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Carole's Rainforest Villas
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Reviewed February 9, 2010

We stayed at Carole's place for three days in early February 2010. It really was fantastic and just what we were looking for. We are the type of travelers that would rather open our veins than stay at an all-inclusive resort (like the tacky Rio Mar nearby), so it's usually B&Bs and guesthouses for us. But even some of those are hit-and-miss: cloyingly obsequious innkeepers who think they're your new best friend, or ferocious ones that have "Do Not..." signs posted all over their properties or give you the eye for being one minute late for breakfast. But Carole's place hit a sweet spot for the way we travel, and staying there really did make our visit to Luquillo Beach and El Yunque that much better. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, Carole was warm, inviting, and very helpful -- then she basically went away and let us do our own thing. We got the sense that she would have helped us with anything we would have needed, but we were fine on our own. It's not a strict B&B because there no breakfast was served (although Carole did prepare a pot of oatmeal for us before she left for her dayjob), but we didn't need or want that -- the food kioscos nearby are great. (And there are few things more annoying than the forced cordiality of making inane B&B chit-chat with a stranger over dry banana pancakes and weak coffee.) Because Carole only has one unit to rent, you have the run of the place -- the added privacy is wonderful, and probably the best thing about the place. (The private waterfall nearby is nice, too.)

The room is great if you like quirky places. The bed was plush and comfortable, and the best thing about the room was that Carole seemed to anticipate little needs -- there's a nice reading lamp clipped on the headboard, there's a whole shelf of sunscreen and bug spray, plenty of bath and beach towels, a coffee maker in the room (and fresh coffee in the fridge), bottles of water and snacks (helpful during our hike up El Yunque), clothing and coat hooks everywhere, plenty of hot water in the sunken shower area, enough pots, pans, and utensils to cook all your meals, and a nice Adirondack chair on the back porch of the villa. It's not the Connaught or Raffles, but Carole has been on the property for years and it's cool to see personality everywhere on the property. Her two black Labs are sweet and friendly, too.

Some things to keep in mind: you will need a car, and don't expect to walk out of the villa and just stumble onto the beach. Luquillo Beach, Coco Beach, the famous food kiosks, and the entrance to the El Yunque trails are all 10-20 minutes away by car. You'll have one or two mosquitoes in your room (there's a moquito net.) And here is no WIFI (hint, hint, Carole.)

What you get in exchange is your own place on a property that literally abuts the Caribbean National Forest, with beautiful views that extend over the hills and out to the sea, and, at night, you can sit on the backporch, listen the sound of the forest, and look up into a startingly clear night sky -- beer in your hand, crickets and coqui frogs all around you, the wonder of Orion above.

(Also, the photos on her website don't do justice to the place, so we're taking the liberty of some photos that we took.)

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ORDsorties
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2010

Carol's cottage has lots of character, excellent views and serenity. The set up is basically a one room guest house next to her house (which is the last house situated next to a rarely used entrance to El Yunque Park.) The room has a king sized bed, a set up with a small fridge, toaster oven, coffee maker and snacks. The bath (which is only separated by a curtain)is supplied with plenty of clean towels and many supplies for skin, hair, bug spray, sun tan lotion, etc. Also there are beach towels and a beach blanket. She has quiet music playing in the room when you arrive so you immediately start to relax. It has a view over a small rain forest ravine. There is a wall mounted fan that you can use if you are warm--it is a bit on the loud side so we tried not to use it. There is a small deck outside with chairs and places to hang your towels or laundry.It is extremely quiet and full of the sounds of the coqui frogs. The entire place is painted nice bright colors, with plenty of pretty tile work and special decorative touches.
In addition to your room you have full use of her outdoor kitchen which faces the sea view.The view is down to the ocean and is spectacular. Carol says she doesn't want it posted because she likes people to be surprised when they see it. She made us delicious banana smoothies and told us to feel free to use the kitchen as ours. She helped us set up a kayak ride to the bio-bay. (We never saw her after that --she works and leaves very early in the am--it felt like it was all for us alone) There was breakfast food to prepare yourself and eat as you look over the view.
At the bottom of her road is a chicken place called El Verde which has delicious chicken you can eat there at the counter or take back up to Carol's to eat while looking at the view. I am sort of a sqeamish eater but it was fine. Also in the hut area along the beach #2, El Parrillo was great and in the town of Loquillo try Kings Restaurant to eat with the locals --great food.
If a high rise air conditioned Tv luxury resort with manicured grounds is your thing you may not appreciate it here but if you like total peace, pretty surroundings and a bohemian, artsy romantic vibe-this is for you.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jamaicatrip2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2009

We were sorry we only had two nights to spend here. I loved our little villa - the bed was huge and inviting - and the view is spectacular. I also loved the outdoor kitchen, but we never used it. We never did get to meet Carole, but she was very helpful by e-mail as we were planning. Very quiet and private - we were the only ones there except for a very friendly doggie. Not difficult to find and we didn't mind driving back out to get to the road into El Yunque.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank snorkelerNan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2009

I went her with my bf in March and this place was wonderful. Carole was very helpful in giving advice of where to go and what to see. The place was wonderful and clean. I'd highly recommend this place to anyone looking to relax.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank id05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2009

This has to be one of the most unique places to stay in El Yunque Puerto Rico! We booked a room for 2 nights, and asked to stay longer - (4 nights total in July 2009).

For simplicity.....
Clean
Nice Location
Private & Quiet
Unique Decor
YES - I WILL come again

The villa sits close to the top of the mountain with a tremendous view from the outdoor kitchen/eating area. It is artistically decorated with wood timbers, Mexican tiles, colorful caribbean colors, exotic decor, etc. It is nestled in the rain forest vegetation with coconut trees, royal palms, banana trees, hanging haleconias, torch gingers, vines and numerous other form of plants.

YES....you hear creatures in the night, especially the native coqui frogs - but we felt very safe in the 1 bedroom "casita". It is very dark at night - we could see many stars! For some reason, we slept later than normal at home. The bed was very comfortable, large (king size) - sheets and the room were VERY clean, considering we were in the middle of the jungle.

I would say the most AMAZING thing about this rental was the tremendous view to the mountains and ocean below - right from the kitchen table!

There were 2 dogs on the property - we did enjoy them. They would walk to the river with us daily - helping to carve the path to the waterfall (ANOTHER AMAZING THING!). They did not bark or jump on us - they were kind of lazy....but they were always there. (kind of made us feel safe, too).

Carole the owner is another one of a kind - with lots of stories to tell. She would arrive early evening, talk a bit.......always making sure we felt comfortable and as if we were completely alone on the property. Yes, she does live at the main house - but the 1 bedroom villa rental is a separate building. It was always quiet and peaceful.

When we booked, this seemed like a perfect place to stay in Puerto Rico. We wanted to visit the El Yunque rain forest, but wanted to enjoy the hiking, etc. We stayed longer simply because we soon found 2 days of hiking was not enough! There were so many different trails, waterfalls, look-out points, etc. The road to the main forest was closed during our stay (construction from a mountain slide). We had to drive down the mountain and across the highway - making it about 20 minutes. If the road was fixed - it was only 5! However, Carole pointed out the river that was only a 10 minute WALK up the mountain. We hiked there with the dogs. There was NUMEROUS waterfalls, and bathing spots - no real need to drive to the touristy spots!

She also gave us pointers on some hidden beach locations in Luiquillo and Farjardo. If you stay with her - she will share! We snorkled one day for 4 hours. There was nobody at this beach!

Overall the stay was very relaxing. I will recommend this lodging option to everyone and anyone traveling to Puerto Rico - especially if they are nature lovers and want to experience El Yunque National Rain Forest.

We were so glad to stay here - we saw many tour buses at the nature center, and realized they were not seeing the same things we experienced. Staying here is definitely the way to experience the jungle.

Todd & Yvette

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank funflicks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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