5 Reasons to Visit Puerto Rico's West Coast

There's more to Rincon than great surfing

Visitors to Puerto Rico who don't surf might think there's no good reason for them to go to Rincon. But if you spend a week in this quiet, laid-back west coast town, you just might fall in love. There's more to Rincon than its surf. It also has some terrific beaches for families, snorkelers, and people who have never touched a board; there is great diving, a gorgeous island, an absolutely stellar boutique hotel, and even annual visits from whales. Here are five reasons why you'll want to spend some time in relaxing, resplendent Rincon.

  • 01 of 05
    Surfing in RIncon, Puerto Rico
    •••  Mary P Madigan/Flickr

    There's a reason Rincon is known as the surfing capital of the Caribbean. Surfing is a way of life here. There's even a daily surf report to tell you how conditions are at your favorite surfing beaches.

    Some of Rincon's best are Sandy Beach, Domes, Gas Chambers, Indicators, Maria's, Tres Palmas, Steps, Antonio's Beach, and Little Malibu.

    Not surprisingly, there are plenty of surf shops and rentals here. And thanks to more than one school, you can make this town your destination to learn how to surf. Check out​ Mar Azul surfboard rentals, ​Puntas Surf School,​ Surf 787 surf kids' camp and school, and Rincon Surf School

  • 02 of 05

    The Beaches

    Rincon, Puerto Rico
    ••• cogito ergo imago/Flickr 

    No surprise here: A surf town is going to have its share of beaches. But not all beaches are for surfers.

    Pool's Beach, named for its natural warm, shallow pools and lazy waves, is a great spot with a pretty cool legend: It is said that Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresi once scratched out seven marks on a rock here, pointing the way to his buried treasure.

    Sandy Beach has great surfing but also a pretty active social scene thanks to its beachfront bars and restaurants. Rincon's balneario, or public beach, has facilities that include free parking, picnic areas, restrooms, showers, and changing rooms. Corcega Beach in the south ranks among the best swimming spots in Rincon, and Barrero Beach is ideal for long walks and dips.

  • 03 of 05
    The Horned Dorset
    ••• Courtesy of The Horned Dorset

    This boutique hotel is an expensive address in Rincon, but it's worth it for an unforgettable experience. It's a destination in itself.

    Even if you don't make this your home, you can visit Chef Aaron Wratten's fantastic restaurant, which overlooks the water and offers up some of the best gourmet cuisine on the island. And you can bask in the amazing sunsets just by walking in front of the hotel after dinner. 

    If you want a night of tropical sophistication and elegance while you're in town, the Horned Dorset is exactly what you need. 

  • 04 of 05

    The Diving

    Diver in Puerto Rico
    ••• nudiblue/Getty Images

    Perhaps you'd prefer to explore beneath the surface of the water in Rincon rather than ride its waves. If so, you'll find some great options here. For one, there's the protected island of Desecheo just off the coast that offers excellent snorkeling and diving. Some say this is the best diving and snorkeling in all of Puerto Rico. 

     

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  • 05 of 05

    The Visitors

    Humpback whale
    ••• Kate Westaway/Getty Images

    From January through March, and particularly in February, the waters off Rincon welcome migrating humpback whales, who come to the warm waters of Puerto Rico's west coast to mate. You can see these majestic creatures from the shore—the best spot is the observation park at the El Faro Lighthouse—or even better, take a boat out and get a close-up view. Taino Divers runs whale-watching excursions in season. This is one of the highlights of visiting Rincon and not to be missed.