A travel guide to all things Rincon, Puerto Rico!
Since moving to San Juan, Puerto Rico, we have traveled all over the island and to Culebra and Vieques (the tiny islands off of PR). But somehow in a year and a half, we had not made it all the way west to Rincon!
That all changed when my friends Kim and Nick visited and suggested we head west. I was game! Rincon is known for the best surfing in Puerto Rico and has legit snorkeling and scuba diving too. It’s is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Juan, but I suggest staying at least overnight to experience more of the beach town. We stayed for two nights at the Serenity Hotel, which ended up being a great choice. It was quaint and quiet with the most comfortable private hammock, and walking distance to a few restaurants, bars and the beach. It was even close to a tiny bagel shop! I swear, bagels find me. The one thing is the tide at this beach is not ideal for swimming, so keep that in mind. It was, however, perfect for the above wading photo shoot. There are lots of cute Airbnbs and other boutique hotels to choose from too.
The first morning we wandered down to the beach and stumbled upon Jake’s Java along the way. Great local coffee and smoothie options too. I turned to my right and there it was. A sign for bagels! I took it as a literal sign. The Wandering Bagel ships in their bagels from the Bronx and I got the sashimi bagel topped with local wahoo, wasabi schmear, scallions and a side of citrus ponzu. So good!
Later we swam in our hotel pool and wandered around downtown. We stopped in a few stores, but there was less going on downtown than I thought! Though they do have art fair days, so it would be worth scheduling a trip around that. I’m glad we stayed in the area that we did. One thing about Rincon is that everything is spread about and ubers are not available. So you’ll need to drive to check out different things or walk around near where you’re staying.
There is some delicious food in Rincon, and they are all about using local fish, which I love. The first night we drove to watch the sunset on the beach and then walked over to Ode, a very tasty Thai restaurant with delicious $4 martinis (I had a cucumber lime one). Though our food did take an hour to come out, so don’t come super hungry. We also ate at Sana Farm to Table, which was adorable. It had a lot of vegan options, perfect for my nearly vegan friend Kim, but also excellent local tuna poke and wahoo fish tacos for the non-vegetarians. They don’t take credit cards, but do take Venmo.
Fun fact: Kim and I have been friends for 26 years, which we felt deserved a beachside photo shoot in matching hats!
There are lots of side trips you can take from Rincon. We drove to Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla, which is beautiful, perfect for swimming, and has tasty local food and drinks for sale. You could definitely spend the day there! I’d love to go back to downtown Aguadilla to check out the rainbow painted buildings!
The second night we walked to Pool Bar Sushi which is a cute poolside sushi bar! Again they used local fish in the sushi (we had spicy tuna and red snapper rolls) and we got tamarind juice and rum to drink and it was lovely. You do have a separate tab for food and the bar but I didn’t think that was a big deal. We tried to go to a few bars after but they felt like Panama City Beach during college Spring Break which was not what we were going for, so we went back to our hotel to relax and talk about our day. Tamboo Bar is supposed to be great too, but it was already closed when we stopped by at 10pm!
We were going to stop at Gozalandia Waterfalls, which a few people recommended, but decided on tasty local food and more beach time for our last day. We barely found Isla Restaurant with a tiny sign next to a real-life DVD store (!) but it was worth it! The house-made bread went perfectly with the El Granjero- sweet and spicy roasted chicken with yams and sweet potatoes. I got the organic eggs poached instead of fried. So good!