Guavate is a tiny town in the middle of nowhere known for La Ruta Del Lechon, or the Pork Highway.
Atlas Obscura has an awesome article that’s way better to read than what I’m throwing together here, but I’m still posting this.
The Ruta Del Lechon is named for the multitude of lechoneras, roadside open-air restaurants which serve roast pig.
Whole pigs are slow-roasted for hours and hours and hours over charcoal in a process known as barbacoa – where our word barbecue comes from.
Combine the fresh pork (which is absolutely uuuuuuh-mazing) with other Puerto Rican classic dishes such as mofongo, rice with pigeon peas, taro root or pasteles and wash it all down with a crisp beer.
Our research led us to El Rancho Original, the largest of the lechoneras here. Order your food and drink cafeteria style at the roadside counter, then take your styrofoam takeaway container of food down to one of their seating areas down by the river. Sit, eat, enjoy.
Like the rest of Puerto Rico, expect plenty of noise – when we arrived at 11am on a weekday there was already a live DJ blasting tunes up by the road, and by the time we left 45 minutes later the place was becoming a madhouse.
Also come mid-week and early. Parking was already at a premium when we arrived, and on weekends the line of traffic waiting to get in or through Guavate basically shuts the entire road down. There are paid parking options when streetside and the few free options fill up, but if they’re all full you’re just screwed. You have been warned.
It’s an easy drive from San Juan, and we routed our path when heading from Fajardo to Ponce to take us through the mountains just to make the stop here for lunch.
In our opinion, hitting a lechonera in Guavate is an ABSOLUTE MUST-DO when visiting Puerto Rico.

Fancy Tableware

Fancy Tableware
The pork is amazing, but the tableware leaves a lot to be desired

Patriotic Pigs

Patriotic Pigs
Colorful signs at El Rancho Original

It’s The Culture

It's The Culture in Guavate
More signage at El Rancho Original

Pick A Seat

Pick A Seat
El Rancho Original has multiple cabanas and covered seating areas down by the small river. Much better than eating up in the noise up top.

Mouth Watering

Mouth Watering in Guavate
You can just smell the pork


When you’re known for one thing, everybody capitalizes on it just like this small souvenir shop

The Guavate Zoo

The Guavate Zoo
This place was a zoo at 11am on a weekday, I can imagine what it turns into on the weekends.

Colorful Signage

Colorful Signage in Guavate
They do a good job with their murals


Wanna-Be-Rican in Guavate
Just putting the hat on makes you feel like you’re ready to party!

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