by Brenda De Ramus
August 20, 2003
The lodge is painted in whimsical shades of light green and yellow. The building stands out yet somehow manages to "fit" into the surroundings. The guest rooms are no-frills basic. Try to reserve one of the upper level rooms with a balcony to fully appreciate the view and sound of the waterfalls. There are also assorted palm and tropical fruit trees just an arms length away from the upper guest room balconies. Housekeeping services are provided once a week but towels and linens are available upon request. Full breakfast is included in the room price. Pack lunches for day hikes can be requested and cost $6 each. There is coffee and tea each morning in the central atrium. Here the guests exchange stories about their El Yunque day-hiking adventures, and offer advice and suggestions on best trail heads and local eating places and attractions during the morning "reveille." The 9am sit-down breakfast is served just off the atrium at a long dining table that seats 14.
Don't be put off by Casa Cubuy's close proximity to the roadway -- there is a locked gated entrance and the building is separated from the road by a concrete wall. Parking however is along the narrow, two-way road which dead-ends about a mile further uphill. This dead-end is a favorite destination for local residents and "in-the-know" visitors so traffic tends to be steady until late evening most days. However, once you are inside the "compound" of Casa Cubuy, the rest of the world fades into a distant memory as the rain forest sounds and smells come alive. This side of the walled entrance reveals a view of the rain forest that is not so much breath-taking as it is peaceful, inspiring and beautiful. The sounds and view of waterfalls are especially memorable after a rain shower. It rains here unexpectedly, and nighttime downpours are common. Add to all of this the bird-like calls of the native coqui frogs, and the medly is a banquet for the senses.
Before settling in, take a short walk down the hillside to the rock beds of the river that is closest to the lodge. There are excellent places to swim or to just sit and embrace the environment. Once you are back in your room, through open the balcony doors, turn on the ceiling fans and enjoy!
From journal San Juan and Beyond