After hearing about Kayla K ’s recent gluten free travel to Puerto Rico, I asked her to be a guest writer for our Gluten Free Blog and share her gluten free finds and adventures in and around San Juan.
In Kayla’s words: Being diagnosed with celiac disease within the past 8 months, my parents and I were a little nervous about our spring break trip to Puerto Rico. We had no idea what to expect for food. In fact, my mom thought I was going to have to live off of fruits the entire vacation. Not only was she wrong, but there were even a wider variety of gluten free foods for me to eat!
The first day we ate at Casa Lola, which is a pricier upscale restaurant. It didn’t have an outdoor seating area but their food was marvelous! Alot of items on their menu were even gluten free. I got the Pinchos Puertorriqueňos de Pollo con Arroz Frito de Piňa y Coco otherwise known as chicken kabobs with stir-fried rice. Casa Lola was an extremely good authentic Puerto Rican restaurant and a must go-to choice!
At my hotel, the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, they had several gluten free menu options. One of the lunch items I ate near the pool was an excellent Caesar salad topped with steak strips and a side of French fries that they specially prepared for me in a dedicated fryer! This hotel was right on the beach with outside seating and they had a swim up food and drink bar!
One of my favorite parts of the trip was an EcoQuest rappelling and zip lining trip. First, we went hiking up waterfalls and then rappelled down a different waterfall. They had snacks which were all fruits including papaya and bananas that were freshly picked.
After zip lining through the jungle to return to our starting point, they provided a delicious meal that was freshly prepared at the family’s own house. The tour guide’s grandmother prepared the meal, which included a chicken leg, rice and really yummy beans (and I am not a huge bean person). They also had super amazing corn fritter appetizers that were made from strictly corn flour. For dessert, we ate a gluten free coconut flan. I can’t believe that even my dessert from a native Puerto Rican grandmother was gluten free! I highly recommend this experience!!
One night we went to a restaurant close to our hotel called Uno Chicago Grill which had a menu of gluten free options that they could prepare. I had the gluten free stuffed chicken, with broccoli and mashed potatoes, which was awfully scrumptious!
On our last night, we found this really cute little restaurant in downtown San Juan called Inarú that served some gluten free food. I had a Mofongo, a native dish which consisted of meat in an edible plantain-made bowl. If you have the chance to get one of these, get it because it is splendid. This native dish was made with all food items grown on the island. This place is must go!
On a day trip to El Yunque Rainforest, we were concerned that there would not be any gluten free options for lunch. We stopped at the only restaurant in the rainforest named Yuquiyú Delights. Even at this small restaurant, I was able to eat superb gluten free kabobs and chips which made for a great lunch.
Puerto Rico is a great place to vacation because they can accommodate gluten free options depending upon the restaurant. The food is great and fresh too, and I could even eat at places you wouldn’t expect to be able to eat! I highly recommend it for people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
Also remember to download the English – Spanish gluten free restaurant translation cards, allergy free dining translation card and Spanish language phrases to carry with you throughout your travel adventures!