The Villa Montana

And here’s my review of the Villa Montana, the resort where we stayed, in case anyone is thinking of a trip to Puerto Rico (or happens to stumble across this on Google).

The Villa Montana is a great place if you want a quiet vacation in a warm place.  The rooms were comfortable and amazingly spacious: we had two suites that were joined together, sharing a staircase and entrance.  The two-bedroom suite was surprisingly large, complete with a full kitchen and a vast dining/living room, two full bathrooms, and a large patio.  The one-bedroom suite had a nice sized living room and a kitchenette.  Both suites had washing machine and dryer.

The beach is lovely and quiet.  While there are several adjacent houses, there are no other resorts nearby.  The beach is on the north coast of the island and has waves active enough to attract local surfers.  But a short walk down the beach there’s some of the nicest snorkeling I’ve ever done with a complex coral reef system on a stretch of beach protected from the waves by an offshore reef.

The facilities at the resort are fairly sparse.  There are two small swimming pools and one restaurant, Eclipse.  The food there is good but not great, though the service is slow: even for lunch it was typically an hour after sitting down before we were served.  But while waiting you’re sitting overlooking the beach and enjoying the warm breezes, so it’s not exactly a hardship.

There isn’t a whole lot near the resort.  While Puerto Rico has many attractions, including Old San Juan, a rainforest, and bioluminescent bays, they are all at least an hour’s drive from the resort.  If you’re looking to do a lot of touring, this really isn’t a good home base.  Similarly, we never did find a really good restaurant nearby, though we tried several that were recommended by both the resort staff and other local people that we encountered.

The front desk staff were all helpful and had brochures and information about several of Puerto Rico’s attractions.  There is a stable a short walk from the resort if you are interested in horse rides up the beach ending in nearby cliffs complete with caves: Julie and the girls enjoyed a ride there.  And there are several local options for snorkeling, surfing, and scuba: I recommend Aquatica as a dive and surfing operator – you can get a brochure at the main desk.

All in all, a great place to stay if you want to spend some days enjoying the beach and the water, especially if you’d prefer to do your own cooking.  If you’re looking for a more active vacation, however, this is probably not the place for you.

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