Casa Grande Mountain Retreat (Carr. 612, km 0.3, at the intersection of Carr. 140, Barrio Caonillas, 787/894-3939 or 888/343- 2272, tarzan [at] coqui [dot] net, www.hotelcasagrande.com, $92 s, $143 d, includes breakfast and dinner, plus tax) is a truly unique hotel for visitors seeking a retreat from the 21st century deep in the tropical jungle. TVs and radios are prohibited, and the only entertainment at night is listening to the song of the coqui tree frog. The 107-acre property features 20 freestanding monastic cabins that contain a bed, a fan, a private bath, a hammock on the porch, and that’s it.
But what it lacks in luxuries, Casa Grande Mountain Retreat more than makes up for in setting. Deep in the Cordillera Central mountain region, the entire property—formerly a coffee plantation—is completely engulfed by lush, verdant forest. Amenities include a small pool, yoga classes (daily 8 a.m., $10, reservations required), hiking trails, a reading room, and board games. Jungle Jane’s Restaurant serves breakfast and dinner daily, and lunch on weekends only.
Villas del Lago (Carr. 140, km 28.1, Barrio Caonillas, 787/894-3481 or 787/894-3464, lcdomartinez [at] hotmail [dot] com, $75–85) is not to be confused with the Villas del Lago “no-tell motel” at the intersection of Highways 140 and 111. The idyllic, rustic property features a dozen or so wooden cabins perched around Lago Caonillas. The simple cabins feature built-in furniture, small kitchens, balconies, and fans (no air-conditioning). Amenities include a modest restaurant and bar. This quiet, peaceful spot is a great place to get away from it all and chill out with lovely views of the lake.
© Suzanne Van Atten from Moon Puerto Rico, 2nd Edition