Looking at Dome's Beach from El Faro Park

Sunday, December 26, 2010


The holidays in Rincon and I'm sure all over Puerto Rico are very festive.  I noticed around Halloween al the Christmas decorations and gifts were taking over Sam's Club and the Three Kings Day parties on January 6th are the crescendo of a long and joyous celebration of the holiday season.
The plaza in downtown Rincon is lit up with Christmas lights and the churches celebrate a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, the only thing missing is snow on the ground.  The surf has been very heavy, too big for us, so we had to settle for a dip in the water and frisbee on the beach on Christmas Day.
But the town is bustling with surfers and families seeking a warm Christmas, many make their way here every year to celebrate.

I've heard the power and water has always been a problem in Puntas around Christmas time, I remember last year the power and water were off for 48 hours right around the 25th, but the only problem this year was an 8 hour power outage on Dec. 23 rd due to a scheduled repair on a power pole.  So far so good.  I know the Tourism Association has been working with county water and power officials to prevent as many utilities outages as we've had in the past.

I definitely recommend a visit to Puerto Rico for the holidays, CNN says San Juan is the one of the top 10 places to spend Christmas, but plan early because most places get reserved early and we've had more than a few people ask us about last minute vacation rental vacancies and unfortunately, there aren't many.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Changes to the Landscape of Rincon

Bienvenido, local traffic regulator
It seems like there are so many new construction projects around town.  The biggest is a town-home style development near the marina, a small cul de sac of attached 2 level homes that makes me wonder, why are there no balconies facing west where the sunsets and ocean are.  Who designed these?  Across from this development which looks to be almost complete, a lot has been cleared for a new development on the 413 at the marina.  This new development is supposedly a hotel, but that's just a rumor so far.
Down our street, a small house has cropped up with really bright red shutters.  It sits on a quiet side street overlooking the River Mouth, nicely designed, all concrete, but with some interesting features.
Right behind us, the old cock fighting buildings have been torn down and the lot leveled.  It is a beautiful lot with views of all of Aguadilla Bay, rumor is that they are planning on building a new cock fighting coliseum on the site, oh joy!
The 2 large villas being built near Maria's and Dogman's Beaches are getting close to being complete.  I believe the one at Marias is going to be apartments, and the one at Dogman's looks similar, very large with multiple units on multiple levels.
There has also been a lot of clearing and moving of dirt on the hill behind the post office, no word on what the plans for that are.
Being fairly new to Rincon, I can't be too critical of these developments, they bring much needed jobs  to the area and probably increase property values, but I do wonder if they will all be occupied with so many other developments just sitting around almost empty or even worse, incomplete.  The huge Costa Azul development in Aguada has 2 huge towers, nearly complete, but no work has been done on them for months.  Another development on the 413 near the 115 at Pineapple Hill sits nearly complete, but no construction crews have been there for months as well. The condos near the balneario and the Sea Beach Apartments on the 115 haven't sold, so where and when will the buyers for these projects come?
Meanwhile, still many lots and houses for sale in Puntas.  No water or electrical outages yet this season so overtaxing of the utilities doesn't really apply as an argument against new construction anymore.  The roads are still small and there is still no traffic signals in Rincon, of course our local traffic regulator, Bienvenido and his whistle help, but with all these new developments around town is that the city of Rincon's solution?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Updates in Rincon and Beyond

This is the first post in awhile, but I do plan on more regular updates.  I've been busy with a website called that is a "online guide to surfing Western Puerto Rico".  After being here more than a year, I realize how much this town and especially the "gringo" population, but certainly not only them, rely on tourism for their livelihood.  Whether they have vacation rentals or a catering company or surf school, the majority of their business is tourists and the past few years have been difficult ones as the number of people coming to Puerto Rico and the amount they spend have been representative of the economy as a whole; cautious spending and lots of job losses.

I also realize not a lot of businesses here are represented on the internet and after reading so many articles about how the future of travel starts with www, it makes sense to gather some of these businesses in one spot online. The great surfing is the most unique thing about this part of the island and definitely its biggest attraction, but it isn't limited to Rincon.  Isabela and Aguadilla have amazing surf spots as proved by the success of the recent Rip Curl Live Search at Middles Beach in Isabela.  So businesses can buy a listing and be found and travelers can know where to rent a board or surf in Aguadilla or Isabela.  Helpful to both, I hope.

Meanwhile, in Rincon Surfrider has a new Chair, he is Jim Crotty a surf photographer based in Aguada who has been active with Surfrider Rincon for some time.  Wes Merten, the previous Chair did a great job, steering  the Rincon Chapter to being ratified in November.  I look forward to working with Jim and the rest of the Surfrider Executive Committee in the coming months.  Remember Surfrider has its monthly meeting the first Thursday of every month at 7pm at Club Nautico at the Black Eagle Marina in Rincon and everyone is invited.
The surf season started off great with  a few nice swells early and the beaches at Maria's and Domes jumping with energy as locals and out of towners took advantage of the great waves, warm water and stoked vibes running through the town.  Someone told me he felt Maria's is like the battery of Rincon, it is where the energy comes from and the surfers feed off it and send it back on shore to everyone else and I get that now, the surf, the sunsets, Calypso and Playa Marias at this time of the year, there's no where else I'd rather be. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Season's Around the Corner....

I've been away from Blogspot for awhile, working on other projects, so here's a few updates...
The hurricane season has been very kind to PR, so far, Earl brought a lot of wind and our power was out for about 24 hours, but for the most part Rincon didn't suffer much damage.  I know a few people had their power out for quite awhile 4, 5 days in some cases and that is a concern as the storm wasn't a direct hit, what's gonna happen when we get one that hits us head on?  There were lots of palms down on Corcega Beach and lots more erosion on all the beaches, but that's what storms do.

Igor went north of the island, but brought some fantastic surf to Rincon and all of the west coast beaches.  I hadn't seen Tres Palmas break like everyone says it can, but Igor brought it out.  See the picture above.  Not a surfer, I was able to get some nice photographs though.  Hopefully this is just the start of a big surf season.

People are starting to trickle back into town, the "snowbirds" who move between the states and here, you can see it on the roads and restaurants and bars.  I know the economy is everyone's minds these days and things are no different here in Rincon.  I have seen some new construction, most notably a townhome project near the marina and what looks like an apartment building down the street from our house.  Like most vacation destinations, Rincon is struggling to draw the amount of tourists it had a few years ago and businesses who thought those times would last forever will fall by the wayside.

When we came here last year I was surprised at how many businesses were for rent in the plaza.  This past year we lost 2 more, West Coast Surf Shop and Ice Chill n Grill.  Superfoods, an organic market and deli a few miles away in the Pueblo may be closing or up for sale and The Spot, a restaurant in the marina has closed with a new owner hopefully taking over. 

On a good note, there is a new Thai restaurant opening in Puntas called Ode to the Elephants and Club Nautico, in the marina has been remodeled and has much improved food done by the people who own the Shipwreck. Surfrider has moved their offices above and Rincon Sailing has set up shop there as well. The Black Eagle Marina will benefit from these moves, in fact already has as Surfrider has focused on cleaning it up and planting new trees. (see video here)  But I would really like to see our town Plaza revived.  The renovations completed a few years ago are being wasted by a lack of use, especially during the evenings.  More restaurants, art galleries, live music and events in the plaza will help change the perception of the downtown area of Rincon, but we need business owners willing to set up shop and we need a government that will work to bring them here.

The Rip Curl Pro Search Surfing contest is coming to either Isabela or Aguadilla at the end of October and will bring great recognition to the west coast of Puerto Rico.  Rincon may have been able to draw on its own history, beaches and surf in the past, but to survive as a tourist destination this town need to ride on someone else's coattails for awhile, be it Aguadilla or Isabela and while we're at it, let's pair up and promote all 3 towns as a destination for surfers, beach goers and people seeking a Caribbean experience without a passport.  The Porta del Sol, is how the folks at the Puerto Rican Tourism Company is marketing this area of the island and that's great, but their marketing dollars are spread between the other areas of the island as well, I suggest a tourism organization centered on these towns that have similar offerings and cater to similar travelers.  Maybe a good idea, but like most things nothing that will get done unless someone leads the charge....

Monday, August 30, 2010

One year in Rincon...

Hard to believe, but it's been over a year since Cynthia and I packed the dogs up and settled into our nice little house here in paradise. The first few weeks here were the hardest due to a lack of creature comforts such as refrigerator and tv, but it's great to look around and see how far we've come in just a this year. I just finished the new cabinets in the kitchen and soon I can start to focus on the landscape. Our web design business, 413 Geek, has grown more than either of us could have expected and Cynthia has almost got this surfing thing figured out. ;)
As I write this, we are expecting our first hurricane of the year, Hurricane Earl, to bounce just off the north coast of Puerto Rico. We've done as much as we can to prepare, but we don't have a generator or even a large backup water tank so we hope a direct hit won't come. I installed hurricane proofing for our large sliding window doors last year and we have about 20 gallons of drinking water and a 25 gallon tank of grey water for showers and the toilet. I don't want to buy a generator, eventually I'd love to have a solar battery backup just to run the fans and a computer or 2. Ah, another project.
The water is another issue. I can collect the rain runoff into our 25 gallon tank, but eventually we will need to buy a 200 gallon tank. Then hooking it to collect runoff and to use gravity for it to flush toilets and run a shower if we need to. For a storm situation, the water could be off for 2 weeks, if we can collect runoff we won't be reliant on the city to come around with the water truck. As far as the house goes, it's all concrete and once we get the hurricane panels up, no windows are exposed. We;re also high above the beaches so a large swell shouldn't be an issue either.
There haven't been many storms to directly hit Puerto Rico, the last being Hurricane Georges in 1998 that was the first to pass through the entire island since 1932. It sounds like it was pretty devastating, mostly on the eastern coast, but damage throughout the island. I'm sure another one will hit eventually, maybe sooner rather than later considering the climate changes of the past decade. Our friend, Beth Kramer is coordinating an emergency preparedness workshop with government help to start in September. Cynthia and I will be in the classes for 3 consecutive Fridays, learning how to help our town in the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise. When it comes, we would like to be fully prepared, but hard decisions must be made on how we spend our money. For this hurricane season, we will prepare to be self-sufficient for a 10 day period and rely on neighbors and friends if we need more, next year I hope to be writing about our 200 gallon water tank and solar battery system and to be of some help should our neighbors or friends need it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rincon Off-Season

The mangos are everywhere, the flamboyans are bursting red and the beaches, roads and bars are quiet ,it must be the off-season.  We got here in August of last year and enjoyed the relatively empty beaches, not much surf, but perfect for us beginners to paddle out.  Sandy Beach is great this time of year as hardly anyone is out and the water is calm, with a few small sets here and there. 

We spent some time at Finca Cielo Verde today, our friend's farm in the hills east of Mayaguez. The drive was up then down, through the winding roads with canopys of green and mangos along the side of the streets.  It's a beautiful property with a small creek and waterfall running through it, amazing trees everywhere and a large working vegetable farm.  They grow organic vegetables and have started potted landscape plants as well.  We took home a few colorful additions to our gardens.

We've spent some quality time in Aguadilla lately as one of our friends moved there.  The beaches I've seen are beautuful with rock formations and small private coves and of course the surfing up there can be better than Rincon.  110 Thai is a busy restaurant in Aguadilla that we finally checked out on Cyndi's birthday.  The food was so fresh and reasonably priced and they have some really good beers on draft, definitely rates a return visit, but they do get very busy so if you're going, go early.  I've been golfing at the Aguadilla Golf Course more often and enjoying it more and more.  The fees are relatively cheap and while I haven't been golfing very long, the course offers some beautiful views and is challenging but not intimidating.

The rain has started kicking in, bringing a cool late afternoon storm almost daily, washing away the heat and flamboyan petals.  This is the time of year when the jungle can overcome all efforts to keep it at bay and Cyndi has been using the weed wacker and shovel to keep our hillside lean and mean, but I can see the vines crawling faster and faster, I need a more permanent solution.

I went to the pulgaro in San Sebastian which is held every Friday afternoon.  It's a good sized flea market with vendors mostly selling fruits and vegetables, but you can find tools, clothes, plants, and livestock there as well.  I bought some banana palm bones for planting, some incredible organic tomatoes (hard to find good ones here) and some yucca root to cook.

Lots of friends leaving or already left.  Some find the summer just too lifeless around here, other leave to make money elsewhere.  This summer should be different though, the Mayaguez 2010 Games are being held at the end of July and 3 events are being held in Rincon.  This is the Caribbean and South American Olympics and they expect a huge influx of people.  Should make for an interesting summer!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Plastic Free Oceans

Yesterday we went to a news conference at the Villa Cofresi announcing the start of a standup paddle board journey around the island of Puerto Rico to raise awareness of the problem of plastics and their growing mass in the oceans around Puerto Rico.  Here's a link to their website:   So happy to see a local getting local kids and communities involved in this issue.  At the news conference, Ernie Alvarez spoke of his journey to come and what he hoped to accomplish, the plight of sea turtles stuck in plactic bags and a growing sea of plastic out there in the ocean that surrounds us.  Our friends Angelo Cordero and Katka Konecna will accompany him to photograph and film the journey as well as the news conferences along the way.  They will raffle off a brand new ARK paddle board at the end on June 5th and are selling t-shirts and reusable grocery bags to help fund their "Challenging the Ocean to Save the Ocean" campaign.
     The plastics issue has been gaining ground lately, there have been a number of documentaries detailing the plastic soup running hundred of miles swirling around the Pacific Ocean.  One of the most interesting facts that I learned recently:  PLASTIC NEVER DIES, every piece of polyethylene plastic manaufactured since the 1930's when it was first made is still around!!  So  these statistics: 
  • Number of plastic bags used worldwide each year: 4,000,000,000,000 to 5,000,000,000,000.
  • Amount of oil used annually to produce plastic bags: 17,200,000,000 to 21,500,000,000 gallons.
  • Number of plastic bags used by Americans each year: 110,000,000,000.
  • Amount of plastic bags recycled in the United States in 2006: 2%.
  • Amount of plastic used worldwide every year just to bottle water: 1,500,000 to 2,700,000 tons.
  • Number of plastic water bottles sold in the United States in 1997: 4,000,000,000
  • Nearly eight out of every 10 bottles will end up in a landfill.
end up being pretty scary.

     So what to do.  Using reusable grocery bags is the easiest way to start and I was stoked to see MR. Special, a grocery store in Aguada selling these bags for $.99  Maybe we will see some changes that already afoot in the states come to the island.  I ran across a great website that uses guerilla tactics to raise awareness of the problem of single-use plastic bottles and containers,  They have downloadable stickers that they urge you to glue onto vending machines and anywhere plastic bottles are sold.  A great way for kids to stick it to the man and stick up for a great cause.
     With the bottled water boom kicking into high gear 10 years ago, plastic usage has surged and these ubiquitous bottles have not only contibuted more than their share to the pollution of the oceans, but manufacturing these bottles also creates problems: 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Crime in Rincon?

There has been a lot of talk lately about a rise in crime in Rincon and while we haven't been here that long, some long term residents have mentioned the increase.  To be sure the crime we are talking about here is not violent, it's mostly just theft and break-ins, in fact I haven't heard of any people being harmed in any way.   But there seems to be no opposition to the fact that crime has increased.  Is it due to economic circumstances, the cut-backs in jobs and spending has obviously made a dent on the Puerto Rican economy as it has everywhere else.  Or maybe, as some residents believe, it is a result of the coming Caribbean Games in Mayaguez and the displaced residents in some of the public housing there to make way for the influx of athletes and attendees of the games, the reason being these poor are criminals and have moved to Rincon.  I must admit I find this to be a stretch.
     Last night we went to a meeting at the Villa Cofresi introducing the new Chief of Police for the Puerto Rico Police Attachment, Capt. Matilde Rodríguez Rivera.  It was an interesting meeting as we learned a lot about our policing system here in Puerto Rico and also a few first hand accounts of the types of crimes occurring in Rincon.    Captain Rivera's first comments seemed to be defensive in nature, but also stating the obvious. To paraphrase; People come to Rincon and think that there is no crime so they can leave their car windows open and items in their cars and on the beach, but this is what invites criminal behavior.  It is up to us as residents to educate our guests that they need to secure valuables.  Part-time residents need to have alarms on their property for when they are gone for extended lengths of time.  Another problem is that victims are often tourists and they usually leave before they can help with the judicial process.
     So her theme was that the police need help to prevent crime, and this is an understandable request.  All the things she said are true, but some of the crimes described by the people attending the meeting didn't fall into that category so there must be more we can do.  At this point in the meeting we learned that there are 2 different police forces in Rincon, the municipal police, which is located on Rt. 115 and is not captained by Matilde Rodriguez Rivera and the State Police, which is and is located near the school on Calle 2.  It turns out, like many overlapping police organizations, the communication between the two police squads isn't very good (a resident next to us said it was due to different political affiliations).  The fact that the Captain admitted this is a surprise and shed light on the fact that although Mayer Bonilla was scheduled to attend, he did not and no one from the municipal police were in attendance either. Captain Rivera promised that if her station was called, 911 or (787)823-2020, she would send an English speaker officer to take the report if requested.
     A Neighborhood Watch program that is popular in other communities was discussed and many of this meetings attendees volunteered to be a part of a similar program for Rincon which would begin in early May.  I think a Neighborhood Watch program would increase communication between the residents, both locals and English speaking, and the police.  Separating facts from rumors will help us see trends in where crime is occurring and hopefully, why. I agree with Captain Rivera that it is as much the responsibility of the people of Rincon to prevent crime as it is the police to catch the perpetrators.   Overall, a productive meeting that may form the basis for a more involved community in the safety of Rincon, it's residents and guests.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 2010

It's been a busy month so far as we have had some friends and relatives visiting, a great opportunity to do so many of the things we've been putting off doing in and around Rincon.

Cyndi went horseback riding with Pinto R Us and had a blast! She said it was the most fun she's had since she's been here.  The group started at the Marina and rode north and onto the Domes trail near the Spanish Wall.  Cyndi said the horses had plenty of spirit and they were able to do a lot of galloping, but her favorite part was riding on the beach, I don't blame her, I get jealous every time I see a group pass me by on the 413, knowing they will soon be on the sand watching the sun fall into Desecheo as they mosey along the shore.

We also went to a waterfall in San Sebastian.  It was a little hard to find the trail, but some nice Sebastianos told us where to go.  The hike toward the fall is pretty easy, maybe 10-15 minutes, definitely worth the trip.  It's not a huge, gorgeous waterfall, but nice enough.  There's a nice pool below and plenty of spots to jump from, also a water cave if you're feeling real adventurous.

We went to a great party while Cyndi's mom was in town, (thanks Rosa!), and experienced our first pig roast.   Also met some great people, other bloggers, blog readers as well as neighbors, the house was 5 minutes way from ours.  It was a nice evening and a great chance for Cyndi's mom to see what a friendly town Rincon is.

We also went up to Rincon Pottery, the studio owned by our friends, Nick and Miri, for the first time.  Beautiful ceramic art, functional, looking forward to having more space so we start collecting,  thanks for the tour Miri.  The drive to the Rincon Pottery studio is a nice slice of the part of Rincon we don't get to see enough.  Beautiful hillside homes on large lots with amazing views, brightly painted houses with all types of fruit and decorative trees and more manicured landscaping than we see in Puntas.

We finally had breakfast at The English Rose and it definitely lived up to it's billing.  Hanging high above Tres Palmas, the restaurant patio has a beautiful view of the ocean and the surrounding hillsides.  The food was not overly expensive and the best we've had since coming to Rincon.  Kicking ourselves for not trying it sooner.

While on the subject of restaurants, another great one is El Fogon de la Curva, a pig roast/fresh fish (yes, those are their specialties) bar and grill on the way out of Rincon, at the curve toward Anasco.  It is attached to a fish market where the owner will filet whichever fish he has caught that day (and still has left) for you.  The Dorado is fantastic, but goes quick, I tried the Parrotfish and it was very good as well.  But the restaurant is cheap and delicious, a nice combination.

The weather has been incredibly hot this week and the waves very small, so the dogs have been coming with us to the beach.  I picked the hottest week of the year to start painting the house, but at least it's not raining.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rincon Surfing

I haven't written too much about surfing here in Rincon, but the great surf here is one of the reasons we're here and one of the reasons Rincon is such a special place.  The story usually begins with the 1968 World Championships that were held here in Rincon, which was then barely a blip on the Puerto Rican map, but from there the town has grown in small spurts to what it is now; a sleepy surf town where mostly East Coast surfers come down during the surfing season, December -April, filling up the guest houses and surf schools as well as the line ups at most of the local surf spots. 
     The reason Rincon draws so many surfers is because it has beaches that face 2 directions so that swells coming from the north, bring waves to the northern beaches and south swells bring surf to the southern beaches, leaving very few days where neither side has had decent waves this season.  But Rincon isn't the whole story, Aguadilla and Isabella just 30 minutes north offer more beaches and world class waves without the hype.
     Cyndi and I came here to surf, although neither of us surf.  I've  body surfed all my life at beaches in southern California, but never brought a board in the water with me.  Cyndi started paddling a big soft board a year before we got here, but never got too serious about actually standing up on it.  Since we arrived here in Rincon, Cyndi has taken 3 surfing lessons and goes out almost daily, but has yet to feel the thrill of standing up through a wave.  She is determined and loves just being in the water so eventually her day will come and when that happens, I don't think I'll ever be able to get her out of the water.  I haven't taken any lessons, but I went out on a big softboard for the first time about a month ago and felt pretty comfortable, but a little out of breathe after 30 minutes of paddling.  Since then our friend sold me a nice epoxy longboard that I've taken out once, but need more I'll have fun with it.
     But listening to surfers talk, it's amazing the respect and awe they have for the sport and love they feel everyone should feel.  Most of our surfing friends are so encouraging about getting us on a wave and everyone has words of advice, it does seem like a cliche but they "live to surf".  I've seen a 60 year old man come out of the water grinning like a teenager and kids talking to each other about swells and currents and tides as knowledgeable as a TV weatherman (probably more so).  I usually tend to dismiss the hype of this type of thing and I know I'll never be as fully immersed in surfing as many, including Cyndi have become, but I also admit that I'm looking forward to my day on a wave, when my legs are strong beneath me and the surf is rolling before me and surfing's mystery comes  a bit closer into focus.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Randomness Rincon Notes

A few random thoughts...

Uno, our "foster" dog is too sweet to give away, Cyndi's waaaay too much in love with him and I'm developing a little crush on him myself so I think we have 3 dogs now.....

We added a pet adoptions page to our 413 geek site, just because we hear of all sorts of puppies being droped off at people' houses and what can we do?  Not much, but if anyone sends a pic and contact info we'll put it up there....

We've had a lot of luck with renting "La Olita", our downstairs studio, despite the water being turned off from time to time and roosters at 5:30 am, the guests seem to have really enjoyed their stays, $55/night, what's not to like?

Had a really bad dining experience at Brumas Bar and Grill, a restaurant on the curve toward Anasco, we only went there 'cause the fish restaurant we wanted to go to was closed for a private event, but what a waste of $50...

I decided that cooking with coconut milk is pretty cool, add it to rice and veggies for a soupy curry with a little lime and mint, it's pretty rich, but sooo good...

We went to The Best of the Fest, a screening of a film from last year's Rincon International Film Festival.  The movie called This is a Robbery was a funny documentary about a 91 year old bank robber and was pretty good, definitely gets me interested in what we'll see from this years event....

Last Saturday we helped install some trash cans at the Black Eagle Marina with the Surfrider Foundation, thanks to all those that helped, hopefully they'll get used and picked up regularly by the city....

Fernando of Villa Orleans put a post on his blog about a group coming to Rincon this summer to prepare to excavate the shipwreck off the coast of Rincon.  Seems there's a group looking to build a maritime museum filled with what they find.  How cool would that be?

Cyndi's still working on standing up on the surfboard, she's tenacious, I even went out yesterday, but it was too blown out, I'm was having problems just paddling out, she seems pretty comfortable, maybe just afraid to commit to the wave...

A 90 lb Wahoo was caught off the coast a few days ago, great pictures provided by our friend Pablo...

The surf contest on Saturday and Sunday at Domes was packed, we went Saturday for a little while and couldn't believe how many people were on the beach, cool to see thankfully only once a year...

I guess there's a Haiti fundraiser at the Pool Bar on Friday night, our friend Yaro will be playing some music, check TAR member events for a posting soon...

We're enjoying Rincon as much as ever, even more so as we meet more people and become more integrated in the fabric of the community, it's a special place, salud to those who recognize that!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rincon Art & Artisans

It was a weekend of art activities as Saturday was the Juntarte art show in the Plaza in downtown Rincon and Sunday we went to the Traveling Treasures art show at the Tropical Treehouse in the hills over Rincon.
The Juntarte show comes around every few months and includes local artists and craft people who make everything from soap and candles to small pieces of furniture. We missed the live music that started at 6pm, but we enjoyed seeing different artists and supporting this event as it is more of a Puerto Rican event than most other things we go to.
The Traveling Treasures is as implied a traveling art show that makes it's way to various locations around Rincon; The Lazy Parrot, Casa Islena and Villa Cofresi, but Sunday's event was at the Tropical Treehouse, an amazing collection of a main house with 2 other bamboo "hooches" that include running water and electricity. We wandered the property in awe of the various bamboo structures, furniture and crafts made by the owner, who unfortunately was out of town and we did not meet.
The art show, while not especially a large collection did have some interesting works. I bought a few prints by the Aguada based artist, Kurt Zeigler, and there were some beautiful ceramic pieces by our friend Miri from Rincon Pottery. Mostly it was another opportunity to support local artists and see friends and meet new neighbors who do the same. There are a couple of galleries in Rincon, The Secret Garden which is small, but houses some nice works by its owner, Roberto and other local artists and Playa Oeste, which specializes in surf art from around the world and other places where art can be found such as gift shops and adorning the walls of restaurants and hotels, not to mention the many murals all over Rincon, (another posting on this soon). I know of a couple great photographers, Rachel Tanner and our neighbor, Angelo Cordero.
Rincon is such a beautiful and inspiring place that a strong artist presence here seems natural. I think of places like Laguna Beach and Santa Fe where artists were drawn to the natural beauty and formed colonies of studios and galleries as their ranks grew. Rincon could turn out to have something like this, I think there are already many very good artists here, but there needs to be support from all sides of the community and maybe a more united approach between expats and locals.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The surf brought us, the people keep us

When we first decided to move to Rincon it was because of the great weather and beaches, but the people here are what makes Rincon so special. I've already described how Steve and Francia Lantz from the Lazy Parrot have helped, but there are so many more. Whenever we have a question about where in the Rincon area or who in Rincon, we run it by John from Surf's Up Coffee, he's just a guy who has been here a long time and done many things here and he's eager to suggest local folks that he trusts and has a connection with.
Cyndi first met Rhea Maxwell of the El Coqui of Rincon at a volunteer graffiti cleanup event and Rhea, who has so much on her plate, was kind enough to see that we would like to help and we have built a great relationship with her.
A number of our friends have blogs; James and Shannon who got here about 6 months before we did have a great blog, James N Shan Do PR. She teaches yoga at La Paz Yoga studio and he teaches surfing at Rincon Surf School. Their blog is a great way to see Rincon through the eyes of an adventurous young couple, exploring all the things that make this place so unique.
Rincon Life is Annie, who along with her husband Justin, own Rincon Vacations a vacation concierge service for the West Coast of Puerto Rico. Her blog is probably the most informative Rincon blog I've read and there are always new and interesting posts. She and Justin are great at what they do and work hard to match local business people with tourists in Rincon.
Fernando is the man behind the Villa Orleans blog and his videos show so much about the Rincon area and beyond. He knows as much about this part of Puerto Rico as anyone I've met and is always willing to share great information about this place he loves.
His brother, Roberto is an amazing artist and runs the Secret Garden Art Gallery, where local artists can show their work. The gallery is located amidst a tropical and jungle landscape that Roberto and Fernando built behind the Villa Orleans.
Sam and Jahbi, who both work at the Lazy Parrot really welcomed us when we first got here. They came here from Pennsylvania a few years ago and remembered how hard it was to get the house in order and Sam worked on our electric and plumbing problems after some long days at the Parrot.
Carlos, who runs the Boarding House Surf school and rentals really epitomizes the Rincon attitude as we have found it to be. When Cyndi was looking to buy a board he offered up a few to try out so she would know what she liked and when I expressed some interested, he pulled out a big 11 foot board and shoved in my hands and told me to get out on the waves with my wife. When I got my hands on a nice longboard that needed a few fixes, he took care of it and found a cheap used fin for Cyndi's board, all the while not worrying about how he would get paid, more interested in us getting out on the waves. Not everyone in Rincon has this esthetic, but the more people we meet, the more nice things we have to say.

Sunday, February 7, 2010 is the website of the Tourism Association of Rincon, TAR, and Cyndi and I are proud to say we are behind the new design of the website. TAR brings local businesses in Rincon together for the purpose of tourism, but it is also a great networking opportunity for new businesses. Cyndi joined with Rincon Sports Massage before we got to Rincon and has met a lot of great clients and friends as a result. Our business, 413 Geek was hired to redesign the website when the previous web designer announced a hefty price increase for the maintenance of the site. A redesign was long overdue, the old site had broken links, drop down menus and long, long pages that took forever to load. There was a lot of good information on the site, but it had been added to so often, it had become unorganized and redundant.
The website is the main benefit of becoming a TAR member and the old site wasn't serving its members as well as it could. has always been the most popularly searched site for Rincon, but we want it to be easy to get to and easy to navigate. But mainly we want to make the site to serve potential tourists as well as its members, listings that are organized, up to date and easy to find, important information, but not too much information, and photographs that show the beauty and fun in Rincon.
But I also think the website is just a start, there are things like the Rincon International Film Festival and the Mayaguez 2010 Games that local business owners can be a part of, but there needs to be organization and communication between owners, planners and back to potential visitors, TAR can be a big part of this communication. Cyndi and I are so excited to be able to play a part in the process. We decided a year ago that this is our town and we look forward to participating in the future of Rincon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fresh Veggies!

Cyndi and I bought 1/2 share of this season's crops from Finca Cielo Verde, a local community supported agricultural collective. Their website:
I've heard of these types of arrangements before, but never had the opportunity to get involved, so when our friend Katka emailed us some information, we were very interested. The produce in Rincon is generally very good. We have a small market less than a mile away, La Placita, that sells locally grown fruit and vegetables, but it's really just a roadside stand so the variety isn't so great. I buy tomatoes there when they have them and avacados as well, but the prices can be high also. The regular market, Econo, in town sells plenty of produce, but much of it is from other countries and for all sorts of reasons we are trying to limit our food purchases to local sources as much as we can.
So the chance to invest in a local farm, they're in the hills above Mayaguez, about an hour away, will keep us eating local and fresh as the deliveries come weekly. The first delivery was 2 weeks ago and in it we had Mesclun greens, Scallponini squash, eggplant, mandarins, cilantro, mustard greens and Pac choi. The 2nd weeks delivery was similiar but included some starfruit and different greens. We've been making vegetarian pastas and stir-frys, but also eating these straight from the farm veggies raw. The flavor and freshness is incredible and doesn't compare to something bought back home from a Ralph's or Vons where some of the vegetables are shipped in from defferent states and can take days to make it to the produce counter.
If you have an opportunity to go, Finca Cielo Verde also sell at the Rincon Farmer's Market. And if you don't live in Rincon, chances are there is a farm near you that has similiar arrangements, seek them out at Farmer's markets and support local growers and the local food movement. The consolidation of the farming industries is something that should trouble us all, small growers are being forced out by large companies whose growing practices and pricing strategies threaten to shut down small farms everywhere, but it doesn't have to be that way.