Rincón: The Surf Capital of Puerto Rico

Rincon, Rincon yo quiero
en tus playas vivir.
Rincon, Rincon yo quiero
en tus playas morir.

If you are looking for the surfing capital of Puerto Rico, this is it. Rincón – ‘the corner’ – held the Surfing World Championship in 1968 and since then it became a winter mecca for skilled surfers. In November 2018 the town will be celebrating 50 years since the Surfing World Championship, with the Rincón50 Surf Fest.

Although Rincón has many visitors, the vibe of this town is not at all touristy. Rincón is a very laid-back and authentic place. It is located on the west side of the island facing the Atlantic, which makes it a great spot for sunset gazing as well.

Main photo credit: Aaron Perkins

What to do in Rincón? 

Playa, Sol, y Arena

If you want to travel to Puerto Rico for surfing, I recommend you check the Association of Professional Surfing of Puerto Rico to keep track of the events they hold every winter. Also check the Swell Info Rincon Surf Report for current conditions. I am no surf expert, but if you are actually a pro, you don’t need my advice, and if you are a beginner, those two links are the best place to start.  

If you want to learn how to surf, there are a few surfing schools in the area. The most popular ones are Puntas Surf Shop and School, RD2 Happiness, Surf787 Surf School, Rincón Surf School, and Desecheo Surf Club.

Other people want to go to Rincón to enjoy beautiful sunsets and relax by the beach. The most visited beaches in Rincón are Sandy Beach, Playa Domes, Turtle Beach, María’s Beach, Playa Escalera, Playa Almendros, Bote de Millan, to give you a few. If you visit Playa Domes, don’t forget to check out the old Boiling Nuclear Superheater (BONUS) Reactor Facility and the Lighthouse Punta Higüero.

You can also go Sailing, Snorkeling or Diving on your own, but if you would like to book a tour, I recommend Katarina Sail Charters, Rincon Diving & Snorkeling, and Taino Divers. For parasailing I recommend Flying Fish Parasail, and for paddleboarding I recommend Rincón Paddleboards.

For something more zen, do some beach yoga with Bare Foot Yoga PR or you can organize your own yoga retreat at the Rincon Harmony Guest House.

Whale Watching

The best time to see whales on Puerto Rico’s west coast, is from mid-January to mid-March, early in the morning or just before sunset. Some companies like Taino Divers, Katarina Sail Charters, and Adventures Tourmarine offer whale watching tours. Some fishing captains can help you arrange whale watching trips as well. If you do go this route, or if you spot a whale while doing a water sport, it is very important to remember not to disturb the whales and respect their peace. Many people get curious and harass these mammals, causing them great distress.

Credit: NOAA’s National Ocean Service

Visit the Town Plaza

I always recommend visiting the town’s plaza to get a taste of the local experience. Here you should check out the Rincón Beer Company and explore the shops and other restaurants. Every Thursday evening they host the ArtWalk event, where you can find local artisans and painters, as well as live music and great street food. For more great food, artisans, and music, go to the plaza’s farmers market which happens every Sunday from 7AM.


Besides the numerous surfing competitions, this laid-back town hosts an array of annual festivals. Two of my favorite are the Whale Festival, which is held each March, and the Sunset Festival, in September. Like every other town on the island, Rincon hosts an annual celebration for its patron saint. The Fiestas Patronales de Santa Rosa de Lima (Celebration of the Patron Saint, Santa Rosa de Lima) are held every August.

Where to Eat

There are many restaurants I would recommend in Rincon, but for the sake of the length of this article, I will just name a few you should try: Pool Bar Sushi, The Beach House, Carta Buena (for healthy food), Estela, Oktoberfest (amazing food but don’t expect much on the beer selection), Cowboys Cantina, and Mi Familias (brick oven pizza).

Where to Stay

Because of its many festivals and surfing events, the town of Rincón offers a variety of lodging experience. I would start with AirBnB and Rincon Vacation Rentals, then go from there.

If you are the adventurous outdoorsy kind, you should check out Tropical Treehouse and the Adventure Central Treehouse in Rincón. In case you are wondering, yes, they are actually treehouses where you can sleep out with the gentle sounds of the tropical forest.

For a relaxing or romantic experience I would recommend, Horned Dorset Primavera, Serenity, Villa de Zecheo, Casa Hines, and Casa Florencia which has 3 rooms: casa #0, #1, #2, and #3 (this last one, my personal favorite, has a private pool).

Conservation Efforts in Rincón

Now that you outlined your plan to visit the beautiful surf town, be aware of the conservation challenges it faces. Massive coastal-area development is jeopardizing the precious resources that make Rincón so special. As proponents of conservation and environmental advocacy, we encourage you to check out the organizations listed below and consider supporting them to help us preserve the unique beauty of our island:

Fundación Surfrider Rincón

This Surfrider Foundation Chapter developed PR’s first officially co-managed Marine Protected Area (Reserva Marina Tres Palmas, RMTP). They organize projects like beach cleanups, tree planting, encourage citizen science in the community through long-term programs, among other things. Their work promotes the protection of coral reefs, sea turtles, and whales. The Chapter created the Marine Life Guide to help you discover the interesting and rare creatures commonly found in the waters around Puerto Rico.

Defensa Animal de Rincón

This non-profit animal rescue organization works with homeless animals in Puerto Rico. In addition to helping find homes for strays, they work to increase sterilization rates among dogs and cats and lower the number of injured and neglected animals on the island. They also do a lot of education and awareness campaigns to call attention to the plight of stray animals on the island. They are funded 100 percent via donations.


For more information about Rincón, visit The Tourism Association of Rincón.

Verónica Colón

Veronica is the mastermind behind the AMBULANTES blog. She was born and raised in a small town in Puerto Rico. Today, she lives in the Washington DC area and works for a large research organization. She also works as a content marketing consultant and volunteers with different Puerto Rican diaspora groups. She is owned by a small Maltipoo named Domingo who exists on Instagram as @mingomaltipoo.