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Rincon: Beautiful Sunsets in a Quiet Corner of Puerto Rico

Rincon, a municipality on the northwest coast of Puerto Rico, first came to the world's attention in 1968, when the World Surfing Championships were held at Domes Beach. The area's big waves became – and still are – well-known to surfers, and eventually, Rincon caught the attention of other travelers.

The western end of Puerto Rico is about as far as you can get from the most developed and cosmopolitan area of the island, which is around the capital, San Jose. It takes a slightly more ambitious tourist to seek out its gorgeous beaches, admired sunsets, and top-notch scuba diving and snorkeling. In the winter months, migrating humpback whales can often be spotted from the top of Rincon's lighthouse, a distinctive landmark that is open to the public.

The vibe in Rincon is lively, yet relaxed, as one might expect from a surfing town. Locals are friendly to tourists and new arrivals from the states, and many speak good English. As a town of about 17,000, it's small enough for residents to feel that they are surrounded by nature, not the other way around; yet, Rincon is large enough to offer decent amenities and infrastructure. There are no stop lights, but there are galleries, restaurants, doctors, hotels, and a bilingual newspaper. The area is a two-hour drive from San Juan, but the Aguadilla airport, about half an hour away, offers a more convenient link to the U.S. states.

After northerners began to discover the charm and beauty of Rincon, real estate development in the area began in earnest: it's estimated that about 3,000 members of today's population are from the states. Choices for Rincon, Puerto Rico real estate now come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and budget levels. Property is more affordable away from the beach, and older, established houses and apartments are often more affordable than newer condo developments or communities. Single-family homes and condos start in the mid-100s, and those looking to spend several hundred thousand will find beautiful villa-style homes with views of the ocean. For those interested in building their own homes, the hilly landscape around Rincon means that it is possible to find a lot on a hillside with ocean views. Such lots start in the low $100,000 range.

One of the appeals of Rincon is that, while there are some large developments, none of them are in an isolated enclave. There is no "resort area" – rather, small guesthouses, hotels, and other newer developments are integrated into the town. In Puerto Rico, it's actually against the law for real estate development to designate an area as private beach. This means that in Rincon, the beach serves as another main street or public park for the community – everyone goes there! Yet, since there are so many miles of beach (and actually two coasts, the Caribbean and the Atlantic, to choose from), it's easy to find peace and quiet. In Spanish, the word rincon means "corner," and many who buy Rincon Puerto Rico real estate are finding that this beautiful corner of the island is a wonderful place to call their own.