5 Reasons to Visit Rincón and Puerto Rico's West Coast

I admit it; I was one of the doubters. For a long time after I started coming to Puerto Rico, I didn't go near Rincón. I figured I don't surf, so what's the point? And then I spent a week in this quiet, laid back west coast town. And I loved it. 

Because there's more to Rincón than its surf. There are 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 gentle giants. 

Here are five reasons why you'll want to spend some time in relaxing, resplendent Rincón.

  • 01 of 05

    The Surfing

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    Okay, so I know I said Rincón is more than just its surfing, but I have to start here. There's a reason this 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.

    And speaking of those beaches, here are some of Rincón's best:

    • Sandy Beach
    • Domes
    • Gas Chambers
    • Indicators
    • Maria's
    • Tres Palmas
    • Steps
    • Antonio's Beach
    • 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. Here's a partial list: 

  • 02 of 05

    The Beaches

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

    • 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. 
    • Rincón's balneario, or public beach, has facilities including free parking, picnic areas, restrooms, showers and changing rooms. 
    • Corcega beach in the south ranks among the best swimming spots in Rincón.
    • Barrero beach is ideal for long walks and dips.
  • 03 of 05
    ••• ADX Collections/Getty Images

    There's simply no place more beautiful, luxurious, or well appointed than this one. It's an expensive address in Rincón, but it's worth it for an unforgettable experience.

    Even if you don't make this your home, i recommend coming for two reasons: one is Chef Aaron Wratten's fantastic restaurant, which overlooks the water and offers up some of the best gourmet cuisine on the island. The other is the amazing sunsets you can enjoy just 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 will be exactly what you need. 

  • 04 of 05

    The Diving

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    Perhaps you'd prefer to explore beneath the surface of the water in Rincón, 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, which offers excellent snorkeling and diving. Some say this is the best diving and snorkeling in all of Puerto Rico. 

    Two dive shops come highly recommended:

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    The Visitors

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    From January through March, and particularly in February, the waters off Rincón 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. The aforementioned Taino Divers runs whale watching excursions in season.

    This is one of the highlights of visiting Rincón, not to be missed if you're in town during the first months of the year.