Ahhh, the year of COVID-19… the plague that stopped the world (minus these mask-toting globetrotters). We decide to roll the dice, grab tickets, and make our way to a more remote section of the island. Dreams of relaxation, beautiful beaches, and local delicacy danced in our heads on the enchanted Eve of Christmas. We were set to fly 72 hours laters.
Obstacle one: you must have a negative COVID PCR test (not the rapid test) 72 hours prior to flying… which meant finding a testing location actually open on Christmas Eve, taking the test and praying that our results arrived prior to our departure. Spoiler alert: it all worked out!
Video Recap of our week in Rincon, Puerto Rico
Day 1 – Monday
We arrived at 12:20 am and decided to stay overnight at the San Juan Beach Club, which looks like a set from Miami Vice (the 80’s version). The next day included a 3.5 hour journey to cover a short 81 miles!
But before departing San Juan, we drove to our all time favorite restaurant El Nuevo Acuario and enjoyed rabbit empanadas (sorry, Bugs, but it was GOOD!!!). The drive to Rincon was enjoyable. Beautiful water, lush vegetation, the occasional stray horse, and the best vacationing partner made for a seemingly quick trip.
Upon arrival, we quickly made our way to the beach to catch one of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve ever seen.
Day 2 – Tuesday
Beach time included a visit to the iconic Domes Beach, a surfers paradise and host to an international surfing competition on March 13-15, 2021. The only thing better than cool wave is delicious food! The Beach House is an excellent restaurant with spectacular views and perfect backdrop for a sunset (which we planned to do before leaving).
Day 3 – Wednesday
We planned to hike and cave explore; however, gout is stronger than COVID and laid waste to those plans. Instead, we explored the island and found waterfalls and wild iguanas!
Our first visit was a local pyramid that was marked “open” on Google; however, the property owner disagreed with Google and, unless the middle finger being feverishly waved means something different, we were pretty sure he was running us off his property. In between site seeing stops, we searched for a place to find flip flops for my aching foot. For some reason, finding flip flops and an open surf shop was like finding someone who obeys all the traffic laws.
Day 4 – Thursday (New Year’s Eve)
Today was the unwind and do absolutely nothing day. We started the day with a local coffee shop and met some fellow travelers from NYC. Afterwards we hit the beach and completely vegged while managing to cross the street for Jack’s Shack fresh fish tacos, sandwich and the best Karibe Kombucha that is locally brewed. Their story is amazing and we plan to visit her shop tomorrow!
Lying on the beach and discussing the future personally and professionally while listening to waves and beach sounds made for the best day! We took some funny pictures and enjoyed the day. New Year’s Eve will be spend at a sunset dinner and then souvenir shopping for the kids and back by the 9:00 pm Covid curfew where we hope to stay awake long enough to ring in 2021!
We did see the sunset at the Beach House on 2020 and rang in 2021 with dinner, drinks and hanging out. We did not party into the night and crashed before the hands struck midnight (an hour ahead of our Atlanta family).
Day 5: Friday and New Years Day
We spent New Years Day relaxing, visited Karibe Kombucha and got some to go! It was really neat to know such a place existed and trying the different flavors was enjoyable. Hit the Steps Beach, another beautiful spot and ended with dinner at Kahuna Burgers on the rooftop. We are settled in, enjoying a breeze through the screen doors.
Oh, and today was the first sighting of boobs in the wild, as topless sunbathing is apparently a thing. I walked right over and spent 10 minute letting them know the harmful effects of the sun on their skin (joke — I redirected may eyes to the one that brought me to the dance – every dance).
Day 6: the journey home
Or flight was delayed by 1.5 hours, giving us time to hit the beach in San Juan, grab lunch at El Nuevo Acuario and jump into our favorite bakery, Kasalta for some coffee and chocolates! The flight home was easy and I discovered “The Devil Wears Prada” is an excellent movie and now ranks in my personal Top 10 (My top 3 being Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Friday and Dazed and Confused).
Words of Advice
- Use google flights and be patient, our tickets dropped to $204 roundtrip 3x after we booked.
- Many of the roads are not lined, drive at your own risk, it is extremely different than the US (minus NYC), but far more intense than NYC.
- If thongs and breast offend you, go to Disney
- Get too know your AirBnb host, ours was great
- Go beyond the tourist recommendations and explore, the best food and beaches are local
Pictures from the trip