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“This place is amazing but know what it is before you go”

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Rainforest Fruit Farm
Leuven, Belgium
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“This place is amazing but know what it is before you go”
Reviewed 16 November 2012

I was just telling a friend about the great experience we had here, came on Trip Adviser to show him and when I saw the reviews I knew I had to write one. You should first know that to call Robin Phillips, the owner, eccentric might even be an understatement. However, he is incredibly intelligent, extremely nice and hospitable and anyone could learn a lot from him if they took the time to talk with him. The cabins are VERY basic and rustic, but you will literally be sleeping in the middle of a fantastic natural environment that cant be beat. There is plenty of fruit, just not all of it grows during the same season so you just need to ask Robin or his family where the current fruit is and how to pick it. I highly recommend the rain forest tour on the old electric plant land with the climb up to the secluded waterfalls. You can either pay a little and have Robin take you or just ask him how to get there and he will be happy to tell you. Yes the toilette of the cabin is totally outdoors and unenclosed but it is completely secluded and when you are sitting on it you will have a breathtaking view. I highly recommend this place for anyone who likes adventure, I can pretty much promise you an unforgettable experience! Just really, don't expect luxury in any form...

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank MeganFoster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 reviews from our community

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English first
Fort Pierce, Florida
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 October 2012

I planned a nine day trip to PR back in April while I was in Afghanistan. I booked the "Fruit Farm" cabin for the 14th and 15th of October 2012. My wife and I are both adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiast. We have no problem making do without the special things and comforts of 5 star accommodations. Upon arrival we were greeted by a young preteen boy, he informed me that I could not park at the house I had to park my car down on the road (Route 191). No big deal. The owner's residence was more of a junk yard than a house. There was no adult present at the home. Robin was apparently in North Carolina... I parked at the road grabbed my assault pack with the basics (tea candles matches bug spray flashlights etc.) my wife followed suit. We were first led under a half shed half carport that had an 80's Toyota truck that had not been moved in years and had been used as a dumpster. We walked across corrugated steel roof panels after there where we were informed the tree to our right was an Avocado tree (No fruit on it or any of the other random barely alive "trees" on the "farm"). Continuing up the hill littered with buckets and horse droppings and a random steel cable that winds it's way up the mountain... I asked the boy how often they had people up here, he hesitated and said "often". You could obviously tell no one had been up there in a while. We made it to the "tent site" that was mentioned before. The shell of a building with a tent in it looked as if it too was now being used as dumpster/junk storage. We reached the "cabin" and first thing propped up against the door was a gallon fruit juice container full of urine. The bed was made, but not clean. The porch I almost fell through due to faulty construction and rotting wood. I placed our things on the bed and sat on the porch with my wife, the seven year would not leave. I finally had to pay him four dollars to go away. We stayed in the cabin for about 30 minutes before I wanted to go up the El Yunque gate on the south end of Route 191 (the road the "fruit farm" is on). The south gate even though within open hours was closed, and apparently always is now. Save your money stay in Rio Grande somewhere and hike The La Mina, La Coca, Mt Britton and if you can find it the Juan Diego trails on the north side of Route 191. Remember the gate on Route 191 at La Coca closes at 6pm though so park outside and walk in. Juan Diego trails are not marked, but follow the Juan Diego stream uphill from where it crosses 191 for an awesome climb and quite a few falls that destroy La Mina and La Coca. The south end of 191 is disgusting covered in litter broken glass and other VERY unsanitary items. It is supposed to be maintained by the hydroelectric authority at the base of the draw... We returned to the car and on the drive back from the gate I had pretty much made my mind that I was not staying in the cabin, but it was not set in stone yet. We walked back up the hill/path/junk yard/ horse manure trail scouring the hills looking for some kind of FRUIT on the farm. None in sight we did see quite a few of the native nuisance mango trees that are everywhere on the island and two Carambola trees. We made it back to the cabin and I walked under it around to the outdoor bare all toilet. The ground around the base of it was gone it had eroded away from the concrete that was dumped on the ground forming a makeshift pad... The toilet reservoir lid was busted in half the bowl filled with fecal matter and would not flush PERIOD. It was not set. We were leaving. Keep the $80 Phillips Fruit Farm, everyone else save your money stay away from this scam. By these standards I could collect $200 a night for you to stay in my daughter’s tree fort on my 1/3 acre property in FL; at least you would see plenty of fruit trees that way… This place is dangerous a huge liability but with WORK could easily be cleaned up and made a little cleaner/nicer. Work is the key word.

Room Tip: Ask them to email you updated pictures of any of their sites, do NOT trust their webpage. Everything...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank FLDonnyBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shreveport, LA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 June 2012

Forget everything these people say about the cabin and the fruit farm. Robin is an excellent host and I still communicate with him today via facebook. I dont know what the cityfolks from Cali expected, but this place is an excellent mountainside accommodation (I will admit its not the Ritz--but if you want the Ritz stay in San Juan---more importantly dont take your "new wife" to the middle of the rainforest with ridiculous expectations on bugless accommodations). It is expected that a RAINFOREST should be overgrown. It is expected for one to encounter animals/bugs in the RAINFOREST. (I guess Trojan expected that out of all of the millions of coquis that one wouldnt get into the cabin) I plan on returning to Robins fruit farm. I give it 4 stars out of 5. Go here if you want to : experience the rainforest, get away from the crowds, learn about ALL the plants, and meet a nice, humble tour guide.

P.S. I went with 5 other people and we stayed in the cabin just fine. Also, we went on 3 Kings Day and had free music from the valley somewhere....

Room Tip: There's only one and its freakin sweet.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with friends
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2 Thank BrianWheeler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 November 2011

I've stayed in a lot of places, from resorts to camping sites, and I've never been so itching to get home from my trip to write a review as I have been for the "Rainforest Fruit Farm." So now I can scratch that itch, and be done with this. The truth... it will set you free, as they say, but it can also be distorted and misleading.

On the web site for the cabin, you will see all of the following statements... and they are all pretty much true. However, for each, I've added some EXTRA truth that you should know, as you visualize this mountain retreat.

TRUE: The house is a short hike up from your car, and the cabin is a hike up from the house, on a jungle path. MORE TRUE: The path takes you through a veritable junk yard (you're here!), is not maintained at all (bring a machete!), and is NOT (as I had visualized) something you'll be carrying your morning coffee and eggs up from the "kitchen" to your new wife. It's slippery, poorly marked, and dangerous.

TRUE: There is a kitchen and toilet in the main house you can use. MORE TRUE: The main house is a junk heap, the kitchen is a horrible mess a locked up old mobile home part of the house. Junk is piled to the ceiling, but the owner mentioned that there is a foos ball table in there somewhere if we wanted to come down the jungle trail, ask for a key, and dig it out of the junk. Yeah, right. The toilet/outhouse is a moldy, frog-filled, chamber of skank that I would not even use... and I was in the Peace Corps, in Haiti.

TRUE: You will be surrounded by the sounds of coqui frogs, totally enveloped in nature. MORE TRUE: The frogs are amazing, and we did enjoy that (except for the one that found it's way into the cabin and kept us up all night.) However, you will also be surrounded by rats that live in/around the cabin. My wife saw one, and I shoe'd one away from our food that night. We were told by our gracious host to keep all the window slats closed so no "mice" get in. See all those open, airy pictures on the web site? Forget that... keep it locked up or the plague of rats is coming for you! Not that keeping things shut matters, as there are any number of little cracks and holes in the rafters and doors for critters to crawl. We heard past customers have found rats in the bed, I'm kind of amazed we didn't.

TRUE: There is a toilet at the cabin and a 2000 gallon natural rain water tank. The cabin has a double bed, sheets, blankets, a mosquito net, some leftover stuff to use from past guests. MORE TRUE: The bed was NOT made when Robin walked us up to it. He sent us out to the balcony while he changed the top sheet quickly from past guests. There were indeed extra blankets in the blue cabinet you can see pictured on his site, but they were behind broken glass, food-crusted and rusty silverware, random old tools, and some containers of gasoline or oil or something. The cabinet was a horror show, with a roll of toilet paper at least (thanks!) I opened it, scavenged for a couple candles, locked it shut, and tried to erase it from memory. I'll attach a picture of the toilet, which as the previous reviewer mentions, was inoperable since there was not enough water in the tank to fill it (so, you can use a bucket if you want.)

TRUE: There are views to the East, the cabin sits on a fruit farm with all different kinds of trees. MORE TRUE: Any views from the cabin are long-ago overgrown and all you can see are the trees around you (which is pretty cool.) If you brought your machete, boots, and walking stick you can climb up above the cabin on the hill and get some great views, though they are no better than what you get hiking on a nice clean path in El Yunque. There are indeed many fruit trees, and it looks like long ago they were labeled. Robin can also tell you about them... but any visions you may have about walking amongst the rows and picking mangoes you should drop, as it is heavily forested and there is little rhyme or reason to the farm.

TRUE: There are tent sites on the property. MORE TRUE: One of them, described as having "zinc roofing" and a "plywood floor" is actually the shell of a half-built house that is full of petrol jugs, broken glass, re-bar, and fright. We actually had to raid this place in the dark, in hopes of finding some working candles. I rummaged through a bag full of broken glass and burnt things to try and find one... it didn't work. Mind you, we had flashlights, but don't believe him when he tells you there are plenty of candles. Of the ten we found, only one lit... a Jesus candle that looked down upon us, hopefully protecting us through the night. Thank you Jesus for getting us through the night.

TRUE: There is a grill to use. MORE TRUE: It's out behind the cabin, and is really the rusted remnant of two or three separate grills. It took masterful skill for me to move it to the deck, set it up on some bricks I took from under the cabin, balance the grates so I could cook on it, and convince my wife she was not going to get any infectious diseases from anything I cooked on it. I used it for a fire pit, actually, and then put it back. He could buy a darn $20 Weber grill and put it up there and it would be 100 times better.

THE GOOD: Regardless of the above truths, and the plain fact that the owner is misleading you greatly regarding the cabin, he is nonetheless VERY knowledgeable about the forest, the history of the area, and the local hikes. I get the feeling (I know, actually) that he definitely takes you "beyond" the bounds of a normal hike (and park regulations) as a guide... so if you are into that (I am) then you'll like him for that. While I'll never consider him as a lodging resource, I'd definitely look him up as a trail guide.

THE BAD: There are many things that could be easily cleaned up (the broken glass, MAKE THE BED, the garbage dump, some working candles, the broken deck chairs, the moldy old cooler.) It's obvious he's not spent a single day keeping this place in shape in months. There was trash in the room from the previous people who stayed there (I actually went through it looking for paper or candles.) Robin is making little / no effort to keep this place up, and you shouldn't reward him with your money.

THE UGLY: Despite all this, Robin cheerfully takes you up there and shows you the place like everything is normal. He came sliding down a fireman's pole onto a pile of rubble and welcomed us like we just arrived on Fantasy Island. When we decided to leave after one night, he demanded quite seriously I pay him IN FULL for the second night that we "reserved" but did not stay. We went up the street to a much better (and more expensive, admittedly) place. I think he's is harmlessly delusional, for what it's worth.

FINALLY: The place is NOT worth the price. The price would have to be $10 at most, for that cabin, for a night. There are other camp sites locally that have running water, bathrooms, and I presume are much nicer (even if they are just a flat piece of grass) than this cabin. We should have walked away from it when we saw the house, and hopefully this clarity will help you make your own decision before you pay him.

HOWEVER... If you've convinced yourself that you want to rough it and stay here anyway, and that I'm just a ninny, then great, but do these things: bring a headlamp and a flashlight, two good long-burning windproof candles, a sleeping bag and a pad and sleep on the deck where it's breezy and clean (I slept out there in a hammock.) Don't sleep on that ratty bead. Bring a backpacker stove and fuel, so you can make some coffee and stuff in the morning. Basically, treat it like you are backpacking and staying in a lean-to on trail. If you set your expectations to zero for the accommodations, and just enjoy the forest, then you will be fine. If you want to pay $40 a night for a lean-to then that's your perogative.

I just don't want any more people going there with the wrong expectations and having a horrible stay. We heard there were many who straight-up LEAVE when they see his house (we almost did) and others who leave after a night (like we did.) I'm sorry, the owner seems like a nice enough and interesting guy, but give him your money ahead of time at your own risk. Above is 100% accurate as of November 2011.

Room Tip: There is only one "room" here, the cabin. The best tip I can give you is read my entire re...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank Trojan55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edgerton, Wisconsin
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2011

I could find very little on Phillip's Rainforest Fruit Farm before our trip (I recently found a locked forum topic on Trip Advisor). My original e-mail was answered promptly but following e-mails were either not returned at all or required a follow up phone call (during which we had to keep correcting the dates of our stay). You pay in full before you arrive. I requested a receipt via e-mail and did not receive one. Less than a week before my trip the owner called to ask if we were still coming and to again ask what dates we were staying.

It can be difficult to find but you finally end up on 191 look for a small sign on the right side of the road. Parking is free but on the road so do not keep anything valuable inside.

We arrived after dark and were shown the way to the cabin by Robin's son (nice kid! We did have to ask him and his friend to leave when they started to settle in on the hammocks on the porch.). Its a steep but fairly easy quarter mile walk. The only time this became an issue was after a few of our "adventure" excursions in which we were exhausted.

We were told the cabin had a toilet and a shower. There was literally a toilet plumbed in the open next to the cabin (keep in mind there are campsites in the area). The rain tanks were empty and it didn't work. We think we found what the shower was supposed to be, but again, the tanks were empty. There was a shower and toilet plumbed from the house at the bottom of the trail; the owner's son said the hot water was broken and that his dad wouldn't be fixing it any time soon.

The family was nice enough and we were given a hand drawn map of the area with which we were able to find El Hippie easily.

The cabin was small but clean. The bed was more comfortable than a hotel in San Juan we'd stayed at. We were fortunate not to have any bugs but I imagine the mosquito netting will need to be used at times. The panoramic views mentioned on the website are not from the cabin porch but rather on the way down.

Throughout our trip we felt comfortable enough to leave our luggage in the cabin, even while we stayed a night in San Juan for an excursion.

If you're looking for a cheap place to stay akin to camping you can't beat the price (we never really got a "fruit farm" experience). You get what you pay for. I could have done without the stress of making (and keeping) our reservation. There is a good local restaurant and off of (35?) there is a local gas station and a great little coffee/pastry shop. Aside from El Hippie the south side of El Yunque isn't anything to write home about. Plan on 2 hour+ drives into and out of San Juan and local areas during heavy traffic times when planning your arrival if you don't want to hike in the dark.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ashen15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rainforest Fruit Farm

Property: Rainforest Fruit Farm
Address: Box 4449 HC 1, Naguabo 00718, Puerto Rico
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Naguabo
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Naguabo
Also Known As:
Rainforest Fruit Farm Puerto Rico/Naguabo

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