Pura Vida Feedback
We bought Pura Vida in 2006, and have been continually improving the property each year. We have had an average of over 200+ reserved days each year. We feel we provide an excellent location, value and convenience; especially with our vehicle at Pura Vida. Many others feel the same, as indicated by our rental history and feedback below. We have had many repeat guests who have become friends each year, hopefully you will become not only a guest but a friend as well.
- 31st of Dec, 2012My family, which includes two teenage sons, had a great time at Pura Vida and Vieques. We couldn't have asked for a better location with a 5 minute walk to the Malecon or the convenience store. Joe, the caretaker, was chock full of ideas as to what to do, great restaurants, etc. I was especially impressed with Jeff (the owner) and his complete website which answered most of our questions ahead of time. He always got back to me immediately if I needed to clarify something. The air conditioners did drown out the rooster noise-- it was a unique trip to a place that was nothing like I had seen before. Wild horses are roaming the streets and I could not believe how much space there was for us on the beaches. It was a scene from a picture postcard. I would recommend Billi and Next Course for a special, fancier meal. Also the paddleboarding, horseback riding, Biobay, snorkeling at Mosquito Pier and Green Beach. Enjoy!
Susan O. - St. Paul, MN
- 14th of Dec, 2012I just wanted to let you know we had a wonderful time at Pura Vida! The house is so lovely and all your reference materials were a huge help. I will definitely recommend your place to friends and hope to stay there again on future trips to Vieques! Absolutely lovely! Joe and Mimi were wonderful as well. You've got some good people down there!
Rachel C. - Raleigh, NC
- 1st of Dec, 2012My family stayed at Pura Vida for about a week in November 2012. It was my first try with VRBO and certainly I had some concerns. Jeff, the owner turned however a very reliable person and helped us arrange not only our stay but also the trip between San Juan and Vieques. The folks who take care of the properly during Jeff's absence were ready for our arrival, gave us a thorough tour of the house and explained numerous things related to the place as well as to Vieques and attractions we might be interested in. We were very pleased with the house. It was equipped with everything we could possibly need, including tons of items for kids. That made our stay with an 11 month old very comfortable. Being able to use simple things like car seat, pack&play, toys makes a huge difference. I think without it we would be miserable. (Nice DVD collection by the way. I was surprised to see so many new releases. Great touch!) Also, a huge plus - the SUV Jeff rents with the house. In order to be able to see the best parts of the island, a car is a must. The rental price was very competitive and there was no need to hustle with yet another rental office. Location - if staying in Esperanza, I think it is hard to find a better place. Sure, there are a few options on Malecon, if you want to be "right on the water", but none of them is an apartment (at least as far as I know). Anyhow, it takes merely 5 minutes to walk to Malecon from Pura Vida (same distance to the Green Store). Roosters - I have to address that as I spotted some unjustified comments below. I think the comments are greatly exaggerated. Yes, roosters are nearby, but it not that they make an unbearable noise all day long. Sure, those who are not tolerant to any night noise will be woken up early in the morning, but I don't think the roosters were more annoying than a car passing by. On the contrary, we enjoyed getting up early to get to the beaches ahead of time. That allowed us to have the sand and water exclusively for ourselves - EVERY SINGLE DAY! To sum it up - without any hesitation I would return to Pura Vida and recommend the place to anyone. FANTASTIC DESTINATION for anyone who is seeking something different than crowded San Juan.
Matt Z. - Sheboygan, WI
- 7th of May, 2012Jeff, this trip was a dream come true! Beaches- Awesome! Everything was great! Joe and Mimi were so nice!
- 28th of Apr, 2012The Benz-Wright family trio descended upon Vieques and Pura Vida for the week. We were secretly escaping one job as we transitioned to the next - not a bad hideaway. We booked with you all in order to take advantage of the kid items for our 20 month old son, Mason. Just having the booster chair was a treat among everything else. Thank you for these! We spent a ton of time at the beaches and in the water. Be sure to drive around a bit, the route to the airport on 200 is fantastic and the views from Mosquito Pier are great. The Bio Bay is an unbelievably surreal experience. We took Mason on the electric pontoon boat with Island Adventures - very informative and friendly guildes. Easy with a little guy too. The 400ish year old Ceiba tree near the Pier is also worth a visith. So huge and ancient. We found little to be excited about at the Green Store or Morales Markets but hit jackpot at Buen Provencho in Isabel. Fresh blueberries, tomatoes, bananas, local eggs, greens, cheese and some cottage cheese. All tasty alternatives to the uymmy but dense fare everywher else. We certainly didn't starve and our son ate well. Thanks Joe for the all the information and for making us feel welcome here. Thank you for having a great island retreat that we could call our little home away from home. Also, thank you for answering all our emails and having such a great deal of information online. We are expecting #2 - traveling while pregnant is fun, why not? So who knows, maybe we'll be back. Many thanks.
Jeff, Emily and Mason
- 12th of Apr, 2012spent one lazy week at pura vida. mornings at the beach, afternoons at the house napping and reading. the house is very well located, easy walk to wonderful restaurants, perfect for lunch and dinner. the house was clean, airy and well equipped with air conditioners in each bedroom, flat screen TV (no cable or tv reception but many fine movies to watch). can't not mention the roosters in the neighborhood, something you hear through out the town. the air conditioners totally drown out the noise at night, they are quiet in the early evening, you just have to deal with them in the morning and afternoon. we just decided it was part of the local scene and didn't dwell on it. we are going back next year, the beaches are so deserted, the water so blue, the natives very friendly the food so wonderful, why wouldn't we return?? we were greeted by the house managers, given wonderful tips on restaurants, best beaches, grocery stores etc. we found them very helpful and friendly. we have traveled all over the world, rented house in many countries, we consider every trip an adventure, it's never going to be just like home, if you want a sanitized vacation, stay at a resort. if you want to feel like you live in a neighborhood,if you want to experience a different culture, you are up for an adventure, this is the place for you. try all the restaurants on the malecon, we are foodies, we din't have one bad meal.
- 25th of Feb, 2012What a great get away from Saratoga Springs NY and Manhatten, KS. So nice to have 'my boys' and their girlfriends together with me for a week of sun, sand adn water. Each beach is more beautiful than the last. Black sand beach is really incredible and the walk in and out is beautiful too. Orchid beach had an incredible impromptu coral sculpture garden. And as fas as food goes, Sol Food was the best. The Bio Bay is truly magical - I would go every night if I could.
- 8th of Jan, 2012Favorite Beach: Red. Get there by 11AM on weekdays and 10AM on weekends to claim a shelter. Best snorkeling is around the rocks on teh eastern edge. Small island is also good. Bio Bay with Island Adventures is great for those that can't kayak. Pontoon is nice to get you above the water. Darting fish lighting up the water is amazing. Favorite drink: A cold bottle of champagne on teh beach. Grab one at the Green Store on your way. Favorite Food: the restaurant out at Island Adventures has teriffic Mofongo. In Isabel, El Patio is great. Here in Esperanza we like Bili. Duffy's has solid bar and grill fare. Best beer slection is the Parcharita is a mighty fine drink.
Rose and Harkness Family
- 29th of Dec, 2011Pura Vida lived up to its name, we had an awesome time! Sun Bay and Secret beach are great. Bili- awesome food. Having a car at the house was convenient. Bio bay is a must. Blender makes awesome drinks. Thanks Steeler Joe
- 27th of Nov, 2011First time at Pura Vida, fourth time on Vieques. Still haven't done everything! Just a beautiful place and this is a great house to experience it from. We will keep coming back, and back! Love the outdoor shower and hammock and Geckos. We left 2 noodles, and a boogie board and a bunch of trashy beach read!
What a wonderful way to spend Thanksgiving! Our family left rainy cold Connecticut for paradise! Four days just wasn't enough! Loved Secret beach and blude beach and red beach. All the food on the Malecon was wonderful. This house was the perfect way to spend time together this holiday.
- 14th of Oct, 2011Go to the local bakery for fresh bread and donuts. Buy something handmade from mama playa himalaya in Isabel II. Take an 8AM ride with the Esperanza Riding Co. Relax at Playa Caracas and eat at the Sol Food Truck on the way. Walk around Esperanza. Sit on the beach. Ignore the roosters, they didn't bother us.
Greg, Julie, Gauen, Theia, Jaan, Jaye and Alex
Half Moon Bay, CA
- 24th of Sep, 2011We arrived 4 days ago and had a blast celebrating Scott's surprise Birthday (he's old now). Thnigs you need to do: 1. Bio bay full tour with Abe or ABe Jr. He's the perfect balance between an incredibly energetick kid and and a smart dad. He'll let you do things other guides won't do. You'll climb coco trees and bang on them for an hours before throwing rum in them and get buzzed. 2. Eat at Next Course. The food is spectacular. Aside from teh disdain that the server will have for you, it is the perfect setting and place to have a meal. The cooks know their stuff. 3. Go to Red Beach for the stereotypical 'Awesome Beach'. Snorkeling was bad when we were here because of the cloudiness. Green Beach was awsome for snorkeling.
Mike, Jenn, Scott, Mike and Kim
- 20th of Aug, 2011We had a fabulous week here in Vieques and would recommend it to friends. We did not have luck in Isabel as we visited there on Tuesday and most everything was closed. However we spent most of our dinners on the Malecon, it was wonderful. Red and Secret beaches were paradise. Green was our favorite, very hidden and like Gilligans Island. Media Luna was also quiet and good for snorkeling. Snorkeling tour with Nan-Sea was awesome. We paid for a full day tour and got 2 half days due to stomrs. They were gerat with the kids and helped us spot things. Bio bay is great too! The water is magical. A wonderful week to connect with the family and do something everyone loves! Thank you Mimi and Joe for your help.
- 9th of Aug, 2011This was the Lovotti's second time here and it was incredible. We saw a lionfish right under Esperanza Pier (Uh Oh - Invasive species), 2 spotted rays and a regular ray @ blue beach and a turtle! Tons of starfish on the NW side of mosquito pier. Mexican night at Belly Buttons is awesome and Duffys has great food. Blue and Green beach have awesome snorkeling. Bio Bay wa yet again like swimming in fairy dust! While we were at Sun Bay one day a very cute boy named Carlitos cambe by, climbed a tree and picked about 20 coconuts. He broke one open and gave it to us to drink, even showed us how to do it. To get great shells use your snorkel and mask along the shore at Blue Beach, and don't miss seaglass beach! We will be back. We LOVE Pura Vida.
Joe, Sue, Sara, Anna and Lizz
- 25th of Jul, 201110 days here and we wish we could stay longer. the house was perfect for our family. The rooms were cozy, the movie library is fantastic for kids and adults. I loved cooking in the kitchen.
Denise, Sean and Emerson
New York City
- 23rd of Jun, 2011Dear Jeff and Michelle
We had a phenomenal time at your place! We Can't wait to come back and explore even more. The most beautiful beaches on earth.
Jasen, Sam, Brandon, Tara
- 8th of Jun, 2011Dear Jeff and Michelle
Thank you for sharing your lovely home. During our stay we truly lived the Pure Life by drinking copious amounts of alcohol and constantsly smoking. Our friend David promised to procure other things to smoke, but seemed to forget his promise when we saw him 2 hours later. We also fell in love with the band after we discovered the tape in the Jeep. We also enjoyed the Scuba diving on the island as well. John was so stimulted by his instructor, Charly, that he asked if Charly would be his 'boyfriend of the sea'. Unfortunately for John, Charly already had a girlfriend. Also, everyone loved the roosters. Their crowing in the morning helped us wake up for our beach day. We will certainly be back to Vieques, next time we can all find the time to escape from our wives!
Cheers and love from Wisconsin
Brian, Andy, John and Willy
- 19th of May, 2011Thank you for the cute house! We enjoyed the porch and the front yard. We made friends with a lizard, had a nice downpour of rain - six inches! Red Beach was our favorite.
Heidi-Fargo,ND; Rachel-Wisconsin; Kathy-Omaha; Mark-St. Louis
- 7th of Apr, 2011Joe and Mimi - Can't thank you for all you did to contribute to our stay becoming the experience for a lifetime. We were comfortable and visited the beaches daily. The very best! Food was wonderful, made even better when eating at the beautiful seaside malecon. Friendly folks, lazy days, what a vacation! We will be back!
Grandma Thea, Mark, Stacy, Hailey, Evan, Avery and Gracie
- 28th of Mar, 2011We're sitting at Belly Buttons for our last breakfast...where we have become regulars. This is our third time here, but first time staying in Esperanza. Sigh, lovely breezed and the sun is shining. Favs: Orchideas for lunch and carryout. Belly Buttons for breakfast. Tacos et al at Cantina Reina. Nice kidless dinnters at El Quenepo and Next Course. Empanadas at Reseulvo. Everything at Sol Food Truck. Beaches: Blue for sunsets and waves. Media Luna for sand and great for kids. Malecon for proximity. Green for views. Really, it is all great. Definitely hit the Trust/Museum. Thanks Joe for all the great tips. Until next time.
Susie, Ian and Zola
Thanks Jeff and Michelle for keeping all the baby items - we made good use of the crib, high chair and toys. Thanks Joe for all the great tips and for hanging out at Bananas with us. You all made traveling with a 15 month old as easy as possible. Hopefully we will all be back in a couple years.
Amy, Alexei and Archer
- 19th of Mar, 2011Spring Break 2011!
We left Cleveland OH and 8 inches of snow! Arrived here to 85 degrees and saw every beach! Horseback riding with Elizabeth was great. Fishing Trip, Belly Buttons has the best breakfast. A great time was had by all.
- 12th of Mar, 2011Freddie and Heather Ermin from San Diego, CA met Israel, Tangeline, bay Israelito from Manassas, VA at Pura Vida for an island get away. Both couples overworked and in much need of rest and relazation, had a wonderful time during their stay here. The Biobay, Green Beach, Red Beach, black Beach adn Sea Glass beach were favorites. Tang booked us for El Quenepo on Iz's birthday, as it was her favorite restaurant world wide! It was as good as she proclaimed. Sol Food was delicious and heartfelt. We had an amazing time with great friends. The island and the people wer such a joy to visit and we want to come back as soon as we can. Thank you Joe and Mimi for your advice and friendship. Jeff and Michelle, thank you for making such a warm and inviting home to vacation in. Fred and I will spread the word to the West Coast.
- 5th of Mar, 2011We thouroughly enjoyed our time at Pura Vida in Esperanza. Great food, spectacular beaches, roosters to entertain the kids. Next Course is amazing.
The schellpfeffers , sioux falls, sd
- 19th of Feb, 2011We had a moy bueno visit. Loved the house, the island and your guidance. Food at Duffys rocked! Saw octopus, lionfish and a turtle at Green Beach. Sunset at Als very awesome. View from Blue Horizon - great margaritas at bilis. We will be back.
- 30th of Jan, 20116 friends form Traverse City, MI. Just had a warm, wet , wonderful week on Vieques. Good food, good friends, good times! Roys Coffee house and Sol Food were our pikcs for the best food and service. The front porch is a continuous social hour. Thanks for a great place to stay.
Jim, Ginny, Bob, Jenny, sonny and shirly
- 23rd of Jan, 2011The Burkholders from Omaha NE. We left cold,cold Nebraska, they had to deice the plane, to wonderful paradise. It is hard to believe a week can fly by so fast. Our favorites: Red beach: We never had so much fun, soft sand, calm waves, sand castles. Media Luna: Great shallow beach for the kids. Belly Buttons: good breakfast. Bananas: great food and assortment for the kids and adults. Lazy Jacks: Pizza and Painkillers! Joe and mImi are wonderful and very helpful. they are a great resource for all the places to go. Trade Winds was perfect to ring in the new year. We love Pura Vida and we use every inch of it. It is the perfect size and everything you need.
- 23rd of Dec, 2010This was an incredible experience. First was easy to get here and Joe and Mimi were wonderful to work with. First time for our 2.5 year old granddaughter. The beaches are superb from someone that grew up in Puerto Rico, first time on Vieques. It was great to be lazy and just loiter at the beaches and then return to Pura Vida and cook and chill some more. Loved it! Take care.
Eric, Sharon, Mario Fuentes
Holdreqe, NE - Go Chiefs!
- 26th of Nov, 2010Hello from the Hey's. What a perfect honeymoon getaway and all thanks to our wonderful cousins Jeff and Michelle. I, Justin and my beautiful wife Delana had an absolutely amazing time here at Pura Vida. It is truly Pure Life.
The beaches were absolutely amazing. I write the word 'were' as we are leaving in the morning but we talk as if we will be back as soon as it is feasible.
Jeff and Michelle- Thank you for giving us the perfect atmosphere to create such beautiful memories.
Justin and Delana, Naples NY
- 7th of Nov, 2010Short stay, but very nice! Beaches-gorgeous. House-Nice. AC wonderful. Food-Delicious. Our Fav beach-Red.
- 20th of Feb, 2010We are two couples from Vermont Jim & Julie Kiefer, Dee Dryer & David Miles we loved our week in Vieques. We recommend the local food stands. The pulpo lady down the road from the Green Store, and the pinchos anywhere. Also loved Secret Beach for beauty and privacy and Navio for waves. Yoga and Hix House. The front porch here at night! Thanks so much for everything!
- 3rd of Jan, 2010Hi Everyone
I'm Vivienne W., and I'm here with my sons Dan 24, Nate 22 and Braham, 16. We're celebrating Dan's college graduation. He worked his way through and did so with honors and distinctin. This is his kickoff to kick back, at least till he figures out what to do with his degree. This vacation actually means very much to all of us for eeach in our own way has come past obstacles and therefore we can appreciate all of this beauty Vieques has offered us. We are also truly grateful for your hospitality, your home is lovely. Thank you.
- 7th of Nov, 2009Our family went on our first spring break get together & we picked here. The beaches were beyond our expectations; the house was very comfortable for all of us. We spent a good deal of time on the front porch. What a terrific gathering spot, we really appreciated the outside shower (we tried to leave some sand on the beach!) The location was great for walking around town & to the Malecon. We had some exploring time on rainy days that were great fun. We quit trying to see it all & decided to just come back!
The Meyer Clan
- 24th of Oct, 2009We arrived in San Juan on Tuesday and excitedly chatted about our upcoming adventures to El Yunque rainforest and the island of Vieques. It is now day five of my fourteen day trip to PR and I am having an amazing time! There is nothing like a nighttime kayak to the bio bay to make you feel sooo appreaciative, connected, and in love with our beautiful planet! Thank you Jeff and Michelle for sharing your home, and providing a comfortable place for us travelers to enjoy the awesome place called Vieques.
Lisa and Nicole, Chicago IL
- 19th of Sep, 2009Thank you so much for allowing us to stay in your house. What a beautiful house! There are not words to describe the beaches everyone has something different explore them all!!! Thanks Joe & Mimi you were a big help and all you recommend was right on! Thanks again.
Stephen, Tracey, Brett, Scott, David & Ben
- 25th of Jul, 2009Dear Jeff & Michelle-
Thanks so much for one great week in Vieques. We were regularly greeted and cared for by Joe and Mimi who were there to answer any questions, give advice and solve any problem. We snorkeled, dove, shopped, cooked and ate in your great restaurants. We visited the bakery every morning, the green store a lot, the fruit market and even found the fish store. We agree that the outdoor shower is a great addition and we think youve done a terrific job out fitting the house. The diary has given us lots of suggestions for beaches. The islanders have been warm and friendly and willing to answer any questions. Thanks
- 16th of Jul, 2009After finding the legendary Pirate Booty we set sail for the secret pirate hide-out, Pura Vida. My brave first office was able to keep the marauders at bay, but my left-tenant fell ill to the scourge of sun rash. Lucky for our crew a few days shore rest and all was better. Blanding, great digs, hot enough to melt peanut butter, great beaches and awesome rum and lizards!
Sam, Anna, Ox and Toby. Washington, DC
- 8th of Jul, 2009Thank you so much Jeff & Michelle for allowing us to use your wonderful home. We truly enjoyed every minute of it. We loved all the beaches and the kids loved snorkeling at mosquito pier. The Bio Bay was amazing! It is a must do! Pizza at Lazy Jacks was grate and so were the wings at Banana! This is a very relaxing & wonderful 4 days. Next time we will have to stay longer! Love the outdoor shower!
Jesse, Michelle, Sydney, Carson, & Grandma Pat Taylor
- 2nd of Jul, 2009Michelle, Jeff, Andrew, and Caroline
Thanks so much for a wonderful stay for the two of us! The island is beautiful and the beaches were GREAT! I could do this time and again. Snorkeling was wonderful. The food is wonderful the best isnt advertised though we really enjoyed Coconuts and Trade Winds! Thanks again for a great week!
Peter & Taryn Herold , Boiling Springs PA
- 25th of Apr, 2009Best Honeymoon Ever! We found this island because of Hunter S. Thompson in The Rum Diary, and it was everything he said and more. Your home is the perfect spot for us. We brought four friends with us and they've also loved every minute. A few beaches have been closed for construction ,but that just means we'll have to come back soon. Blue beach's waves have made it our favorite. Joe has been great with whatever we need, although we are anxious to get home and start our new lives, we NEVER want to leave! We have already been plotting our future move here. We love Duffy's and Mucho Gusto and our waiter at Bananas was very helpful. Thanks for the drinks by the way. Thank you Michelle and Jeff for everything!
Ian and Amanda Holk.
PS Bio Bay with Abe is worth every cent! Don't miss it!!
- 7th of Mar, 2009Twenty years ago, my parents Joe and Sue vacationed hat "the casa" here on Vieques. The Casa has since burned down, but when we wanted the best possible island experience, they knew we had to come here. Our first snorkeling trip was just around Esperanza pier to see the "wall of fish." We also ended up seeing a huge green sea turtle between the pier and the island. The Bioluminescent "Mosquito Bay" was incredible. Like swimming through fairy dust. The local food is amazing. Roosters AREN"T THAT BAD!!! I don't know how to express how incredible Vieques is, but I'll tell you how to experience what we did:
- To (possibly!) see sea turtles, giant ray, and spotted rays: Esperanza Pier and island
- Best snorkelling: the island @ Blue Beach
- Bes Shells: Blue beach
- Beach that looks the most like a Corona Commercial: (all of them) Red Beach especially
- Best Beach Glass: North side beaches
- Best Eats: Maroon and Yellow colored hut on the Malecon, Tradewinds, Coqui Fire (Tues and Thurs only), Restaurant @ Island Adventures, Bananas
- Best Breakfast: Belly Buttons
- Best Flan: Ask Joe and Mimi
Sun Bay (aka Sombe) is really the only beach with facilities (bathroom, shower, snack stand) The rest are better, buy only have shelters.
The Malecon will be mostly dead (except for Banana's and Duffy's) until Friday, Saturday and Sunday night/day - then it will be hoppin!
Savor every moment. Vieques is Paradise. Best snorkelling we have ever seen. Great food, unspoiled paradise. Try to do and see as much as possible. The rays and turtle at Esperanze Pier are majestic. Amazing.
Animals we saw: Mongoose, sea turtle, sting ray, spotted ray, conch, fets, lobster, urchins, horses, goats, cows, humming birds, iguanas, anoles, skinks, coquis, tons of fish, egrets, barracuda, all kinds of coral and much much more.
Wish we could stay,
Sue and Joe, Pam and Rob, Sara (18), Anna (14) and Kendra (15)
- 7th of Feb, 2009Hampton, Chris, Jen T, and myself (Jen M) stayed here at Pura Vida from Sunday the 18th through Saturday the 24th.
Pura Vida was quite comfortable and the kitchen fully stocked. We all enjoyed sitting on the patio eating breakfast. While Chris did yoga in front of the house, I jogged 3-5 miles every morning around Esperanza. Since we were here for the inauguration of President OBAMA we went to Bananas to watch the ceremony on their TV. We all live in washington, DC, so it was fun to see our hometown on TV while in Vieques.
We had some WONDERFUL meals here this time. We had a DELICIOUS meal at El Quenepo on the Malecon. Everyone must try this restaurant before they leave the island. I had a great green tea-infused vodka cocktail. We also dined on foie gras, red snapper, seared tuna, and a seafood cocktail. The other fabulous restaurant was Chez Shack. Bring your camera there because it is adorable. Don't be mislead by the exterior: it looks like a tree house, but the food is top notch. We dined on shrimp cocktail, fried oysters, rib-eye, skirt steak, shrimp and scallops.
The swimming and snorkeling we did was divine. Do try and jump off the pier at Esperanza. The snorkeling around the pier is pretty cool too. And DO NOT forget to bring your camera to Black Beach. At that beach, you will walk on Black sand! ANd, if you get up early, take a walk on Glass Beach where the current brings in green, clear, blue, and brown glass. We collected some for a friend that makes ares and crafts w/ sea glass. Green beach has great snorkeling and it was there that we saw a sea turtle! You will also swim by sting rays and various colorful fish. Blue beach is probably the most serene and peaceful beach. I always love going to this beach. Mosquito Pier was probably my least favorite. The rocks there are kind of scary! But, you must try Media Luna - - a great beach for swimming.
All in all, this was a great vacation and we all will the deafening sounds of the roosters crowing.
We had a great time in Vieques! Thank you so much for your comfortable home, it made our stay here very relaxing and enjoyable. We definitely plan on coming back, it was unforgettable! Cheers!
The Hoine, Less and Costello families (NOrthern Cali & Portland, OR)
- 31st of Jan, 2009The Return of the Stouders
OK, so the weather gods are angry, and Green Beach is closed after much anticipation. You think to yourself, well that's why they invented rum!. However, the Stouders, basically an optimistic bunch, brush it oall off, go buy an underwater light, run into Pedro, who must have seen the sad look we wore like yesterday's wrinkled T Shirt, and offers to take us fishing. He said he saw us walking out at Cayo Aterra the day before. We asked Quanto but he said nada, I'm bored and we spent a great afternoon playing on top of the afternoon and water instead of underneath it. That evening we snorkeled after dark and saw an eerie landscapte as well as coral banded shrimp, spider crabs, coral crabs and a fish so big we sped away before we could identify it. Thinking it was looking for revenge after our day of fishing. Mosquito Pier had great snorkeling, eveng aon ourvercast days with lots of hamlets, tobacco fish, octopuss, trumpet fish, starfish, porkfish and invertebrates. Such as Christmas tree worms (ranbows of coloers), anenomoes, hary crabs, fire worms and don't forget the puffers and squirrel fish! Media Luna beach brought us a surprise afternoon, 4 rays, 3 spotted eagles and 1 southern ray. Today on the far side of Sun Bay, sandollars, sharks eyes, and flaming tongue shells were all prized to take home. So, never forget to stay on the sunny side of life no matter what the forecast! PS, for what it's worth, we'rea ll brown as coconuts as well, something we didn't figure would happen. So ya'know, what? Mother Nature is that all you've got? See you next time!
Rose, Bill and Jessica
- 31st of Jan, 2009Our daughter, Jessica, suggested we go on a family vacation to celebrate her acceptance @ UNCA & do some serious snorkeling. Thru research and digging for the perfect spot (i.e. tranquil, unspoiled, not over-developed, eco-beautiful paradise) revealed Vieques, a pearl in the Caribbean oyster. Further investigation unearthed Pura Vida - a base camp of comfort to come back to after our daily adventures. After a week here, we managed to swim along with almost every fish on two field guide cards and many that we could not identify. The magnificent photos and video we managed to capture under water will help us identify the splendor of the reef system around every accessible area on Vieques. Corals, sponges, fish, rays, eels and the unimaginable excitement of swimming behind a hawksbilled turtle off of Cayo Afuerta will be etched in our memories forever, much as the protozoa in the Biobay tease eternity. To fortify ourselves, the Carlos BBQ & Yvonne, the Flan Maestra, filled our bellies and theird smiles, our souls. Joe and Mimi are lovely and generous people, we would come home (P.V!) to fresh local mangos, papayas, limones and quenepas - a treat we indulged for the first time Bill managed to accomplish his trip goals, seeing plenty of mongeese and iguanas, having coffee each morning with "tito" our adopted, vacation lizard. I think we all loved the feeling of being lost along flora filled roads, not knowing what to expect at the end, only to be thrilled by the unspoiled beach and beautiful vistas at the end of each by way. So, on our way out, we look forward to return in the future, to mingle with Viequenese, count egrets on their morning trans-island flight (116), smile at horses and grab a pastillo looking out across the Malecon. To the Blanding, heart-felt thanks for sharing your home, we lots of love here for you!
Rose, Bill and Jessica (Asheville, NC)
- 6th of Jan, 2009After spending 6 days traveling through Puerto Rico (old San Juan, La Parguera, Condado, Fajardo - where J.Lo stayed at our hotel!) we arriced in VIeques to relax. This is a beautiful place with a lot of charm. Some of our favorite places where Blue Beach, Malecon, Bio-bay, Mosquito Pier (a must do...we found amazing conch shells and the best snorkeling). We had a nice dinner at El Quenepo.
We also had target practice w/ the lovely roosters and chickens out back...Just kidding Jeff and Michelle.
Joe was wonderful, he is a wealth of knowledge and we took some of his suggestions. Vieques is a great place and we hope to return.
Hope to see you both soon!
Love, Lisa and Nitin Batra (Charlotte, NC)
- 26th of Dec, 2008It was the best trip ever! Vieques is amazing, the beaches are beautiful and the Bioluminescent Bay is spectacular. Blue beach and Media Luna beach are the best. Our advice is go to Duffy's, get drunk and laugh your guts out!
See you soon,
Sheila, Rafy, German, Isabel, Hiram, ROsa, Maria wanted, Elisa, Franchis (From: Puerto Rico!)
- 9th of Nov, 2008Five women arrive at Pura Vida harried and hassled from the "real world" and in very short order found peace, serenity, and relaxation in this beautiful space! Thank you so much. Every morning we enjoyed the visits and sounds of the local wildlife but by far our favorite was Ricardo Negro - the horse that lived somewhere nearby. (Michelle, ask Virgina) Breakfast was usually the bakery up the street, Belly Buttons, or other this last day, flan from the "flan lady" (ask Joe and Mimi, it's a must have.) It was the beautiful beaches that we will remember the most when trying to recapture this feeling of peace. We went to Sun, secret, Navio, and Blue - all were fantastic, but our favorite was Red Beach. The white sand and beautiful blue water was Heaven on Earth! The Malecon was lively and a lot of fun. We met great people! El Quenepo restaurant should not be missed - it was really good. Trade winds was great too and we didn't need reservations. We cannot say enough about Joe and Mimi. They clearly love this island and know everything about it. They immediately became neighbors you've known all your life. I could tell you more, but we agreed that "what happens in Vieques, stays in Vieques" even though I think we have most of it on film!
We are sad to be leaving and hoping to return someday soon.
Kim, Virgina, Kate, Kathy and Karencita
- 4th of Oct, 2008We had a wonderful time here on the island. Unfortunately we're leaving a day early because of the tropical storm tomorrow, however our time here will not be forgotten. Joe and Mimi were a great resource. Please remember to not feed the animals, we loved Navio Beach and spent every morning there by ourselves. I had to have the French Toast every morning @ Belly Buttons and our 2 dinners at El Quenepo were amazing. Happy hour with Limon at Duffy's was always entertaining - have a sunset! We are now completely relaxed and could not have imagined spending our honeymoon anywhere else. We will be back!
Thank you Jeff, Michelle and Andrew. Brooks Anne and Shawn Burdick, Stowe VT.
- 26th of Aug, 2008Jeff, Michelle and Andrew,
Pura Vida! Being frequent visitors and owners in Costa RIca, the house is appropriately named for us.
Thanks to Joe for the suggestions on beaches. We found Blue and Caracas to be our favorites as the sun huts were mandatory for all day at the beach. We all loved the bio-bay stars in the water.
The house was very cozy. We made ourselves at home and appreciated the stocked kitchen, king-sized bed and A/C! My husband could do without the chickens, mosquitos and stock market crash that happened while we were here -- and not necessarily in that order!
One suggestion would be a hose outside for cleaning off after the beach. When we lived in Hawaii, we had the luxury of an outdoor shower. What a heavenly way to clean off the sand!
Thanks for a great week on Vieques.
Tom and Jeannine Harrington, Grace (12) and Webb (10)
- 12th of Jul, 2008Hola Pura Vida! Our stay was one of the most interesting and exciting experiences in a while. Upon arriving we were greeted by the roosters out back that we were unaware would be here. The first day we found them very loud but with the help of the earplugs we eventually adjusted. We visited many beaches and the biobay. Thanks for an enjoyable stay. Kylie Andersen, Minnesota (age 15) (Alia, Jeanne, Chris, Bre, Leon, and Linda)
PS - Joe and Mimi were extremely helpful and understanding.
I'll say that once you get used to the chickens they're not that bad. The covers on the bed were very interesting and the bed was very comfortable. Mimi and Joe were very helpful. They told us where extremely good places to eat. New Year's here was great. I even got a non-alcoholic drink. Thank you for a great stay. Breanna Andersen, Minnesota (age 9)
The stay was very fun and exciting. We had two cars and they both broke down - (well, 1 got a flat tire) on the same day! The roosters took some time getting used to, but after I slept through the night. The beaches had great snorkelling, the weirdest thing I saw down there was a tire and what looked like a fallen down tree. New Years was awesome here because we like in Minnesota so a warm Christmas and New Years was soooo spectacular! The stay was simply amazing. Thanks!
- Alia Andersen (age 12)
PS - the Bio-Bay was one of the most cool things I've done!
- 14th of Apr, 2008We are the Cesani family. Nelso, Alexa and I (Christine) had a GREAT experience her in Vieques and your house! Although we visit PR every year, little did we know about the beauty of the beaches on this side of the world. This will not be our last visit to the island...Our friends who visited also had an awesome time. The biobay experience will be unforgetable along with the super beaches: Media Luna and Blue Beach!!! Wow! Thank you for the house! The details and info was perfect!
Christine Cesani (Sugar Hill, GA)
- 10th of Mar, 2008Hello from the Dane Family of Bettendorf Iowa - Jack Michele Calvin (21) Nathan (20) + Adam (18). Jack and Michele spent our 'baby-moon' in St. Thomas in 1985 but this is our first return to the Caribbean. This is our 17th consecutive Spring Break week together as a family + it ranks near the top (with the Grand Canyon + Provence France). Joe and Mimi were wonderful and Jeff's suggestions were so helpful. We hope to catch the ferry if service resumes today after a 3-day interruption due to a storm at sea (and 14' swells). Plan B is Vieques Air.We enjoyed pizza from the bakery and carried our fresh bread every morning from the bakery for lunches. Thanks for a great week.
Jack Michele Calvin Nathan + Adam
- 27th of Feb, 2008Vieques is great! I have had a great time. 10 days is not enough. Our family is made up of Jason Elizabeth Gabrielle (8) Olivia (6) & Genevieve (22 mos). We live in Wisconsin. This is our 4th big trip since Genevieve. We have gone to Europe Mexico New Orleans. The beaches are great here. Green in my favorite. It is definitely worth the drive. I also liked a beach off of Misquito Pier. We called it star beach because it has so many star fish. Green beach has crystal clear water + great snorkeling. Red beach has great snorkeling too. I love the fish + sand + shells here. I love Vieques + Pura Vida!
P.S. The Bio-bay tour is Amazing!
- 16th of Feb, 2008Greetings from St. Louis - - -
Kim had visited the island back in 1999 to celebrate a close friends '30th' birthday. We are very fortunate that my best friend of over 20 years now resides in Isabel! After seven vacations to Vieques she fell in love and started a new relaxed life on the island. Truly enjoyed staying here at Pura Vida!!! Awesome access to shops good eats the green store & the Malecon. Talking with Joe about how things have changed since Kim visited got us off to a great start.
Thanks to American Airlines ---FLIGHT CANCELLED We arrived at the house one day short but Joe and Mimi were extremely accommodating to work around our misfortune.
BioBay Tour with Abe (Group of Six) - Perfect small and more informative
El Quenepo for dinner - Best sangria ever consumed.Beautiful restaurant!
Favorite beaches - Navio & Secret - The huge waves gorgeous white sand our photos look like postcards
Coffee and Breakfast - Love Belly Buttons Strawberry French Toast Yumm
ENJOY YOUR STAY! All the best!
Dana Jenkins and Kim Sickage
- 4th of Feb, 2008Wow - it's amazing how fast 9 nights can go when you're having such a wonderful time! Thank you so much for offering such a beautiful vacation home - this space is just great. 8 of us stayed (family + friends) and enjoyed the island to the fullest. From visiting our grandma + uncles/cousins in Santa Maria and friends from previous visits in Esperanza to spending countless hours on the beaches. And who can forget the late nights on the Malecon dancing and visiting with the locals.
We watched the Super Bowl at the Blue Horizon last night. They put on a great party. We even won lots of great gifts!
We loved seeing + listening to some of the great animals on the island - coquis mongoose the dogs on the Malecon iguanas + who can forget the roosters! After a while you don't even hear the rooster any more - the sounds just blends into the background!
Cathy Jeff Caelen Kade Yo Dawn Jimmy Chris
- 1st of Jan, 2008Feliz Navidad! One tip: try to use as much Spanish as you know. Try to pick up on anything you hear. On our first night we went to Trade Winds. It was a little pricey and there were no hamburgers but the food they did have was AMAZING! If you don't have much time I wouldn't go there. They prepare food to perfection so it take a little longer. I would go there at least once before you leave. Our second day we just settled in and went to the beach! Media Luna has the whitest sand and clearest water I've ever seen in my life! (I'm afraid of fish and there were none in sight!) Later we went on the Biobay tour. Mimi no the caretaker got stung by a jellyfish! Not to scare anyone. It was an experience I don't regreat! Even though she got stung she would do it all over again! Oh and when you are wet put your arm up! It is so cool! Everyday so far we've gotten rain but their raing lasts 10 minutes at the absolute most so don't worry about that.
Tonight we had dinner at the Pizzeria down the road. It's New York style but not as greasy. We got an 18 inch and it was only $16 dollars. We went to Red Beach today. The waves were bigger than Media Luna's though. It was really fun!! We saw Pompano fish!! They are silvery with black on the top and bottom. I used to be afraid but I'm not anymore!! We've have an amazing stay here in Pura Vida!!
Thanks a bunch!
~ Sue Chris Mimi Dino Capra
***The previous entry was written by my 12 year old daughter - who by the way ended up loving Vieques!!***
Thank you so much for offering your home to us for our once-in-a-lifetime vacation! The weather people food (and yes even the roosters) were AWESOME!
Thank you Joe and Mimi !!
- 3rd of Dec, 2007Hey Pura Vida! We are a group of friends from NYC Philly + DC who decided we needed a heavy-duty girls' trip to paradise. Zoe + Tara had visited Vieques + Esperanza during a trip to the mainland in July and thankfully decided to organize our busy selves for a winter getaway. This was the first island vacation for many of us (ages 26-37) and Vieques was a good first choice. We went on a kayak trip to the bioluminescent bay with Abe's (on Joe and Mimi's recommendation). We also had the best burgers from the vendor on the Malecon (he's there on Friday + Saturday). We drank our weight in Rum and loved the satellite radio especially the 1st wave station! We think Pura Vida was a great house the only real addition might be a TV to play DVDs on during rainy mornings or slow evenings. We also suggest bigger cookware for bigger meals. We diligently explored all of the beaches we could. We did Sun Bay Media Luna Secret Beach Red Beach (where Gerrie accidently put a hermit crab in her bathing suit) Blue Beach (where the wind sent us packing back to Red Beach). We tried to go to Orchid Beach but the heavy rain during Friday/Saturday made it hard to manage the roads.
We loved Blue Beard sports. We rented a beach umbrella (hopefully someday there can be one for the house) and bought great snorkel gear and water shoes. We loved our stay thanks for a great house + experience!
Bevin (NYC) Zoe (NYC) Tara (NYC) Miasia (DC) Gerrie (Philly) + Anna (NYC)
- 3rd of Sep, 2007We had a wonderful time here in Pura Vida. Your home is a home away from home. I personally appreciated every detail of your cozy home. Your taste gives Pura Vida the perfect 'ambiance.' Reading through the comments of this guest book (which is a great idea!) made us appreciate what we have available and take for granted. We live in Caguas Puerto Rico and is our first time staying in Vieques. Funny thing my grandfather is from Vieques Belfort' his last name and yet I had never stayed here. Speaking of locals I still have relatives I don't know living here. My grandchildren had a great time running around freely on your front patio.
I must say the beaches the Malecon it all seem somewhere other than Puerto Rico. Just Beautiful.
Thank you for such a lovely home and making it possible to see Vieques as others do! !Viva Vieques! !Viva Puerto Rico!
Maria + LuisMichelle Gustard (2) Cristina JorgeDiana + Sebastian (2)
Blessings to you Jeff and Baby!!
- 15th of Aug, 2007We arrived at Pura Vida just a few short days ago and can't believe that it's already time to leave it! We went to Blue Beach Silver Beach Secret Beach and Mosquito Bay (with Abe and his Biobay tour group) but we know there's still a zillion more beaches to see! We had some good luck with the snorkeling at Silver Beach and really loved how clear the water was in parts. I made sure to get a nice severe sunburn - but at least its even all over my body. We ate at all the restaurants we could on the Malecon - but many of them seem to have odd hours during this season what does it take to get the tasty Eggs Benedict that Mimi boasted at Trade Winds ?? We did really enjoy the daiquiris and pina coladas at Bananas - along with the tostados (fried plantains) and we had a really great dinner at El Quenepo tonight. We're off to the Rainforest tomorrow and San Juan but we are vowing to return for a longer stay with friends in tow. Apparently it's not appropriate to bring them along on a honeymoon but we are envisioning a goodtime here at Pura Vida next time we come! Thanks so much for fashioning such a cute place Jeff + Michelle. Looking forward to seeing you both at the Fairport NY High School 10 year reunion!!
Take care Olivia + Amanda
- 10th of Aug, 2007We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here at Pura Vida. We came to Vieques for our son's wedding. The newlyweds made the island their permanent home a few years ago. After coming here (our first visit) we now see why. The island is absolutely beautiful. The beaches bio-bay the wild horses Bocanegra desert (to die for) at Crow's Nest breakfast at Belly Buttons lunches at Trade Winds Tequila Sunrises at Bananas - what could be better! The best way to explore the island is by horseback you can ride forever on these gaited horses!
The roosters ah the roosters - could barely hear them by the end of our stay. Maybe the nightly barbequed rooster toned them down considerably! Ha ha ha!
We'll be back.
The Pitneys - Steve Jan Derek Cassie Keri and Krysta
- 6th of Aug, 2007We had a wonderful stay at Pura Vida and in Vieques - the only thing that could hae been better was to have more time here! The beaches are beautiful and we really enjoyed snorkeling at Red Beach and a totally deserted day @ the Secret Beach. The Biobay was amazing. We loved watching the droplets of water shimmer on our arms & legs!
Thanks for a wonderful stay
Doug & Ginny Bumgarner
Ashly Bumgarner & Scott Killian Jennifer
- 4th of Aug, 2007Buenos Dias!! What an amazing adventure! 8 nights and nine days was certainly not a long enough stay. From kayaking through the mangroves snorkeling the pier & beautiful beaches to swimming in bio bay this island has so much to offer! You can't get enough of the friendly people you meet at Duffy's on the Malecon or at Al Mar Azul in Isabel II. The house has been a great place to come back to a little home away from home. Joe and Mimi couldn't have been sweeter and more helpful. Pura Vida is the place to be!
* Al Mike & Michelle MacDonald & Seanna Reilly. - Boston (Cape Cod) MA!
- 5th of Jan, 2007The Sarver's second spring break trip to Pura Vida and Vieques! Could the second time begin to match the magic of the first trip? YES! We had a fabulous time. He wild/windy weather gave the kids numerous opportunities to build their body surfing skills. 1 rainy day allowed us to discover Playa Cofi (read the book on Vieques in the living room) where we found an abundance of sea glass and beautiful shells. We plan to embark on second careers now - jewelry makers!
El Resuelve continues to be our favorite restaurant and the double burger stand next to La Nasa was awesome! Meeting locals at La Nasa was a gift in Vieques history. Even the kids kicked up their heels on the La Nasa dance floor. The beaches sun wonderful people and the charm of P.V. will definitely be missed. Thank you for sharing P.V. and giving us the opportunity to create memories of a lifetime!
Cindy Patrick Martina (12) Harrison (10) and Leonardo (7)
- 5th of Jan, 2007We are the Barringa/Sarver Family. We are made up of Cindy Pat Martina (10) Harrison (8) and Leonardo (6). We reside in Mineapolis Minnesota and this is our first 'big' trip for all of us together. Pura Vida and the island could have not been a better fit. Everything was and is perfect - the home was just that charmingcute and truly a place that we felt great comfort in. Joe and Mimi were beyond generous and warm. A truly great resource. Make certain that Joe gives you his full highlighted introduction to the island and all it has to offer. I will reiterate a few things that Joe did offer to us:
Bio Bay w/Island Adventures; La Nasa (on the Malecon); Restaurante Resuelve on 997. The others are obvious and that is likely why you are here the beaches and the Malecon. Be sure to shop at the tiende 'Gato' next door the people are beyond kind friendly and remarkably they have almost everything that you could need. To Jeff and Michelle hank you for allowing us to share your Pura Vida home it has been an absolute pleasure to stay at this place. We are already checking our calendars for when we will be able to come back o Pura Vida.
Patrick Sarver Cindy Barriga
Martina Harrison & Leonardo.
P.S. The chickens & roosters were not that bad they are part of the scenery. The greatness of the PURA VIDA VIEQUES experience outweighs a little cackling. I think my daughter said it best when she said 'I think the chickens are making less noise because they know we don't care.'
- 30th of Dec, 2006Our names are Martin and Lisa Colon. We came to Vieques to elope and have a 'wedding-moon'. We were married at Sun Bay on Saturday February 10 2007 at sunrise. We met and fell in love 16 months before. Tomorrow we return home where by now our family and friends have received postcards announcing our elopement. Pura Vida has been the perfect little hideaway for us.We have been enchanted by this island we hope to return.
Martin and Lisa
- 26th of Aug, 2006Hola Pura Vida!! This has been a breath taking and amazing experience staying her in Pura Vida. Vieques and the Esperanza locals have truly welcomed us (Lindsay, Kozlow, the Blanding brothers, Chris Stolt, PJ Stolt, Jen, Chip, and Christy) into the community. (Oops forgot Marty into the gang) In collateral for staying in paradise Jeff put us to work in order to make Pura Vida the paradise the Blanding's envisioned. The women painted, the men built the wall in the back in pouring rain, we sealed the roof and of course listened to the roosters cock-a-doodle-doo.' It was a memorable day and the house turned our like new. As a group we adventured to Blue Beach which is down a safari-like Indiana Jones beaten path. Thank God for the Jeep which went through the mud w/ease + grace. Blue Beach had amazing views a nice breeze and snorkeling to die for. After a long day of laying out we grilled Oscar Meyer Cheese + chicken Dogs under one of many Blue Beach Gazebo. Another Great memory w/ our party of 10 was definitely the Bio-bay which is also called Mosquito Bay for a reason. The plankton glowed against our bodies like black lights (a purple/blueish color) and lit a path for us while we swam through the bay w/ our floaties. It is truly an amazing experience to have your entire body glow in the water. Every night we ended our evenings at Duffy's, a quaint Bistro and more importantly bar, on the Beach for Medalla's and Rum Punches to share our memories + adventures w/ the locals. In return they would share new places for us to go and discover such as Green Beach for snorkeling + conch shells Cristo for sea glass and Garcia Beach. Mr. Duffy himself would wave to Joe each day as he passed his bar. I loved staying here w/ Joe Kozlowski and his college buddies and long time friends like Jeff Blanding here in his home Pura Vida. From lively days to relaxing nights on the front porch w/ the gang Pura Vida + Vieques is everything and more of what a great vacation is made of.