Take A Break is your ultimate guide to the perfect trips to recharge, rediscover yourself and your relationships, and reengage with the world. We’ll cover shopping stops, great bars, restaurants worth your money, photo opportunities, memorable drives and experiences, and other important details you need before you book.
Below, we chat with HuffPost reporter Sarah Ruiz-Grossman about why you’ll want to put Rincón, Puerto Rico on your bucket list.
What drew you to Rincón as a place to visit or explore?
My college roommate Gabriela Hardy is boricua and lives in Rincón with her partner and daughters. Rincón is a small town on the westernmost tip of Puerto Rico, with intimate, palm-tree-lined beaches, the best sunsets, no big hotels, and lots of taco trucks and restaurants overlooking the water. People especially love to surf there, and it has a laid-back, nature-filled vibe.
What are the best times of year to visit?
The best months, in my opinion, are winter ― November through April ― after the hurricane season but before the really hot and humid months of summer. You can count on around 85-degree days, balmy 75-degree nights, a lot of sun, and the occasional tropical shower.
What’s your best tip for getting there? How can you make the travel as stress-free as possible?
The easiest way there is to fly into Aguadilla airport and rent a car, driving the 40 minutes or so to Rincón. In Rincón, it’s pretty necessary to have a car as you don’t have easy-access public transport or rideshares. If you’re planning to stay on the island a week or more, you can fly into San Juan and spend a couple days there before driving the 2.5 hours to Rincón.
Where do you recommend staying when you go?
Rincón doesn’t have massive hotels, which is a big part of its charm. It’s more about boutique hotels and Airbnbs. Tres Sirenas is a gorgeous oceanside bed and breakfast, Fisheye View is a rental up in the hills with a nice pool, and Casa en lo Alto is an Airbnb house with great views and a screened-in porch.
What are your go-to restaurants or foods to eat while you’re there?
Rincón is full of great food ― make sure to get in lots of fish tacos, mofongo and açai bowls. Jack’s Shack is the best spot to grab tacos, Cosecha for vegan-friendly lunch, Cafe 2 Go for iced coffee and açai bowls, and Casa Isleña for sunset dinner with a view.
What bars or entertainment spots do you make sure to hit? What’s good to drink there or what else should people know?
There’s not a huge going-out scene in Rincón, but there are plenty of fun bars to grab drinks at. The Beach House is a bar and grill that overlooks the ocean, La Copa Llena also has great views and a bit of a fancier vibe, Tamboo serves drinks right on the beach, and The English Rose has a hilltop brunch with a mean bloody mary.
What are your favorite shops, and what do you look for when you’re there?
Rincón has an amazing yoga studio called Centro La Paz that has classes, massages and wellness products. Karibe Kombucha is a must-stop for locally made kombucha and yummy superfood blends to take home and add to your morning coffee. Puntas Surf Shop has great beginner surf lessons with rad bathing suits and water sports gear.
What’s your single favorite spot to go for photos and why?
Maria’s Beach is the perfect, palm-tree-lined beach with few people around and surfers always in the water ― and it serves up a gorgeous sunset.
What tourist attraction should people skip and what should they do instead?
You should definitely drive the 50 minutes to Gozalandia, which has beautiful wood-planked trails to several waterfalls you can swim in.
Where do you feel the most relaxed, calm or happy?
Domes Beach tends to have bigger waves and a perfect sunset, and if you come in the afternoon, you’re almost guaranteed to see surfers riding the swell — a great place to chill.
What scenic spots do you recommend checking out?
Survival Beach is a 45-minute drive from Rincón. When you park at Surfer’s Beach in Aguadilla, you can take a 20- to 30-minute trail through the jungle to get to Survival Beach, a long, picturesque beach with small waves and tide pools that you can only get to on foot, almost guaranteeing you’ll have most of the shore to yourself.
What’s one thing you make sure to pack if you’re going, and why?
Goggles! When you swim at the local beaches, like Steps Beach, take time to look down in the water and you’re sure to see colorful fish and even the occasional turtle.
What are some specific planning tips to know before you go so you’re not stressed?
People in Rincón are really good about wearing masks in public spaces to protect each other from the COVID-19 virus ― it’s a small town where local residents know each other intimately and interact often, so it’s especially important to respect coronavirus guidelines and get fully vaccinated and boosted before traveling, and to mask up while there.
What surprised you about Rincón when you went the first time?
I was surprised by just how laid-back the town is. It’s not big, so you get a handle on the layout and the go-to places within a few days, and it makes for a very relaxed time.
Anything else visitors should know?
Rincón, like much of Puerto Rico, is fighting to keep big developers from buying out waterfront properties on public shorelines that drive up housing prices and make the beaches less accessible to all. Be sure to read up on local activists’ fight to preserve the beaches for all and keep the shorelines from environmental destruction.