Rincón, Puerto Rico — the Montauk of the Caribbean. Yea, I said it, and I might catch some grief for this, but it’s true! For 20+ years I have called Rincón my second home; me and the rest of the East End, or better yet the northeastern part of the US.
For the most part, when I tell people this little fact about me, especially those I don’t know well, I am confronted with questions of curiosity or comments of sarcastic, but ironically serious couch surfing requests. On the other hand, out on the East End, when you tell a friend you’re going to Puerto Rico, you’re usually answered quickly with something like a “nice, I’m going down on the 15th,” or the ever so classic, “I’ll see you there, I got the one-way ticket this year.”
Although I write this article with a pinch of sarcasm, I have to say it’s for good reason New Yorkers and fellow folk from the Northeast return year after year. I’ll try and break it down for you in five simple reasons.
1. It’s Easy:
How do these words tickle your traveling fancy? … Non-stop flights, no passport or customs, quick getaway, no currency exchange? JetBlue has two flights that leave out of JFK each day. Both are non-stop flights to Aguadilla, which is a mere 30-40 minute ride to Rincón. It’s a three hour flight to paradise and you don’t need a passport or the pat down from customs. Once you’re there, take a cheap cab, have a friend pick you up or car pool with someone you know or met on the plane; you’re bound to see someone you know on one of these flights. Plus when you get there it’s easy to get around. Pretty much just follow the famous Route 413 — “the road to happiness.” It quite possibly is the easiest trip to paradise one may ever embark on.
It’s cheap. The flights are usually pretty cheap if you book them in advance or find a special. Even last minute trips are pretty affordable. Most fly JetBlue from New York, but it has been said that Spirit has some cheap ones too. I’ve booked flights the night before a flight for $100. Once you get there, rentals or Air BNBs are the way to go. With plenty of both long and short term rental options, there are deals to be had. At some places you’ll see the tourist prices, but if you keep it local and know where to eat/shop it’s pretty damn cheap. You’ll find that rum is the cheapest alcohol you can drink, but Medalla Lights are an island staple as well. You really don’t have to spend much to have a good time.
3. The Ocean:
Let’s face it, we love the ocean here on the East End — playing in it, looking at it, riding it, photographing it, whatever! The warm Puerto Rican ocean waters and weather are a big reason people fly south for the winter. Rincón is world renowned for it’s large selection of awesome surf breaks. It has been said there are 20+ spots within a 45 minute drive from Rincón, depending on who you ask. The area’s exposure to the remnants of cold winter fronts that originally start as waves on the East End and travel south through the Atlantic sending northwest swell to PR, supply for the some of the best waves known in the Caribbean. From 2 feet to 25 feet there’s always something to surf on the island. To go along with surfing, the fishing, snorkeling, diving and life in general on Rincon’s white sand beaches are all phenomenal aspects of this little town. It’s safe to say the ocean is a BIG reason, if not the main reason people come year after year.
4. The Culture:
a. Rincón’s culture: The vibes and feels of Rincón have always been an intricate part of what makes this town so special. From the interesting locals to the classic Spanish American culture that still lives on, Rincón really allows you to escape life back home, step out of your comfort zone and explore if you want to. The amazing food, drinks, sites and vibes of the Caribbean just add to the flavor Rincón provides to all; where Happy Hour is like Sunday morning church.
b. Where East End meets PR: While on the other hand, having a little slice of home here in Rincón is pretty cool too. You’ll always see a familiar face. Whether it’s your neighbor from the East End, an old high school classmate, or even a college buddy, Rincón is a hub for many East Enders and East Coast dwellers alike. As a matter of fact, many families from the New York area have bought homes or even started businesses down here over time, making up a very strong contingency of East End representation. It’s pretty cool when you can grab a surf sesh and a beer at sunset with friends both old and new, on a beautiful island in the Caribbean just like you would do at Liar’s, only in board shorts or a bikini at the Bohio. Just further proving that in Rincón, your never too* far from home.
5. The Island of Puerto Rico itself:
Although the northwest corner of the island is the part most people from our area head to, Rincón wouldn’t be what it is if it weren’t for the beauty of Puerto Rico as a whole. Rincón is just a little slice of the endless beauty, culture and life that many don’t get to see. After spending so many years down here, I recommend to anyone visiting to take a chance and go explore what the rest of the island has to offer. From Sunday Funday in La Paguera romping around the mangroves or taking the ferry to Vieques (as seen in the upcoming travel issue) or Culebra, to jumping off waterfalls in the rain forest or getting lost wondering the streets of Old San Juan, this island is truly full of adventure and memorable experiences. Just as long as you know where to look.
It’s safe to say Rincón has been and always will be an East End hub, and we’re stoked to have the opportunity to share it with you. Who knows? You soon may find yourself with a similar schedule many East Enders abide by: summers in Montauk, winters in Rincón. Trust me, it’s not a bad life to lead.
For more great places to book your next dream vacation or quick surf strike mission, check out our upcoming travel issue. This one, Vol. 2, Issue 1, the first of our second year, is going to be a doozy. Hold on to your seats, buckle up, we’re ready for take off.