The author Vanessa Ramos, posing below the Los Tres Reyes in Puerto Rico's Pork Highway

Puerto Rico’s Pork Highway, La Ruta del Lechon (Local Guide)

🐖 Jump to: About Pork Highway | Tips to Visit | Where to Stay | Restaurants | Attractions | FAQ

Puerto Rico’s Pork Highway is where food, culture, nature, and party lovers meet in Puerto Rico

This gastronomic route between the mountain town of Cayey and Patillas is where you’ll find Puerto Rico’s best-roasted pork. Renowned figures like Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern rated this area as one of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico to enjoy Puerto Rican food.

As a Puerto Rico local, I’m here to help you find the best places to eat and the best attractions on the Pork Highway. 

Let’s dive in!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

About Puerto Rico’s Pork Highway

Two roasted pigs in a lechonera seen from the glass wall
Puerto Rican-style roasted pig in a lechonera

Puerto Rico’s Pork Highway, known in Spanish as La Ruta del Lechón, refers to a gastronomic route located between Cidra and Patillas in PR-184. The route’s name comes from the multiple lechoneras in it, restaurants that sell Puerto Rican-style roasted pig. 

As a result, you will see complete pigs roasting in each restaurant window. But, you will also find a long line of side dishes that include root vegetables, blood sausage, fried green plantains, and rice with pigeon peas. 

On the weekends, the lechoneras have a lively atmosphere with live music, entertainment, and salsa dancing. On these days, not only will you enjoy the best Puerto Rican cuisine, but you’ll also get to experience the best of local culture. 

You can choose to eat at one lechonera, or you can hop between the multiple roadside eateries. Although there are two other “pork highways” in Puerto Rico, the most popular one is the one in PR-184 also known as Guavate, one of the neighborhoods where it’s located. 

You can visit either by taking this tour that goes to the Pork Highway, or by renting a car with Discover Cars in San Juan and driving yourself.

Tips for Visiting the Pork Highway in Puerto Rico

Tip #1 – Rent a Car

View of the cars driving along Pork Highway

The best way to visit the pork highway is to rent a car in Puerto Rico. There aren’t many Puerto Rico tours that take you to the mountainous region. And even if you find a tour that takes you to Guavate, it’ll hardly make as many stops as you’d like.

 If you have multiple stops in your itinerary and you want as much flexibility as possible, you’re better off renting a car. 

You can use Discover Cars to compare Puerto Rico car rental agencies and to find the best rate per day.

Tip #2 – Or Take a Tour

If, however, you’re afraid of driving on curvy roads in the mountains, then driving through Puerto Rico’s Pork Highway isn’t for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t visit at all! 

This Lechonera Hiking Tour to Infinity Pool takes you to one of Puerto Rico’s waterfalls and the Lechoneras in Guavate. You can also browse more Guavate tours on Viator.

Tip #3 – Know Your Spanish

Although most Puerto Ricans speak and understand English, you might have a harder time communicating in the mountainous region than in the tourist side of San Juan. Knowing a few phrases or words can help you out with ordering food and asking for directions.  

Tip #4 – Choose the Best Time to Visit

View of the closed restaurant in Pork Highway
Some restaurants close on weekdays

If you’re looking for that party-atmosphere Puerto Rico is famous for, you should visit the Pork Highway during the weekends. From Friday to Sunday, most restaurants and bars in the area sport live bands and lots of dancing. 

For a quieter atmosphere and to have attractions to yourself, visit during the weekdays. But, keep in mind some attractions and restaurants might be closed.

📅 Related Reading: The Best Times and Months to Visit Puerto Rico

Tip #5 – Go Beyond The Restaurants

The author Vanessa, posing near the river in Charco Azul trail
Hiking to Charco Azul nearby Guavate

While its restaurants are the main draw, there is so much more to the Puerto Rico Pork Highway. 

The Pork Highway extends through Cidra, Cayey, and Patillas. In the region, you will find beautiful Puerto Rico attractions, including Puerto Rico waterfalls, farms, and nature reserves. You’ll also be a short ride from the Carite Forest, ideal for hiking and relaxing in the outdoors of Puerto Rico.

Tip #6 – Download Maps Offline

Scenic view along PR- 184 in Patillas
PR- 184 in Patillas

If you’re planning on driving beyond Lechonera El Rancho Original in the direction of Patillas, then download your maps offline. 

The reception is spotty and often non-existent in the areas surrounding the Carite Forest. As you continue to drive south, you’ll be around 20 minutes without phone reception.

Tip #7 – Carry Motion-Sickness Medicine

The more you drive in La Ruta del Lechón, the curvier and narrower the roads get. 

If you or the passengers in your car are prone to motion sickness, then it’s recommended to carry motion-sickness medicine. Intentionally stopping frequently, whether it’s at attractions or restaurants, helps to get a breather from all the curves.

Tip #8 – Try “Cuerito” and Other Local Dishes

View of the roasted pork from the glass wall

If you’re trying the roasted pork, make sure to ask for “cuerito” which is the pork’s crispy skin. When you ask for pork, it’s usually sold in pounds, so you can ask for “1 libra de lechón”. 

You shouldn’t miss on other local delicacies like pasteles, which is a type of dough made of green banana, pumpkin, and yautía, packed in banana leaves and boiled similarly to tamales.

Tip #9 – Hop from Restaurant to Restaurant

Exterior view of the La Placita de Guavate seen from across the road

If you’re a real foodie, instead of staying in a single lechonera, hop from restaurant to restaurant to try different variations of the local Puerto Rican cuisine. Arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), sweet plantains, roots like cassava plant, tostones, and mofongo, are some of the best Puerto Rico foods you’ll find in Guavate.

Tip #10 – Find Safe Parking

View of the parked cars outside a restaurant

Although most lechoneras, bars, and restaurants in the area have ample parking, during the weekends, the area gets so crowded it might be hard to find a spot in the smaller locations. In some areas, you might be able to park on the roadside, but be careful not to obstruct the traffic. 

Tip #11 – Beware if You’re Sensitive

View of the Puerto Rican food in a buffet service

While you’re sure to find a great meal in Guavate, it’s also true that the most flavorful Puerto Rican food is heavily seasoned with garlic, pepper, salt, and other spices. 

Plus, most meals are high in carbs and fat. A good alternative to rice or pork is root plants like the cassava plant, which is marinated in olive oil, pepper, and onions.

Where to Stay Near the Pork Highway in Puerto Rico

Best Pork Highway Hotels & Rentals

If instead of going on a road trip you want to stay in the Puerto Rico mountains and immerse yourself in the local cuisine, there are plenty of hotels and rentals to choose from nearby La Ruta del Lechón. 

Here are some of the best places to stay along the Pork Highway:

For more, see my full guide to where to stay around Puerto Rico.

Best Pork Highway Restaurants

View of the parked cars outside El Rancho Original

From the classic lechoneras with whole pigs exhibited in the kitchen to small food kiosks, you’ll find a bit of everything in Guavate’s Pork Highway. 

Here are some Pork Highway restaurants you shouldn’t miss:

  • 🐖 Lechonera El Rancho Original – Puerto Rican culture at its finest. Enjoy roast pork, marinated and later roasted for hours over coal. 
  • 🐖 El Nuevo Rancho – Live music during the weekends, and moist flavorful pork meat with a variety of traditional side dishes to enjoy.
  • 🐖 Lechonera Los Pinos – Visited by Anthony Bourdain, this restaurant is known for its authentic Puerto Rican food.
Exterior view of Lechonera El Mojito seen from across the road
Lechonera El Mojito
  • 🐖 Lechonera El Mojito – Plenty of space and outdoor seating to enjoy roast pork and it’s one of the easiest lechoneras to reach in the gastronomic route.
  • 🐖 El Zinchorro – Great atmosphere for visiting with your family and enjoying the traditional lechón. But, mofongo is also one of the top dishes of the house. 
  • 🐖 Lechonera Los Primos – Not only does it sell great food and lechón, but it also has live music on the weekends and nearby souvenir shops.
  • 🐖 La Placita de Guavate – This place is the best to sip on a Piña Colada with a view of the mountains. The pork chops are particularly popular.
View of the vibrant and colorful exterior of Casita Guavate
Casita Guavate
  • 🐖 Casita Guavate – A mix and match of Puerto Rican traditional dishes like roast pork with other international favorites like mac and cheese.
  • 🐖 Doctor Lechón – One of the easiest lechoneras to visit in Guavate, with a varied menu and drinks served in an IV drip.
  • 🐖 Lechonera Los Amigos – Just off the highway, famous for its roasted pig, sausage, and roasted chicken.

Best Pork Highway Attractions

Closeup view of the Los Tres Reyes in the Pork Highway
Los Tres Reyes in the Pork Highway

Besides eating and tasting the lechón that has earned cult status among locals and foodies, you can also visit the spots in and nearby the gastronomic route. Below are some of them:

  • Los Tres Reyes – These large sculptures are visible from PR-184, but you can also see them up close. Behind the sculptures, there is a small workshop. 
  • Charco Azul – Charco Azul is a beautiful waterhole a short drive from Guavate.
  • Carite Forest – Great for hiking and soaking in nature.
View of the colorful mural in Pork Highway
  • Shops – Next to Lechonera El Rancho Original and Lechonera Los Primos you will find multiple shops where you can buy souvenirs.
  • Hacienda Muñoz – In under 40 minutes, you can reach Hacienda Muñoz, one of the main Puerto Rico coffee farms.
  • Las Tetas de Cayey – Located in the small town of Salinas, this is one of the best Puerto Rico hiking and climbing destinations.

FAQs About Visiting the Pork Highway, Puerto Rico

How do I get to the Pork Highway in Puerto Rico?

To get to the Pork Highway in Puerto Rico, visitors need to drive an hour south from San Juan in the direction of Cayey. The best way to get there is either by renting a car or by taking a tour. You can compare rental prices on Discover Cars.

Where is the lechón Highway?

Puerto Rico has three different Rutas del Lechón, also known as Pork’s Highway, but the most popular one is located in PR-184 between the towns of Cidra, Cayey, and Patillas. The other two Pork Highways are located in Trujillo Alto and Naranjito on the north of the island. To learn more, see my guide to everything you need to know about the Pork Highway.

What is Lechón?

Lechón or lechón asado refers to slow-roasted pork with spices often cooked for eight hours over hot coals. The slow roasting allows the pork’s meat to be tender on the inside but its exterior is a crispy skin known as cuerito.


Now you can start your gastronomic journey through the Pork Highway, Puerto Rico! While on it, don’t forget to visit some of the best Puerto Rico attractions in the area and shop for souvenirs. 

If you’re looking for more fun, continue reading our guide to the best sites to visit in Puerto Rico.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate (you can leave feedback after clicking submit)

Help us help you travel better!

Your feedback really helps ...

What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?

Leave a Reply

All comments are moderated for compliance with our community guidelines. Most importantly be kind & be helpful!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.