If you don’t mind not being on the beach, the best deal for the budget-minded traveler is Casa Alta Vista (297 Calle Flamboyan, Esperanza, 787/741-3296, fax 787/741-3296, casaaltavista [at] yahoo [dot] com, www.casaaltavista.net, $80 s, $90–95 d, $115–175 for 4 people, plus 9 percent tax). This small, cheerful 10-room guesthouse features newly renovated rooms with modern bathrooms and extra-comfy mattresses. There’s no TV, telephone, or pool, but the air-conditioning and mini-refrigerator keep things cool. A rooftop sundeck offers a 360-degree view of the island, three-quarters of it ocean. If it’s available, ask for room 12—it has got the best view of the ocean and hillsides.
Registration is in the small market on the first floor. This is also where spontaneous jam sessions occasionally occur, thanks to owner and guitar player Mark Biron, who keeps maracas, sticks, cowbells, and güiros on hand for anybody who wants to join in. Scooter, bicycle, snorkeling gear, beach chair, umbrella, and cooler rentals are available on-site. There are also a one-bedroom apartment and wheelchair-accessible rooms.
Trade Winds Guest House and Restaurant (Calle Flamboyan, Esperanza, 787/741-8666, fax 787/741-2964, tradewns [at] coqui [dot] net, www.enchanted-isle.com/tradewinds, $70 s, $80 d, plus 9 percent tax) is a better restaurant than it is a guesthouse, but it’s conveniently situated in the middle of Esperanza and across the street from the malécon (sea walk). The 10 rooms are small, windowless, and Spartan, but they’re clean and have firm mattresses. There’s no TV or telephone, but some rooms have air-conditioning. The rooms open onto a scrappy courtyard with plastic patio furniture, and there’s a decent restaurant and bar upstairs.
Just want a cheap place to crash? If you don’t plan to spend much time in your room, Bananas Guesthouse (Calle Flamboyan, Esperanza, 787/741-8700, atbananas [at] aol [dot] com, www.bananasguesthouse.com, $55–85 s/d plus 9 percent tax) may meet your needs. In the back of the popular bar and restaurant, Bananas, this bare-bones guesthouse has eight small, rustic, dimly lit rooms with deck flooring. There’s no TV or telephone, but some rooms have air-conditioning, screened porches, and mini-refrigerators.
Perched on an inland hillside overlooking the main island is the lovely, lushly landscaped Crow’s Nest Inn (Carr. 201, km 1.1, Isabel Segunda, 787/741-0033 or 877/276-9763, fax 787/741-1294, thenest [at] coqui [dot] net, www.crowsnestvieques.com, $90 s, $129 d, $139 one-bedroom suite, $250 two-bedroom suite, plus 9 percent tax; includes continental breakfast). The Spanish hacienda–style inn has 16 well-appointed modern rooms, all with air-conditioning, TV, and a kitchen or kitchenette. There are also a small pool and an excellent restaurant, Island Steakhouse. Snorkeling-gear rental is available.
There’s something positively Mediterranean about the exterior appearance of Casa La Lanchita (374 N. Shore Rd., Isabel Segunda, 787/741-8449 or 800/774-4712, www.viequeslalanchita.com, $100–175, four-night minimum stay). The bright white four-story structure with archways and balustrades is built right on the sandy beach of a brilliant blue sea and is surrounded by flowering bougainvillea. Despite the posh exterior, the rooms are modestly appointed with budget rattan and metal furnishings, but each room has a private terrace and full-size kitchen.
© Suzanne Van Atten from Moon Puerto Rico, 2nd Edition