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“Trup report: February 27 - March 7, 2010”
Review of Hacienda Tamarindo

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Hacienda Tamarindo
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Isla de Vieques
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 14 March 2010

We spent 8 days at the Hacienda Tamarindo. This was our third visit and we have reservations for next year. This is an ideal spot for a variety of reasons. The setting, furnishings and atmosphere are all delightful, but the best part is the friendliness of the owners and the staff. Burr and Linda Vail are very hospitable and add a lot of personality to the hotel. Jim and Joey are very knowledgeable about the restaurants, beaches and acitivities on the island and go out of their way to be helpful. We arranged our rental car through them and it was waiting for us when we arrived from the airport. Even Zach, the resident dog, is charming. The breakfasts are wonderful and served in a lovely atmosphere by a warm staff.

Our favorite restaurant is El Quenepo.In fact, we ate there 3 times. The menu is so varied and there are so many daily specials that we kept going back to try something different. The food is excellent and well presented. Kate is the owner along with her husband who is the chef. She supervises everything in the restaurant and has a very smart and attentive waitstaff.

Next on our list is Coconuts, where we ate twice. The atmosphere is fairly basic, but the food is great, the people are friendly, and it is a fun place to eat.

We tried Next Course and had a good meal, but they are still getting themselves organized. We ate lunch and dinner at Bravo Beach Hotel where the restaurant has just recently re-opened. The setting is beautiful and food was very good. Lunch at Duffy's was good and it is a fun spot to watch the world go by.

I strongly recommend checking the Newsletter "Vieques Events" for activiites. It is available on line at http://www.viequesevents.net or at the Vieques Conservation and Historic Trust in Esperanza, at hotels and various other spots on the island. We found a house tour sponsored by the Trust. It was fascniating to see some of the homes on the island and a lot of people on the tour were residents. The last stop was the W Hotel. It will be very interesting to see how well the hotel does. The setting is beautiful and the design is very sleek. However, there is nothing about it that looks very particular to Vieques or even the Caribbean. The Trust has a regular schedule of interesting events and a small but very nice gift shop on an island without very many shopping opportunities.

Our favorite beach is Sun Bay since it is shady and expansive for long walks. We also went to Secret Beach and Navio, which are both good for swimming. Another nice benefit to staying at Hacienda Tamarindo is that they provide beach chairs and packed lunches are available. We would go to the beach every day from about 10 -2 and then head back and relax at the pool for the rest of the afternoon. There is an honor bar so you can enjoy cocktails on the veranda overlooking the water before heading out to dinner.

We have been to St. John many times and this island must be like what St. John was 50 years ago. There is not a lot of action which is specifically why we like it: no cruise ships and no casinos. It is nice to vacation in a place where the people are so welcoming.

4  Thank NHSandman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 March 2010

Lived up to my expectations - a delightful place which made our trip on Vieques delightful.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Travelpsychedoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2010

Relaxed and casual inn. Not fancy but enough to be very nice for the location. Breakfast included and having optional picnic lunches made and beach chairs provided is very convenient for beach hopping. Good location on the island given that a car is needed to get anywhere. On hill with great views above the landscape leading to the ocean (no direct beach access). Only negative are mosquitoes getting in your room but that’s an issue on the island not just here. Doors are screened, just be sure the close them fast!

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank stegil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2010

my husband and i decided that the true test of any hotel is not your first visit, but your second. is it really as good as you remember? or is the memory rosier than the reality. this was our second trip to hactam and i can honestly say that we loved it just as much as we did the first time -- and we REALLY loved it the first time.

other people posting here have talked about the marvelous ocean views, fabulous breakfasts, charming decor, incomparable pool, and above all, the gracious staff. it's all true. it really is that good. and there's a vibe about this place... hard to describe... sort of zen-like, but with a sense of humor. low-key, but never off-key.

while i'm here, some general thoughts on vieques... my husband and i are eco-minded travelers in our 60's who really appreciate both the gorgeous (often empty) beaches and the miles of gravel/dirt roads and trails for exploring (again, often without ever running into another person). for those unfamiliar with vieques: one end of the island is jungle-like with some small mountains, rich in plants and wildlife; the other end is dryer (w/some cactus) and probably has the better beaches for snorkeling. there are horses and sweet island dogs milling about amicably everywhere. we were lucky enough to see a very large iguana (5') and a mongoose on this trip. we spent a lot of time in deserted areas of the island and never ever felt afraid, threatened, or in anyway fearful about the wildlife (or anything else, for that matter.). the wild horses just amble out of your way. of course, the iguana and the mongoose couldn't get away from us fast enough :-)

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank LymeFolks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2010

The Hotel- Hacienda Tamarindo is a small, upscale bed/breakfast hotel. It is 5 minutes outside of Esperanza, the main south coast beachside "town" (restaurants, bars, and minimal shopping-nothing on the island to bring back) off a main road. We had Room 22, the carribean deluxe room on the second floor, with a 6 by 4 balcony. It has a beautiful view of a large pasture (often with grazing horses, which are everywhere on the island) going down to the ocean (1/4 mile away) overlooking the bay and ocean. With the balcony louvered doors open (all the room's doors and windows are screened and louvered, including the access door, bathroom door, and balcony doors) you can lie in bed and watch the morning sunrise unfold, and watch the sunset from the balcony (telephone poles and wires notwithstanding). There is a room ceiling fan (ours was noisy because it was unbalanced), and top of the wall air ocnditioner, with a neat remote control, that works very well. Nice closet, bedside tables, armchairs, comfortable bed, modest bathroom/adequate shower- we really liked the room and it was perfect for our needs. There's a very nice large swimming pool.

For each unit, the hotel provides beach chairs, a cooler for the beach, and better excellent quality beach towels daily. The made-to-order breakfasts, in an open air patio 50 feet from our room on the second floor, are generous and served 8-10 a.m. They offer box lunches, which we didn't try, but heard are good. There are two good ice machines (ice for cooler), an air-conditioned library with a computer and wi-fi internet
access, a resident cockatoo who hangs around wherever it suits him during the day, a resident large friendly dog (looked like a labradoodle) and best of all, friendly and helpful personnel. They made a reservation for us with Maritza rent-a-car before we arrived ($50 a day for a nice little Suzuki SX4 hardtop, almost new, one of several in the parking lot when we got there). Maritza requires that you take a publico (van) from the airport to its offices (5-10 minute ride, $5 per person) to pick up the car, but they give you a ride to the airport when you return it. Tamarindo also made restaurant reservations, luminescent bay reservations, etc.

The Island - We came through San Juan Int. airport and flew U.S. Air, that connected at an adjacent ticket desk/gate with Cape Air. Very convenient, but SUBSTANTIALLY more expensive than if we took a publico to another local airport that had air service to Vieques
(friends who stayed a few days in San Juan took that option to go to Vieques). You can't buy duty free for the flight from San Juan to Vieques, but we bought at duty free price, a good bottle of gin at the large nicely stocked supermarket up outside of Isabel (near the only two gas stations on the island-there is a sister supermarket in downtown Isabel as well). We also bought drinks, snacks, etc. there.

We found two restaurants to be comparable in quality (high) and price (high) to good mainland restaurants. El Quenipo is a consensus best, but Next Course is very close to it in quality (and price). The rest of our eating places had good pub food (Bili and Duffy's in Esperanza) and up and coming Conuco in Isabel (mostly Puerto Rican fare, too much fried, only open some days). Also in Isabel, Coconuts has good food, but great homemade ice cream, that we'd go to just for dessert.

Beaches- We prefer a little shade, so we liked Blue Beach, Media Luna, and Secret Beach, which have some spots with trees a few yards up from the sand, although there are prickly burrs on the ground, so some might find they need to wear beach shoes until they reach the full sand on the beach.
Blue Beach has a very shallow drop-off so you can walk out waist high for 50 yards and snorkel to an island a couple of hundred yards off shore in water that you can stand up in most of the way out there. We saw some fish near that island, and two rays, one about 6 ft wide. Blue, and several other beaches are accessed by turning off the main paved road and going through the entrance to the nature preserve and driving down a wide dirt road (there are signs). all of the beaches are great though, and not crowded.

What Else- We went to Luminescent Bay, using one of the services that provides two person kayaks, $30/person cash. You do have to slather yourself first with an oily rmosquito repellant (guide provided) but it is worth the experience to swim, outlined by a body clinging glow in the water from millions of micro-organisms that light up upon any slight pressure on their cell walls- we also watched as smimming fish caused glowing lines in the water. Vieques is an hour later than E.S.T., so sunrise is later , as is sunset.
There are "no-seeums", miniscule bugs that make itchy bites at the beach late in the day as it cools, but the bites go away in a day. The people are friendly, and we felt very safe, even at night, wherever we went. However, you will be warned repeatedly about property theft and not to leave anything valuable in your car, especially at the beaches, and to leave the car unlocked, so that the thieves don't damage the car looking for things to steal. On balance, it is still a great little relatively undeveloped island, no big resort (a W is still threatening to open, but has had repeated delays), and relaxation is its best asset

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Edjan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hacienda Tamarindo

Address: Rte. 996, Km. 4.5, 00765-1569, Puerto Rico
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Isla de Vieques
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Isla de Vieques
Price Range: €132 - €319 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hacienda Tamarindo 3*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vieques’ Hacienda Tamarindo offers 17 very special rooms, each lovingly and creatively designed and decorated by owner, Linda Vail -- her swan song after over 20 years as a commercial interior designer. Each guest room and public space is unique; imaginatively spiced with a lifetime’s accumulation of art, antiques, and collectibles. An ancient Tamarind tree in the lobby atrium majestically rises three stories through the center of the building. Terraces, courtyards, and sitting rooms offer ample space for relaxation and conversation. The Hacienda is perched on a hilltop with spectacular 180 degree views of the Caribbean -- from sunrise to sunset; looking down on the bedazzling, ever-changing myriad of blue, emerald and turquoise waters. Caribbean trade winds and lazy paddle fans keep you cool and comfortable. Here, you can fall asleep to a tree frog serenade and awake to the smell of jasmine on the gentle sea breeze. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hacienda Tamarindo Hotel Isla De Vieques

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