We stayed for 5 nights or so in the downstairs at Casa Ladera (the property also has an upstairs in the main house, and a separate cottage). It was very spacious, and came with a fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer, a living room, and two bedrooms. It also included use of the pool/patio and the grill. Honestly, there is so much to do on Vieques that we hardly spent any time in the house - but it was nonetheless a very comfortable stay. There were guests in the upstairs floor at the same time, but we never saw or heard anyone. There is plenty of privacy even in the downstairs, and we were able to enjoy a relaxing, romantic getaway.
- The owners are friendly. Jen picked us up from the airport and drove us to the house, which was wonderful.
- The house is very spacious, and has everything you need (kitchen/laundry). We made many of our own meals here.
- There are things you can borrow to do a day at the beach, free! (cooler, towels, etc)
- The property is not oceanfront, but it is still very scenic. It is quiet, and located in a residential neighborhood. There are a few strange locals about, but overall never felt unsafe. (The property itself is fenced in completely)
- IT COMES WITH A JEEP RENTAL, seriously, if you are on Vieques you need to rent a car, and the rental places are often "booked" at least to vacationers. The owners let you use the car as part of the rental (i'm not sure if one particular car is tied to a particular room). However, you are required to fill it up with gas before you leave, and the one gas station on vieques is a serious pain to go to and use (its very crowded).
- Location - Really, this is the only con, and only if you don't have a car. The house is on the north side of the island, a short drive from the airport. This makes it convenient to go to restaurants/bank/grocery store in town, but means you have to drive across the island to get to the nice beaches. There is a beach a minute walk away, but it is very rocky/small, and the beautiful picturesque beaches are across the island on the south side. Not a huge con, but just be aware you need a car to experience the beaches, and south side/nightlife part of the island.
- It seems a bit pricey - but if you factor in that the jeep rental is included, it is a good deal
At the risk of repeating what so many others have already said, we were wonderfully comfortable at Casa Ladera and would return there in a heartbeat! We stayed in the downstairs unit which has a big poolside patio, very well-appointed eat-in kitchen with new, modern appliances, large livingroom, large master bedroom and a smaller second bedroom. The bathroom never lacked hot water or water pressure -- issues I've encountered elsewhere in my Caribbean (and elsewhere) travels. We appreciated the plentiful big fluffy towels, including beach towels, and because of the very large washer and dryer we could have brought even fewer clothes than we did and kept clean and comfortable. Dependable, free wi-fi access was a plus though, frankly, we were happy to mostly escape from our plugged-in world for the week; but I mention this for those wanting/needing this access. For the couple of times we briefly checked out the so-called real world, the satellite TV was without problems. There is excellent AC throughout the house when needed, and the ceiling fans in every room kept the air moving and fresh -- no stagnant, musty smells that sometimes permeate salt water-side residences.
Correspondence with Jen to make arrangements for our visit was a pleasure -- she was prompt, pleasant, accommodating, patient and helpful with all of our questions.
The extensive collection of travel and other books in the livingroom amassed by Jen and Lauren includes just about every travel guide for both Vieques and Puerto Rico, a wonderful resource.
During the seven nights we were there, the gentleman who maintains the pool came twice and the people who take care of the grounds came once; this is a WELL-maintained property! The pool is large and the plantings are beautiful, a tropical oasis!
The villa is down a quiet residential road close enough to Isabel Segunda and its stores, gas stations, and restaurants as to be most convenient, but far enough "off the beaten path" for a feeling of wonderful privacy.
Because it's only a ten minute drive to the Caribbean side of the island where the best calm swimming beaches are, staying on the Atlantic side was not an issue. Actually, we loved it because Casa Ladera is so close to the ocean that you hear the lovely sound of the waves. Sunset walks on the beach there -- just a moment's walk away down a quiet, empty road -- were wonderful; this is Playa Cofi AKA Sea Glass Beach, so beachcombing for glass "treasure" there, as well as shells, was a treat! Though we didn't snorkel there ourselves (we did snorkel the calm side of Mosquito Pier, as well as several of the Caribbean side beaches), we saw a few others doing so (though seeing anyone else at any of the beaches we visited was actually a wonderfully uncommon occurrence!), so it is certainly a swimmable beach, especially if you enjoy a little wave action.
We appreciated Seth's Vieques airport pick-up and initial orientation as to where the supermercados, colmados (convenience stores), gas stations (very nearby), and restaurants were. Seth was also very helpful in marking snorkeling and other spots of interest for us on an excellent map that he authored (it is one of two that are ubiquitous on the island). Knowing that he was always just a quick call away during the week was very reassuring.
We had a simply fantastic vacation on Vieques not the least because of Casa Ladera!
Our family of four, including children ages 13 and 3, stayed at Casa Ladera. We had a fantastic week in Vieques. Casa Ladera was the perfect base for our island adventure. Both Jen and Lauren, property owners, were very nice and efficient. Jen was quick to provide prompt e-mails when booking Casa Ladera. We unfortunately never met Jen as she was away on business, but did have the pleasure of meeting Lauren on several occasions. We were greeted at the airport by Seth (a friend and caretaker when Jen and Lauren are away). Just to note that Casa Ladera does not provide transportation back to the airport/ferry, however, a list of taxis is provided. Casa Ladera is located in a nice residential neighborhood. The property is beautiful and the grounds are well maintained. There is a security gate and fence that surrounds the property. We felt comfortable and safe at all times. We of course took the standard precautions at Casa Ladera (locking doors) and the beaches (never leaving valuables in car or unattended) as you would on any vacation. After a day at the beach we found the comforts of home at Casa Ladera. Most nights we ate in having bought food from the local grocery store (which is located 2 minutes away by car). We found the kitchen to have the essential items needed to cook a meal. The grill(s) located poolside is a nice addition that we utilized as well. Another convenient item was the use of the washer and dryer (downstairs unit has a set and the upstairs unit and Casita share). Although not on vacation to do laundry the washer/dryer was great for the end of the day beach/pool towels. We made use of the pool in the late afternoons. The pool area is very nice with plenty of table/chairs and lounges. We took advantage of the convenient jeep rental that was offered by Jen and Lauren (a jeep is essential in order to get in and around Vieques and the various beaches). The gas station(s) are located just 2 minutes from Casa Ladera. We explored the beach just down the road from Casa Ladera (2 minute walk). My oldest son loved finding sea glass and other beach treasures. The Casa Ladera beach is not really ideal for swimming (especially with young children); however, this is not a draw back as you’ll want to explore the many beautiful beaches of Vieques. We spent our week exploring the different beaches (taking with us the included beach chairs and cooler) and relaxing at Casa Ladera. The entire family loved the Bio-Bay with Island Adventure; truly a must do experience. Vieques and Casa Ladera are for those who are self sufficient vacationers seeking a quiet and laid back experience. We look forward to a return visit. Thanks, Jen and Lauren!
|Check in / front desk|
Right now I am livid because I had a rental agreement contract with one of the owners, Jennifer, and my $500 security deposit was supposed to be returned within two weeks. It is now over a month later, and my security deposit still has NOT been returned. I have contacted Jennifer several times by phone and email. First, she said she did not have my address (scary to think if I hadn't contacted her that she may never have told me this). Now, she is saying that it was mailed. The place was left cleaner than it was when I had arrived and the car was left with 3/4 of a tank of gas (they require 1/2 a tank). So what is the hold up?
I can leave a more impartial review after i have my deposit safely returned.
We (my wife, three children, and I) had a fantastic stay at Casa Ladera the week of April 7, 2007. This was our first visit to Vieques so we did not know exactly what to expect. Casa Ladera was better than as advertised, as pictured on its website, and as discussed in the positive reviews on trip advisor, and it exceeded all of our expectations. Prior to our arrival, we dealt with Jen and she was always extremely professional and offered excellent advice (flights from San Juan to Vieques, restaurants, transportation, etc.) which made our travel easier and more enjoyable. Since Jen was out of town the week that we were in Vieques, we were greeted at the airport by her partner Lauren (who was waiting patiently for us since our small flight from San Juan was 15 minutes delayed) with our rental car (which we rented from Casa Ladera - something that was extremely convenient) on our arrival. During the week, Lauren was always available to answer any of our questions and she couldn't have been more friendly or helpful.
Vieques itself also is absolutely wonderful. We particularly enjoyed Navio Beach for the waves and Blue Beach (Playa Chiva) for its sheer beauty and snorkeling opportunities. We also were pleasantly suprised by the quality of the restaurants on the island. We particularly enjoyed Cafe Mama Songa and El Quenepo for dinner and Cafe Violeta for breakfast (all Jen and Lauren's recommendations). We also had a very good meal at Trade Winds and a lot of fun on steel drum night at Chez Shack. For local flavor, we had great bakery products at the window panaderia in Isabel, great sandwiches at the Viequenese Panaderia in Isabel (more or less across from Media Luna Restuarant), and a very good informal dinner at El Resuelva. Finally, a biobay tour one evening during your stay is a must.
We are very much looking forward to the time when we can go to Vieques and stay at Casa Ladera again. As I told Jen and Lauren by e-mail when we arrived home, I hate to post this positive review for selfish reasons out of fear that Vieques and Casa Ladera will become (more) discovered.
About us – two families renting two units and one car from Casa Ladera.
First impression – “rough”, slightly unfriendly woman picking us up from the airport with our rental car (circa 1995; wanna save 20 $? go for it! Otherwise I suggest renting a new one from a real company) and wanting to drop off only one family. (I guess the tension started when I asked to give a ride to two families)
Second impression – beautiful three-unit hotel in the middle of the rough village with most of the needed amenities. We reached the ocean in 5 minutes an saw beautiful cliffs and picturesque rough waves. (FYI I do not suggest swimming)
Next impression! – If you come at the end of the week be prepared for scarce food supply (nothing to do with hotel, but worth mentioning; food comes on Tuesdays)
Then goes the beautiful island with deserted beaches and wild nature! GREAT BBQ place in the evening (back to the hotel).
Mixed feelings begin with a family moving out of the third unit and the new family (with teenagers) moving in. Next day we discover bottles of ketchup and relish floating in the pool (until the end of the vacation - nobody cleans it!). Then we have a “pleasant” conversation with Lauren telling us that we have to rent another car! (We do not, big mistake) … Vacation has passed 1.5 month ago... Where is our deposit? Hmmm, the “fun” begins! (We should have rented the other car! LOL) First news is that Jen had to charge us 100$ for the “extra cleaning” - amazing excuse!!! I spend 80$ to clean my 4 bedroom home and apparently in Puerto Rico it costs 50$ extra to clean a two bedroom apartment! I make a fuss and then there is a revelation – we are “forgiven” for the dented car door (remind you the old bitten off steering wheel of a Jeep Cherokee circa 1995) and smoke burns in the sink! (That really pissed me off, considering we had 2 kids in each unit and we WOULD NOT smoke inside!!!). Bottom line - be careful of your co-vacationers and unexpected charges!!!!
Thank you for a great vacation! Casa Ladera was perfect for our family. I can't imagine a better location on Vieques. The accommodations were spacious and welcoming, the pool was huge and well maintained. And for a traveling family, the washer and dryer made a big difference in cleanliness and comfort level.
Lauren is so helpful with recommendations and her knowledge of the island. And Jen's website is inviting, welcoming and accurate.
We enjoyed many of the beautiful beaches on the island: Navio Beach, our favorite for body surfing; Media Luna and Sun Bay for calmer waters, and Bio-Bay for a fantastic evening expedition! The beach just steps from Casa Ladera is sprinkled with sea glass, and is a nice location to watch the sun set. All of the other beaches are an easy drive from Casa Ladera.
Rent your vehicle through Casa Ladera; you'll be glad you did. (You'll need a four-wheel drive.)
Lauren and Jen run a great operation. We highly recommend Casa Ladera.