Our family (two adults and two kids, 1.5 and 2.5 years) rented a loft in late April 2009 for 2 weeks. We also rented an extra bedroom for our babysitter. The place was exactly what we needed. Our goal was to find a location where we can enjoy sunshine and beaches with warm water and safe waves; hike a bit with our small children; cook on our own if we wanted to; be able to cool down after a day at the beach; and get some exposure to a different culture. Luquillo turned out to be a perfect location and Sue’s place was a perfect place to stay. Here are its main highlights,
1. It’s within a 15-minute drive from nearby beaches, up the mountain, which means that it is about 5-8 degrees cooler than at the ocean level. At Sue’s place, we fell asleep in a loft with screened windows, in a summer cabin atmosphere, listening to an unforgettable serenade by about a million of coqui frogs. Compare that to falling asleep while listening to an air conditioner humming in a typical hotel room. Luquillo is about the same latitude as Honolulu, so it is warm (or hot) year-round. You’ll see fruit-bearing banana and avocado trees outside of your window, as well as ginger flowers, giant ferns and coconut palms.
2. When we stayed in B&B in a Volcano Village on the Big Island of Hawaii, which is also located in the rainforest, all windows were closed and a dehumidifier was running 24/7. Sue’s Place is dryer (because of its rainfall and lower altitude) than Hawaii’s Volcano Village and the main parts of El Yunque rainforest where it’s foggy and rainy nearly all the time. You will have occasional rain showers at Sue’s place (be sure to get a video!) but it will not be too damp.
3. You have a choice of 2 roads to drive when you go to the nearby beaches. One is nearly empty of cars; it goes through a rainforest, by roadside waterfalls, across a mountain river, and descends into a small town with the best gift store (we also visited stores in old San Juan and el Yunque) and a bakery/eatery with some truly local and delicious foods. An alternative road is much busier but it curves around houses and churches. Here you’ll see the friendly locals, peacocks, horses, hens, roosters, and other domestic animals. If you smile and greet people, entire families will wave their hands and smile at you. We stopped by a church to listen to people sing and were invited to come in. Sue will give you a detailed map of both roads but take your GPS system (if you have one) with you because it will remember the exact location of Sue’s house.
4. You have a choice of at least three different types of beaches. The main paid beach is kid-friendly due to its calm waters. It has easy parking, clean sand, trimmed coconut palms, showers, bathrooms, and cafes located directly on the beach. Other Luquillo beaches have bigger waves, so you can decide what you want to do – one day you may want to swim and on another day you may want to jump in the waves. Finally, there are other beaches where you can snorkel and collect shells. Finally, there is also an option to bathe in the mountain streams. Just ask Sue.
5. Sue’s helpfulness, knowledge of local conditions, and genuine interest in her guests are outstanding. She knows places to shop, eat, swim, find a doctor, connect to the internet, etc. and she can also tell you what other guests liked or disliked. We went on “a scenic view” drive one day without consulting with Sue first and, oh boy, we wished we asked her before we ventured out.
Here are some more tips for your trip
1. The towns of Luquillo and nearby Fajardo have major stores – Walgreens, Amigo food store, Walmart, etc. Pack no sun lotions or other heavy toiletry, they are cheap at Luquillo Walgreen’s. Get your grocery shopping done on your way from the airport. Food is cheap in PR. Be sure to buy meats in a local marinade of garlic, cilantro and red spice (not spicy at all), the fry on a pan in about 15 minutes. And get a taste of local sweet bread (look for a special counter in a food store where freshly baked loafs are kept under warm lights).
2. The loft has a hammock that is a vacationer’s dream. There could be occasional mosquitoes, so get some repellent to enjoy an evening in a hammock.
3. The chalet has an excellent grill that you may be able to use. Both rentals have large fans.
4. In case you wonder about security - Sue’s place has a locked gate and locks for each rental place, including an extra side bedroom. Sue lives in her own house a few feet down the hill.
5. Do your laundry in town. It will be washed, dried and folded for 90 cents/pound while you are eating breakfast or dinner. Sue will provide you with more clean towels than you need.
6. At Sue’s place you’ll have an option of completely disconnecting from the outside world – forget about the TV (Sue has cable), cell phones and the internet.
Tomorrow, we will purchase out tickets to return to Sue’s place in 6 months.
- Also Known As:
- Sue`s Place Hotel Luquillo