We recently visited the west side of Puerto Rico, taking the southern route from Palmas Del Mar through Ponce and Cabo Rojo. Our destination this trip, Rincon, was something we had been planning for a while. My husband is an avid surfer and I’m a lover of unique and quirky things. Rincon has both of these things!
Rincon is the California of Puerto Rico, and unlike most of the island, it’s also very “American.” Along with stunning beaches, you will find a farmer’s market and a Thursday art walk, coffee houses, vegetarian restaurants and good selection of small boutiques.
We loved eating in Rincon, and highly suggest you do the same! They pride themselves on fresh, local produce and delicious seafood.
Facts about Rincon
- The word Rincon means ‘Corner’ or ‘Niche’ in Spanish
- The north side of Rincon has some of the best surfing in the world from October through April
- You can see whales from Rincon during the winter months
- Rincon is known for being a place that lures you in — as evidenced by the many people who went there for a vacation and never left!
- Rincón was the site of a small nuclear reactor plant in the 1960s (PR’s only nuclear reactor), with plans to open it to the public as a museum
- Rincon is the FIRST and only city in Puerto Rico that has banned the use of plastic bags in stores. Bring your reusable bags when you go shopping!
We stayed at a stunning villa we found on Airbnb, part of the Horned Dorset Primavera hotel. It was a beautifully appointed one bedroom villa with two stories. The expansive master bedroom was upstairs. It had a roomy sitting area, a small balcony looking out over the ocean, and a luxurious master bathroom with a to-die-for soaking tub.
We had access to the Horned Dorset’s facilities including their pools, beach and reading area. We would have loved to try the restaurant, but unfortunately it closed during the slower months. As a fair trade, the slower months give you an almost exclusive experience–we often felt like we were the only people in the whole hotel.
The grounds are full of fruit. We found several kinds of mangoes on the property as well as breadfruit.
We visited several restaurants during our visit and even returned to a few because they were SO GOOD. We plan to go back soon and try some more because there are quite a few good ones.
We actually walked out of this restaurant the first time — not because it was bad, but we were dressed for a romantic “date night,” we had a sitter, and a loud picnic table near the bathroom wasn’t what we had in mind. We came back though. The food is fresh, amazingly good and very affordable. We will return again and again.
- Fish Tacos
- Seafood anything!
From the name, we thought this was a Puerto Rican style restaurant. The menu actually features Spanish-style tapas. We visited their beach-front restaurant twice and were impressed by the great service and food.
- Cebollines — grilled & steamed green onions, salbitxada sauce
- Coliflor — flash-fried cauliflower, lemon, curry powder
- Calabacitas — stewed zucchini and yellow squash, bell peppers and onion, pinto beans, feta, lime, cilantro.
- Charcuterie — chistorra, morcilla, grilled pear, manchego, zucchini pickles, caper berries, house mustard, cornichon, sherry gelée, baguette
- Sardinas — grilled whole sardines, manchego pesto, fried lemon, roasted red pepper
- Papaya verde — shredded green papaya, smashed peanuts, cherry tomato, cilantro, nuoc mam, fried shallots
- Pescado — grilled fish of the day, seared rice cake, sweet plantain, coconut green curry sauce, cashews, herbs, lime
- Pulpo — char-grilled octopus, rancho gordo heirloom beans, yogurt, lemon, salsa verde
Other Restaurants to visit:
Saltaire in the Casa Verde hotel (closed summers)
Carta Buena — a little smoothie joint near the beach with salads, coffee, baked goods and cold pressed juice.
The English Rose — The standard for breakfast in Rincon. Reservations recommended!
Francisco’s Caribbean Local Cuisine — The name says it all. Delicious Puerto Rican food
Jack’s Shack — Amazing vegetarian food. Local, fresh and organic
If you love fresh raw oysters and clams, we highly recommend taking the 30 minute drive to Boqueron on the weekends where you will find clam stalls shucking Puerto Rico’s native clams and mangrove oysters.
Be sure to check out Rincon’s Thursday art walk and Sunday farmer’s market where you will find locally produced goods, arts and crafts, jewelry, music and more.
Some more highlights from our trip:
Festivals and events
- Whale Festival – March
- Rincón International Film Festival 2011: April 12–16
- Coconut Festival – May
- Feast of the Patron Saint, Santa Rosa de Lima – August
- Triatlon and Triatlon Caribbean Cup
- Numerous Surfing Championships
- Local Band (Reggae and Latin Rock)
Where is Rincon?
Below is a Google map of Rincon. GPS Coordinates: 18.340375, -67.255337