Beaches and Attractions on Rincon's Sunset Coast
Domes, Maria's, Steps, Tres Palmas and El Faro
Spanish Wall Beach: This is Rincon's 'secret beach' that you can only reach by hiking from Domes Beach on the 'Domes Trail'. Located at the very corner of Rincon - you'll see both the Atlantic and Caribbean as you pass the area known as 'Trampa de Tiburon'. Its also one of the best Surf Breaks - so you'll enjoy the action during winter surfing season. This is a great area for collecting shells and 'getting away from it all'.
Domes Beach: One of the most recognized names in Rincon - Domes Beach is named for the dome of the old nuclear plant on one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world. The dome is being converted into a Science Center and Museum - so don't worry about any rays emitted from the dome - but bring plenty of sun screen if you plan to spend a day on the beach! To get to Domes Beach, drive past Lighthouse Park and look for the whale-shaped beach marker. This is also a great place for whale watching in winter and is almost empty is summer if you want to have a beach all to yourself!
Rincón Lighthouse & Park: You can't visit Rincon without at least one visit to the Punta Higuero Lighthouse and El Faro Park. During the winter season you can watch surfers and whales from the walk that runs along the top of the cliffs. There are no real beaches that are accessible to the public, but you get great views of Domes Beach to the right and Indicators Beach to the left as you look out toward Desecheo Island.
Just below the lighthouse is one of the most famous surfing breaks in Rincon - known as "Deadman's" for the nasty rocks jutting out from the cliffs which mean trouble if a wave brings you in that direction. You can see it if you look right down from Lighthouse Park for the rock that looks like Christopher Columbus's head. No matter what time of year you visit, this is a great photo opportunity and a chance to visit the shop, snack bar or use the public rest facilities. Plenty of parking and interesting information about this historic lighthouse on the location where Columbus set foot as the first tourist to Rincon!
Desecheo Island: You will see this mysterious island from almost everywhere in Rincon - but the view is especially impressive from the Sunset Coast and Lighthouse Park.
Desecheo Island is a closed protected environmental reserve which can only be visited with special permission for scientific research. Located about 12 miles off the coast of Rincon, Desecheo has some of the best SCUBA diving in Puerto Rico. Even though you can't actually step foot on the island - you can get 'up close' if you visit with one of the Dive Shops which are permitted to visit dive sites off-shore.
If you don't dive, check with the Dive Shops and see if they have any space for snorkelers. Desecheo Island has very clear waters that make it great for snorkelers in the shallow areas just off the coast.
Indicators Beach: Just to the left of Lighthouse Park, this is one of the best places to park your car, climb down the incline and watch the surfers in the winter surf season. There are no hotels, restaurants, bars or public facilities - but the Lighthouse Park is just down the road (plenty of parking is available at the park).
When the surf isn't up, this beach is almost completely empty - so if you want to have 'private beach' for a romantic stroll or complete relaxation, this may be a good choice during the 'off season'. Indicators is a very rocky beach, so this is not a good choice for swimming.
Maria's Beach: During the 'season' this is the center of surfing activity in Rincon. Look for the whale-shaped beach sign on your way to the Lighthouse Park and pull into the parking lot next to the Calypso Cafe, a great place to check out the scene.
This is where the waves kick up and provide some of the most exciting surfing in the Caribbean! Make sure you grap a photo in front of the surfer crossing sign and hang-ten with the surfer dudes! During the summer, the beach changes character and becomes a great place to enjoy the sun, sand and a typical Caribbean day at the beach.
Steps Beach & Tres Palmas Marine Reserve: This is another legendary surfing beach which got its name from the set of steps that clings to the beach. In surfing terms - Steps is the 'inside surf break' and Tres Palmas is the 'outside surf break' - so you'll hear this beach referred to by both names.
To get to Steps Beach you have to look carefully for the whale-shaped sign that is only visible as you are driving from downtown toward the Lighthouse. To make it a bit of a challenge for visitors - the name of the beach is on the sign in Spanish as 'Playa Escalera'. If you are driving on Route #413 toward downtown, you'll have to look for the driveway that leads from Route #413 down to the beach (see the photo of the palm trees in the distance to give you an idea of the area and distance to the beach).
Steps Beach is too rough for swimming during surfing season - but becomes very calm during the 'off-season' and is a favorite spot for snorkeling since it is the site of the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve. At the end of the driveway, you'll find this sign which will help you identify some of the marine life you may find as you discover the underwater world on our Sunset Coast!