Guide to Rincon, Puerto Rico
When we hopped on a flight to Puerto Rico two weeks ago we had no idea what to expect. We did no research, as it was a last minute, much needed trip. In turns out that Rincon is a sleepy surf town on the Western coast, and is nothing like the hopping tourist hubs filled with resorts and cruise ships near San Juan.
Rincon has a fledgling wellness scene, with kombucha and vegetarian/vegan options widely available. There is also a good amount of yoga offerings in Rincon. We weren’t so sure what we thought about the town for days, but in the end, it was quite lovable.
It’s the perfect spot for ocean lovers looking for diversity, as Rincon offers great surfing (the best in the Carribean!), snorkeling, and swimming beaches in a close vicinity.
NOTE: Make sure you rent a car, as Puerto Rico does not have good public transportation, and everything is driving not walking oriented. We were very happy with Charlie’s Car Rentals in San Juan. It is a local business outside of the airport with regular shuttle service to-from the airport. It was fairly affordable and they didn’t pull any BS on us with insurance, charges or damages.
WHERE TO STAY
Tres Sirenas Oceanfront Beach Hotel
All I can say is, do yourself a favor and stay here. The hotel is chic, home-y and very private. It overlooks the ocean, so you will be privy to gorgeous sunrises and can sleep to the sound of waves. heavenly. The suites also have kitchens, which is amazing if you’re staying for more than a few days and get tired of the eating out multiple times a day.
The beaches surrounding the hotel are gorgeous and the best in town for swimming/tanning/chilling. Not to mention that the owners, Lisa and Wanda are sweet and great company.
If you’re going with a big group, be sure to check out Lisa’s airbnb house that is located directly behind the hotel.
WHAT TO DO
Check out Domes Beach or Maria’s for great surfing. Board rentals and surf lessons are widely available.
We took lessons and it was a lot of fun. It is equally fun to watch the more experienced surfers do their thing from the shore.
Check out Steps Beach for amazing snorkeling. A good amount of reef with a diverse, colorful fish population. If you’re there at the right time, you could get lucky and see turtles. Note that the waves/current is a little stronger than some other snorkeling spots. Make sure you’re a confident swimmer.
Watch the Sunset
Rincon is perfectly positioned for insane sunsets on the reg. All of the beaches are prime destinations to watch. A few other destinations include the Rincon Lighthouse, which has an amazing cliffside view and the opportunity to whale watch, and Calypso and Tamboo beach bars.
There is a beach-front yoga studio called Barefoot PR, and one in town called La Paz. We didn't check out either but our hotel, Tres Sirenas, is owned by an amazing Jivamukti yoga teacher. The hotel offers classes at 9am on Saturday and Sunday for $15. Lisa, Tres Sirenas owner, teaches at her hotel and the other two studios in town. Check out her classes if you visit!
WHERE TO EAT
We were super lucky on this front, as our hotel Tres Sirenas provided complimentary vegan breakfast (which was amazing and lovingly cooked by the vegan owner, Lisa, each morning) and had a kitchen. Therefore, we only chose to eat out a few times for diversity.
Sunday Farmer’s Market
We bought so much ridiculously fresh fruits, vegetables and bread here. There were also lots of meal and smoothie options. It’s the perfect sunday brunch date -even if you don’t have a kitchen!
De La Tierra
Open Tuesday- Saturday 9am-4pm Cash or Venmo only
This is only fully vegan restaurant in town and it is a cute, tiny place attached to the yoga studio La Paz. They have 2 options available in sandwich or salad form, and the 2 options change once a week on Tuesdays. If you order a sandwich the bread is homemade. When we went there we ordered one of each option- a black bean burger and a pulled bbq jackfruit sandwich. Both were really really good (and we’re crazy picky!).
Open Thursday - Sunday 9am - 3pm Accepts Credit Cards
Ok, this place isn’t technically food, but you should go! They brew their own amazing kombucha with unique flavors like hibiscus ginger and watermelon mint in reusable bottles (must purchase or bring your own). We tried all the flavors they had at the time, and none were too sweet (which is a big problem with some fruity kombuchas!). They also serve superfood ‘wellness tonics’. It was basically like LA was transplanted to Puerto Rico. We were feeling it.
Cafe 2 Go
Open 7am-4pm Cash only
Decent coffee/lattes with almond and soy milk available. They also have smoothie bowls, which we didn’t try since our breakfast was provided. Note: it’s a little hut so it’s pretty much grab-and-go, although there is one picnic table if you want to hang for a little bit.
Open daily 4-10pm Accepts credit cards
Scene-y little restaurant in the heart of downtown. It is a great place to get a nice meal, order a drink and hang out for a while. They offer a vegan curry and pad thai. It was pretty good, but don’t expect it to be authentic or anything.
Pool Bar Sushi
Open every day but Thursday, 5:30-10pm Aceepts credit cards, bar and restaurant are separate tabs
Ok, this is one of THE places to eat out it seems. Very, very scene-y with a bar, pool and lots of young gringos. They offer a vegan sweet potato tempura roll and made us a vegan vegetable roll. We also ordered a seaweed salad and a tofu skewer.
To be honest, none of it was particularly inspiring and we wouldn’t go back. The tofu was barely cooked. They also charged us $8 for the plain veggie roll, which was higher than the basic fish options. We get it, but we also only pay $5-$6 for one in NYC.
This is a good place to go if you’re the only vegan in a group, as they clearly are super popular for their actual (fish) sushi and you will successfully find some ok options with a fun vibe.
Open Every Day 9am-6pm
Local, organic juice bar. We didn’t get a chance to check it out, but we heard good things.
Cabo Rojo- Playa Sucia
Looking for your picture-perfect Carribean beach with white sand and barely decipherable waves? This is it. Not only that, but it is in a nature reserve, so the beach is pristine and doesn’t have any resorts, bars etc. If you go, make sure you pack everything you need for the day, as there is nothing nearby.
Be sure to climb the cliffs and walk around the lighthouse for a beautiful view!
Cabo Rojo- Las Salinas
Come here to see the natural pools of pink salty water called ‘salt flats’. This is a great place for a quick stop and some pictures- I would highly recommend sunset as it was very pink and gorgeous then. We went to Playa Sucia first (you could also check out Combate or Boqueron Beach nearby) and then stopped here on the way home.
Apparently there is an observational tower where you can get a bird’s eye view of the pools, but we didn’t go there.
p.s. Bring bug spray and DO NOT GO IN THE WATER. gross.
Punta Borinquen in Aguadilla
This beach is stunning - luminous turquoise water, golden sands, no seaweed and insane cliffside views. There was barely anyone there when we went. The only thing to note is that the waves/current is pretty strong here, so it isn’t the best swimming beach.
We drove around to all the beaches in Aguadilla and this was our favorite by far. (we love beautiful, quiet beaches). For snorkeling and more of a scene, head to the main beach in Aguadilla called ‘Crashboat Beach’. Parking is $5.
OTHER DAY TRIP OPTIONS
(we didn’t get to take)
Caja De Muertos
Caja de Muertos is a virgin beach with turquoise waters and white sand off of Ponce’s coast. A day tour to the island costs $70/pp. We didn’t end up going because they anchor the boat and you have to swim to shore, which meant no pictures for us (we don’t have a waterproof camera/ phone cases). But if you’re on the Western Coast and won’t have time for Culebra or Vieques (the beautiful islands closer to San Juan), this is the place to see a picture-perfect white sand Carribean dream beach. (can you tell we love beaches? haha).
Gozalandia Waterfall San Sebastian
This is a pretty waterfall about an hour in-land that came highly recommended. It has greenish turquoise waters.
We didn’t end up going only because we made the long drive to El Yunque Rainforest on our way back to the airport, which has several waterfalls.
The Guanica Dry Forest and Gillian’s Island
Take the morning to hike and explore the driest region of Puerto Rico, filled with interesting types of birds, succulents and cacti. In the afternoon, head to the small island right off the coast, nicknamed Gillian’s Island, to catch some rays in peace. Be sure to bring everything you’ll need for the day, as food and water are not available.