La Casa de Las Casitas
The name of the store means "House of the Little Houses," and here you'll find a variety of arts and crafts, folkloric vejigante masks, wall hangings, and accessories. One of the unique things about this store is its stock of handmade hammocks. Also, this one of the few stores which has a clean restroom available for public use.
- Located at 250 Cristo Street in Old San Juan
- Phone: (787) 723-2276
- Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
At this small but well-stocked shop, owner Gustavo Lerner is always here and ready to help you pick out your favorite vejigante mask from his impressive collection adorning the walls. He also carries santos, which are wooden figurines of saints and one of Puerto Rico's most popular and well-loved handicraft products. Among the other products in the store are guayabera shirts (loose-fitting shirts for men that are well suited to the warm climate), panama hats, hand-rolled cigars, and old photographs.
- Located at 154 Cristo Street in Old San Juan
- Phone: (787) 725-3945
- Hours: 10 a.m.-6p.m. daily
Máscaras de Puerto Rico
True to its name, Máscaras de Puerto Rico specializes in vejigante masks. These unique-to-the-island wall-hangings range from small, cheap, crudely made miniatures to fantastic, vivid creations filled with teeth, horns, and grimaces. There are two broad styles: an oval-shaped mask made out of gourd or coconut shells, and the demon-mask that are made out of papier-mâché.
- Located in "La Calle" Mall at 105 Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan
- Phone: (787) 725-1306
- Hours: 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily
Wall-hangings seem to be a popular trend on the island, and this little store carries a range of handmade reproductions of the buildings and architecture of Puerto Rico. The ceramic miniatures are produced with beautiful detail and vivid colors that truly represent the originals and make for a charming souvenir.
- Located at 107 Calle Cristo Street in Old San Juan
- Phone: (787) 977-1636
- Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.
A tiny store tucked away at the end of Cristo Street, Mi Rincón is the place to go for more artistic souvenirs that are different from the rest of the pack. Owner Cuca del Rincon displays her work here (digitally treated photographs of Old San Juan landmarks), along with hand-painted Christmas ornaments and other decorative art.
- Located at 251 Cristo Street in Old San Juan
- Phone: (787) 723-1412
- Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
OléOlé's products are not all Puerto Rican, but they desrve mention because of their quality. The store carries an assortment of photographs, ornaments (from Peru), santos handmade puppets, and a smattering of other little gift items. But what sets it apart are the handmade Panama Hats that you can buy here. These range in price from around $40 to over $1,000, but even the low-end ones are well-made. Best of all, you can choose your colored ribbon to go around the base of the hat, and get it custom-fitted while you wait.
- Located at 105 Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan
- Phone: (787) 724-2445
- Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
- Located at 152 Cristo Street in Old San Juan
- Phone: (787) 725-3447
- Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
The ladies and I are here to talk to you about coffee. Yaucono Select coffee, to be exact. See, it was thanks to the ladies that I got to try Cafe Yaucono for the first time. I found it to be rich, bold, and aromatic, and I came back for three more helpings before the day was over.
Overshadowed by more famous coffee-growing destinations, Puerto Rico makes a mean bean, and it's been doing so for centuries. Cafe Yaucono was started in 1896, and its Yaucono Select is its best product. Having tried the regular Yaucono brand, I have to say the Select was truly outstanding. And now you can order it online.