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Taste Exotic Ice Cream Flavors in Lares

Posted on Nov 12th, 2009 by • Updated on Nov 7th, 2014

(updated 18 June 2014) Due to Don Yinyo’s death in February 2014, the Heladeria has closed. They are hoping to re-open at some point. BUT I would strongly recommend calling first to make sure it has re-opened before visiting. In June 2014, Heladería El Grito, a new (competing) ice cream shop, opened in Lares offering similar styles of ice cream. We’ll have to make a visit!

Heladeria Lares Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! If you love ice cream (helado in Spanish) , or just want to taste some exotic flavors, I have a place for you to go.

Heladeria Lares is an ice cream shop in Lares that has 45-50 delicious flavors of ice creams daily — many very unusual.

This ice cream shop was recently featured in the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern when they did a show about Puerto Rican food.

The Store

The ice cream shop (heladeria in Spanish) is located right on the town square in Lares, just across the street from the Church. This narrow shop was opened in 1968 by Salvador Barreto ("Yinyo"). Yinyo passed away in February 2014, at the age of 91. The heladeria has remained closed following his death while the family figures out what to do with the business.

Today, the shop is operated by the same family, and they still make the same delicious and unusual flavors using Yinyo’s original recipes.

Heladeria Lares Ice Cream

The store’s walls are covered with photographs, historical newspapers and articles about the town, the store and news-worthy events around Puerto Rico. Supposedly, they have recipes for 500 flavors, but I think that may be an exaggeration. They have room in their freezers for about 60 flavors, but they do double up on many of the more popular flavors. So, on any given day, you’ll have around 40 or 50 flavors to choose from. There are some tables where you can sit inside and eat your treat, and even an area for a DJ on weekends, when the place gets busy.

The Ice Cream

Heladeria Lares Ice Cream

The ice cream is all home made. The flavors range from traditional ones you know and love (like cookies & cream, vanilla or chocolate) to "exotic" ones that you’d never have imagined (like cod fish, rice & beans or garlic) to some other in-between flavors (like carrot, sweet potato or corn). The names of the ice creams flavors are in Spanish, but the scooper will translate them for you.

They give out 2 free samples for you to try before making a decision. I think that choosing was the hardest part! I like ice cream, so I wanted something that would taste good, but be slightly unusual (but not too gross).

Heladeria Lares Ice Cream

We each tried a couple different flavors before making our final decisions. Ray tasted the rice & beans — it wasn’t sweet enough for his taste — and calabaza (pumpkin) — which he said was bland. He choose arroz con dulce (rice pudding flavor) and corn — both of which are their most popular flavors. I tasted the calabaza & batata (pumpkin/sweet potato) combination and ajonjoli (sesame seed) — which was good. I choose the calabaza & batada combination — which I liked — and almond cake. We each got 2 scoops in a dish. It was a yummy treat!



Prices were reasonable. You can get your ice cream in a cup or cone. About $3.50 for 2 scoops.

they are closed

closed. However, you can try Heladeria El Grito – a new ice cream store on the plaza.

Heladeria Lares Ice Cream

You can eat your ice cream inside the store or take it to go and enjoy your treat walking around or on a bench in the town square.

Heladeria Lares was a little hard to find, but if take Route 129 into Lares, then turn into the center of town. It is right on the main square. Finding parking on the street was even more difficult, even on a Friday at noon when we went. I imagine that you’ll end up parking farther away on weekends.

Allow about 1 hour to drive to Lares from the San Juan area. If you going to the Rio Camuy Caves Park or the Arecibo Radiotelescope you can easily make a side-trip for some ice cream — it’s only about 20 minutes away from the caves.

You can locate Heladeria Lares on our Interactive Island Map

Another Option

  • In Caguas, there is a shop called Jendy’s that offers a nice selection of flavors (even of few really unusual ones). They’re open Monday to Thursday from 11:00 am to 9:00pm, Friday & Saturday from 11:00am to 9:30pm, and Sunday from 1:00pm to 9:00pm. Their phone number is 787-745-1110.
  • Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.

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    1. The ice cream shop is only open Wed through Sunday

    2. Thank you! You are correct and we have updated the article.

    3. I have been to heladeria lares and I had a scoop of corn and a scoop of almond cake, I loved it :) when I take another trip back to PR I will have to go back and who knows maybe I’ll try something more exotic next time.

    4. I go to Puerto Rico yearly but last month was the first time I went to the heladeria in Lares. It was awesome! I had the guava flavor but tasted a couple different ones and tried my mom’s and sister’s. They were all delicious! Lares is also a very nice, clean town to go and visit.

    5. I’ve tried the codfish, rice and beans, coquito, yam, avocado. Codfish was gross, as expected. Coquito was yummy, the other were….edible. So sad they have closed. However, there’s a copycat in Caguas called Jendy’s Heladeria Artesanal. They have less variety but they’re closer to the metro area and, well, open. They have traditional ice cream, weirds ones like garlic, and “special” ones like snickers. To share my experience, the ginger one was way too ginger-y, snickers was good but way too sweet. Corn and COCONUT were pretty legit. If you’re bummed the Lares one closed but want to get a similar experience, GO THERE.

    6. Heladeria Lares was still closed on 6-25-2014, which was a surprise to me. I just assumed it was still open . To my surprise, there was a similar type place just a few store-fronts down the block. The selection was a lot less, with maybe 10 to 15 flavors. I selected pumpkin, which actually tasted more like coconut. Interesting to see how two rare-flavor ice cream shops will do so close together, if and when Heladeria Lares reopens.

    7. Yes, the new place is just starting out and will be making more and more flavors as they grow. It is not for sure, but the Heladeria Lares may never reopen. So the new people (from Lares) decided Lares needed the tourist draw, so they decided to step in.

    8. Will the Heladeria Lares reopen? I’m visiting P.R. in Dec and wanted to stop by and try their many flavored Ice creams. Its is closed for good?

    9. Hello from New York, presently we are discussing the life of Gerena Valentin and our professor showed a video about your parlor. I visited the parlor some years back and our students were amazed about the menu variation. Favor, if you could email your ice cream menu to us in order to discuss in class. Thanking you in advance.

      Mariano Laboy from Yabucoa living in NYC

    10. Please delete that phone number….apparently the lady is upset about all the phone calls she has been receiving asking about the ice cream shop…I just got cursed out!!! Lol

    11. Oops- I will.
      I was hoping they would reopen the store, but obviously, that is not in the plans. Try Jendy’s in Caguas, or Heladeria El Grito on the square in Lares.

    12. Due to a death in the family, the Heladeria Lares is no longer in business.

    13. They are closed. If you are in Lares, you can try Heladeria El Grito, or in Caguas- Jendys. If yo find a REX cream (they are usually around some old town squares), they make some good, homemade, local flavored ice creams. I know one in Mayaguez, Cayey, Aguadilla, and in Caguas and Ponce I think. And a quick online search shows some more in other towns too.

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