Rincon, a tranquil beach town, is located on the West Coast of Puerto Rico, where the Atlantic joins the Caribbean. Its unique location made it the perfect venue for the World Surfing Championship events that took place 1968. It is still recognized for its world-class surfing beaches. In fact, it has a beautiful community of locals and surfing enthusiasts from around the world. October to April is the best time to surf in Rincon, but if there’s something you can enjoy whole year round, it’s the town’s clear blue waters.
Ready for your ultimate beach trip? Here are some of the best things to see and experience in the paradise that is Rincon!
1. Sandy Beach
For beach loafers, Sandy Beach in the northern part of Rincon is where you’ll want to be. Its calm vibe is ideal for those who simply want to relax or go sunbathing. Occasionally, you might find families playing volleyball and individuals searching for sea glass, but nothing too loud to disturb your well-deserved beach vacation. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see turtles and iguanas, which inhabit the area. Location-wise, Sandy Beach is also a good choice because it is within walking distance to restaurants and bars serving local specialties. Don’t forget to order some tapas, which are best enjoyed with a few cocktail drinks and a view of the sea!
2. Domes Beach
Puerto Rico is the surfing capital of the Caribbean. Great surfing spots are scattered throughout the country and one of the most popular spots is located in the town of Rincon. Located right next to a lighthouse and an inactive nuclear reactor, Domes Beach boasts strong waves, making it ideal for experienced surfers. As early as seven in the morning, you will find both locals and foreigners testing the waves. The fun continues at the beach even during sundown, when people fill the bars and settle down with a drink after a day of surfing. Swimming is prohibited in the area, which is why it is not recommended for kids. However, children can still enjoy beachcombing on Domes Beach.
3. Tres Palmas Marine Reserve
Spring and summer in Rincon means the waters are generally calmer, encouraging surfers to take a break. This opens up opportunities for snorkelling. One of the best snorkelling spots in town is the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, which encompasses three beaches named Dogman’s Beach, Little Malibu Beach, and Steps Beach. The best time of the day to snorkel here is during early morning, when the waters are the calmest and the clearest. Some of the underwater creatures you might encounter here include parrotfish, blue tangs, surgeonfish, bottlenose dolphins, and hawksbill turtles.
4. El Faro Lighthouse
El Faro de Punta Higuero, simply known as the Rincon Lighthouse, is home to a maritime museum and a viewing platform. Overlooking Desecheo Island, it is one of the most popular among the 16 lighthouses in Rincon. The original structure was built in 1892, but it was damaged by an earthquake and was replaced by the current 70 foot (21.33 m) tower in 1922. At present, it offers a relaxing setting, as well as great views of the surrounding beach. Between January and March, dolphins can also be spotted from the lighthouse’s viewing deck.
5. Desecheo Island
Desecheo Island is an uninhabited area, managed and protected by the United States Fish and Wildlife Refuge. It is off-limits to the public, but you can still see the reefs surrounding the island by booking a scuba diving tour. The island’s deep and clear waters boasts of reefs in various sizes and colors, as well as reef fish and sponges. Its visibility is up to 150 feet (45.72 m), and is a great place for diving for both beginner and experienced scuba divers. Aside from the underwater creatures, there are also several pieces of artillery lying on the ocean floor.
6. Rincon Surf School
There’s no better place to learn surfing than in the Caribbean’s surfing capital. Rincon Surf School, the longest-running surf school in town, offers various classes that cater to different groups and individuals who want to learn how to ride the waves. There are group lessons designed for solo travelers who want to learn surfing in a group setting, and private solo lessons for one-on-one coaching. If you are bringing your own group, then the private group lessons are for you. Meanwhile, more experienced surfers who want to improve their skills are welcome to join guided adventures.
7. Rincon art galleries
Rincon has a low key yet interesting art scene. If you’re an art enthusiast, you should check out various art galleries in its downtown area. Most of them are filled with paintings and sculptures, as well as jewelry, handicrafts, and Caribbean-themed items available for purchase. One example is the Secret Garden Art Gallery, a mini-art exhibition set in a quiet tropical garden. It is quite small, but it has a souvenir shop selling unique items you might want to bring home. There’s also the Galeria Exodo, a subordinate of a popular museum originally established in the city of San Juan. It features artworks from both local and international artists.
8. Rincon Town Square
Located right in the heart of Rincon is a town square, a newly-renovated public area surrounded by local business. Sunday is the best day to take a stroll in this part of the town, when it is teeming with people, including both local and foreign travelers. Concerts and other seasonal performances are also held at the plaza regularly. Both a cultural center and a food hub, it is an ideal place to take a break from your beach activities. Some of the best restaurants at the Rincon Town Square include Dulcis Vita, which offers coffee and pastries and La Ana de Cofresi, which is famous for its fine Caribbean and Puerto Rican cuisine.
9. Rincon Beer Company
Also located at Rincon Town Square is the Rincon Beer Company, a brewpub known for its handcrafted artisanal beers. Considered the first brewpub in western Puerto Rico, it is a full bar serving their own in-house beers together with other local and imported beers. On Thursdays and Saturdays, they host music performances with local artists like Juan Carlos Diaz, Dharma Initiative, and Reggaecoustics. They even hold open mic nights, which are live shows where the audience may perform. If you can sing or play a musical instrument, make sure to grab this chance to showcase your skills!
10. Puerto Rican food
Complete your vacation in Rincon with a taste of local specialty food! One of Puerto Rico’s national dishes is Arroz con Dulce, which is made of sweet sticky rice, milk, ginger, raisins, spices, and rum. It is commonly cooked in households during Christmas but also available commercially year-round. Another must-try is the Arroz con Gandules y Lechón, which is basically roasted pork with yellow rice and pigeon peas. Of course, don’t forget to wash down your meal with a glass of Piña Colada, Puerto Rico’s national beverage.
Rincon, your ultimate beach vacation
Aptly nicknamed as “The Town of Beautiful Sunsets,” Rincon is for anyone who loves the beach life. If you’re a surfing enthusiast or not, you should come here at least once in your lifetime!
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