We had one wonderful night at El Hotelito before visiting El Yunque national forest in Puerto Rico. Our flight arrived around 2pm from the Atlanta and after renting a car we made the drive there following their directions through Fajardo. The owner was ready to guide our drive to the place but we made it from his directions without extra help.
The last few miles or so are through residential neighborhoods with a dirt road the last few hundred yards. An SUV can be helpful with the last stretch.
The place is really fantastic! It’s like a Hemingway home nestled into the rainforest with tremendous character and warmth that’s expressive of the owner, Rafael, who hosts everyone into the place. The main floor has 2 huge rocking chairs set out front, and the passage into the main area is beautifully arranged with art, sculptures, tables, sofas, and a bar where meals are served. We walked around and saw beautiful heliconia flowers – similar to birds of paradise – along walking paths too.
The back area is fully open to an incredible view of the city and the ocean off in the distance, and even islands like Culebra and St Thomas on the horizon. The swimming pool is also off to the right side, though we didn’t have a chance to swim in it unfortunately.
Rafael spent as much time as we wanted to fill us in on the history of the area and help us with directions. The cool thing about the place for me was also that he runs all of the power from solar panels and batteries and uses LED lighting and other green technology to make it work sustainably! (He also speaks English as fluently as Spanish, so no worries with our visit).
The room had an amazing view of the rain forest and a trail that’s walkable. And the ocean view off to one side and a small balcony as well. Our bathroom had a cool shower with natural sunlight from above. Dinner was a great set of local foods, arroz con pollo, beans, amarillo (ripe plantains), avocado, and some wine. Breakfast was included, my favorite- eggs and bacon and toast.
We would definitely recommend El Hotelito; it’s a small gem that’s off the beaten path but worth going out of the way to stay in.