Puerto Rico // The north coast and karst country //


The lake is signposted at PR-123 km 68, a short drive from PR-10. Park your car at the embarcadero (dock) and catch a lancha (small boat) across the lake to a restaurant of your choice. At weekends the restaurants will ferry you across in their own boats, but you can also use the public lanchas that operate from 6.30am and run every hour between 10am and 5.30pm (free; t 787/879-1838), though it’s supposed to be locals only from 3pm. These boats also run on weekdays and you can enjoy a free spin around the lake, a round trip taking around an hour.

On weekend mornings you’ll be amiably accosted by representatives of each restaurant at the embarcadero: all offer a similar experience, but the best is Rancho Marina (t 787/894-8034, w www.ranchomarina.com; Sat & Sun only 10am–6pm), set in tropical gardens on a quiet stretch of the lake, with a friendly, rustic atmosphere and fresh food cooked in nouvelle Puerto Rican style. Try the albondigas (meat balls in creole sauce, $5.50) or fried cheese with guava sauce ($6) to start, followed by breaded rabbit in tropical sauce ($15.95), or mashed plantain stuffed with chicken ($12.95). Otoao (t 787/312-7118; Fri–Sun) comes a close second, specializing in fricasés (thick stews served with rice; $13.50) of rabbit, lamb and veal.

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