Winter in Puerto Rico + Doubletree in San Juan = Powerful Surfing Juice
Most of my East Coast surfer friends travel to Puerto Rico every year between November and February. Something happens when the weather changes that bomber swells make their way into Puerto Rican beaches and surfers around the world turn to “Hawaii of the Atlantic” to ride, mostly because it’s cheaper, but also because it’s an awesome place to visit.
We traveled in a group and some of us were with our girlfriends, so we chose a nice budget hotel in San Juan to stay for two nights: Doubletree. Usually when I go on trips with just the guys we crash anywhere, but you know how the ladies are… “Gotta treat them well” my dad always says. The Doubletree in Puerto Rico is a good choice because it’s really close to the expressway that takes you to the happy place: Rincón.
The plan was to hit different surf spots all over the island so we rented a car to go back and forth between places. We started on the North Coast and then headed out to the West Coast for a couple of days. Here’s my take on Puerto Rico’s beaches and waves:
Aviones, San Juan
We wanted to try out a beach close by before going to Vega Baja, but this was kind of a buzz kill. Sure, waves were consistent, but dude, HUGE hogging crowd. I definitely wasn’t feeling this one.
Cibuco Beach or “Boca del Cibuco”, Vega Baja
Waves here were massive and the water was deep. I was a bit put off by SUPs stealing my waves (paddleboarders), but whenever I caught a wave it was worth it.
Los Tubos, Manatí
Rookies, grab on to your boards! This beach fed us high swells most of the day. Local surfers told us the beach usually offers medium and high swells but a nearby storm was giving us better waves than usual.
Gas Chambers, Aguadilla
The best tubes we saw during our entire trip! We went on a weekday and it was slightly crowded, but manageable. Two surfer girls told us weekends are impossible to ride. They also recommended we always go for the first set of waves. They said the barrels afterwards could be insane.
Tres Palmas, Rincón
Nope, didn’t have the experience to go in. This beach produces huge 25 ft. waves and even my most reckless friend passed. We had a bet but everyone chickened out. We blame it on our girlfriends but total honesty: experienced surfers ONLY!
I wish we had more time to explore the other beaches but I wasn’t prepared for the large crowds. Still had fun though, Puerto Rico is a full package. Will definitely return next year with more practice and cash to burn!