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Indiana, United States
Debt free empty nesters...ready to stretch our wings. Life is good and we plan on making it even better. This blog is mostly about our trips to Vieques Puerto Rico, with a few odds and ends thrown in about our life after the mortgage.

Monday, February 25, 2013


I mentioned that we found lot's of sea glass on La Chata beach while we were staying at Los Cocos, a mere 10 days ago. Lorrie loves to collect it. Each day she would come back to the house with another little handful. Sometimes she would hand the pieces to me and I would put them in my pockets as we walked along the beach in the mornings. I remember a number of times her handing me glass with a few shells mixed in. I would say to her "We have enough shells", and I would toss them back and keep the glass. Lorrie would reply "but I like the shells, they're pretty." She especially likes the little snail shells. Lorrie had packed some of the glass in a Ziploc bag the day we left Vieques. She handed me the bag and I put it in my carry-on luggage, thinking "great more sea glass." Well the next day, Sunday when we were back home, I was unpacking my bag and I saw the sea glass. I grabbed the bag and was going to add it to the cache we have at home that's kept in a clear vase. To my surprise when I opened the Ziploc baggy there was a small land crab crawling around amongst the glass pieces. I thought to myself "that little stinker wife of mine went ahead and packed some of those  shells." I  showed Lorrie what she had inadvertently done. Then I told her I had no choice but to kill the little guy because he would die anyway. Lorrie was not thrilled with that idea. Being the softy that  I am I googled land crabs and found that you can indeed keep them with the proper environment. His new home is the largest tote I could find, plus all the sea glass and many of the shells and sand we had at home. (I picked up some washed play sand to finish things out. He has pretty much taken over our master bathroom, which is now kept at a balmy 80 degrees.)  Today he dined on cooked peas, peanut butter and some apple sauce.  Our goal is to keep him going until November. So far, so good.

So...without further ado..... I now introduce you to the newest member of our family, Mr. Crab, aka Hitchhiker. How this guy managed to survive all 3k miles home is beyond me!



Sunday, February 24, 2013

November trip....

This is still February, your saying to yourself, why is he talking about the November trip? Well, we've already begun planning the November trip, to the point that we've got half of the flight bought ( I've got the flight down purchased, I'm buying the leg back with miles) and have made reservations on a place to stay. We've moved up higher in elevation from our last trip, but are not back in the  Los Chivos area. This time we're staying in Villa Borinquen. (confused on how to say that? I was for a very long time. It's pronounced Veeya Boringken).  One of the things Lorrie and I learned from the last trip at Los Cocos  was that it's not that bad driving through or around Isabel. We had avoided doing it, at all costs, because of our very first trip to Vieques. On that first trip we got caught right near the ferry as it was unloading. After a long, white knuckled, slalom through the cars and people going in every which direction, we ended up in Santa Maria somehow getting lost. We've come a long way since those days.

 I'm not positive of the exact the location of Colores del mar, but I do believe it's out near Playa Voltios (volted beach). The reason it's called volted is because there's an electric cable running from Vieques to Culebra and it enters the ocean at, Playa Voltios. I have a google shot of it below. You can even see the cable running to Culebra in the water. I highlighted it with orange:

Colores del Mar is not nearly as nice a place, at least from the pictures, as Los Cocos was, but it's 38% cheaper and does seem to have some killer views.   It is owned by a massage therapist that lives on the island. I think I'm seeing a few added perks with this place, we shall see...


Monday, February 18, 2013

Back to the real world....

Back to the real world, that's what I told Andre on our last day out at La Plata. Andre corrected me "back to the other world, this is the real world."  That's Andre and Judy's view on life and just being around them is good medicine. The other world, in our case was crowded airports, coach seats (unlike our first class flights down to Vieques), 70 MPH interstates (spend two weeks on Vieques going no more than 35 mph and see how hitting the interstate right after landing affects you),  going to Walmart before heading home to get groceries and seeing so much sheit for sale that you wonder "why in the world do we need all of this?"

Getting acclimated to returning from vacation is tough, doing it after a two week stent in Vieques is torture. Grays days back home and mid 20 degree temperatures almost throw one into shock, but we'll manage. This was our 7th trip to Vieques and even with all the drama with Fish and Wildlife, it was one of our best trips. Lorrie and I long for the time when we buy a one way ticket.

Ok..Enough pinning about Vieques. I'll close out this trip with a couple pictures Judy took on our last day at La Plata. First one is Lorrie doing what we do best, curating the gallery.

Here is the only picture from this trip with Lorrie and I together:

I've already been pricing tickets for the November trip, gawd that seems a long way off.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines day....

As per plans from yesterday, we were at La Plata early today (about 9:40). Our plan was to stay till nearly the last molecule of light. At it's highest point today La Plata had 33 people, a regular seething mass of human forms:
Ok, not that bad, but more than we've seen before. Thankfully it didn't last for too long. The weather more than made up for the extra people, it was just about perfect. I occupied myself cleaning up the beach. I've now done the whole thing.  La Plata is nearly trash free from Esenada Honda to half way around to Escondida. Next task for me was   to find pictures for today's post, concentrating on a Valentine theme. I was drawn to this one type of tree that's on the shoreline of La Plata. I have a picture below:
Not a bad looking heart, huh? I took a number of shots and then I noticed that it was in bloom.
Not bad, I have the heart shaped leaves and a flower that looks like a rose, although it's yellow instead of red.  Not sure what kind of tree this is (update - it is a Portia tree or Indian tulip ). I went back later in the day and took another picture of the flower after is opened up more.
Lorrie and I, sticking to the plan, ended up closing down La Plata. That's the first time it's happened this trip.  As is always the case very late in the day, the shadows grow long and the sunlight turns a wonderful golden color. Lorrie and I took a walk along the beach, enjoying having the place to ourselves. I took of picture of the long shadows:
 By now the sun was very low and we really needed to get going. Lorrie was reluctant to leave, she was drinking up every last drop of beauty that La Plata exudes that time of the day. After some coaxing we packed up things and headed out.  Below is the last shot I took:

On our way out Lorrie ask if we could stop by La Chiva. She said "We haven't seen it at all this trip", and she was right. We haven't seen any other beach besides La Plata (we did go to Sun Bay for a couple hours one day last week). Anyway I pulled into turnout #9 on La Chiva and we had a look at it. My was it gorgeous. I ran back to the jeep and grabbed the camera:
 I made the mistake of looking out at the island off of La Chiva.  I noticed that the government, being the epitome of anal retentiveness, had placed not one but 4 signs on the little  island (might very well be even more, but that's all I could see).  Probably the same guy who put the 18 lomos (speed bumps) on the way into the refuge.
Tomorrow is our last full day on Vieqeus

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Seaworthy Horses....

Been so busy these last two days. Spent the day at La Plata (yeah I know..we need to get to another beach...we listen to that about as much as people telling us we need to  visit other islands) yesterday. Went over to Peter and Ricks place for drinks and pizza later that evening. Got to see the upstairs renovation of their house in progress. To say that their place is gorgeous is an understatement. Everything is right with it and we love it.   They are just great people to be around and we thank you for being so nice to us Peter and Rick. We spent the evening getting caught up on what's been happening on the island and talked at length about the nuances of living on Vieques.

This morning we had to run into Isabel to get more supplies for our meal we're cooking this evening for Judy and Andre. While we were in  town we made a slight detour to look at a house in La Praa. Great price and it's titled, but no views. Lorrie and I are of the opinion that IF your going to move/live in Vieques why not have a view? Anyway...provisions secured and cached back at Los Cocos,  we headed out to (go ahead...take a guess) Escondida, ha fooled ya. But as it turned out Escondida was full! 4 jeeps parked down there, what's happening to our Vieques?  With Escondida literally wall to wall or palm to palm  people, we headed to where we should have be pointed in the first place, La Plata. To our surprise there was only about 14 people, which is about 1/2 of that it has been running. We had a great day at La Plata. Clear blue skies and just enough breeze to make things nice. We  noticed the mother and daughter (the ones we had met last year on Garcia and then again this year at the restaurant opening in Isabel) down toward the eastern end of the beach, topless.  Wonder how ranger Zach is going to deal with two topless European ladies (they're from Barcelona).

We left the beach a little earlier than we normally do (Lorrie informed me that the next two days we are GETTING TO THE BEACH EARLY AND STAYING LATE) so that we could get back to the house and begin preparing for our dinner guests. While we were working in the kitchen we could hear quite a lot of activity on La Chata. We I went out on the veranda I saw some of the locals with their horses in the water, swimming!  And if that wasn't enough there were 3 surfers in the background trying their best to catch a wave. It was great fun to watch. I got some video of it:

Judy and Andre made in time to see some of the surfing action. We sat outside with rum/coconut cocktails (thanks Jenni) and watched the show. Afterword our Green Curry chicken was a big hit, for desert there was mango pudding made from fresh mango's from Davids property (thanks Dave).

One other thing I have to report is that we saw the cotton tree was in bloom. We've been looking for it on our way into La Plata each day. This was the first day we've seen the cotton opened up on the trees.

I did hike up to the top of the cliff between La Plata and Escondida. I took a picture of all the cacti on that ridge. This is looking towards Escondida:

Tomorrow it's back to La Plata, early.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Stormy Monday....

After are morning walk, Lorrie and I decided to just hang out at Los Cocos for the day. We had a couple errands to run in Isabel and today seemed like the right day to do that. Also, by the looks of the radar, we were in for some storms later in the day.

 Staying back at the house finally gave me an opportunity to video the pelicans diving into the water, down at the far eastern edge of La Chata. We've been seeing them there most of every day. They're real dive bombers. And no, there's nothing wrong with your video feed, I used some different effects on the intro to the Pelican video. That's what happens when I have more time on my hands.

The waves have been building to a crescendo all day long and we've had quite a lot of rain. I've been trying to get pictures of them breaking along the north shore, it's really something to see. At one point I had one of the labs walking with me along the beach, my protector.  In the end the best I could come up with is a stormy Monday Video:

As I'm sitting here this evening, finishing today's post,  it sounds like a war is being waged outside. Crashing and booming of waves, high winds and pitch black...kinda spooky.



No roosters....

Another early morning for me. Something Lorrie and I have noticed, while staying here at Los Cocos, is that we don't hear any roosters. We haven't heard a single one, just lots of wind and surf.  Not sure where we are headed today, maybe Escondida.

I had forgotten to mention that we've been  to Mamsongas  twice now. Once to satisfy that ever present sweet tooth of mine, I was wanting key lime pie but settled for coconut, and another time to get a bite of lunch. We had the coconut shrimp and a burger when we ate lunch. Both were very good and at a reasonable price.  While we were we saw Morgan again. He's a 7 month old from Boston. We had met him a few days prior. He  was having a blast that day as his mom held him in the surf.  They are from Boston.

Still looks like he's having a good time, can't say I blame him.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Picture taking day....

I awoke early this morning, well before Lorrie. I spent that quiet time,  standing  on the veranda of Los Cocos, drinking coffee and watching the sun rise......just taking it all in.

If you look close at the above photo you'll see  rocks out in the water from the seawall. After the sun is up here at Los Cocos we like to watch the pelicans that warm themselves atop those rocks. They spread their wings out into the wind.

Another thing I've noticed they like to do  is  poop on those rocks as well as the one at the entrance to La Chata.

Something that's  becoming a ritual here is our morning walk along La Chata.

And why is it that one just can't help but pick up the sea glass that's  strewn everywhere along this stretch of beach? Such treasures...

After the walk it wasn't long before we had  everything packed up and  were on our way into  Isabel. We both had a craving for Roy's Coffee shop this morning.

No we didn't plan the pink outfit Lorrie had on, just happened that way.

I had some sort of coffee cake (that had to be at least a  gazillion calories) , plus a double espresso to wash it down ....

and Lorrie had the quiche, plus a double espresso.

As we were pulling into the refuge, about 10:38am, we noticed Sol Food was already open.  Rather than drive back to it once we were at La Plata, we went ahead and got some lunch, never mind that we were both still very much sated from Roys.  Two pulled porks with psychedelic purple cabbage and we were on our way.

Didn't take long to set up our cabana. I've become quite adept at building it. The beach had about 24 people, seems to be normal for this time of year now.  My gawd was  it a beautiful day and we met so many people. Early on we met Melissa and Todd from Wisconsin. Melissa came up to us and said she had read our blog.  Eventually I walked down and met her husband Todd. We talked Vieques, houses, retirement...you know..the good stuff. I took a shot of them while we were talking (well I got Melissa but only captured Todd's arm and leg...oops)

While Lorrie and I were walking along the far edge of La Plata we met Amy and Christina. Actually Amy  ask us to take a picture of the two of them, which we did. Then we ask if we could take one of them. They gave us the look many do, then we explained it was for the blog.  Amy is involved with a non-profit organization for under-privileged children. The two cut outs she and Christina are holding up are "Flat Stanley and Molly." Her niece and nephew made them for her and she's be traveling with them all over the world.

After our walk Lorrie and finally decided to try some snorkeling. This was our first time this trip.  What we ended up doing, unintentionally, was swimming all the way over to Escondida from La Plata. We rested on Escondida for a bit and then made the return swim,  back to La Plata. Saw the usual reef fish plus  some black and yellow stripped angle fish that where gorgeous.

Here's a map of where we snorkeled. I think it was about 1/2 mile, round trip.

Last thing I'm adding to this post is a slide show. This was a walk I took from our cabana over to the rock art gallery and then back. It was so very beautiful that I shot nearly 150 photos. I had to distill that down significantly for the slide show. Hope you enjoy:



Friday, February 8, 2013

Inside Los Cocos....

Today we decided to shoot some video inside of Los Cocos. We've been here nearly a week now and are getting a feel for the place. Before I shot the video I  captured how Lorrie spends most mornings...drinking her coffee and watching the sun rise over the Atlantic.

Here's the video of the house:

We went to La Plata today, imagine that huh? At it's busiest point there were 28 people on the beach. Too bad mongoose don't spray like skunks. I could come up with something like below to clear the beach or better yet wait till Kincaid comes around and spray him:

In reality it was just a short time that there were  28 people. It thinned out fast after 3pm. I balanced a few more rocks and Judy and Andre certified two more members into the IRBA (International Rock Balancing Association).

Picked up garbage along the west side of La Plata all the way around  1/2 way to Escondida. There's a huge wad of rope on the east side that I'm gonna get before we leave. It's in the same place I find it every year:

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. We meet a group of people at Sun Bay in the morning and are going out to dinner with Judy and Andre at the re-opening of Coconuts, although it has a new name but I can't remember it now. The chef came from Inn on the Blue Horizon, well at least that's what I was told.

Lastly we took the time to find the sign near the ferry, where I got the ticket:

That translates to "Public Buses Only". Now I know.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Perfect day.....

Today was a reunion of sorts. Dave and Andrea showed up on La Plata with their two boys. Andrea and Judy were there too.  I put up my cabana with  no bother from "you know who." It was a great time talking with everyone and enjoying the perfect weather. The beach today was at it's  very best, such a refreshing change from what occurred yesterday. We're going to hook up with Dave and Andrea before we leave to check out the house they're staying at, maybe give it try sometime. The rest this trip is filling out quickly. We've got salsa dancing with Judy and Andre on Sat night in Esperanza. Dinner with Peter and Rick on Tuesday and then we plan on meeting up with another friend from trip advisor on Friday before we leave. Time is flying by.

The best way to describe the day is in  watching the boys playing on the beach. I have video of them below. Check it out, it's good for your soul:

See you tomorrow



Morning salsa....

Wanting to wash away the prior days events, literally and figuratively, Lorrie and I vowed to start this day being thankful we're alive and able to experience this wonderful island. We put on some salsa and took a long hot outdoor shower, dancing with each other in the morning light, swaying with the one, two, three step that Judy and Andre had showed us at dinner just a few days ago.


I think this should be recommended therapy for all people upon rising in the morning. So grab the one you love and take a moment to revel in being alive.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Officer Zack Kincaid....

Remember that name. He is the epitome of what is wrong with the refuge in Vieques right now. Lorrie and I had the most awful run in with this egomaniac this morning. This is power trip on steroids 10x. I actually think I have a case for harassment against him.

Did I say I felt like a police magnet this trip?

Ok..so here's how it all unfolded. We drive to the refuge, late again...just taking our time. We go to La Plata, turn out 25 like we always do. I grab my  sticks and begin to construct our refuge friendly cabana. I have the first pole about 6 inches in the sand and am working on the second one, when I hear behind me

"Sir..stop what your doing!"

 So I turn around, I'm on my knees and here he comes, Heinrich Himmler incarnate. I look up at this red-headed officer and say "I've already spoken with Officer Sanchez about this."

 Either not listening or not caring he walks right by me and pulls out the first pole I just set and throws it on the ground.

 I see Lorrie watching this unfold. I once again say "I already spoke with officer Sanchez about this and he said it was alright".

Officer Kincaid answers "How do I know you have spoken with Sanchez?"

"Don't you guys talk to each other or something?"

"Sir please stand up."


"Sir please stand up."

So I stand up and put my hands in my pockets and say "So now we have a problem?"

"Sir, take your hands out of your pockets!"

Ok..at this point I'm like WTF is going on here? I tell Lorrie "start putting things back in the jeep".

Officer Kincaid counters "No ma'am, stay right there."

Ok..now I'm pissed. We've not done anything wrong and this joker is telling my wife what to do. I then  think for a moment. Oh.. jeez...I can't have Lorrie get upset. And here I will have to convey more information that we had planned on. Lorrie had a TIA (stroke) less than a week ago. We almost didn't come to the island and she still cannot drive. Just google TIA and you'll see what I'm talking about. Well this joker is not going to let us leave so I ask him "So what if one of us has a medical condition?"

He replys "How am I suppose to know you have a medical condition"

I say we're just going to leave and he moves toward me in a threatening manner and tells me I'm not going anywhere

Now...I ask ANY OF YOU, would you not be getting really upset by now?

I tell him I'm going to take this to a someone above him and that this is all documented out on the internet.

I start to try and explain the situation and he tells me to stop talking and says that I have raised this to another level. So at this point my only option is to give this egomaniac what he wants, a power trip. So I ask for permission to talk, in a calm clear voice, and then say "what can I do to bring closure to this."

He then says that if I would have let him talk he would explain that he was going to tell me that if I hit some turtle eggs while digging to move to another spot? Plus he informs me "It was the way you said that you had already talked to officer Sanchez that started the whole thing." So I guess we now have rules on the refuge as to how you can and cannot speak, especially to "Herr Himmler."

Come on now...give me a frigg'n break. Then why detain us for 20 minutes and why pull the pole out of the ground. Why order me to stand up and tell my wife not to move. Why not allowing us to leave. This is insane.

 I ask him if this is the way he treats the public and ask to see his badge which he refuses show me. I told him I wanted to take a picture of it. He won't let us see it.  I ask for his name and his superiors.
He writes it on a piece of paper and we leave the refuge.

Now, as you all know,  I have been stopped by two different officers in the refuge. The first guy was just fine and acted as a professional. If the second guy is what the Fish and Wildlife is pushing you can kiss your tourism in the refuge goodbye.

No one should EVER be treated the way we were. Those of you that read this  blog know what we try to do to keep the beaches we love so much clean.

And on a closing note, Officer Kincaid wrote Judy and Andre  each a $150 ticket (that's $300 total) for painting land crab shells with water colors just prior to his diatribe with us.  They were painting shells (empty shells just to clarify)  the way they did here in a post from a couple of years ago:


To say the day has been ruined is an understatement. FWIW I meet with  Kincaids boss @ 3:30 this afternoon. Probably be like pushing a rope, but it's the principle of the matter.

I never promised this would be a smooth ride.......



I spoke with officer Kincaids ( I just don't feel right calling this idiot an officer) boss, Mike, this afternoon. First off Mike is a real gentleman and a professional. I explained the whole situation and he agreed and admitted that he himself uses a honey approach.

 Kincaid came at me with a battle axe.

Anyway...Mike promised me he would speak with Kincaid a.k.a. Herr Himmler later today. He also told me that Kincaid has a rough approach sometimes (I think it's akin to  using a 5lb sledgehammer to crack an egg, but I guess that's just my opinion). He said he is or was a tactical instructor. I think I'm seeing the problem here. This guy wants to be king of the refuge S.W.A.T. team.

With that I'll close this topic. Tomorrow we head back to La Plata, gestapo be damned. Judy and Andre are supposed to meet us. I wonder if Herr Himmler will show up?


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Late night post....

The dogs are going ape-sheit..the police are shining flashlights all around and I have no idea what is wrong. They pulled into the public access point and are shinning flashlights on the houses.


Why do I feel like I'm a police magnet this trip?



It's been right at an hour and the police just left.  Maybe they were just checking on the area or something.

Green curry quest....

I had spent this morning trying to catch up on blog post and picture/video editing. I also called Maritzas and got the ticket squared away. Seems tickets are paid when cars are registered, annually I believe. They said I could just pay the ticket when I return the vehicle. That made things easier.  Sometime around 11a.m. I  remembered we still had to get provisions to make green curry chicken for Judy and Andre when we have them over for dinner. First place I called was Buen Provecho which means Good Appetite. For some reason all I was focused on was the Thai basil. Chris, one of the owners, didn't have any on hand but said he could order it for me, which I had him do. I hung up think all was solved. Lorrie said "what about the green curry paste?" Oh sheit, I forgot to ask Chris about that. So I called back and no they didn't have any. When I ask if there was any place on the island that might have some all he could think of was maybe the colmado Mambo. So I told Lorrie, she was sitting on the veranda reading, that I was going to have to head into town to see if I could find some green curry. She opted to stay behind, smart girl. So..first stop was the Mambo, no green curry. Then I headed into Esperanza because I remember the Emporium behind Lazy Jacks had green curry paste a couple of years ago. Well when I got to Lazy Jacks I found that the Emporium had moved to Isabel in the old laundromat  building.  So..back to Isabel but before I let I stopped by Sun bay. Judy and Andre where having a water color paint day there and we were supposed to have gone but me being so far behind on blogging decided to stay back at Los Cocos (we also just slept in to much). I spent about an hour talking with them and looking at the paintings they had done in the morning. Barry, a longtime friend of Judy and Andres who has a house on the island also was there. So after a brief visit I bid the artists adieu and headed back to Isabel. Found the new Emporium but they also had no green curry paste. The owner did tell me that she thought she had seen it at the Morales on 200. So..it was off to Morales. My third stop paid off because they did have green curry paste. They actually had a nice variety of Asian spices. I called Lorrie, because I this time I had been  gone quite a long while. I told her I was going to stop by Buen Provecho to see what they had. What I ended up buying was some sort of squid salad and a small tub of herring in cream sauce. Don't ask me why, I was just punting. I wanted to surprise Lorrie since I had been gone. To mine and Lorries delight they were both fantastic salads. We ate them on blue corn tortilla chips, it was the only thing we had at the house. Below is the squid salad on a chip:

I liked putting both together on a chip. The herring is on top. mmmm....
By this time it was almost 2pm, too late to head to the refuge, so we just decided to spend the rest of the day at Los Cocos.  I wanted to check out the beach. We grabbed a couple chairs and headed out. Not long after sitting there two black dogs ran up. Good looking dogs with collars  on. I couldn't help it, having been without dogs now for over a year. One of the dogs was a female lab and she was oh so friendly and wanting attention. It was great therapy playing with those two dogs.

After rolling around on the beach with the dogs I was covered in sand and in need of a shower to get some of the dog smell off of me. I myself hadn't been in the outdoor shower at Los Cocos yet but Lorrie had and said it was wonderful. Was she ever right and upon entry I noticed another one of those small touches that just make all the difference in a rental home. Check out the towels and soap placed on a small blue bench in the outdoor shower area:
There was also a vase of flowers out there. These are little touches that just make  houses a cut above the rest. The outdoor shower area is a large enclosure that  has potted plants as well as a small little garden area. Really, really nice.  I'll try to get pictures of it when I do the inside of the house sometime later in the week.
After my shower I grabbed the video cam hoping to catch Lorrie relaxing out by the beach. I also wanted to get some video of La Chata. Here's what I ended up with:

We sat there for a long time. Great just to watch the waves breaking along the north shore. I was watching a storm build out over St Thomas. We kept watching it approach and then the rainbow came. This was the most magnificent rainbow Lorrie and I have ever seen in our lives. I just can't begin to describe how brilliant the colors were and then it became a double rainbow so bright that it was reflecting in the water and even on the wet sand on the beach. What an awe inspiring way to end the day. I tried as best as I could to capture it. The video is below:

See ya tomorrow


Los Cocos....

I'm finally going to try and begin reviewing Los Cocos. This will have to be a multi-post review. We haven't taken any pictures or video inside the house yet. As I've mentioned in many prior posts, Lorrie and I place a lot of weight on first impressions when we go to a new house. Los Cocos is a really well done rental. Upon entering the drive into the covered carport we noticed the grounds and the landscaping, obviously kept by a gardener of some sort. That blue staircase leads up to a roof top deck where Orion is as prominent as I've ever seen him. But take note that the staircase and the roof deck has no handrails, so a fair amount of caution needs to be used. I wouldn't have a mojito night up there or anything.

 I noticed that even the palms, of which there are plenty, were nicely trimmed.

The veranda, which is at least 12 feet wide, wraps around 2 sides of the house. There are more than enough places to find the perfect vista, given different times of the day. There are a pair of Adirondack rocking chairs on the east side that make watching the sunrise over the Atlantic a pleasure (Lorrie is our there right now while I'm typing this post). 

Further around the veranda is a table to dine al fresco, something we probably will do when we have Judy and Andre over for dinner and drinks.
Those chasse loungers in the foreground are on a raised platform that make watching the waves breaking along the north shore even easier. And then finally against the west wall is a built in bench that give spectacular views looking out east along the beach front.
Speaking of the beachfront, Los Cocos lays right on La Chata beach and there is a public access spot along the eastern edge of the property, just over the wall. We have seen/heard a few people park there and we've seen some of the locals riding horses along the beach right in front of the house. Thus far this has been at best sporadic and not at all bothersome. There's a gate on the corner of the property that opens to the beach:

An added bonus of having La Chata beach right outside the house is being able to walk the beach, early in the morning, picking up the newly washed beach glass. Lorrie and I were awarded this cache of pieces on our first walk:

There are hammocks that can be strung between the palm trees (something I hope we have time to do since we like our hammocks back home so much.) Washer and dryer are outside as well as a cloths line strung between a couple palms (something that Lorrie and I really appreciate and wonder why more houses don't have it.)

Clean neat, with lots of different areas to hang out. Great first impression. Next time I'll move inside the house.