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Puerto Rico: Rincón

25-foot swells, fish curry, booze-in-a-coconut.

Surf Like a Pro (or a Beginner)

For the past 21 years, surf instructor Ramse Morales has been riding Rincón’s legendary barrel waves and the occasional 25-foot swells. Here are his favorites, from tyro to kamikaze.
EASY: Sandy’s Beach, on the north side, has a sandy bottom—hence the name—and mild waves, which make it perfect for a beginner.”
INTERMEDIATE: “Don’t be put off by the nuclear reactor at Domes. This spot, just north of the lighthouse on the westernmost tip, sits in the shadow of a decommissioned nuclear-reactor facility we call the Dome. The waves are hollow, fun, and ledgy. There’s a point break, though, so be aware of the undercurrents.”
ADVANCED: “The powerful waves at Indicador, the locals-only beach just south of the Dome, are hard and close.”
WAY ADVANCED: Tres Palmas, on the southern edge of Rincón, has the biggest breakers in the Caribbean, with a legendary right-hand reef break. Don’t paddle out here unless you’re a pro or kamikaze.”

Rum, and Then Some
More than 70 percent of the rum consumed in the United States comes from Puerto Rico—but that’s not to say that’s all there is to swill, especially in Rincón. Lifestyle blogger (and marine scientist) Chelsea Harms gives a tour through the local drinkscape.

“If you’re going to get one rum drink, go with the Coco Pirata at Villa Cofresi (12 Carretera 115; 823-2450), made with Bacardi White, Bacardi Gold, Bacardi 151, crème de cacao, and evaporated milk. Drink it out of its coconut shell while snacking on pinchos (meat skewers) and watching the sun set over the Caribbean Sea.”

“Sip a surprisingly refreshing Tinto Verano (red wine and lemon soda) at La Copa Llena at the Black Eagle (Black Eagle Marina; 823-0896), which happens to have the best food in town. Their menu changes frequently; the fish curry is always super-fresh.”

“The craft-beer scene is really blooming on the west coast. The Rincón Beer Company (15 Calle Muñoz Rivera; 407-0121) just opened downtown, serving local beers like the Barlovento Ale from Manati, P.R. It’s a local hangout, especially on Thursday nights when it stays open late to accommodate our art walk through town.”

“The best juices in Rincón—passion-fruit-mint iced tea and fresh orange juice—are at a small inn called La Rosa Inglesa (413 Carretera Bo. Ensenada; 823-4032), which also has the best breakfast: Get the eggs Benedict topped with salmon.”

Where the Locals Would Stay

“One of my favorite cheap places is the Dos Angeles del Mar Guesthouse (from $97;, run by my friend John Barski. Located near Sandy Beach, it’s where surfers on a budget—but with good taste—stay.” —Clay Burnsed, co-owner of Ode to the Elephants restaurant

Casa Isleña is a nine-room inn (from $145; in a renovated home right on the water on the north side of the lighthouse. Most of the action is by the pool and at the bustling bar-restaurant, the Island House.” —Bryan Carson, charter sea captain, author of Bula: Sailing Across the Pacific

“At the Horned Dorset Primavera (above; from $470;, each of the 16 suites, which are done up in a Mozarabic style, has its own patio overlooking the Straits of Moña. It’s more relaxed than when it opened in 1987—when no children under 12 were allowed—but still elegant.” —Casey Moul, co-owner, the Mango Beach Shop