playas aplenty around Rincón. Sat on Puerto Rico’s western coast, this laid-back
town dips its toes in the Caribbean Sea, while – northwards – the
Atlantic rolls at its side. Sandy beaches connect the two shores:
Dogman, Indicators, Los Almendros, Domes, Córcega; Almendro; Steps.
It’s a surf town, and with good reason.
The diversity of these swells pulls in amateurs and experts
alike. Visit when the World Surf League takes over town and Rincón
buzzes with an infectious energy. Arrive out of season, and you’ll
find quieter beaches frequented by local barrel riders.
Stoked coffee’s Dagi Rodríguez, left, and downtown
Stroll into town, weaving through the groups of dominoes players
as they match doubles in the dappled shade of almond trees, to find
the central plaza, a cultural hub buoyed, but not dependent on, the
surfing community down the road. Shops, restaurants, cafés,
galleries, breweries – a laid-back community of entrepreneurs has
followed the surf to this gentle coastal town, and keeps it running
when the swell drops.
Whatever season you choose to visit, we recommend a stop at
coffee and surf shop situated on Playa María (María’s Beach). The
pint-sized counter buzzes from early as surfers pick up their
morning brew. This is the place to head for a forecast of the day’s
waves, and to find out what’s happening inland, too.
Order a cortado (island roast only, of course), grab some
breakfast and a fin for your board. Owner Dagi Rodríguez opened the
shop with her husband, film-maker Pepe García. We sat down over a
coffee to hear why the town is more than just a surf season
stopover. Her insider tips on exploring all Rincón has to offer
include where to find the best waves and more.
Palm-fringed paradise: A local’s guide to Rincón, Puerto
Whitewashed buildings, left, and a Sandy Beach
How would you describe Rincón’s vibe?
Rincón is chill and laid-back. Don’t come here in a rush or with
a fixed mindset. You’ll have more fun if you just go with the flow
and let this little town surprise you.
What’s the best time to visit?
I’m on a mission to change the “Rincón is seasonal” attitude.
Being a tropical island, Puerto Rico is perfect to visit any time
of year. If you’re looking to catch good waves, the best time to
head here is between November and December, and April and May. If
you’re just looking to relax at the beach, go on a hike and watch
some beautiful sunsets, then feel free to visit us any time.
Where should we stay in town?
There are superb stays all over town, ranging from Airbnb to
boutique hotels. Villa Playa María is one of my favourite places. It’s
a beautiful property, owned by a great couple, and is conveniently
located right on Playa María, so you’re in front of all the action
during the surf season.
What’s the best beach for a sunrise surf?
Playa María, Domes or Sandy, depending on where the wind is
blowing. Rincón’s surf breaks are world class. Head to Tres Palmas
(aka Steps Beach) if you’re looking for a pro-level break – the
waves can get as high as 30ft. At Dogman’s, María’s and Domes the
waves can also get quite big, but those spots are also fun and
inclusive on days when the swell is smaller.
Domes Beach, left, and a surfer catching a wave.
And where should we head for breakfast after?
English Rose is a classic. It’s located at the top of a hill
overlooking the ocean. The space has a beautiful energy. Another in
my top ten is Casa Casa Isleña, its breakfast board always hits the
spot. And, of course, you’ll need to have breakfast at Stoked at
least once. I promise you won’t regret it.
How about a low-key lunch?
If you’re looking for healthy or vegan options, there’s a few
places to check out: Passiflora, Cosecha Harvest, Sana Farm
to Table. Or, if you’re looking to misbehave, (because, hey,
you’re on a tropical island), then head to El Ancla, a beachside chinchorro [a relaxed, open-air
restaurant] at the Black Eagle Marina.
We’re meeting you for sunset pina coladas. Where are we
Let’s go to Caddy’s Calypso.
And for dinner?
Hands down, one of the most memorable dining experiences I’ve
had in the area is Reina Mora. This inconspicuous farm-to-table
restaurant is located in the town of Aguada, a 13-minute drive from
Rincón. Reservation is required.
Rincón’s colourful architecture.
Any other must-see gourmet spots?
There’s a classic farmer’s market on Sundays that you should
definitely check out. If you’re staying in an Airbnb, pick up some
sazón [an island spice seasoning for fish and meat] to use in
Tell us about a place only locals know…
Well, as Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny sings, “Si pongo el
location, ya no es un secret spot.” [“If I tell you the location,
it’s no longer a secret.”]
No, but really, if what you’re looking for is to connect with
locals in an untouristy environment, then my recommendation would
be to try your own chinchorreo. In other words, go bar-hopping
along the beaches, eating, dancing and drinking as you go. Some of
the most beautiful ones on the west side worth visiting are Crash
Boat Beach in Aguadilla, Jobos and Shacks in Isabela, and Buyé,
Sucia and Las Salinas in Cabo Rojo.
Rum is big around here. Where’s best to sample it?
If you’re looking for an artisanal rum inspired by the town,
check out Rincón Rum.
The best way to spend a Saturday night?
Choose a nice sunset dinner and call it an early night! Or, if
you’re looking to ease back with a few drinks, head to the bars
near the plaza. Try Tinto Wine Shop, La
Sirena, La Estación, and even a speakeasy that opens two
nights a week and is near the panadería [bakery]… but that’s all I
Sandy Beach, left, and a shoreside bar.
And to help with the hangover on Sunday morning?
Try double espressos, tartines [toast] and breakfast empanadas
[pastry turnovers] at Stoked. Then go for an ocean dip, followed by
laying under a palm tree and sipping on coconut water.
Rincón is known for its beaches, so which is your
Playa María is special and has a wonderful reef break. It’s
great for surfing when there’s swell, but you can also head there
to snorkel and paddle when the water is flat. You’ll spot tropical
fish and vibrant reefs – and even sea turtles if you’re lucky.
Any must-visit artisan boutiques or creatives we should drop in
Every Thursday evening at the town plaza, you can catch the
Rincón Art Walk, where local artisans and artists display their
pieces. Shops around the square stay open till late at night, so
you’ll get a chance to visit those as well.
Something to bring back as a souvenir?
Specialty Puerto Rican coffee and a tan.
Ready to plan a trip to Rincón? Start plotting at discoverpuertorico.com