Surf Travel Reports

Rincon, Puerto Rico – Surf Travel Report

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Rincon, Puerto Rico is known as the Atlantic Ocean’s answer to Oahu’s North Shore.  Located on the northwest corner of the island of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean, Rincon is situated to receive long period swells from Winter storms crossing the Atlantic.  Combined with balmy temperatures, bathtub-warm clear blue water, and easy access through Aguadilla airport, Rincon is a surf mecca for East Coasters sick of the Winter blues.

Getting There

The easiest way to get to Rincon is to find a flight into Aguadilla airport.  This will put you an easy 40 minute drive from Rincon.

What can I say…I’m a HUGE fan of Jet Blue.  They fly right into Aguadilla airport, and only charge $50 for your boards each way (as of this writing).  They’ve got personal TV’s with Direct TV in each seat, and you get unlimited snacks and drinks.  (Do I sound like an advertisement yet?)  Head over to JetBlue.com to search out the best fares.  Otherwise, hit up CheapTickets.com for fares on other airlines.  I don’t think JetBlue generally shows up on those discount airline websites, but I might be wrong.

Another thing is that Puerto Rico is so easy for US Citizens because they use the American dollar, and US citizens don’t need a passport.

Places To Stay

When I was planning my trip, I searched the internet for rentals.  I wanted to go as cheap as I could, and I found an apartment on VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner).  It ran me $500 for the week, had full kitchen ammenities, a great view, and a private driveway.

Check out VRBO and Craigslist for more private residences for rent.

Some of the nicer places I saw are the Lazy Parrot, Bunger’s Bon-Accord Inn, and Casa Islena.  On my next trip I’d love to stay at the Lazy Parrot.  For a comprehensive list of Rincon hotels and accomodations, check out Rincon.org.

Surf Spots!

The most important part of your trip!   There are so many spots around Rincon and on the North coast of the island that you’d be hard pressed to surf them all even in a week.

Myself Surfing Maria's
Myself Surfing Maria's

My favorite spot, by far, was Maria’s beach.  Located just off the 413, Maria’s is a friendly right point with a reef bottom.  Access is easy…park anywhere you want pretty much – just be respectful of course.  Parking in Rincon is very unregulated, which is nice for visitors.  Watch out for the HUGE pothole in the middle of the Maria’s lot!  I nearly killed my rental car.

Getting in and out at Maria’s is easy if you know what you’re doing.  If you sit down and watch, you’ll notice a lot of the surfers (well, the ones who know the spot) going in and out at a little keyhole.  This is a sandier spot that is easier on your feet and seems to have less urchins.

Indicators Lineup - Photo Hayley Gordon
Indicators Lineup - Photo Hayley Gordon

Further up the coast from Maria’s is Indicators and Domes.  Indicators is a right point that curls along the cliff, “indicating” a coming set for Maria’s.  Domes is in it’s own little cove right underneath a power generator of some sort.  You’ll see the green “Dome” right away.

They were doing significant construction to the lighthouse pavilion when I was there, and hopefully that construction is finished.  It looks like it was going to turn out very nice.

Rincon’s renown big waves spot is called Tres Palmas located just off Steps Beach.  It’s called steps because of a random piece of concrete stairs sitting in the middle of the beach.

Tres Palmas View From The Goat House
Tres Palmas View From The Goat House

When I was in Rincon last March I was lucky enough to Witness the “Swell of the Decade” which stacked the sets at Tres Palmas up to 25-30 foot.  It was an AMAZING experience.  The view from the road of Tres Palmas is spectacular, and on a good swell cars will be lined up, people watching, locals setting up beer coolers and selling Coronas, and general mayhem.  Be sure to get the Coconut gelato from the guy with the cart if he’s down there!  Next to Tres Palmas is its little sister, Dogman’s.

The north coast of Rincon point includes Sandy Beach, Puntas, Pools, and Antonio’s. These are all mostly reef breaks with some sand bottoms.  Sandy Beach sets up to be a left, and Antonio’s a right.  They get blown out by the trade winds, however, so they’re fun but not premier spots.

When the conditions are right, Little Malibu can start breaking.  It’s a right point breaking right into a bay.  The paddleout is fairly easy, but it’s a tricky wave to surf.  When I was there the huge swell was causing it to double up, heave, and back off, but that didn’t stop scores of hopefuls from attempting to catch a ride here.

Bridges in Aguadilla serving up some fun sized rights - Photo Hayley Gordon
Bridges in Aguadilla serving up some fun sized rights - Photo Hayley Gordon

When the swell starts absolutely macking you can head up to Aguadilla bay and catch some more fun sized waves at Bridges and Playgrounds.  I surfed Bridges at around 4 foot and super glassy when the rest of Rincon was maxed out.  Unfortunately, everyone else was also there, making it crowded.  Hold your own, be respectful, and don’t run over the spongers!

Further North of Aguadilla bay are the breaks of Crash Boat, Gas Chambers, and Wishing Well.  I did not venture up that way during my stay, but these are very popular breaks that can get very good.

On the north coast of Puerto Rico you’ve got Wilderness, Surfer’s Beach, Jobos, and Middles. I did not make it to this area during my travels, but will hopefully cover it during another trip.  You can check out Surfline’s extensive coverage of this, and all other major Puerto Rico surf spots, for more information.

There are surf spots for people of all abilities and board disciplines.

Other Stuff To Do

If the surf goes flat there are numerous things to do during your stay.  Check out the small shops scattered around town, hit up Calypso for a drink, go scuba diving off Desecheo Island, or take a moonlit horseback ride.

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Hayley Gordon

Hayley is an avid surfer and the founder of this website. She splits her time surfing between Encinitas, CA and Montauk, NY.

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