Every proper international surf enclave contains a blend of core local legends, salty ex-pat Americans and a gangs of hostel-dwelling frothers. The west coast of Puerto Rico is one of those wave-rich zones and the regular destino for SWELL guest blogger Nico Guilis in her travel series Find Your California.
The wanderings of our favorite new travel journalist bringing California flair to Caribbean discoveries like the insane surf at Crash Boat Beach, and the Puerto Rican restaurants serving “Mofongo” aka fried plantains stuffed with shrimp (it’s phenomenal!). So hit the island road with our girl and fall in love with her styles from Herschel Supply.
INTRODUCING FIND YOUR CALIFORNIA
I spend one to two months every winter in the surf town of Rincon, Puerto Rico. I fly into Aguadilla where some of my friends live in the town called Isabela, magical secret spots and crystal blue waters. Just 30 minutes south of Isabela is the ever growing small town of Rincon, from morning to night there is always something to do. Starting the days doing Yoga on the beach and ending the nights at local bars and hanging with your friends.
The beautiful thing about Puerto Rico is the amount of adventures you can go on. Waterfalls, caves, island hopping, hiking, free diving, spear fishing, road trips to the south of the island for the day and venturing to the east side of the island to places like Old San Juan that has the most beautiful historical structures. It’s is an affordable place to be and only a 3 hour flight from New York, it can be an easy weekend get away.
I always bring a Hershel Supply Beach Bag and Backpack, never know when you will want to have a beach day or go out exploring. Never forget my go pro, film camera and regular camera to capture all my favorite moments. Beach Bum sunscreen is my favorite skin protection, the smell of it is addicting and it doesn’t make your skin feel heavy or greasy. Always have a music playlist downloaded on your phone, nothing worse then cruising in no wifi and having nothing in your headphones on the road.
Always find your local favorite restaurant and coffee shop so mornings are always epic and you feel good to start your day. Pool Bar is a great apres surf lounge where you can grab a rum and punch with owner/charger Dennis and watch a surf flick with the local crew. Learn local customs so you don’t ever come across as rude or unaware of your surroundings. Send your mom a drop pin of your locations so she doesn’t have a panic attack when she hasn’t heard from you in two weeks. Make sure to bring running shoes and sandals, you might want to hike and trail run – not always able to be barefoot.
On my last day we headed out of town and hiked barefoot through a jungle to film and shoot. Its fun but a lot of people don’t see the handwork and constant motion I am in as a photographer – pictures make things look so much easier. I decided to follow my dreams and the universe has definitely taken me under its wings but with that has come a responsibility to see and feel the work through. I know a lot of people look at what I am creating and I have to keep things always moving and fresh – all the love and support keeps me excited and focused. Thank you for reading FIND YOUR CALIFORNIA