Rincon Puerto Rico is a small coastal town on the island's west side, with a population of 14,000; One road leads into it and it has no stop lights. It's popular because of surfing, beaches, scuba diving and deep sea fishing. Its tourist season starts before Christmas and continues to Labor Day.
Rincon is half an hour from Aguadilla Borinquen Airport, and 2.5 hours from Luis Munoz International Airport in San Juan. You need a car to get around Puerto Rico. Distances are far and public transport is dismal. The best time not to get into San Juan, Puerto Rico is Friday afternoons, or on weekdays around 5 o'clock. Traffic on the eastern side is terrible. It's bumper to bumper from 3 to 6, and if there's an accident or a distraction, congestion gets worse.
I've traveled around the states, Europe, Caribbean Islands, and Central America. Puerto Rico has the feel of a state. You see the same car companies, fast food restaurants, and stores. Fifteen minutes from our villa there's a Walgreens, Sam's Food Club, Kmart and others.
What I like about Puerto Rico: it feels like a foreign country. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, but it's safer than any Latin American country. You don't need a passport, but you do need your city sense.
Puerto Rico is bilingual. Almost everyone understands English, and speaks English. You see the same movies from the US in Puerto Rico. Movies in Puerto Rico have Spanish subtitles. Half of business signs are in English.
Rincon is a town in the country. My neighbors raise cows, chickens and pigs. Yet, everything you need is close: A hospital, supermarkets, restaurants and beach shops are within 10 minutes from Villa Orleans.
In Rincon there are many things to do:
Diving: The waters off the coast of Rincon are fabulous. There are several dive shops renting out diving equipment. Taino Divers has daily excursions to Desecheo Island. They provide food and drinks. We go snorkeling to Desecheo every summer and the waters are eye candy. 150 ft visibility, all the tropical fish you see in pet shops and more. I like them because they are cautious.
Beaches: Puerto Rico beaches circle the island. Miles of beaches surround Rincon. You can hike from one end to the other. I've taken a Rincon beach hike. Along the beach you see pelicans, occasional iguanas, dolphin, and from January to March, whales.
Snorkeling: You can snorkel in front of Villa Orleans, but when strong rains come, the water gets cloudy. The coolest area to go snorkeling in Rincon, is called Tres Palmas Marine reserve. There is a place called Steps Beach. The shore line is a slab of rock, but once you get past it, you're in an Elk Horn coral forest.
Surfing: Occasionally we see surf at Villa Orleans. The better spots are closer to the Atlantic: Domes, Maria's Beach, and Tres Palmas. During the winter, when cold fronts come through, so do the waves, averaging 5 to 6 feet in height, at times reaching 15 to 25 feet. You can surf all along Rincon's north coast.
Surf Boards: There are a number of places that rent out surfboards. If you don't bring your own you can always rent one. Malibu Surf Shop rents surf boards for about $25 a day. In season they rent out quickly. So does West Coast Surf Shop and Mar Azul in Puntas. The owner is another Surfrider volunteer and he lends his truck to haul out trash we pick up on the beach. During surf season surfboard rentals can get scarce.
Jet skis rent out for about $85/hr. You can get those in town, as well as kayaks and surfboards. Kayaks are $10/hr. We have boogie boards at the villa. Most beach rental shops are 10 to 15 minutes away.
Sailing: Katarina Sailing has a morning and sunset cruise. In the morning they take you snorkeling and offer food.
Horseback Riding: 1) Rincon's Pintos "R" Us
Restaurants: The places I visit:
Shipwreck's Restaurant, by the marina is another great restaurant.
Pool's Beach in Puntas is a great place for poolside beers and sushi. They have some of the best sushi and Dim Sum on the island.
Ode to the Elephant a Thai restaurant in Puntas. their food is good. Try their ginger martinis, they're excellent!
- English Rose in Puntas for breakfast! Great place!
- EC Bakery of 115: Free WIFI and reasonable food.
Mahi Mahi - Not in Rincon, but by far one of the best restaurants in the area. It's on Rt 402, right off of PR 2.
Bars: Many owners know each other. To avoid competing with one another, Happy Hours are staggered. These bars serve food.
Tamboo Tavern: Beachfront Bar. Try their fried calamari. This is a great place for sunset beers. Friday: live music Saturday: dj’s Happy Hour: 7-9 pm everyday
Calypso Café: Beachfront Bar. Try their ceviche, it's excellent. Open 7 days a week 11am –close Sunset Happy Hour: 5-7pm
Villa Cofresi: Their Piratas are world class!
Art Galleries: Mango Beach in Puntas, because they sell local arts and tropical crafts. The owners are wonderful folks who help out with animal rescue in Puntas.
- UnChartered Studios: T-shits and souvenirs. Great place right behind Catholic Church in Plaza.
Rincon Pottery- Art in pottery. We have a few of Miri Hardy's pieces in the gallery.
- Tres Puertas, gift shop, right before Rincon's town square, on your right as you're coming in from Mayaguez.
- Grocery Stores: There are 3 supermarkets in Rincon. Econo has a nice selection of foods and prices are reasonable. Keep in mind grocery stores don't open till 11 am on Sundays.
- Hospital: Across the street is the hospital. Their emergency room is inexpensive.
- Casinos: There are two: The Holiday Inn, and Mayagüez Resort, the better one. Our guests from Portland won $250 quickly and left while they were ahead.
- Tennis Courts/Free Gym: Less than 8 minutes are public tennis courts, and a gym. The gym is a local secret, and if you pump out and don't want a miss a work out on vacation, this is the place. Bring a towel.
- Golf: In Aguadilla, Punta Borinquen Golf Club is the nearest golf course. Guests like this facility.