An unassuming surf town, Rincon is on the Northwestern coast of Puerto Rico – about 2 hours drive from San Juan. Here you will find beautiful beaches, big waves, adventure and a surprisingly eclectic variety of restaurants. If you’re feeling a relaxing, semi-undiscovered beach town au natural, get yourself a ticket.
Where to crash and get some R&R
Ok, so even in a town like Rincon, there is always one pool-chillin’, resort livin’ place in this otherwise rustic beach town. This is one of the most impressive hotels I’ve ever visited and it in no way disturbs the beauty of the surroundings. Each suite has a private plunge pool and you can opt for a beach view where the ocean will literally break on your balcony as you enjoy an immaculate breakfast, congratulating yourself for being such a bad ass that you can afford this hotel.
Rent a House
There aren’t a lot of luxury hotel options in Rincon, so if you can’t afford the Horned Dorset to the tune of $500 plus a night, I would suggest renting one of the many immaculate houses in town. My favorites are best for large groups, but I’m sure a visit to VRBO or a site like it can turn up the perfect set-up for your vacation – big or small.
Carlos, the owner, is a man you instantly like. Upon visiting this estate, I was handed a beer to begin my tour. Then, I saw a picture of Kate Moss (my style icon!) on the wall of famous people who had stayed here. I was then whisked in and out of the 5 master suites, each with a private bath. The private pool and large Jacuzzi are situated in the lush gardens that surround the large 3-acre estate. The vibe – rainforest meets playboy mansion.
This place is epic in my mind – a non-stop party in paradise. It’s the place I stayed while vacationing and attending a wedding in Rincon – the whole 26-person crew stayed up until 4 a.m. during most of the 4-night stay because you don’t really want to go to sleep and miss a minute. The Villa features an open Spanish courtyard, 10 bedrooms, and a large pool – right on the beach. This is a place you want to bring a lot of fun friends or a large family. The vibe – Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy.
Where to chow down and then unbutton the top button
If you dropped this tapas restaurant into the middle of a city, it would be booked every night. But since it’s not a city, it has the bonus of a beachfront with a perfect view of the sunset and affordable prices. The food’s flavor combos are unexpected, fresh and delicious. When you’re done with dinner, you can head to the bar for bingo. Yep, bingo. It’s fun. Trust me.
Our crew ordered tacos to go – twice. I might have heard more about how good the tacos were than how awesome it was to have a house on the beach in Puerto Rico. A great local spot, this place sometimes features live music and apparently has a killer brunch. What to get? The tacos. Try the Calamari with sweet thai chii, unagi sauce, black bean salsa, pickled carrots and wasabi aioli.
Rincon has some great Thai food. I told you this place was eclectic. Although the ambiance warrants a step up from jean shorts and a tank top, it’s still a relaxed vibe in an open-air setting. If you like your Thai food hot like I do, be sure to ask them to step up the spice. But not too much … in typical Thai fashion, a “5” can be uneatable.
Where to drink up and get down
A great place to grab a casual drink, this sushi (great sushi!) restaurant captures the relaxed surfer vibe of Rincon. The layout is around a pool focused on a giant screen showing surf clips, while the chef serves a variety of rolls and sashimi, along with cooked options. And get this, the chef, Allison West, is the sister of the guy that owns Lucky 13. You are now a local.
Don’t bring your heels, but this is the place to be until 2 a.m. It’s right across the street from Pool’s Beach, so make a night of it or night(s) of it. There’s no shame in going every night of your vacation. Full of locals and tourists alike, it’s right on the beach and features a DJ Friday and Saturday nights so you can drink, dance, listen to the ocean and make a few poor decisions.
This is Rincon’s version of “the club,” so if you are craving a more upscale lounge with martinis, dress up (but don’t overdo it) and head to the mini mall near Edwards Market. There’s lots of white décor a la Miami, a dance floor, pulsating lights and rotates between a DJ or live music – check the schedule before you go for whatever suits your taste.
Ants in your Pants
or where to go when you can’t sit still
Rent a Paddleboard
I love the peaceful feeling of being on a paddleboard, but just make sure the waters are calm before you go out or it can be more of an adventure than you bargained for. Contact Rincon Vacations to rent for the day or week – they’ll even bring it to you so you can avoid the hassle.
Rincon draws big wave surfers, so if you’re pretty amateur like me, definitely check out the conditions before paddling out. This site gives a good overview of all the best surf beaches and if you’re looking to learn, check out Surf787 Surf School or Surf Lessons Puerto Rico.
It’s hard to find beautiful beaches that have been allowed to remain just as they are. That’s what I love about Rincon – it’s not about big resorts. So take a cue from the locals and just be. Sandy’s, Domes, Pools, Maria’s and Steps are all good spots to chill.
There’s something about being near the water that makes me want to child pose, downward dog and shavasana my way into full relaxation. And no unassuming surf town is complete without a strong yogi presence. Barefoot and La Paz come highly recommended.