Rincon Puerto Rico: Your Guide to the Coolest Surf Town (2023)
Last Updated on March 27, 2023 by Dana Berez
Rincon Puerto Rico
Welcome to Rincon, Puerto Rico. This surf town is known for its legendary waves, unbeatable pink sunsets, and a relaxed town slowly becoming one of Puerto Rico’s go-to travel destinations.
What you can expect from a trip to Rincon is an unpretentious crowd, plenty of small eateries, untouched beaches without crowds, and an overall laid-back environment.
Why visit Rincon, Puerto Rico? The beaches here are some of the best in Puerto Rico, and surfers flock to this town to catch record-breaking waves.
But if you don’t surf, you will still fall in love with Rincon and the laid-back vibe it has to offer. Here is my guide to Rincon Puerto Rico including where to stay, things to do, and the best places to eat. Plus I’ve included some day-trip ideas you shouldn’t miss when on the West Side of the Island.
Things to Know before you go
- Passport: All US citizens do not need a passport to enter Puerto Rico as it is a US territory.
- Currency: USD
- Weather: Puerto Rico is warm all year round, but the rainy season is from April-November. (November being the rainiest) The sunniest days with lower humidity and less rain are from December- March.
- Language: The official language is Spanish. However, in popular areas like Rincon, you will be able to communicate in English.
- Cell Phone: If you have a US cell provider, your service will work in Puerto Rico. I had minimal issues with my service except in certain areas like high elevation.
- Time Zone: AST Atlantic Standard Time (one hour ahead of New York)
- Outlets: Same as the USA
How to get to Rincon Puerto Rico
Rincon, meaning ‘corner’, is located on the western side of Puerto Rico. The closest airport is the Aguadilla Rafael Hernandez Airport (BQN).
How far is Rincon from San Juan Airport? The drive from San Juan airport to Rincon is a 2.5-hour drive to 3-hour drive.
Getting Around Rincon Puerto Rico: You will need a rental car to get around Rincon. This surf town is built on a hillside with steep roads and winding turns.
Where to Stay in Rincon Puerto Rico
Rincon is more of a region than a town. There is a town center, but is only 4 square blocks. It is not necessary to stay near the ‘downtown area’.
You’ll be close to a beach regardless of if you stay on the north or the center of Rincon as beaches line the entire town.
In fact, Rincon is quite small, you can drive from one end to the other side within 15 minutes.
And if you visit for more than 2 days, you’ll have the roads memorized as there are only a few of them!
To Note: Rincon is built on a hill, so some of the accommodations, especially ones with epic views, require you to drive up very steep roads. Be sure to keep that in mind when booking if you are uncomfortable driving in tight spaces.
There aren’t a lot of hotels in Rincon. I have listed them below, but you might be better of renting an Airbnb. Here are my accommodation recommendations:
Hotels in Rincon:
- Tres Sirenas: Luxury beachfront boutique hotel
- Casa Islena: Casual beachfront hotel with ocean views + large pool
- Rincon Beach Resort: Located on Añasco Beach, Rincon Beach resort has simple rooms, a pool, and ocean views
- Casa Verde: Beachfront hotel with a pool
Airbnb’s in Rincon:
Save $65 on your first Airbnb Booking
Things to do in Rincon Puerto Rico
Take a Surf Lesson
If you ever wanted to learn how to surf, Rincon is the place! Learn from the best at Rincon Surf School where you can take solo lessons, private lessons, or group lessons. Rincon Surf School teaches beginners up to novice surfers.
Yoga on the Beach
Barefoot Yoga offers classes open to all levels of yoga in a calming outdoor space. Drop-in classes are $18, which includes your mat rental. You can catch group classes every day at 9 AM. Check online for more times and class schedules.
See the Faro Punta Higüeras Lighthouse
A landmark that you’ll spot from nearly all high viewpoints of Rincon is the Faro Punta Higüesras Lighthouse built in 1892 by the Spanish government.
You can walk around the nearby park for views of the ocean, and get cozy at Ola Sunset Cafe for a cocktail and light bites.
Snorkel & Scuba Dive
Book a snorkel or scuba tour with Taino Divers to the uninhabited island of Descheco 13 miles from the coast of Rincon.
Desecho was used as military practice in the 1960s and active bombs still remain on the island. It is illegal to step foot on the island, however, the waters surrounding the island are a marine reserve.
Wildlife fills these waters making it a must for scuba enthusiasts.
While the ‘downtown’ area of Rincon is quite small, you can still find unique shops for special finds in Rincon Puerto Rico. Shops to check out:
- Tinto Wine Shop: Wine shop meets wine bar. You can find great bottles of wine, plus Tinto Wine Shop offers tastings.
- Ocean State of Mind: The place to go for your boho/ beach needs. This cute shop sells everything from jewelry, swim, crystals, books, and more.
- Uncharted Studio: Eco-conscious silk printing shop selling unique t-shirts.
Take in the Sunset:
The sunsets in Rincon are special because they can be seen directly from Rincon, with cotton candy colors. Be sure to be around the beaches during sunset to take them in, or head to The Beach House for epic unobstructed views with a $4 rum punch.
Or you can book a sunset cruise to catch the beautiful view on the water.
Visit the Beaches
Whether you are visiting Rincon to surf, or just want to take in the sun, you will find plenty of gorgeous untouched beaches. See below for my beach recommendations:
Best Beaches in Rincon Puerto Rico
My personal favorite beach, Domes Beach has the largest waves for surfing in Rincon and is near an inactive nuclear plant which creates unique scenery.
While I don’t personally surf, it was very interesting to watch. Plus this beach had a very large open feel with plenty of space.
This beach is very secluded uncrowded beach located on the northern part of Rincon. You won’t find resorts here, but you can find small boutique hotels lining the beach.
Tamboo, a popular bar and seaside grill is in the center of this beach.
Named after the bizarre concrete steps sitting at the water’s edge, Steps Beach is a small secluded beach great for snorkeling when the waves are calm and for unforgettable sunsets.
Great For: Surfing, Snorkeling, Sunsets
Balneario de Rincon
This beach is within walking distance from the downtown and has its own free parking. Balneraio de Rincon is the best beach in Rincon for its tranquil waters great for swimming.
Great for: full beach day, swimming
In winter you’ll find the best waves in Rincon for surfing, while the calmer summer months are more favorable for swimming and snorkling.
Breakfast in Rincon
Cafe 2 Go: My favorite stop for breakfast. Very casual walk-up spot for coffee, acai bowls, and breakfast sandwiches. Seating and parking are both available. The bacon, egg, and cheese on a croissant and coffee were 10/10! (Cash Only)
The English Rose: The place for breakfast offering stunning views overlooking the ocean. You’ll have to drive up a steep road to get here, but the view is worth it. Plus the menu is affordable. Be sure to make a reservation as seats are limited.
The Juice Box: Great stop for fresh juices and acai bowls.
Jakes Java: Coffee and smoothie shop conveniently located right near Steps Beach on the North Side.
Where to Eat in Rincon Puerto Rico
Tamboo: Tamboo is a bar and a seaside grill, with front-row views of the ocean. I stopped by for lunch I was surprised at how great the food and service were here.
The menu has lots of fresh items like tuna tartare and ceviche, along with vegan options.
Estela: Let the 5-star reviews speak for themselves. Estela is one of the ‘fancier’ restaurants in Rincon for a nice evening out. The menu changes for the freshest ingredients plus there is a full vegan menu.
The cocktails were especially unique with infused ice cubes! Be sure to make a reservation in advance, as the weekend spots book out weeks in advance.
Where to Drink in Rincon
The Beach House: (Pictured Above) The place to be during sunset! On top of a hill, you get unobstructed views of the ocean happy hour $4 rum punch, and live music! Plus the food here is actually delicious, the tacos are a must. In fact, I ate dinner here twice during my stay!
Ola Sunset Cafe: Another great spot to watch the sunset overlooking Domes Beach.
El Bohio: Chill quaint outside bar, serving drinks right outside Maria’s Beach.
Rincon Beer Company: Have 16 different brews on tap to choose from in a casual relaxed environment.
Day Trips from Rincon Puerto Rico
The great thing about being situated in Rincon is the many opportunities for day trips to see some of the island’s stunning natural wonders.
If you have a loose itinerary for your trip to Puerto Rico, I highly suggest taking a drive to see even more beauty of Puerto Rico.
Here are my suggestions on places you can see on a day trip from Rincon: Playa Sucia, Playa Buye, Gonzalia Falls.
Playa Sucia, Cabo Rojo
Located at the Southern tip of Puerto Rico is a U shaped landmass with a gorgeous cove beach called Playa Sucia. Sucia translates to ‘dirty’ and the name is very misleading. Here you will find pristine calm blue waters and a completely uncrowded beach.
The surrounding area has hiking trails where you can see the Farros Los Morillos Lighthouse built-in 1882, and a unique rock formation called Puente de Piedra.
You can easily spend a few hours soaking up the sun here, plus taking time hiking the trails nearby for breathtaking views!
How to Get to Playa Sucia: The drive from Rincon to Playa Sucia is about 1 hour and 20 minutes depending on traffic. The majority of the drive is on the main highway road, but the last leg of the trip is along a narrow dirt road.
You will also pass the Salinas de Cabo Rojo. These pink salt baths are instaworthy, however, they are working salt fields, and there is no clear way to access them. To be honest, in person I didn’t see any water that pink, so trying to find an entrance was a pass for me.
Things to Note:
- Parking: When driving to Playa Sucia you will find a few opportunities to park your car (all free) the first parking spots are closest to the hiking trails. If you want to park closest to the beach drive until the end. You’ll get the closest spot if you arrive early in the day.
- Food: There are no food vendors in the area, so if you plan on staying for a full day bring a cooler with food and water.
- Shoes: The terrain here is rocky, bring sneakers if you plan on climbing the trails. I managed in flip-flops but it wasn’t too comfortable.
- Bathroom: None
- Drones: When driving to Cabo Rojo, you will see a huge blimp in the sky. This blimp detects radio waves and flying a drone in the area is prohibited.
Playa Buye, Cabo Rojo
Another option for a day trip is Playa Buye. The white sand and gorgeous turquoise waters really wowed me- they look even better in person. This beach also offers plenty of shade, and well as spots for full sun sunbathing.
Playa Buye is a perfect stop for a full beach day and my personal favorite beach in Puerto Rico. There are food vendors, plenty of space to spread out, and a local vibe- cue the salsa music. This beach is definitely more crowded on the weekends but still relaxing.
Be sure to walk along the entire beach to find a hidden spot where boats park. It is gorgeous in person.
How to Get to Playa Buye: From Rincon, Playa Buye is one hour drive south. If you are coming from Playa Sucia, as mentioned above it’s 45 minutes, making it accessible for one day trip.
Things to Note:
- Parking: There is free parking located right by the beach. The earlier you come the better spot you’ll get.
- Food: There are food vendors right on the beach.
- Bathroom: Yes, next to the food vendors
You can see Playa Sucia & Playa Buye on one day trip, both located in Cabo Rojo. However, both beaches are tempting for a full day on their own. If I had to pick one out of the two, Playa Buye would be my pick for an ultimate full day at the beach.
Gozalandia Falls, San Sebastian
The 60-foot Gozalandia Waterfall in San Sebastian is a must-visit and natural beauty in Puerto Rico.
You can swim in the pond, jump (if you dare) from the waterfall, and spend a few hours here taking it all in. Plus you’ll be able to see plenty of fish through the clear water.
It wasn’t too busy when I visited on a Wednesday afternoon, however, I assume it gets pretty busy on the weekends.
How to Get to Gozalandia Falls: The waterfall is located east of Rincon, in San Sebastian, and would take about 50 minutes to get to. There is parking right next to the falls for a $10 fee.
Once parked, you have to take a 5-minute walk to the waterfall, going down a few steps.
Things to Note:
- Parking: $10 to park in the large parking lot, a 5-minute walk to the Waterfall.
- Food: There is a small eatery/bar next to the parking lot with outdoor seating.
- Bathroom: Yes, near the parking lot
- Shoes: If you plan on going swimming in the water, water shoes are a must! The rocks to get in have slippery moss, and it’s easy to fall without any grip.
Things to Pack for Rincon Puerto Rico
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