Set between the Jobos Bay and the Caribbean Sea, Casa Pura opens its doors to those who prefer to sleep as if at the home of relatives.117838468_f3aec080dd_b

It has no signs and not everyone in the Pozuelo village in Guayama knows it yet. We came as per my sister’s suggestion, as she knows one of the proprietors, and I was intrigued by its existential tourism proposal.

The Crespos (Gustavo and his dad, don Jose’) have chosen to promote themselves lightly and only among those who can say goodbye to a five star hotel in exchange for a simpler and more personal stay. They welcomed us, machete in hand: ready to serve us some refreshing coconut water.

Grandma’s house…

Casa Pura was the beach house of Gustavo’s grandmother, who loved receiving and entertaining people. That’s why they kept adding rooms and spaces to the house; and the walls are full of pictures and articles that reflect thegratitude of her guests. The hostess is not around any more, but there is don Jose’, who likes to tour the house and share anecdotes and histories on every piece that decorates it.

A cozy ambiance…

Oil lamps, books, pictures, sculptures, ceramic pieces, pillar beds in its four visitors rooms and the direct lullaby of the sea, like background music, give Casa Pura a cozy ambiance. We even found a copy of the story Celita and the Zapatero Mangrove by Ana Lydia Vega, which up to this moment, was my son’s only reference to the town of Guayama.

Lotus flower and acerola…

Adding to the delight of this four-acre property is a garden full of surprises. A typical hammock hangs on a calm shade and invites to take a siesta. Swimming pools turned into ponds full of lotus flowers where the tadpoles have found a home. An old swing turned into a cross-fit style training area, a reflection of Gustavo’s old job as a physical trainer. A few stairs built in bamboo that lead to the beach and suggest a walk in the evening. An extensive variety of local fruit-bearing trees such as: Spanish lime, cashew apple, loquat, cherimoya, sour sop fruit, passion fruit, and West Indian Cherry.

Bed & Breakfast…

To eat fruits, fresh from the courtyard, was one of the experiences I enjoyed the most, as I grew up in a neighborhood where the streets were named after fruits, some of which I had not yet flavoured. Casa Pura operates under the Bed and Breakfast concept, so for Gustavo it is very favourable to have such fruit variety at his reach, since he uses them as ingredients in the delicious and nourishing shakes he offers as part of the breakfast.

Crafts festival…

The Crespos like to recommend sights and restaurants in the area. We were lucky to coincide with a crafts festival at the beautifully preserved town square. We walked it through to admire its elegant structures. We also tasted different flavours like pineapple, lemon and the traditionally raspberry with sesame pilones. Then we sat down in a square bench and listened to the troubadours singing on stage.

Thermal waters…

For its closeness and a pleasant recent visit, Gustavo insisted that we should go to Coamo’s Thermal Baths. After taking pictures, buying fruits in street side kiosks and asking for directions we arrived at our destination. The famous Baths are divided in two areas: the hotel (with a regular swimming pool and a thermal waters one with temperatures of a hundred and seven degrees farenheit) and the Thermal Water Pools (one with temperatures of a hundred and seven degrees farenheit and another with a moderate temperature of ninety-nine degrees). The areas are completely different in terms of ambiance: the hotel caters for the family while the water pools allow you to escape with a sensation of relaxation and wellbeing.

Estuarine reserve…

Another suggestion they made was to visit the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Aguirre, only about five minutes away. Gustavo accompanied us through the paths that make up the reserve, guided us to its observation tower and proposed a kayak trip that would bring us closer to the mangroves forest. This type of coastal forest helps to prevent coastal erosion, among many other benefits. In Puerto Rico there are four species of mangrove trees: red, black, button and white.

muelle-playa-2Just like home…

Upon return from our excursion, we rode the mountain bikes the Crespos have in the property. Don Jose’ also delighted us with a private concert using his extensive vinyl disc collection. With his favourite version of the Preciosa song playing in the background, we said goodbye to two nights of unique experiences at Casa Pura.

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Scott Podmore is an internationally renowned travel and music writer, videographer, bestselling author and owner of October Grey Media. He is also the co-founder of Conscious Travel Mag in addition to running a multi-award winning community newspaper in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne in Australia. As well as being a regular contributor to large travel publications in print and online worldwide including Escape (News Limited, 5 million readers), Travel Talk, Flight Centre, Elite Traveler Asia and many more, he is a digital publisher, video producer and a content strategist for major companies in Australia and overseas. His passion for travel writing and photography has taken him all throughout the world and he currently has a blockbuster book selling globally called Conversations With Mediums in which he interviewed some of the world’s most famous mediums including John Edward, James Van Praagh, Lisa Williams among others. You can follow Scott on Twitter and Instagram @scottpodmore