Exploring Must-Try Puerto Rican Food Tour of Pinones

Last Updated on March 17, 2024 by Christine Kaaloa

PUerto Rican food tour
PUerto Rican food tour


I’ll be straight up with you– I had no idea what Puerto Rican food was all about. So my visit to San Juan and Pinones was a surprise in mouthwatering goodness.

As a solo female traveler seeking unique and delectable experiences, venturing into the vibrant world of Puerto Rican street food is an absolute must. Pinones, a picturesque coastal community just east of San Juan, beckons with its rich culture, beautiful beaches, and a culinary scene that will tantalize your taste buds. Join me on a Puerto Rican food tour through this flavorful destination and discover the must-try Puerto Rican foods in this Pinones food tour. It’s an unforgettable experience for the taste buds!

Watch my Puerto Rican Food Tour  w/ a Local | Pinones, Puerto Rico

Unraveling Pinones: A Local Gem

Pinones (pronounced: pin-yo-nayz) is not just a Puerto Rican neighborhood; it’s an experience that encapsulates the heart and soul of Puerto Rican culture. Nestled along the coastal town of Loiza, the charming community of Pinones is renowned for its glowing beaches and bustling food shacks known as “chinchorros.” These humble food vendors serve up a tantalizing array of deep-fried delights that are beloved by locals and visitors alike. But what exactly are “chinchorros”?

My Facebook follower and Puerto Rican native, Nivia, drove me out to Pinones to give me a Pinones food tour sharing the foods that have won the hearts of locals!

Pinones: Chinchorros and the Art of Deep Frying

Chinchorros are casual, open-air food shacks that have become an integral part of Puerto Rican culture. They offer a diverse array of authentic street food, each dish brimming with flavor and tradition. Visiting these chinchorros is a cherished pastime for locals, and the experience is incomplete without indulging in the art of deep-frying. Foods here are mostly finger foods made from seafood deep fried in lard. Food is super oily, inexpensive and tasty and alcoholic beverages are sold, so locals can kick back and relax.

The lively food shacks are easy to spot along the main road on Route 187. However, they can also be spread out further down the beach. The main chinchorro spot is near the entrance of Pinones, where you’d find several larger chinchorros sandwiched amongst restaurants with lively music blaaaaring. But there are quieter spots in rugged parking lots across the beach.  Note: some of the quieter spots can have blaring music too because Puerto Rican culture is quite lively with music and dance.

Must-Try Puerto Rican Foods in Pinones

1. Alcappurrias

I tried alcapurrias first! Alcappurrias are savory fritters are made from a blend of yucca and green banana, stuffed with either meat or seafood. Then they are deep-fried to crispy perfection. They can taste super subtle– at first you might just taste the crispy batter, but when you take a chomp in the middle, you’ll taste the flavor of what is within. My vendor fried it crisp, so I tasted “burnt” until I got to the meatier part. Try it with crab meat if you get the chance! The crab meat in Puerto Rico tastes and looks different. The meat is on the darker or brownish side and the flavor of crab is unique and more earthy and saltier than sweet. Prices range from $2 to $4, making them an affordable delight.

alcapurria puerto rican food tour
alcapurria puerto rican food tour

2. Bacalaitos

Bacalaitos was my surprising favorite, because I did not think i’d like it! They are super crispy  codfish fritters are a beloved Puerto Rican street food staple. They are made thin like a circular wafer and you’ll fall in love with that crunch, biting into  the crispy exterior to taste the tender fish within. These are surprisingly oily, so you’ll need to carry it by napkin. They are around $3 to $5 per serving.
bacalaitos puerto rican food tour
bacalaitos puerto rican food tour

3. Empanadilla

A cousin of the empanada, this deep-fried turnover is filled with a variety of savory fillings, from seasoned ground meat to cheese and vegetables. Prices vary from $2 to $4. This was one of my favorite snacks!


4. Pina Colada

No visit to Pinones is complete without sipping on a refreshing pina colada, a delightful cocktail made with pineapple, coconut cream, and rum. Sooo yum. A definite must and ideal quencher to cool you down in the humidity.

pina colada puerto rican food tour.JPG
pina colada puerto rican food tour.JPG

5. Ceviche

Around three deep fried frituras were filling– it’s the lard! and you’ll feel the oil inflating in you.  Ceviche with lime was perfect for cutting the oil and bringing my stomach back to balance . Ceviche is marinated seafood with a zesty citrus kick, available at the nearby restaurants.

6. Dulce con Chocolat

Dulce con Chocolat is a popular sweet treat available in various places across Puerto Rico, particularly at food stalls, street markets, and festivals. However, you’ll often find it most near the “chinchorros” or food shacks where other Puerto Rican street foods are sold. When you’re exploring Pinones, keep an eye out for these humble food vendors. Nivia found a Dulce con Chocolat vendor on a Pinones neighborhood roadside.

This dessert is made of fried dough that is fried with a blend of high-quality cocoa powder, milk, sugar, and butter into a deep golden-chocolate brown. It sorta tastes like fruit bread that you’d have at Christmas. A yummy treat.  Prices typically range from $2 to $4.

7. Mofongo

This iconic dish is crafted from green plantains, which are fried to a golden crispness, then mashed together with a combination of garlic, olive oil, and sometimes pork cracklings, creating a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. Mofongo is more than just a dish; it’s a representation of Puerto Rico’s history and fusion of influences. The use of green plantains pays homage to the island’s African heritage, while the addition of garlic and olive oil showcases the Spanish influence that has shaped the island’s flavors over centuries.

mofongo puerto rican food tour.JPG
mofongo puerto rican food tour.JPG

Pinones & San Juan Food tours to check out

  1. Pinones Beach Food Tour: Immerse yourself in the flavors of Pinones with a guided food tour along the beach, where you’ll sample a variety of local street foods and learn about their cultural significance. Book Here
  2. Old San Juan Food Tour: Embark on a culinary adventure through the charming streets of Old San Juan, discovering hidden eateries and trying traditional Puerto Rican dishes along the way. Book Here

Getting to Pinones

For solo travelers seeking to explore Pinones, you can get there by buses that connect San Juan to Pinones. Take Bus T5 (AMA): From the San Juan area to the Loiza area, you can catch the T5 bus. Loiza is the town where Pinones is located. The T5 bus route goes along the PR-187 highway, which passes through areas like Isla Verde and Carolina before reaching Loiza. But plan a backup rideshare app as well.

Alternatively, you can use ride-sharing services like Uber for a convenient and comfortable journey. I used it to get to my the Amigos los Animales animal shelter to volunteer as a Flight Angel and dog walking. If you’re visiting Puerto Rico, read my experience of how to volunteer as a Flight Angel.

The lively food shacks are easy to spot along the main road on Route 187.  The main chinchorro spot is near the entrance of Pinones, where you’d find several larger chinchorros sandwiched amongst restaurants. But there are quieter spots in rugged parking lots across the beach.

What would you add to this must try Puerto Rican foods list and would you add this Pinones food tour to your next trip?

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