Timor-Leste visit

This item appears on page 56 of the January 2012 issue.

A friend and I visited Baucau, Timor-Leste (East Timor), May 27-June 4, 2011. Timor-Leste uses the US dollar as currency.

In Baucau, I would avoid New Town. Because of high unemployment, shacks, crowds and no tourist sites, it “felt dangerous” to us. We recommend staying one night in Villa Antigua (Old Town) and two nights at the beach. Reservations weren’t necessary.

In Baucau, Pousada de Baucau (phone +670 724 1111) in Villa Antigua is the luxury traveler’s only option. It has all the modern conveniences and English is spoken.

We didn’t stay there ($65 per night for a double, including breakfast) but dined there and loved the food (meals $6-$13). They had a good Portuguese wine list.

The pousada was the only place for WiFi; we paid $1 per hour to use it, though it’s free for guests.

We did stay at Abrachriste, on Rua Familia and one block northwest of Pousada de Baucau; it’s the budget- to mid-range-traveler’s choice. Basic English is spoken. Our double room, one of four rooms in the main building, had air-conditioning and hot water and cost $15-$25. Breakfast cost an additional $2.

After we were settled in, we saw they had another room built as a cave in a limestone cliff! It would have been an excellent, unique spot to stay.

In Osolata fishing village, aka Baucau Beach and Pantai Wataboo Beach, we stayed at Baucau Beach Bungalows (phone 7397467 or 7469246). From Baucau Old Town, the bungalows are located five to seven kilometers sharply downhill toward the sea.

Right on the beach, with a creek adjacent, our bungalow, built of wood, bamboo and palm, had five beds and a bathroom plus a fan only and power at night. Beds cost $15 per person, with breakfast. Dinner cost $8. English was spoken.

Here’s how to reach the beach from Baucau: riding one of the microlets (shared minibuses), which cost $1 but are infrequent; catching a motorbike ride, $3; renting a microlet as a taxi, $12 per person, double, or taking a pleasant walk of less than one hour.

Winter Haven, FL