Casita Suite - SJ Arts District

House - Entire home/apt · Cll Saldana, San Juan, PR 00912, Puerto Rico
Your host, Richard
57 Reviews
Response rate: 100%
Response time: within a few hours

The Space

We have a guest 'casita' at the back of the ground floor of our house in the Santurce section of San Juan - the center of San Juan's new 'Arts & Culture' district.

The guest suite uses the main entrance and reception gallery to the house, but has a private entrance gate, exterior couryard, bedroom with private bath and ’sunken kitchen’ (email hidden)/counter.

The bedroom has a king size bed,flat-panel cable TV, Free Wi-Fi Internet access, air conditioning, ceiling fan and closet area. The ensuite private bathroom has a sink, toilet and shower (no bathtub). Maximum occupancy is 2 people. Clean sheets and towels are provided.

There is a new Pueblo supermarket opening in November just 3 blocks away so you can easily prepare meals in the guest suite’s indoor/outdoor "sunken" kitchen (sink, gas stove, full refrigerator/freezer, microwave, coffee maker, electric kettle, blender, toaster). ).

NOTE: The guest casita does not have an enclosed 'living area'. The bedroom opens to a private courtyard that also has a semi-open kitchen area.
We have just installed a 'gazebo-style' cathedral ceiling that keeps light rain away and provides shade during the day. However, when it rains heavily, the courtyard does get wet - so you may get wet going from the bedroom to the kitchen. You should not leave computers, papers or anything in the courtyard that may get wet, since we can have short showers anytime in the tropics. (See photos for reference).
Minimum stay in 3 nights and special rates are available for extended stays. This unit is a favorite for many repeat visitors - please check the calendar for available dates.
7% room tax is now included in all rates. We are registered with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company - Hotelier ID available on request.
Feel free to contact with any questions prior to booking. We keep the availability calendar up to date - so if you see that the dates are listed as available and don't have any questions, you can go ahead and make your booking right away.
Airport Transportation: There are no public busses from the airport - so a taxi is the best choice. Rates are fixed so you don't have to worry about the price. Fixed price is currently $18 plus $1 for each piece of luggage (tip not included). Late night arrivals may have a $2 surcharge.
After you complete your reservation, I'll send complete arrival map and instructions.

Location: The house is located in Santurce, which is about a 10 minute walk 'across the highway' from the Condado and Ocean Park tourist areas. We're just a few steps from Ponce de Leon Avenue, which has frequent bus service to Old San Juan. This has become the center of San Juan’s new ‘Arts & Culture’ redevelopment area.

The house is across from a condo, next to a small residential hotel. A LDS (Mormon) church is on one end of the block and a Pentecostal church on the other. Abracadabra arts-café is right on the corner with Ponce de Leon.

New PUEBLO supermarket is just 3 blocks away in the Ciudadela Complex. Open 24 hours so even if you arrive late, you can head to the supermarket.

Planet Fitness is just across from PUEBLO and is open 24 hours during the week. If you have a membership for Planet Fitness at home, you should be able to use this branch.

Easy access to theaters and museums and the bus to Old San Juan are the main attractions. Beach is about a 15 minute walk or 4 min. drive.


- Abracadabra - a 'counter-café is located just a few feet away at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Calle Saldaña. Great food, local gourmet coffee, local craft beers and one of the best weekend brunches in San Juan. Frequent performance nights ranging from jazz to theater, circus arts, film festivals, comedy, magic and more...

- Two blocks to the left on Ponce de Leon has the San Jorge Hotel and Restaurant (local breakfast and lunch on weekdays), Zal Si Puedes (Escape if you Can in local slang) gay bar with drag queens on weekend nights and a cellphone store. Our guests are welcome to use the coin-laundry in the Hotel San Jorge or use the front desk to book tours and rental cars.

- Two blocks to the right on Ponce de Leon is Calle del Parque. On the way you'll pass La Nueva Escalera for great drinks and loud Dominican music, you'll see the alley where Johnny Depp filmed some of the last scenes in The Rum Diary, Godfather II Restaurant and the bus stop to Old San Juan. Look for Subway and the recently renovated Francisco Arriví Theater.
Turn left on Calle Del Parque and there is also the intimate El Josco cabaret theater and Victoria Espinosa experimental theater. You'll also find El Taco and Cafe del Parque restaurants. Further down the street is La Respuesta Arts Space which features arts performances, exhibitions or becomes a nightclub featuring different bands or themes each night.
- Back on Ponce de Leon,you'll see Mas Café, Santurce Discount and Libros AC Bookstore and Bistro. Across the street is the plaza for Ciudadela with Pueblo supermarket, pharmacy and food court plus Planet Fitness and Yolo Restaurant.

- Just past Cuidadela is DondeSea food truck, Arturos Restaurant, Naturalismo Vegetarian Cafeteria, another Subway and the entrance to La Girafa Verde - our 'open minded' disco.

A few steps more is the corner of Ponce de Leon and De Diego Avenue and Farmacia Luis. This is the traditional center of Santurce's Arts District. In the 1960's this was called the 'Times Square' of San Juan. Today, it is re-emerging as the center of the Arts District and there are new restaurants, shops, clubs and nightlife opening all the time.

- If you take a right turn on De Diego Avenue, its a 5 minute walk to the Puerto Rico Museum of Art (MAPR) with its intimate Raul Julia Theater and Laurel Kitchen|Art Space Restaurant by celebrity chef Mario Pagan (The Next Iron Chef). Along the way, you'll see Tia Maria (neighborhood gay bar), Mumbai Indian Restaurant, Basico Healthy Kitchen, Hacienda San Pedro (local coffee plantation's coffee-house), BarriO restaurant, Gia Pizzaria, Café de Paris for some of San Juan's best French food and El Meson for typical Puerto Rican pressed sandwiches and great coffee.

- If you continue down Ponce de Leon, it is only a 3 minute walk to San Juan’s Fine Arts Center (Centro de Bellas Artes) with 4 theaters ranging from cabaret & experimental spaces to large theaters suitable for Broadway musicals, opera or concerts. The new Symphony Hall is just across the large plaza and home to the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.

- Five more minutes walk brings you past Levels Disco, 3XMan Boutique, La Hoya Eco-bar, Central High School and the Big Blue Church. The street across from the Big Blue Church as Ruben's 24 hour restaurant and the street to Plaza Del Mercado.

- Plaza del Mercado (15 min walk or short bus ride): Santurce's historic market has many popular restaurants that surround the traditional Puerto Rican vegetable/fruit/spice vendors. On Thursday and Friday nights there is a very popular 'happening' here where young hip executive types hang out, listen to music, drink and eat inexpensive Puerto Rican 'street-food' (you can also dine at the more traditional restaurants.

- A little further on Ponce de Leon takes you to the Metro Theater and Museum of Contemporary Art.

Public Transportation:

The MetroBus M3 runs along Ponce de Leon Avenue from Old San Juan to the Tren Urban stop at Sagrado Corazon. Bus costs 50 cents - exact change required.

Busses start about 5:30 am and run until about 11:30pm. During weekdays, service is about every 10-15 minutes - slower on weekends and holidays.

Old San Juan takes about 15 minutes on the M3. Get the bus one block away opposite Godfather Restaurant.

Tren Urbano is only two stops in the other direction. Get the bus just at the end of our block. At the Urban Train you can change for the elevated train for the Coliseum, Rio Piedras Shopping, University of Puerto Rico, Centro Medico, Bayamón’s Sports Center or Bayamon Pueblo (town center).

Plaza Las Americas can be reached with the Metrobus 2. This bus runs about every 45 minutes and runs through the Hato Rey Business District before turning and running along Roosevelt Avenue to Plaza Las Americas – the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean. This bus is .75 exact change and stops at the corner of our block.

A taxi from the airport is approximately $20 -$22 one way depending on luggage and how much you tip.

PARKING: There is street parking outside the house. If no space is available - just move the orange cone in front of my garage and park there.

Note: like any big city - there can be 'smash and grab' situations - especially if people have GPS or leave items in the car. This happens all over San Juan, so its nothing special in this area, but it can ruin a day of vacation if you have to deal with reports/insurance, etc.


Ocean Park Beach: The best beach in San Juan is a 15 minute walk to “Parque del Indio” that divides Condado from Ocean Park. You can rent beach chairs/umbrellas - but there are no public changing facilities or bathrooms on this beach.

Escambrón Beach: You can also take the Metrobus #3 and get off near the Caribé Hilton at Parque Munoz Marin for Escambrón Beach which has rest rooms, changing facilities, food vendors and is very popular with families. It is also has San Juan’s best surfing at ‘El Ocho’ when the surf’s up! The bus ride takes about 15 minutes and then there is about a 7 minute walk through the park to the beach.

Isla Verde Beaches: You can also take the T5 bus by the Museum of Art to Isla Verde Beaches.

We provide beach towels and usually have some sun screen that other guests have left.

Banks: ATM (ATH in Puerto Rico) - There are two bank machines on Calle del Parque - just 2 blocks from the casita. Both accept major networks, but if you want to check on any fees, they are First Bank of Puerto Rico and BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina). There is also a Banco Popular branch with ATM at the corner of Ponce de Leon and De Diego Avenue.

Nightlife: The nightclub scene is constantly changing and like most major cities - what is hot today is 'not' tomorrow. However, here are some of the current favorites:
- La Respuesta is an arts space/disco/club featured in the NYTimes last year and still very popular with the young, hip, crowd. (2 blocks away).
- The Plan B is a pizzaria in the evening and turns into San Juan's favorite dance club at night. This area on Loiza Street in 'downtown condado' is emerging with lots of small pop-up clubs that can be interesting. (5 blocks away).
- Tia Maria is Santurce's neighborhood gay bar (4 bocks away).
- Zal Si Puedes is an intimate gay bar in the Hotel San Jorge with drag queens on weekends.
- La Girafa Verde (green giraffe) is our new 'open minded' disco. Rooftop lounge and terrace and second floor disco.
- Levels Disco - across from Fine Arts - open for special parties.
- El Local is a small but very popular club near the Fine Arts Center. Follow the street by the giant Lizard mural down the hill to the stop light. Turn right and look for the storefront.
-Plaza del Mercado bars/street party on Thurs & Friday but also good on Sat and Sunday. (10 blocks away).
- Abracadabra - on the corner has Jazz every Friday night and often has theater or other performances on Wed or Thurs nights.

NATURE ALERT: The house has a very open design that encourages open doors and windows. There may be small lizards in the courtyard (we like them - they're cute and they eat mosquitoes). Small birds and hummingbirds are common. If you're lucky, you'll see a 'coqui' tree frog. Mosquitoes blow in when the wind comes from the lagoons during rainy weather (we provide spay and have screens on the bedroom door/windows).

Other Things to Note

Puerto Rico Tourism Company Hotelier ID: (phone number hidden). We not have included 7% Tourism Tax in all rates.

JULY SPECIAL - I'll be traveling in July 2014 so the house will not be available for regular bookings. However, if you are an experienced AirBnb guest or host and would like to stay for the month - you can get a fantastic 'house-sitter' rate in exchange for watering plants and reporting any problems to our handyman.

Room type: Entire home/apt
Bed type: Real Bed
Accommodates: 2
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 0
Beds: 1
Minimum Stay: 3 nights
Weekly Price: $600 /week
Monthly Price: $1500 /month
Security Deposit: $95
Cleaning Fee: $45
Cancellation: Strict

Overall Guest Satisfaction

Check In
  • Top marks for this house on Calle Saldaña! La Casita lived up to and exceeded our expectations. Richard was a kind and generous host, making us feel at home from the minute we arrived. La Casita itself was immaculate, comfortable, and combined traditional San Juan architecture with modern furnishings. The patio and the kitchen are fantastic for days or evenings when you want to relax at home with a drink and listen to the coquíes at night. The location couldn't be better for someone looking to experience all facets of San Juan living as it's in a more residential, working-class neighborhood but within 20 minutes you have the beach, the luxury hotels, the market, Viejo San Juan and the train. There are great restaurants around and loads of music venues, clubs, and museums, not least of which is the Museo de los Santos inside the house that Billy curates. Its collection of traditional Puerto Rican religious carvings surpasses that of the Museo de las Américas in Viejo San Juan. Regardless of your reason for visiting Puerto Rico, this house has it all. Couldn't recommend it or Richard more highly.

    May 2014
  • First and foremost. Richard is lovely. On arrival I was given a brief tour of the area, which was great for orientation. The room I has, called the casita suite is very comfortable, spacious and the kitchen with its complimentary selection of great coffee and teas was equally appreciated. The little things, like clean, soft towels, complimentary shampoo, body wash and rum if the day was a tough was was a nice touch. It is clear ha Richard is experienced in guesting and provides a good quality facility. Santurce, the area where the facility is located is to me, one of the more interesting. I am on a work trip so was not to keen on exploring too much, but found public transport very accessible. The bus is literally 5 meters away. I travel extensively for work. For me a few things make for good accommodation, clean bedding, nice towels and good coffee and access to anything I might need. This place had it all. Also, on the corner is the most divine restaurant, called Abracadabra. I regret not having gone there more often. Richard, thank you!

    April 2014
  • Richard was an extremely hospitable and friendly host. He was very responsive by email and made the booking process extremely easy. He always had plenty of ideas on things to do and helped me find local spots to visit to truly experience local Puerto Rican flair!

    Conveniently located - local amenities are within easy reach, restaurants, shops, market, bus service, beaches, car hire are all within 10 mins easy walk. The bus to central San Juan runs regularly and takes 15 mins. You could not choose a better location.

    This place has all the comforts of home and I will surely be back again!

    April 2014
  • We've been home a week now, and we keep reflecting on the incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating experience of being hosted by Richard in the Casita Suite of his house in the Santurce arts district. The house was very comfortable and very well stocked with every possible thing we could need, plus Richard was always available to answer our questions and to give advice. His recommendations were always "spot on," whether it was transportation, dining out or shopping. We would definitely like to return to Puerto Rico and would plan on staying at Richard's place. We found the neighborhood safe and vibrant, and enjoyed the close proximity of the beautiful beaches, the new supermarket as well as the open-air market, the art museums, and easy access to Old San Juan. All in all, it was a great vacation spot for us with comfortable accommodations and a generous host.

    April 2014
  • If you are interested in experiencing an urban side of San Juan, this is a great place to stay! Surrounded by art and music venues as well as an eclectic mix of restaurants and cafes, Richard's apartment is accessible to it all. He is a fantastic host with a plethora of knowledge. The tour he gave us of the neighborhood when we arrived really helped get us situated - nothing worse than having no clue where to go for your first meal or what to do. Having the full kitchen made it really homey. Exploring the city and driving a car in a different country (well different-ish. The Subway to people ratio must be 5:1) can be exhausting and it was nice to unwind in our own private oasis!

    Richard also manages a house on Luquillo which we stopped at. It's a great sleepy Caribbean town with good waves. It draws a lot of surfers so you get a cool So-Cal vibe. Also taking the bus into Old San Juan was easy. Bus stop is five minutes away and easy to get on and off of (they take exact change but that isn't an issue when your host thoughtfully leaves change in the lobby).It's a great place for history. If you wanted to do more touristy stuff Coronado is a 15 minute walk, but you will pay twice as much for things you find Stateside!

    I would definitely stay here again!

    April 2014
  • This was our second stay with Richard and our feelings toward him as our host and his house can be summed up when he met us at the front door and said, "Welcome home!" This year, we booked too late to have our entire stay in the Penthouse, so instead, we opted for the Casita Suite on the 1st floor. And all week, we couldn't decide which was better. The Casita is a much smaller living space, but it still had the comfy king bed and available air conditioning/ceiling fan for warmer nights. But unlike the Penthouse, it has a wonderfully appointed full kitchen and relaxing eat-in bar area for meals. Since last year, he's built a gorgeous wooden half-roof for the courtyard that blocks some of the rain, but still leaves one side open to allow for open-air Caribbean breezes. The Casita also has a full bath with stand-up shower and a generous closet area with his and her robes. The giant flat screen TV is positioned on the wall across from the bed and one night, we enjoyed cuddling up among the pillows for movie night. We rented a car and all week, we were able to find safe, on-street parking within a few steps from the front door. And the neighborhood is as alive as it was last year with eclectic local shops, (email hidden) scene within walking distance, and a house band next door that played some pretty cool jam sessions, but never later than 9 or 10pm. We didn't do the city bus as much this year, but the stops are just around the corner and he's on the direct route into Old San Juan... and it's still just $.50 a trip! As a host, Richard is everything you want him to (email hidden), concierge, neighborhood/local area expert, handy man, trustworthy host, and probably most importantly, a friendly face at the end of the day to come home and regale him of all of your adventures. Once again, his personality added to our love of his house and made our time in San Juan a much richer experience.

    March 2014
  • Richard is everything you want in an Airbnb host! He forwarded us info about the area we were staying in before we arrived, took us on a walking tour the first day we were there, was incredibly gracious and helpful about our check-in and check-out times, and the property is lovely!

    Richard has written out "guides" for just about everything in and around San Juan. He knows the oldest places, the newest places, and the best places. He keeps a stock of "emergency rum" out in the entry area which really made me happy. He greeted us with beers the night we arrived and was always available if we needed him with cheerful, helpful conversation and tips.

    Any time we looked on Yelp to figure out the next place to go to eat, inevitably once we decided on the "best" place, it was somewhere Richard had already suggested!

    The neighborhood where the property is located is up-and-coming. There are many really cool new eateries that would be at home in NYC (one right around the corner that I wish I could have taken home with me!), along with authentic PR fare. There is a fair number of empty buildings nearby, but we never felt any kind of sketchiness, unless you count the night we came home at midnight and came across a feral cat convention that abruptly dispersed at our arrival. ; )

    The "casita" room has an enclosed bedroom/bathroom and the "atrium" between there and the sunken kitchen is semi-enclosed, so if it rains that area does get wet. Not a problem, just something to be aware of. : )

    For trips to the beach, etc, Richard has a variety of beach towels, backpacks, hats, sunscreen, bug spray, toiletries and anything else you could possibly need or want--free. Such a treat!

    In short, stay with Richard, either in the casita or in one of the other rooms in the property. You will have a concierge to the best of the San Juan area!

    February 2014
  • Loved this place! Richard was friendly, informative and all around awesome! He gave me and my girlfriend a lovely tour of Candado. The place itself was wonderful and had great amenities. Great experience!

    February 2014
  • Our experience with Richard and the Casita was marvelous! Let me start by saying Richard's place is impeccably clean! Even though much of the Casita was outdoors it was still amazingly clean! Even the glasses that were hanging in the outdoor kitchen were spotless! The kitchen was supplied with high end pots/pans and with all necessary accessories! Not a thing was missing! The bedroom had a comfortable bed, soft linens and the most comfortable robes! Nice touch :-) Water pressure was good and there was hot water. Richard is a great host! He is always there when you need him. When we first arrived he took us on a tour of the neighborhood, providing us with excellent recommendations and an awareness of our surroundings. We particularly loved La Placita and had great food and fun there. Richard provided us with beach towels/bags and all the necessary bus repellent items..nice addition and very much needed. The area was a "working class" neighborhood which was how a local person described it to us so English is not their first language. But people were nice and we were able to get by even though we do not speak Spanish! (Although speaking Spanish would have been a big plus, but not a deterrent for returning) We highly recommend Richard and his beautiful home! We will be back!

    February 2014
  • Whether first time or experience traveling to Sam on it may be hard to be Richard as a host. Certainly not located in a very tourist oriented area this gives visitors the chance to see the real San Juan. It also gives them the opportunity to stay in a cool house at the corner one of the hottest Brooklyn Williamsburg sell coffee shops amazing food. Richard takes his guests on a walking tour when they arrived acclimating them to the area where to eat and gives details on the architectural features of modern he stuck a kind of Spanish influenced Art Deco which is prevalent in the area where he resides. The area is about 30 to 40 minutes bus ride to downtown old San Juan which cost $.50. Other than that the area is very conveniently located you can actually walk to the beach and nightlife on Candado Street in the gay district. Richard who's also a consultant for a number of the different hotels and all of the Caribbean was a fountain of information about where to eat what to do where to go, hottest restaurants and help me on my trip not only to San Juan but also told me to visit the wonderful Rincon before going to Ponce this is great advice as I had a great time. I stayed in the Kaseeta with a wonderful open patio and kitchen. My complaints would be as follows I did experience quite a problem with mosquitoes however mosquitoes tend to be prone to me Richard did his part and providing citronella candles and bug spray. My other complaint would be that the area is rather isolated what will you get the truth feeling of San Juan people from the area don't tend to walk on the street and so the area can feel rather desolate a night, it isn't an unsafe neighborhood but it can feel that way because of the lack of people on the street and the fact that there isn't much lighting. With that being said Richard is a most gracious and wonderful host and if I go back to San Juan I'll be sure to stay with him

    February 2014
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English, Español
University of CT at Storrs Baruch College - CUNY, New York City
Consultant - Tourism & Hospitality Marketing
Living in San Juan for 15 years. Originally from Connecticut, but lived in New York City for many years working in the travel industry and helping develop early online travel applications including Travelocity. After the 'internet bubble' I moved to the small Caribbean island of Saba and ran a boutique hotel with my Saban cousins on one of the most amazing islands in the world. My years on Saba were the most amazing experiences and a true 'Don't Stop the Carnival' lifestyle. When Hurricane "Geroges" destroyed the hotel I decided to combine online marketing and hotel operations experience and move to Puerto Rico to work as a tourism consultant. Clients included the Caribbean Hotel Association, Caribbean Tourism Organization plus hotels and resorts throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Asia and Europe. Travel extensively in the Caribbean for work, all over the globe for fun - but always glad to come home to San Juan!
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