Moon Handbooks – Puerto Rico – “Unlike any guest house in Puerto Rico – maybe the World!  This bright, cheerful, sprawling guest house has a distinctive bohemian style reflective of it’s unique owner, Mary Lee.”

Dear Mary Lee, Sarah and I could not think of a more beautiful, fun, relaxing and all around perfect place to spend our honeymoon. This vacation gave us memories to last a lifetime. What a treasure this place is, thank you so much, your staff is incredible and we will never forget the days we were able to spend here!” , Paul and Sarah ., Brooklyn, New York

“Thanks for everything, nice people and great time!!”, François M., Guissan, France

“Very nice, better than expected! Very clean.  Great Time!!”, Abe & Wanda M., Fort Lewis, WA     

Rough Guide to Puerto RicoA fabulous ensemble of ten apartments and houses furnished in a whimsically florid style by Mary Lee Alvarez, a US expat who settled here in the early 1960’s. Spacious rooms and cozy bedrooms are lined with rattan floor tiles and bedecked with cheery multicolored hand-sewn towels, duvet covers and cushions. Even the bathrooms feature installations of sand, plastic plants, fairy lights and shells.

TripAdvisor – Puerto Rico –  The TripAdvisor Certificate Of Excellence was awarded to us in the year 2012 and again in the year 2013.

Lonely Planet – Puerto Rico 4th Ed.:  One of the most charming guest houses in Puerto Rico. Mary lee spares no expense with fabrics and furnishings to create the feel of luxury.

“A little bit of heaven!  This is just such a beautiful part of Puerto Rico.  More people should come and see Guanica.  We loved our Sirena #2 – Our little ‘home away from home.’ ”  Kathryn H., Wallingford, CT

“Just great.  Will recommend.”, Faye J., St-Sulpice, Switzerland   

Insider’s Guide – Off the Beaten Path – Puerto Rico, A guide to unique places, 4th ed.  – “Mary Lee’s by the Sea (25, San Jacinto).  Ten different units, loosely connected, share a rocky outcropping at the water’s edge.  Privacy and peace are clear priorities here.  The suites are decorated in a sumptuous tropical style, all with kitchenettes and varying sleeping accommodations.  Besides the close access to the dry forest and a nearby white-sand beach, Mary Lee’s offers transportation to the nearby off-shore cay of Guilligan’s Island.”

View of the beach at Ballena

View of the beach at Ballena

“Dear Mary Lee and all – This is the most beautiful place and your kind hospitality is the frosting on the cake.  Thank you for creating this – ‘Contenta’ is a little paradise.  Thank you also for letting us see the many little paradises via our little ‘tour’ of the other units.”  Gail B., Interlochen, MI

“We love it here! This is our second trip to P.R. and we planned it around being able to stay here again.”, Sara A., Doylestown, OH           

Hunter Travel Guides – Adventure Guide to Puerto Rico, 4th Ed. – One of the top 10 places to stay on the island.

“A great escape.  Mary Lee’s by the Sea transports visitors to another time and place.  During the past 40 years, Mary Lee has slowly created a secret village of unique casas and casitas between the subtropical dry forest to the north and the Caribbean Sea.  Her gardens gurgle with water and are full of exotic plants and treasures gathered over decades of beachcombing.  Accommodating two to eight people, each unit is named rather than numbered.  Painted bright Caribbean colors and softly lit at night by old-fashioned  Chinese hanging lanterns.  Haitian grass mats carpet the floors and each has something that makes it special: an indoor waterfall in “Ruthie” (named after Mary Lee’s mother), a four poster bed in “Tranquila” and an oval courtyard in “Pacifica”.  All come with a fully equipped kitchen, BBQ and access to washer and dryer (TV is an extra charge).”

“We’ve been coming here for 15 years and it’s just a wonderful place!”  Francisco S., San Juan, PR

The accommodations were wonderful! We hope to come back.” Nina R., Wayland, MA

View from the cliff walk in the forest

View from the cliff walk in the forest

ULYSSES; François Henault, Travel Writer: There are places that transport you to a dream world and make you wish the vacation would never end.  Mary Lee’s by the Sea is one of these. Mary Lee has created a unique and peaceful atmosphere with surroundings in a style that is gay, colorful and refined.”

“Very tranquil and relaxing location.  We were able to get into the island groove quickly.  Quaint atmosphere away from hustle of large resorts.  Nicely equipped facility.  Thank You!!!”, Thomas and Lynn H.’, Huntington Beach, CA

“10 years visiting! We love it!” Jason C., Dorado, PR

FODORS’s – 3rd Edition – Under Fodor’s Choice:  Mary Lee’s by the Sea, Guanica – Tranquility reigns at this colorful complex of apartments and suites with fully equipped kitchenettes.  It’s a wonderful place to escape after a day of sun and sea.  

“Las facilidades son cómodas y excelente. Me facinó el lugar.”  Jorge C., Aguada, PR

“When I saw the name “Mary lee’s by the Sea” I had to say yes! My fiancée is also Mary Lee.  We had a truly relaxing & wonderful time.  Thank you for making our stay in paradise one to remember.” Ken and Mary Lee K., Lacey, WA



Frommers – Puerto Rico – “A favorite” Owned and operated by Michigan born Mary Lee Alvarez, a former resident of Cuba and a self described “compulsive decorator.” … The entire compound, which grew in an artfully erratic way, is landscaped with flowering shrubs, trees and vines.  Overall the ambiance is kind and low key.”

We had a awesome time here.  Very comfortable.  Closest to the dream vacation we had imagined. Mary Lee and staff are amazing.”, Felix S., Jersey City, NJ.

“I’ve loved it!’, Gabriele C., Revere, Italy

Let’s Go – Puerto Rico“it’s difficult to surpass the cutesiness of the name, but this lovely guest house manages to do just that.  U.S. expat Mary Lee has put extensive care into the decorations of each room.  Haitian grass rugs, brightly colored curtains, and lots of small white lights create a charming and utterly tropical effect.”

“We wish we had found this place sooner & had stayed our whole trip.  Thank you!  Kristen P, Acworth, GA

“Great place, Great People, We enjoyed ourselves very much – we’ll be back.  Thanks Mary Lee and staff.”, Tim & Pat S., Green Bay, WI

View of the back side of Ballena

View of the back side of Ballena

We have also been written up in the The New York SunNew York TimesThe Orlando SentinelConde Nast TravelerRichmond Times DispatchSt. Paul Pioneer PressNY Magazine, Spring 08, Travel Holiday & many others. 

Shmoop is a very imaginative online learning community that deftly wields witty prose and artsy aesthetic to destroy the forces of boredom

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