Half a year after moving to Puerto Rico, I finally decided to check out the Plaza del Mercado in Santurce. Built in 1910, the market used to have two floors with the ground floor used for offices and ticket sellers and the upper floor for vendors of produce and butchers. In later years, the second floor was removed and what remains now is just the main floor with several fruit and vegetable stalls, mostly selling bananas, plantains, yucca, sweet potatoes, chilies and chinas, the local oranges and the extra-large light-green skinned local avocados. There is also a stall with hats and cigars for sale and a tiny souvenir shop off to one corner. The butcher is now located outside the Plaza on the adjacent strip of la placita (small plaza or town square).
At sunset, la placita becomes a lively hangout for locals and tourists with the nearby bars and restaurants lining the side streets open and set up tables outside and live music blaring onto the square. Closer to midnight, the street becomes livelier when the locals and tourists start to relax after several rum concoctions and impromptu salsa dancing takes place. We went late in the morning, explored a bit then had a lovely lunch at nearby Santaella, one of our favorite San Juan restaurants, and by 3:00 p.m. we were headed back home to Dorado.
Plaza del Mercado
Santurce, Puerto Rico
*Open Mondays to Saturdays from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sundays from 6:00 a.m. to 12 noon
*Bars and restaurants on La Placita open in the evenings till very late.