get there | rincón
the overarching theme of our trip was ease and warmth - two things i know all of us desperately needed after this epic winter.
flying down was completely chaotic because of the weather (mixed with the fact that flights into aguadilla, while cheap, land in the middle of the night), but once wheels were up, the non-stop flight had us in paradise in 3.5 hours. we rented a car, quickly zipped down to rincón proper and immediately fell asleep to wake up a few hours later at 10AM, ready to get in the way of some sun and some waves.
our itinerary was deliberately loose. a few friends who go down throughout the winter (because it’s the closest warm weather winter surf spot to nyc) shared their favorite restaurants, and only one required reservations. other than that, there’s not much to do. in the best kind of way.
… 6AM wake ups, guzzle some coffee, in the water by 6:15. i surfed each day with a private instructor i’d highly recommend: former pro ramse morales. this allowed pat to go off and surf his own stuff while i did my thing. plus, i prefer taking pointers from a stranger rather than from my spouse (i’m not the only one, right?)
… after a few hours (usually when my wimpy arms gave out from paddling and the sun was almost directly overhead) we’d go grab breakfast at puntas bakery / happy bowls (a delicious acai bowl bar that also has an outpost in montauk) or banana dang for wonderful puerto rican coffee and a smoothie.
… our best meal was sunday brunch at the english rose - the only place where a reservation is a good idea. located high up in the mountains, the view from this b&b was breathtaking.
… the afternoon was for snorkeling, lounging and reading… the beach vacation holy trinity. highlights: floating in the tide pools and following a sea turtle along the reef’s edge. other activities we didn’t delve into: yoga, horseback riding and waterfall hikes.
… an unexpected highlight: we went exploring in the opposite direction of the tourist area and found mr. donuts where $1 gets you a dozen of the best donut holes you’ve ever had.
… in absence of resort amenities (i.e. a spa), i hired a guy to come do 90 minutes of thai massage at our cottage. after a few days of surfing, my muscles were tight and painfully sore and richard did an excellent job working it all out. he even ended it was some acroyoga (which turns out is a thing) and i’m just so grateful there is no photo documentation of it. i am also now sure i never need to go to burning man.
… in the evening, we’d have a sunset session on our deserted beach, a habit we picked up during our trip to costa rica a few years ago. perfect sunsets, every night.
… for dinner, we hit 3 awesome spots: ode to the elephants, la copa ilena, and saltaire. each was a total scene in the good way: friendly (locals and tourist alike), lively yet relaxed, and the perfect places to close out the day.
this trip was restorative, happy and fun. it was also easy, affordable and perfect for a long weekend (especially from the east coast). rincón is such a special place, one that has a unique natural beauty and charm, but without the volume of tourism of, say, costa rica, or the scene of some other islands (this is not your beautiful people / fashion set, and i mean that as the highest compliment). puerto rico’s economy is still in the thick of recession and in many ways it’s visible. i’m at a loss why more people don’t get to the northwest part of the island, but i also got the vibe that it is totally fine by the locals if no one ever shows up.
and with that comes the luxury of feeling like you’re the only one there. spending a weekend walking around barefoot in a bikini, with nowhere to go (or be) and no one to see, is the best feeling.
this is all to say: get there.