Isla Verde

We weren't sure what to expect from Isla Verde. It's somewhere in between a natural beach with few if any services, and what we call an "organized beach," with umbrellas and chairs to rent. There's a mix of mega resorts and condos. Our small hotel was only a couple of blocks away.

Day 1: Guanica to Isla Verde

We had a buffet breakfast this morning. It was more expensive but we didn’t need lunch! The water went out in the middle of the night again.

We checked out and headed for Rincon. We got gas on the way out of Guanica. We did fine driving until we hit Rincon where we had what’s turned out to be a typical issue with incomplete maps. But we found a surf beach — Antonio’s Beach? — and watched the surfers for a bit.

It was a steep and narrow road down to the beach. We spent several minutes and $1.50 for a 7-up to use the restroom at a Burger King.

After Rincon we headed north to find the freeway again. We may have missed a turn, but we ended up going through at least one town — Aguadilla? — on narrow one-way streets. We finally saw signs for highway 2 and ended up going around the block because there were no signs there either! We took 2 all the way to 26, past Arecibo and karst mountains. The mountains looked interesting. We stopped at Wendy’s to use the restroom again, and again for gas.

Once in Isla Verde we were able to find Enterprise with some local help. It was on the 10th floor of a ramp, and the ramp system wasn’t working. We got a couple of much needed beers from the front desk after we checked in, then went for a walk on the beach. Where we found out that the Spartans lost in the first round of the tournament. Ouch. We found a pirate bottle opener for our Christmas ornament.

After a couple more beers at the hotel we walked over to Metropol for dinner, in the lounge with live music. We had a great server named Jose; the crowd seemed mostly locals. We ordered bacalaitos and Fiesta Cubana, a whole lotta great cuban food. Then we came and drank some more beer. We turned on the TV for the first time on the trip to watch some basketball.

Day 2: Isla Verde Beach

We got breakfast at Piu Bello down on the corner. Coffee and a last Mallorca sandwich for me. Then we headed for the beach. We walked for a while, then hung out and got in the water. We saw a funny-looking bird, maybe a brown booby? It wasn’t as hot as yesterday, but just as windy.

Isla Verde beach
A little more activity than at most of the beaches we'd seen.

Then we went to the store for beer, and muffins for breakfast tomorrow. And coffee to take home. We dropped off our shopping and went to Lupi’s for pina coladas and lunch.

We liked Metropol so much we went back for dinner. Steve had churrasco; I had pollo ahumado (smoked chicken) with bacalaitos again, and pina coladas for dessert.

Day 3: San Juan to Home

We got a cab to the airport where we had an extra USDA line to scan bags and the ease of TSA Pre. I tried and failed on the mobile boarding pass. Good thing I had a paper backup. We had scary confusion picking up our car from the park and fly because someone forgot to label the envelope with the car key in it, but they located it eventually.

Essentials​

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Lodging

The reviews on this hotel were mixed, but the location and price looked right so we tried it. So glad we did! Our second floor room was clean and comfortable, and there was a nice shared terrace overlooking the pool courtyard.

It’s an easy two-block stroll to the beach, and there are good restaurants nearby, including a good breakfast option right on the corner. (Breakfast is not included.) The front desk is friendly and helpful, for example getting a cab to the airport at 530AM. There was no bar per se, but you could request cold beer from the front desk. (I think there were other options too; we were interested in beer.) 

Dining

Metropol
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A mix of tourists and a lot of locals who knew each other. Much hugging and kissing. Staff and guests spontaneously got up and danced. Our server was friendly, efficient, and humorous. Bacalaitos were such good fishy salty crunchiness we had them the second night too.
Piu Bello
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Good coffee, nice selection of options. It only gets 4 stars because my mallorca breakfast sandwich was not as good as the one I had at Cafe Mallorca. High bar!
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Transportation

We dropped off our rental car on arrival since we could walk where we needed and got a taxi to the airport. 

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