Located on the Northwest coast of Puerto Rico, Rincon has attracted surfers for decades with the promise of epic waves, relaxing beaches, and gorgeous sunsets. While surfing has made Rincon a popular spot to catch waves, it’s now also a favorite spot for sun-worshipping travelers who come for relaxing beaches and laid-back locals. Do as the locals and enjoy good food and a laid-back vibe in this beautiful coastline where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea.

Strong Puerto Rican Coffee and Sweet Treats at EC Bakery

A perfect day starts with a strong cup of Puerto Rican coffee with milk and sugar (cafe con leche). Add a flaky sweet pastry (pastelito) filled with guava and cheese at EC Bakery on Route 115 (Carretera 115) for a tasty breakfast treat. If you’re craving eggs for breakfast, order the fried egg and ham plate that comes with buttered toast. They also have traditional Puerto Rican ham and cheese pressed sandwiches. Prices are reasonable, service is good, and they offer a variety of authentic traditional Puerto Rican breakfast food.

Snorkeling at Steps Beach & Lunch at Kabana 

Head north on Carretera 115 about a 10-minute drive to Steps Beach for a leisure snorkel followed by a tasty lunch. The beach itself is inside the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve and is fairly secluded, making it a great place to relax for hours. Snorkel rentals are $15 for a full day. You can also rent kayaks and paddle boards priced by the hour. Catch a glimpse of the wide variety of fish and interesting coral. If it’s not too windy out, the water is pleasantly calm and you can see the marine life clearly. Don’t leave without getting some of the best fish tacos you’ll ever eat at Kabanas. Fresh red snapper, avocado, and mixed greens topped with a mayonnaise-based sauce with sesame seeds are all wrapped inside a flour tortilla with a parmesan cheese crust. Wash it down with fresh coconut (coco frio) water straight out of the coconut.

Getting Your Juice Fix at Carta Buena

After a few hours of snorkeling and lounging on the beach, grab a refreshing juice or smoothie at Carta Buena south of Steps Beach along Carretera 115. Explore the organic garden where a variety of herbs and fruits abound that eventually make their way into some of the juices and smoothies. My smoothie had fresh mint from the garden, adding a nice pick me up! Choose from a variety of tropical fruit flavors such as coconut, papaya, pineapple and bananas mixed into healthy concoctions. They also have a few vegetarian and gluten-free food items with ingredients that are also from the garden. Go for the juice and stay for a calming walk around their organic garden and large grassy lawn.

Browsing & Buying Sea Glass Jewelry at The Red Door Boutique & Gift Shop 

For some late afternoon beachcombing and shopping or browsing, drive up the road towards Sandy Beach in Rincon’s north coast where you’ll find surfers and sunbathers alike as well as a few beachside restaurants and guesthouses. Check out The Red Door Boutique & Gift Shop boutique for a large collection of one-of-a-kind sea glass jewelry made by local artists. You’ll be amazed at the variety of sea glass colors from deep ocean blues to sea foam greens. Whether it’s a souvenir for yourself or a gift for someone else, you’re sure to find something unique and the perfect token of your stay in Rincon.  

Whale Watching from the El Rincon Lighthouse 

From mid-January to mid-March, humpback whales stop along the warm shores of Rincon during their southern migration. To catch a glimpse of these gentle giants, head to El Rincon Lighthouse for whale watching either early in the morning or just before sunset. The vantage point from the lighthouse offers an expansive view that looks out into the rich blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. And if you’re lucky enough, an amazing chance to spot a whale! If you want a closer look at the whales, several tour companies organize sunset whale watching expeditions that’ll take you out onto the water.

Sunset Dinner at La Copa Llena at The Black Eagle

End your day with a surreal sunset at La Copy Llena restaurant at The Black Eagle. Get there early to snag a spot on the deck for the best view. If they had a motto, it should be, “Go for the sunset, stay for the food.” Traditional criollo flavors combine with a fusion of ingredients creating unique dishes such as grilled fish with coconut green curry and sweet plantains or ginger-marinated skirt steak with a yukon-parsnip mash. Quench your thirst with a top-notch cocktail at a reasonable price while watching a surreal sunset that impresses even the local expat waitstaff!