but delicious. 

There are many traditional meals to try, but the following are great for starters.

  • Roasted Pork… of course, you gotta try it
  • Arroz con Habichuelas:  White rice and beans
  • Guineitos en escabeche: Boiled green bananas with a perfect ratio of salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil & vinegar for flavor
  • Yuca al Mojo: Boiled cassava and lightly sautéed onions in a garlic “mojo” sauce
  • Mofongo: Fried and mashed plantains and garlic formed into a dome shape Trifongo: A combination of yuca, sweet plantains, and regular plantain formed all fried and mashed with garlic and formed into a dome shape
  • Arroz con Gandules: Seasoned pigeon peas rice
  • Morcilla: Blood sausage
  • Cuajito: Pig stomach stew
  • Tostones: Fried plantains (not sweet)
  • Amarillos: Fried sweet plantains
  • The slow-roasted chicken, by the way, is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

For desert, we suggest you get traditional Puerto Rican sweets sold at stands where you see artisans.  Many are made with coconut, nuts, and candied fruits.  Buy a pack so you can take some home with you.

Tables by a stream… at popular restaurant in Guavate, Puerto Rico

There are always basic options for non-curious eaters.  You will also find that there are small fry stations or food trucks that have fried goods to try such as:

  • Empanadillas o pastelillitos (name changes depending on the location on the island and is an interesting topic with locals): Fried pastry dough filled with options to choose from
  • Bacalaitos: A very large and round flat codfish savory pancake
  • Pinchos: Just a plain Shish kebab, but very popular throughout the island

If you want to try a little bit of everything, just order bits here and there for all to share.

Tours to Guavate, Puerto Rico

While you can go on your own to Guavate by renting a car, if you don’t want to take care of the logistics, there are various tour operators that have put together a nice itinerary that include beautiful natural places to complete the Guavate experience.

Top Rated Tours to Guavate & Food Cultural Tours

Best Restaurants in Guavate, Puerto Rico

As you drive up, you’ll know which are the best spots to eat.  You will see lots of stands and shops.  More restaurants, more food, and lots and lots of people and music.

People are always helpful and love to tell you their favorite spots to eat and drink.  Everyone will have an opinion of their own on which place has the best flavors and where you should eat.  A crowded place usually gives you a clue as to what’s best, well at least in most cases.

A few pointers

  • GO EARLY! It gets packed.
  • Always check the local weather before going.
  • Always have a poncho or umbrella, the mountainside tends to get more rain.
  • Carry some cash. There are many small stands and places that don’t accept credit cards.

Take Home a Piece of Puerto Rico & Support Local Artisans

Guavate, Puerto Rico - Best Things to Do & Places to Visit - Food & Culture

You’ll find friendly local artisans who have little shops on your way up to the main attraction.  Local artisans are not pushy, they’re very happy to tell you stories, and some are happy to show you how they make their crafts.  They have items that are great for memorabilia, or souvenirs.

Artisans / Cultural Experiences at Guavate, Puerto Rico

Shopping Tips

  • Please bring cash, since not all local artisans accept credit cards.  Many accept ATH Movil (for residents with banks that participate).
  • Unlike other Caribbean destinations such as Punta Cana, you’ll see price tags on the items, and vendors are not known to give tourists higher prices.  You’ll get a fair price for items, and your purchase will really be helping humble but hardworking families.

Where to Park at Guavate, Cayey, Puerto Rico

Any spot along the side. You will see cars lined up along the road.  There are also lots you can pay for a reasonable fee and park. Our recommendation is to park and walk around.

Enjoy!  You’ll have fun, and enjoy the atmosphere and food. Live happy and safe travels.

Map - Guavate "Puerto Rico's Pork Highway"

Cayey, Puerto Rico

Tours Visitors Love in Puerto Rico