When you think of Borinquen, “la Isla del encanto” the isle of enchantment, most people think of San Juan (Isla Verde) or el Yunque; but not us. This time we went deep into this enchanted Isle and into the section outside of the greater San Juan area to Guanica, Puerto Rico where we found a hidden pearl; the Copamarina resort. Nestled in a quiet bay where the locals bask in the cool breezes and bathe in the calm waters of Cana Gorda is where you’ll find this wonderful little gem.
Now I bet you are wondering what brought us to this part of the island, well if you have been keeping abreast of our travels, you would know that our summer camping event is not to far from here in the town of La Parguera and its wonderful phosphorous bay. This jaunt was to get a feel for the local area while introducing new members of our staff to this great Island. Ok, ok, we confess… we made some really good friends and went down to party with them, and that we did.
Upon arrival, we quickly made our way to the traditional welcome site, Lupis in Isla Verde where ex Yankee (yes NY Yankee) Pitcher Figueroa can be found. Lupis has the best pinchos or finger food around and their ice cold beer after a 4 hour flight just can’t be beat. Aside from the ambiance and the tremendous welcoming atmosphere its the right distance from the Luis Munoz Marin Airport which makes it our pick for the best first stop on the island.
After gathering our thoughts and coordinating with our on Island friends, we headed out for Guanica. Driving in Puerto Rico is an experience, where else do you get a first hand view of road ownership? Yes, as it seems that the left lane is owned by a few people who insist on doing 35 in a 50 mph speed zone, especially when everyone else is doing 65.
The highway or autopista from San Juan through Caguas and Cayey is a beautiful vista chock with curves and mountains that seem like an endless carpet of green (even las tetas de Cayey are green) that meanders through to the dry brush of the central plains of the island. Anyone that travels this road can relate to the oasis where necessary pit stops and refueling takes place (human and mechanized..lol). Forging forward with our heading set for Ponce, we were very much surprised as we entered the Ponce area; across the autopista in huge letters, reminiscent of the famous Hollywood sign in California; towering across the road one finds the word “Ponce” in the traditional colors of Ponce (Red and Black), what a sight!
El peaje or the tolls signal the end of the formalized highway and points one towards el Tuque the once quiet little strip that at one time brought smiles to my face at the thought of going home. El Tuque as is the case in many other places, is being transformed (complete with Home Depot and strip malls and very upscale housing) and of course with progress comes the traffic and believe me there is traffic, and an incomplete construction project that can at the wrong time of day turn this into a big parking lot between lights; gas at 57 cents a liter. Beyond el Tuque, the sea begins to show its blue facia and memories creep into my soul as I pass the town of Penuellas “La Cueva de Dali” and the sounds of “El caballero de la Salsa” Gilbertito Santarosa, blasts on the radio; I drifted off into a melancholic trans.
Ok back to the story, the thirty miles or so seemed like forever as we continued towards Copamarina, passing by the kioskos on the side of the road selling chicken and yautia and other culinary goodies that make the journey even more enjoyable. Did you know that you can easily eat and drink your way across the Island for less that a night out in New York? Well its true. On the road that leads up and winds around the mountain leading to Copamarina there is a kiosko where you can get a cold coconut and a shot of scotch; They drill the cold coconut, have you sip some out and then pour the shot into the coconut so that you wind up with a mixture of coconut and scotch, what a drink… Cutty(sark) con coco.
Arriving at Copamarina was a welcomed sight as we were tired, and wanted to settle in; rest before the nights activities. We found the accommodations to be great, however there internet access was somewhat limited as the range of their wireless was 2 feet in front of the wireless router; a fellow tourist warned us when we asked about the access. Other than that if you are looking for a southern central island location that is off the beaten path and has great service and food; we highly recommend it. As for the night life, well they have an excellent guitarist that played some jazz arrangements for us which were world class.
The nearby area offers great food and if you connect with friends or family the convenience of the place can’t be beat. We found that a quick trip to La Parguera at night for some local food was just the ticket we needed to get our mini expedition started off on the right foot. And so it was a call to some of our local friends and before you knew it we were headed out for a rendezvous with some of our local friends for shark kabobs and beer. We highly recommend staying at this resort as it provides offers the best of southern Puerto Rico; great people and excellent accommodations .