enjoy the BEAUTIFUL cercadillo community
and ITS spectacular views in cayey, Puerto Rico

Just one hour away from San Juan. PR-52 Exit #39, Road 715 Cayey, Puerto Rico


Located in scenic Cercadillo community in Cayey, El Pretexto serves as the first culinary farm lodge in Puerto Rico offering a peaceful space to unwind, retreat and relax. El Pretexto is our beautiful home that we choose to share with our guests. It is operated by the owner with love and dedication. A lodge combined with a small agroecological farming area, an orchard, an endemic agro-forest and culinary pop-up experiences. Is important to clear out that we are not a restaurant. El Pretexto has amazing views from the mountain all the way to the south coast of Puerto Rico.

In order to provide a great experience we only receive visitors with reservations. To allow all guests to enjoy, unwind and relax El Pretexto is an adult only venue. To protect our lungs and our farming, cigarette smoking is not allowed on premises.


reviews & Press

An amazing alternative to the beach and city
— Condé Nast Traveler
Deep in the lush mountains of Cayey, in the central-southeast of the island, there is a farm lodge called El Pretexto. Its name fittingly translates to “the excuse” — as in, a darned good reason to swap the swimsuit for some hiking boots. The views alone, especially during the pastel-hued sunsets, justify at least one night’s stay.
— Travel and Leisure Magazine

"Where should I start? The views are incredible. The home straight out of a magazine. It has a rustic country feel and has everything you could need. Crystal was so accommodating and warm! From ensuring we were comfortable to breakfast in the morning- you must visit! I’m so impressed by everything that I can’t wait to return! Don’t hesitate- just book!" — Maria, Boston, MA

"Wonderful retreat in the mountains. If you are looking to relax and connect with nature this is the place. Also, breakfast was delicious with all the farm to table food. They will make you feel like home. " — Ana, San Juan, PR

"The place is private, surrounded by nature, very quiet and relax. I could appreciate and enjoy beautiful views of the south of Puerto Rico. 100% recommended." — Magaly, Trujillo Alto, PR

"Amazing stay and amazing hosts! Our two day stay was just phenomenal. The ambient was completely authentic and I loved to hear the coquí outside our window. The breakfast was outstanding as they are amazing chefs. All I have is great things to say about El Pretexto and it's amazing hosts." — Nathalie, Dunedin, FL

Complete articles:




Crystal Díaz — Owner and creator. Empowered woman with 15+ years of experience in media and marketing. Passionate about food, its origins, agriculture, cooking and the way that food connects us all. A woman in her 30s that is in the constant search of a peaceful, balanced way of living.

Rafael Ruiz — Partner in crime. Supportive boyfriend that also loves food, everything local and that among many things is a great cook, professional photographer and videographer (pretty much he gets credits for all the photos and videos in this website) and creator of the best and most important food blog in Puerto Rico: La Mafia (yes, you should check it out: @lamafiapuertorico as well as his Youtube Channel with the amazing mini-documentary series: Eat, Drink, Share)

Natalia Vallejo — Great friend and supporter since day one. Incredible chef and one of the pioneers of the real farm to table movement in Puerto Rico. She did what other thought impossible: 85% of her previous restaurant kitchen produce came from local producers. She opened her own project: Cocina al Fondo in Miramar, San Juan (is amazing, you all should go!) but she's the house favorite invited chef :)

Farmers and key people — There is no way that this idea came up without the inspiration of local farmers and producers of every corner in Puerto Rico but is important to name the few that I truly admire and keep close: Luis Guzmán from Cidra, Daniella Rodríguez Besosa from Siembra Tres Vidas in Aibonito, Camille Collazo of Visit Rico and her amazing work in create an organized, community-based agrotourism in Puerto Rico (check it out too: visitrico.org) and Ray Rodríguez from Puerto Rico al Sur, an organization that promotes Community-based Tourism in a sustainable and eco-friendly setting (check their events on FB: @puertoricoalsur)



Originally a stay away weekend country house, El Pretexto was acquired by the end of 2016 and was completely transformed in 2017 to be our home and the place where our personal kitchen garden would be developed. But soon we realized that El Pretexto was a special place that should be shared so the idea of a lodge came up. Hurricane María hit us and our community really hard. In one day, we went from "ready to open" to no deck left, 25 trees less, neighbors without roof and no electric power for 8 months. Despite all that, we continued to work hard in the recovery. We rebuilt the deck along with Samuel and Freddy and a generator. We cleaned up the fallen trees for three long months with the help of Cheo, many volunteers and a donation of Foundation for Puerto Rico. We rebuild the farming raised beds with the collaboration of Guagua Solidaria and Fondo de Resiliencia. We could acquire the new two villas thanks to Colmena 66, SBTDC, Oriental Bank and SBA and here we are now, still a long way to be where we want to be but happy to be back on track, resilient as ever and ready to keep working for Puerto Rico. This 2019 summer we finalized the Barn, our third villa with two-bedrooms.