Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Villa Orleans Review

Hello Luis, Roberto,  and Nina,  
I wanted to tell you (as I am sure everyone does), how much we enjoyed staying at Villa Orleans over Christmas this year. It made our family get together very special and all had a great time. Now I am already thinking for next year and would like to make a reservation for Dec 2009....
Our Best Wishes for a very Happy New year and 2009!

Janis, Doug, Darren & Darcy 
Medfield, MA

Rincon PR

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snorkeling Steps Beach

Famous "Steps"

We went snorkeling at  Steps Beach yesterday.  When you live in the tropics, your sense of cold is different.  My wife wears a sweater when it gets 70 degrees.  It was cool when we arrived around 9 am.  The sun hadn't touched the water yet.   The water seemed murky.

In an instant, we  felt the temperature rise.  The sun hit the water directly and it was a magical moment.  The water changed colors.  We grabbed our snorkel gear and jumped in.   It's always hard taking pictures of fish, they're always moving away.
Blue Tangs

The water was a tad warmer than the air, delicious!   We left around 11 am, by then the beach had plenty of sun bathers.
Rincon PR

Puerto Rico Villa Review

Trip Advisor Review
After 18 years of bachelor living, I wanted the perfect spot for a honeymoon with my new wife. Villa Orleans is just the spot!

We'd never been to Puerto Rico, so my new wife and I had no idea what to expect. Luis and Roberto warmly welcomed us to Rincon and insured that our week was exactly as we hoped it would be. Villa Orleans is a quiet secluded property, just as advertised. We enjoyed the privacy of the intimate beach and the close proximity of the quaint little village of Rincon.

In short, we'll return as soon as possible to "our Puerto Rico home. We almost never left.
Stephen and Jennifer Lile
Fort Worth, TX

It's always nice having our villa  reviewed.   I just found this on Trip Advisor's website.  We don't get a lot of reviews.
Rincon PR

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Recycling in Rincon

We try recycling as much as we can at Villa Orleans.  We have several small plastic cans and  make weekly trips to drop off our items.  At times we get a lot of stuff.   99 percent of our guests cooperate.

We separate  everything  to make the job for the folks at the recycling center easy.

The recycling center isn't usually like this.  One of the obstacles of recycling in Rincon, is that some community members think anything can be recycled.  They bring in mattresses,  air conditioners, tires and their trash from home.   (They'll accept tires without rims.)

We stopped off on a  Saturday afternoon,  right after Christmas.  During the week folks working the center keep it organized, and there's an old guy who educates/lectures on what the center can and cannot accept.
I remember when the first recycling center in Rincon opened.  That was way back in 1993 (if  memory serves correct).  I was volunteering for the Ecology League of Rincon, and the municipality loaned a tract of land.  StarKist Tuna donated some huge containers.  We placed them along the fence.  We painted clown faces with open cut-out mouths on boards and hung these in front of the containers to encourage the community to recycle.  We were one of the first communities recycling.
Today many municipalities recycle.  Some neighborhoods have a recycling day where the municipality sends out its recycling truck for pick up.  Some schools recycle.  Some universities recycle.   Some recycle in principal, but don't actually.  
Rincon PR

Friday, December 26, 2008


Fluffy is the star of our Christmas post card this year. He's really a neat dog. He has quirks, and one of them is his obsession with the mirror. If we let him in our bedroom, he runs straight to the mirror and trys playing with the dog he sees. He does this for hours.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

This is our one eyed dog Fluffy.  He's really an adorable fluffy puppy.  When we found him on the side of the road he was almost bald with patches of rash.  I called him fluffy in jest, and look at what a beautiful dog he has become.   Villa Orleans is pet-friendly.

This is Martin, a medium-sized 1 1/2 year old lab mix who is neutered and immunized.  He was found as a puppy in the middle of the road suffering injuries, including a broken front paw from a hit and run.  But today, despite his permanent limp, he is a feisty boy who loves to frolic with dogs, ignores cats and accompanies the foster mom when ever she's in the garden.  He's been house trained and walks on a leash.  He would be a great addition to any family! By the way, he was named after the patron saint of dogs, Saint Martin.  He needs a home.
Tel: 787-823-7167
Official Website:

Rincon PR

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tropical Birds

Turkey Vulture

One of the tropical birds you'll see while driving around the southern area of Puerto Rico is the Turkey Vulture. We rarely see them in the Rincon area. But, after you cross a row of mountains in Cabo Rojo you see dozens.  The climate seems to change as well.  The south is dryer.  The heat is different.

Early in the morning you see them on telephone posts, with their wings spread out. My son says they're waiting for drunk drivers. But they're just warming their wings.
You see many of them flying low over the hills and along highways. They hunt by smell, and pick up odors of dead things.

This guys didn't like being photographed. One hissed continually until we left.

Rincon Puerto Rico

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Things to do in Puerto Rico

Cabo Rojo Light House

The light house in Cabo Rojo is an hour's drive from Rincon. The drive isn't far, it's just traffic from Mayaguez is time consuming. It's located within the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge.

You really need a day to explore this area. Go early because no matter what time of the year you visit, it gets hot. Take a few bottles of water and your swim gear.
The south western portion of Puerto Rico is dryer and warmer than the north. Cactus grows wild in this area. Check out this Google Map:

ufo view

The light house is to the left. The beach in the center is called Playa Sucia, or rather Dirty Beach, because of turtle grass, vegetation on the sea floor.  It's one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.  If the water is calm, the snorkeling is nice.

salt flats
There is an area used to mine salt. Salt water is let in  and its left to dry.  The purple color is iodine.

tons of salt

There's nice hiking in this area. The ground is clunky. Tennis shoes are best.

nice hiking
You park your car about a quarter mile from the lighthouse. It's a long hike, but once you're there the view is spectacular.
light house
Getting There . . .
From Mayaguez, drive south on Route 2 (main highway) and exit Route 100 toward Cabo Rojo.  This is right past the Mayaguez mall.   When Route 100 ends, turn left onto Route 101.  Drive .8 miles, then turn right onto Route 310 and follow it to the end.  You'll see the lighthouse before the road ends.

Rincon PR

Friday, December 19, 2008

Orange Season

Orange Season arrived in November, and now we're seeing oranges everywhere.  A sack of 100 is bought for around $10.  If you rent a vacation home  ask if they have a juicer.  It's nice having fresh squeezed orange juice any time you want it.  The oranges are still small and tart.  But still, a fresh squeezed glass of juice is delicious.

We have several orange trees on the property and boy are they loaded.  In the states oranges are orange, but here they're ripe they're orange-greenish.  We have several varieties:
  • Sour orange, which is really an orange flavored lemon.  You can't eat eat but it's nice to condiment chicken and for marmalade.  Leaves are great for tea.
  • Tangerines, we have a small and large variety. Both are sweet.
  • Chironja, a combination of orange and grapefruit.  Plenty of juice but mild flavor.
  • Common orange.

In Puerto Rico, oranges are called "chinas" pronounced cheeenas.  In other Spanish counties they're called naranjas.  In Puerto Rico nananjas refer to the sour variety.
We have one annoying orange pest: the iguanas.   The dogs go nuts when they're in the trees.  Iguanas hollow out the oranges and leave them dangling in trees.

Rincon Puerto Rico

Monday, December 15, 2008

Puerto Rico

Recycling Trees and Palm Leaves

At Villa Orleans we recycle and reuse everything we can. Visitors love our gardens and we work on keeping them healthy. You can't see the villa from the street because of all the vegetation. This is our own mini jungle. Villa Orleans is at the base of a mountain at the ocean, so torrential rains are always washing away the grounds and its nutrients.
I learned along time ago, you can fertilize the plants, or you can fertilize the soil.   We grind up and compost leaves and tree trunks.  Sometimes we gets gobs of seaweed from the ocean, and we rinse it and grind it up too.


My tools.  This is a great Sears Craftsman lawnmower.

We planted almost everything here from sees,  including this grapfruit tree.   This is the first year this tree produces.  I also grind up bags of leaves my neighbors throw away.  Any anything organic from my kitchen goes into a 50 gallon  compost drum.


Rincon Puerto Rico

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rincon's Free Local Gym

If you hate to miss a work out while on vacation in Rincon Puerto Rico, this is the place to visit. It's quiet and clean. The gym equipment is in great shape. In Rincon there are a few serious weightlifters and they follow their routine religiously.

 It's easy to find.  It's inside the only stadium in Rincon off Rt 115.  I  followed my brother who works out 3 days a week.  I used to work out years ago, but these days the only thing I work out are my fingers on the keyboard.
Walls are lined with newspaper pictures of bulky body builders and curvy ladies.  Hours are 6 am to 8 pm on weekdays.   It's free.
Check out the tennis courts and the track.
Rincon PR

Saturday, December 13, 2008


One of my favorite fruits is guanabana or soursop. I have about 10 trees on the property. The fruit is very tasty. If you let it ripen it's very sweet. If you eat it green it's apple tart and crispy. It's stingy to eat.  We juice it, chill it and add a little vanilla and it tastes like creamy vanilla ice cream.  These get to the size of a football.
Guanabana also has some medicinal properties.  Every region uses it differently. It's: Antibacterial, anti parasitic, antispasmodic, astringent, hypotensive, insecticide, sedative, and cytotoxic.
I've read there are phytochemicals in the leaves, seeds and stem of the guanabana which are cytotoxic against various types of cancer cells. But after a net search I can't find any credible information on its research, but many sites trying to sell you on guanabana.
The leaves sell for $15 a pound on the net.  This tree grows wild in Puerto Rico.

Its leaves can be used as tea and with a bit of honey, it's great.

Rincon Puerto Rico
This is an old article on guanabana:   Purdue University

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Puerto Rico

Surf Report

I ran into this small site with big info.   It's called the Rincon Surf Report.  Daily pictures and some video.  Justin, gives you a good sense of what's going on in local surf.   I get calls from state side folks asking about the surf.  Now you can see it for yourself.

The other place I check is Surfline.  They give you a great sense of what's happening in the water.

Rincon Puerto Rico

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Puerto Rico Beach

Clean Up

Domes Day

Another beach clean up at Domes Beach.  Waves were 3 ft, but Surfrider volunteers cleared tires, plastics, bottles cans and trash vegetation.  It was a great sweaty time.  

Rincon Puerto Rico

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mango Trees Flowering in Puerto Rico

Mango flowers off road 429. I also noticed trees along 115 were also flowering.

I like plants, and I can't help but to notice mango trees are already flowering for spring.  Since I moved to Puerto Rico I noticed trees flower in January, but this year they flowered in November.

Global warming? A rainy dry season?  Who knows?

The trees in my back yard have yet to flower.  They give us 2 great crops a year.  We have the typical mango here, and I believe they're called Bombay Gold.  They're sweet and tasty.  We dehydrate them (with lemon and honey), make jams, and smoothies.  I'm growing pineapple mangoes, but they've yet to produce fruit.

Rincon Puerto Rico

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Secret Garden Art Gallery

Season Opening, Saturday from 12am to 6pm

Our Plant mobile

This week is the opening for The Secret Garden Art Gallery in Rincon, PR.  Every year we close for a few months and reopen with new art.   My friends call this place The Secret Jungle Art Gallery.

This year we've brought new life to the gardens with more plants.  I have a green house in my home up in the mountains and jungle of potted plants.  We reuse water from our kitchen sink, and washing machine to water our gardens.

The gallery phone is 787-823-4758.

Check out the Art Gallery Blog

Rincon Puerto Rico

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rincon Puerto Rico

Harvest Moon Party

Saturday we went to the Harvest Moon Festival. Mario Jose donated the restaurant space and arranged the pig roast and extra help. The restaurant is right on the beach. Our table was almost in the sand. You could hear the surf washing ashore.
The roast pork smelled wonderful, but we opted for the vegetarian menu. It was the first time I'd been there. There are a couple of decks on the sand and they do weekly yoga.
It was a nice crowd, more than 120 visitors. We had a great time. There were many baked goodies for sale. I try keeping away from them, but my son bought brownies. Ouch- too many calories.
Visit the ARF website:
Rincon PR ARF

Rincon Puerto Rico

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Harvest Moon Dinner-Fundraiser for ARF

We work with the Animal Rescue Foundation in Rincon, and Saturday is the Harvest Moon Dinner. It's a great place to meet other animal lovers. Contact ARF directly at 787-823-7167 or email

Rincon Puerto Rico

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rincon Puerto Rico | Saving Tres Palmas Marine Reserve

On Friday the 21st of November, the premiere of the film "Salva Tres Palmas" (Saving Tres Palmas) was shown to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the World Surfing Championship in Rincon. Surfrider organizers were hoping to get at least 200 persons, but over 300 showed up. There was standing room only.
This is a wonderful film and documents a community's effort to save an Elkhorn coral reef Forrest, threatened by trash and irresponsible construction. This film serves as a model for any community fighting to preserve their environment.
As a treat, the band scoring the film also performed. "Mijo de la Palma" is a fusion of traditional Puerto Rico rhythms, flamenco and blues. As of this posting I still can't find where I can get a copy of the video and a cd from the band.
Visit Tres Palmas Coral Project Blog. Volunteers are always needed.

Leon Richter

María José Calderón-Director (right)

Anita Quintana, director of Art, Tourism and Culture of Rincon and her volunteers.

Mijo de La Palma- the music was great!

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 50,000 members and 80 chapters worldwide.
For more information: or visit the local chaper website:
Rincon PR Surfrider

Rincon Puerto Rico