Thursday, August 16, 2018

Exploring Rincon, Puerto Rico's Surf Town

Puerto Rico has became a go-to spot for Americans to visit and get their beach fix - no passport needed, beautiful beaches, tropical food, turquoise water and a shorter flight than some destinations. Some stop by cruise ship and some never venture further than the capital city of San Juan. But there's a wealth of things to do and beauty all over the island - and one of those spots is Rincon, located in the northwest corner of the island. Less touristy than some of the areas of the island, Rincon is super laid back with very little "must see" places. It's a lie on the beach, take a surf lesson and have a tropical drink kind of place.

Day 1
Our first day was spent at Sandy Beach, where we were staying with Mr. UR's college roommate. Rincon was host to the 1968 Surfing Championships and has been known as the Surfing Capital of the Caribbean since then. Sandy Beach is known for being a good beach for surfers and you can take surf lessons there. We had a good day on the beach and enjoyed watching a few surfers and a few learning how.

A short walk from the condo is Pool Bar Sushi, one of my favorite places in Rincon. Directly across from Pools Beach, Pool Bar shows surf flicks on a big screen and has a pool to swim in. The food is delicious - you can get a california roll or a Roll to Happiness and also enjoy live music. (Closed on Thursdays)

Day 2
Our second day found us back at the beach just steps from the condo. We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon just chilling on the sand.

We called it a day early so we could head into town and enjoy Rincon's Art Walk - the weekly art and farmers market held the first Thursday of every month.  It seemed everyone in town was there and out enjoying the good weather along with buying crafts, baked goods, lovely jewelry and even books. It's a great place to get local souvenirs. Held in Rincon's Town Plaza.

Before getting to town though we stopped to catch a view of Maria's Beach, another famous surfing beach and visit the Punta Higuero Lighthouse which is known for it's fantastic views.  Then we got some tropical drinks and parked ourselves in the adirondack chairs at The Beach House to watch the sunset. The Beach House is a bar/restaurant and boutique guest house with views of not only the sunset but also the lighthouse. We enjoyed some dinner - it's known for it's fresh, local fare - and then headed to town. Just be wary of the feral cats hanging around - they bite!

Tamboo Beside the Pointe, voted one of the Top Ten Beach Bars in the World, sits on Sandy Beach so my daughter and her friend decided they couldn't let our visit go by without checking it out. A double decker bar sitting a few steps from the ocean, Tamboo also serves food and has guest rooms.  (The old folks stayed home to rest up for tomorrow's beach day.)

Day 3
Another beautiful beach day on Sandy Beach. We did a little beach reading while Mr. UR tried out the surf. 

A few of us had had enough sun so we went in search of a waterfall. El Ultimo Brinco - which means The Last Jump - Waterfall is located a few miles outside of town. It's not easy to find and there is a walk involved down a gravel road (isn't that the way with good waterfalls?) but it was a fun place to cool off. The rains came in quickly and we made a run for the car.

After our waterfall excursion, we decided that we needed to go to Villa Cofresi, a hotel that has excellent sunset views from the Bohio Beach Bar, and try one of their famous tropical Pirate's Special - served in a coconut. Lip smacking good - if not a bit strong - but When in Rome, right?

Hungry now, our friend took us high into the mountains to enjoy one of his favorite restaurants - I believe it was called La Vista Linda - we all had mofongo, a Puerto Rican dish with fried plantains as it's main ingredient.  We ate on the patio and enjoyed the lights of the cities of Mayaguez and Anasco spread out below us. 
Photo credit: Jessie

Day 4
Since this was our last day, we decided to change things up a bit and head to the Public Beach - Rincon Balneario.(Free parking, showers, shops and a bar) We had reserved two jet ski's here so those that wanted to ride, could and those that wanted to chill, could also do that. This beach had lots of families and what looked to be a fitness boot camp going on, the water temps were great and the water was super calm so it was a fantastic place to swim. So that's what I did. Everyone was starting to get hungry - time for lunch! And then the clouds started looking quite ominous - a storm was blowing in! Time to pack up and hightail it home.

For our last evening we voted on a return to Pool Bar Sushi. It was certainly a hit. Pools Beach and Puerto Rico really cooperated in giving us an incredible sunset for our send off that evening. 

Unfortunately, all trips must come to an end. As much as our friend who was hosting us loves us (You do, don't you Larry?)it was time to give him his condo back and fly home. But if you're into a totally laid-back vacation with a little surfing and some fun sunset watching thrown in, get thee to Rincon. You'll love it.

The island of Puerto Rico was decimated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Fortunately, our friend and his residence were ok. Power and water weren't restored for several months. Our friend began a drive to help Rincon residents with needs like flashlights, tarps, bug spray and other essential recovery items. Next he went to work on receiving Christmas presents for the children of Rincon. Both were a huge success.

How about you? Have you been to Puerto Rico? Surfed in Rincon?

Linking up with: Women Around the World at Communal Global, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond, The Weekend Wanderlust Weekend Travel Blog Party and Sharon's Souvenirs!