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Travel Writing: Rincon, Puerto Rico, Exploring the

Travel Writing: Rincon, Puerto Rico, Exploring the Area

  • 10 Feb 2017
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By Jessica Headrick

If you want to find the best opportunities for fun and adventure, take a look what I discovered in the west coast town of Rincon, Puerto Rico. Hiking, water sports, dining, and nature at places both on and off the beaten path, just out of peak tourist season. This trip happened at the end of November.

The rates to fly to Puerto Rico are extremely reasonable this time of year. The San Juan airport is the main international airport on the island, it is small and easy to navigate, and a short walk to get to the car rental area. Take a carry-on and you will breeze right through your flight schedule.

There are typical car rental rates in November, but a bigger selection of newer cars to choose from with very low miles. My car had 128 miles on it and still had the plastic on the seatbelt connections and the new car smell. I had 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to the surfing beach town of Rincon, Puerto Rico. I could have flown into the closer Aguadilla Airport, but San Juan had less expensive options and I wanted to explore anyway.

The Mental Adjustment

It’s my belief that traveling to my destination is part of the vacation. Snacks and drinks in the airport, reading a book I’ve been dying to crack open during a layover, a movie on the plane ride, and hopefully a window seat for take-off and landing, are part of the experience. It helps if you revert to child-like wonder from the moment you leave work and start packing. A perk of my trip is a membership to Dreamtrips travel club and having what is called “Rovia bucks” gained from sharing the club with friends who love to travel as well as I do. This club account paid for my airline ticket and sent me through expedited security lines. I didn’t start spending money until I picked up my rental car. I could have covered my accommodations by searching for a pre-packaged vacation or an available hideaway in the area but opted for a private rental option with friends who live in Puerto Rico instead.

There are many places to see between San Juan and Rincon driving along the west coast of Puerto Rico and I had researched a few ideas ahead of time. Waking in a comfortable bed on the first day in my Rincon rental, I felt the ceiling fan and open windows blow the humid 82-degree air over my body and was immediately psyched for morning coffee on the rooftop. I left the rain and chilly air of Charlotte, North Carolina, far behind to stay with people who spend six months of the year in Puerto Rico’s Rincon area who were going to be really helpful finding my kind of vacation entertainment. I walked upstairs to find myself in a tropical paradise of plants, outdoor cushioned furniture, a hammock, and a small pool. The sky was blue and I could see the ocean in the distance. I was already taking pictures to send home.

The rental I was staying in used to be an old church. It was an open floorplan, light wood, tile floors, and brightly colored walls with beach themed decoration; totally my idea of an oceanside cottage. Three bedrooms and two baths with one outdoor shower made it perfect to share as everyone had their own privacy. Open windows allowed us to be serenaded by tree frogs at night and awakened by crowing roosters in the morning.

Caribbean Beaches

We all eased into the first day with a trip to local Rincon beaches. Getting from point A to point B means navigating roads that are only a lane and half wide with periodic hairpin blind turns. Take the extra car rental insurance and bravely explore. Eventually, you will be driving like the locals, in the middle of the road, relying on reflexes, and blowing through red lights late at night. You will note the cars parked outside their residences are marked by a series of fender benders with age.

Sandy Beach, like many beaches, is lined with palm trees on one side and turquoise ocean water on the other. Since the area is known for surfing, many of the beaches are rocky and it’s hard to walk into the water without tripping, but Sandy Beach is “swimming friendly” where you can walk easily in and out of the water, snorkel and float, then relax on a beach chair. A convenient boutique size hotel and bar called Tamboo is on the beach when you feel like getting some food and refreshment. Stay the day or hop over to Steps Beach – named for the mysterious cement stoop – sitting in the water near the shore. This beach is a little rocky, but good for snorkeling since there are places for fish to play hide and seek.

Dome beach was once an active military installation that officially shuttered its doors in 2012. Within the dome was a boiling nuclear superheater run by general electric from 1965-68. There is now a museum of atomic science, a local surfing beach with trails, rocky outcrops and a view of the mysterious looking dome over the tropical trees and vegetation. It is now a premier surfing beach for skilled locals and tourists.

Next to Dome Beach is the Rincon Lighthouse sitting atop a small hill. You may find a stand for handmade jewelry outside, a grassy courtyard is often used for weddings for its picturesque views of beaches from above, and there is a convenient restroom facility.

Beach Activities and Equipment Rental

If you like watersports, locate Rincon Paddleboard Rentals owned and operated by Damiano and Chicako who are Rincon locals. Find them on the main website or on Facebook and learn about how they can teach you to paddleboard, surf, kayak, and snorkel as well as take you on tours. They have all the necessary equipment for each activity.

Dining and Accommodations

Playa Maria Beach access is next to the Calypso Café which has a bar with live music in the evenings. There are a couple of beach shops that provide great reasons to get out of the sun for a bit, soothe your skin, and hydrate.

The Lazy Parrot Mini Resort in Rincon has an island atmosphere suitable for events and weddings. It has hotel rooms and suites, a gift shop, restaurant, and poolside bar in the courtyard. Stay there to take complete advantage of the amenities or just visit the bar and take in a game or two over a local Medalla beer.

Read Jessica’s entire original post here.

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