Getting Oriented in Rincón and the Porta del Sol

The speedy Route 22 and the more meandering Route 2 head west from San Juan and swing around the northwestern part of the island. After Arecibo, Route 2 continues along the coast, where the ragged shoreline holds some of the island's best surfing beaches; a steady contingent of surfers in Aguadilla and Rincón gives the area a laid-back atmosphere. Past Mayagüez, Route 100 leads to the region known as Cabo Rojo, where you'll find small beach towns like Joyuda, Boquerón, and El Combate.

  • Isabela. You can surf, hike, golf, or just bake on the beach in this small town on the island's northwest coast and en route from San Juan to Rincón.
  • Aguadilla. Like Rincón just to the south, Aguadilla is a surfing mecca. It's also a regional air-travel gateway: surfers from all over the world fly in here to ride some of the island's best waves at Wilderness, Crashboat, and Gas Chamber beaches.
  • Rincón. The first World Surfing Championships in 1968 put Rincón on the map, and its laid-back vibe and epic waves have kept it there. Paddle out to one of the town's 15 surf spots, or experience horseback riding on the beach and fishing in the crystal Caribbean waters. One of Rincón's greatest attractions is the diving and snorkeling at nearby Desecheo Island.
  • Mayagüez. Stroll the marble-paved square of Plaza Colón, where a statue of Christopher Columbus commemorates the site where he allegedly disembarked. Experience an artistic performance at the Teatro Yagüez, which dates from 1909. Savor the flavor of Mayagüez by sampling traditional brazo gitano (gypsy arm) jelly rolls baked at the century-old Ricomini Bakery.
  • Joyuda. This small fishing village in the Cabo Rojo region is known for its fresh seafood and incredible ocean views. The sunsets are breathtaking.
  • Boquerón. After a day on Playa Buyé in tiny, laid-back Boquerón, also in the Cabo Rojo region, head to one of the many oceanfront eateries.
  • Morrillos Peninsula. Locals flock to the island's southwestern tip to soak up the sun at beaches like Playa Sucia and El Combate.

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