Surfing Puerto Rico: Rincon vs. Aguadilla
If you’re looking for a new destination for your next surf trip, you should definitely check out Puerto Rico. It’s got great waves, beautiful beaches and is easily accessible from the U.S. – no passport required!
The northwest corner of the island is considered the best spot on the island for surf, and if you’re heard of a surf town in PR, you’ve heard of Rincon. Lesser known in name is Aguadilla (including Isabela), another great surf area, about 30 minutes north of Rincon. So where should you stay if you wanna surf in Puerto Rico – Rincon or Aguadilla?
Here’s our side-by-side breakdown of Rincon vs. Aguadilla, Puerto Rico:
Accessibility.As I mentioned, no passport needed to get to PR (from mainland U.S.). And San Juan is the main city and airport, towards the northeast corner of the island. If you fly into San Juan, you have a 2+ hour drive to Aguadilla or Rincon, and the 30 extra minutes it takes to get to Rincon won’t make much difference. But Aguadilla has its own airport (BQN), a converted US air force base, with direct flights from Newark, JFK, etc. Book one of those flights and you can walk off the plane and be to the Aguadilla surf spots in 5 minutes.
Rincon definitely has a surf town feel. As I mentioned, it’s more well known than Aguadilla, so more people go there, giving it a greater concentration of tourists (mainlanders) on surf trips. This gives it more of a surf community feel, with lots of other surfers hanging out, grabbing drinks and looking to score waves. Aguadilla is a bit more spread out and has less of a surf community vibe. Definitely more native Puerto Ricans with a little more edge at most surf spots.
Waves.Obviously one of the most important considerations for a surf trip, both Rincon and Aguadilla have a lot of different waves to offer. If you check out a map, the northwest corner of Puerto Rico has two “juts” – Rincon is on the south jut, and Aguadilla is on the north jut. These juts give both surf areas breaks facing various directions, so there’s no advantage there. Both have plenty of breaks: (i) Rincon has Domes, Maria’s , Tres Palmas (if it’s huge), etc. and (ii) Aguadilla has Wilderness, Shacks, Jobos, Middles, etc. Although the ‘QS chose to hold its recent comp at Jobos, the waves never really lined up. And Rincon gets its fair share of comps too, often at Domes.
What makes Puerto Rico such a great surf trip destination is that whether you’re in Rincon or Aguadilla, there are so many great things to do in addition to surfing. If you’re in Aguadilla, make sure you check out the blue hole at Shacks Beach for some unbeatable snorkeling, even if you’ve never snorkeled before. Or if the wind starts blowing in the afternoon, Shacks also has a great spot for kitesurfing. Check out Pedro’s Pescados for great sushi and grab a drink at Ola Lola’s, Calypso, or Happy Belly’s. In Rincon, check out the walls at Spanish Walls, another surf break. Grab a drink (or a few) at Tamboo. Have a bite to eat at Casa Verde. I could go on and on.
The point is that if you head to Puerto Rico for a surf trip, you can’t go wrong whether you choose to stay in Rincon or Aguadilla. Both have great surfing and tons to offer. So check out one spot your first trip and check out the other your second. And really, you can do both in the same trip! They’re only about 30 or so minutes away.
Andrew works for StoreYourBoard, retailer of board storage and display racks for however you shred! Check out their selection of surf racks, wakeboard racks, bike storage, snowboard racks, ski racks, SUP racks and more!