Something I find really fun about living in Rincón is that while there are often “official” events and activities, a lot of the time they are just something that someone decides to do. Like the hula hooping/poi jam, or the hot sauce contest. Someone gets an idea and then they do it! Perhaps it’s because you must be something of a free thinker and a get-er-done type of person, but it is really a fun attribute of living here. The most recent one we participated in was the 3rd annual Rincón Chinchorreo or Bar Crawl thanks to our friend Lowell. It was an opportunity to meet up with some friends and walk around Rincón meeting more and more friends along the way.
Carlos’ little bar complete with lottery and fresh coconut drinks
At our first stop we even ran into the alcalde (mayor) of Rincón whose name also happens to be Carlos, Carlos López Bonilla.
The photo’s a little tilted down, but hey!, we’re chinchorreando with the mayor!
Another stop along the route: El Patio Familiar
It was fun checking out bars that we had never visited before and whenever you go anywhere on foot or bicycle (or horse as the case of some of the crawlers) you are able to see things more slowly and in better detail. Down in Stella/Corcega at Pepe’s Pizza for instance, I was able to check out the erosion of the beach from Hurricane Matthew. Puerto Rico didn’t really experience any major direct damage but the waves that hit the southern part of the peninsula of Rincón caused some serious erosion.
Coastal erosion up close and personal
The crew continued to grow to our maximum at Villa Cofresí where they are doing some remodeling.
Group photo at Villa Cofresí
Some of the chinchorreando crew and Villa Cofresí’s famous Piratas
When we arrived to downtown Rincón, I took a little side tour of the newest downtown boutique hotel: Qué Chévere. And Qué Chévere it is! I loved the retro feel and for travelers who want to experience the cool Rincón plaza atmosphere it is a great option. The owners went out of their way to show us their pride and joy.
Qué Chévere hotel
Britton chatting with the owner in the lobby of Qué Chévere
Vintage record player
Awesome roof-top view of downtown Rincón: El Mejor Lugar Para Vivir
Checking out the newest bar in RIncón: Roots
That evening we continued the fun spending time with our friends Waldemar and Papo who have helped us build our cabin. Over these last nearly two years, we have developed quite the friendship with them and really enjoy each others’ company.
At one of the stops, Waldemar asked to take a short gallop on one of the horses of the chinchorreo
Keep the party moving! We went out to another favorite bar in town: El Bohío de Cano to shoot pool
And had a lot of fun, even getting swept up in one of the many political caravanas
They say time flies when you’re having fun and I feel like we are on a Concord. I love this place.
This weekend we met up with a friend and decided to take an excursion up to Arecibo. We’ve been to the Observatory and Camuy Caves, though they probably merit another trip since it’s been more than 10 years. This trip, however, the main goal was to see the Cueva del Indio (Taino Indian Cave). From what I’ve read this cave was a sacred place for the Taino Indians and unlike many other caves in Puerto Rico, it is located right on the seashore. We met up in San Sebastian and headed up through the island with a few stops along the way.
One stop was a photo opportunity at Salto Collazo which was flowing with much more water
Along the way we got stuck in a couple of political caravanas, but it wasn’t too bad. For the next three weeks or so I have a feeling it’s going to get more and more intense around here. People line the roads and hang out their cars waving flags and playing music in support of their party or politician of choice.
Parades of noisy cars with their team -er- political colors and symbols
When we arrived in Arecibo we stopped at the Lighthouse aka Faro Los Morrillos.
We came around to where there is a Lighthouse Park. It looked like a kids’ amusement park without any real rides or anything. Parking was $3 and the entrance fee is $12! Pretty high. For $39 there are many other things I would rather do. Many people, including us, went up to the gate and then turned around. I mainly just wanted to see the lighthouse.
Beach side of the Lighthouse Park
We drove around to the other side of the Faro (which the clerk didn’t tell us we could do) and saw a better view of the lighthouse and also an awesome beach that had waves crashing and slamming into plumes of salt foam. This beach is called Pozo del Obispo.
On the playa side of the faro
Splash! At Playa Pozo del Opispo, Arecibo. The rock outcropping provides protection and creates a gentle swimming cove
View looking down at the beach area
And from there we could see one of our next stops! The huge and controversial Christopher Columbus statue that was dismissed from many other potential homes before arriving in Puerto Rico. You can see it a little in the above picture, but zoomed in you can definitely make it out. This statue is controversial because though Columbus is an important historical figure, he was also kind of a crappy human being who inflicted a lot of pain on people. Especially indigenous peoples like the Taino Indians who lived on the island before it was “discovered” by the Europeans.
Christopher Columbus Statue in the distance
Daylight was precious so we headed over to the caves. It gets dark around 6:30pm so we wanted to make sure to see the caves. When we arrived to the “official” entrance the clerk said we had missed it by 15 minutes! They close parking at 5pm!
“Official” looking entrance
We were super bummed to be turned away, especially missing it by only 15 minutes. But onward and upward. We headed down the road about 2 blocks and found the huge Christopher Columbus statue. I found it especially ironic or at least coincidental that this huge statue of the mass murderer of many indigenous people would be literally walking distance down the road from the sacred caves of the Indians.
Up close and personal with Columbus
We paid $2 to sit in the parking lot under the statue and make ourselves a drink. We were lamenting not seeing the caves when a man we had seen at the lighthouse asked us if we had seen them yet. We said no, that we just missed it. He said that all we needed to do was find a different entrance and we could go in and that the coast, where the caves are, is free and public. He said that he and his friend found a little snipped part in the fence and they just snuck right in and nobody said anything. Hey, we’re all for adventure! So we were off to see the caves after all! He said that they were charging $5 per person to enter through the official way, but that if you go yourself it’s free! Even better!
Just down from the official entrance we had seen earlier there were some houses on the road and so we parked just outside of there. We found the little hole in the fence and snuck right through. We climbed the sharp rocky rough ground for about 3 minutes and arrived to a beautiful sea scene with boulder arches and active waters.
Sort of horse-skull looking formation
We wandered about the rocky coast for a while and then saw a few people descending. This must be where the cave of the Indian is, we thought. There were rocky steps that seemed to be perfectly cut just for that reason. It almost felt like a den room.
Descending into the cave
Then we came upon the ladder that would take us deep into the heart of the cave where the cave touches the sea. The sacred room of the Tainos.
It’s just an old wood ladder, but appeared to be strong and sturdy
Cool old ladder has groove marks in the wood where many hands and feet pass
Cool ceiling complete with bats! Looks like a space craft!
It was really cool seeing all the Taino petroglyphs. I have read that this cave has more petroglyphs than any other site in Puerto Rico! I don’t know what they symbolized but it reminded me that this island has so many layers of history to it. Long before Columbus landed, the island was thriving.
Whole rock walls covered in petroglyphs
For being so open to the elements and visitors I thought it was remarkably well-maintained. I always find it so interesting that in Puerto Rico for the most part things are just left to the people to explore. A very populist notion of live and let live that I find really appealing, especially to my sense of adventure and freedom.
Since we were the last ones there we had a few minutes before dark to take a few fun shots. It would be an awesome place to do a proper photoshoot.
Then we were off! We snuck out through the same gate that we entered.
Squeezing through the gate
Later that night we went out to have shrimp pizza in Hatillo under the light of a brilliant full moon.
Another magical day in Borinken
Here’s a little video of our time at the caves and statue. Enjoy.
Internet is one of those modern conveniences that is just….. so nice to have. Checking in on Facebook, paying bills or looking how to do things on youtube. We haven’t “hooked” up internet service here yet, but we’ve always had some signal of some sort to utilize. It is probably more of a personal challenge to find alternate ways of connecting than any actual reason. In the process you can learn all kinds of new things about networking and radios.
When we first arrived the only way to get an open signal was to be on top of the cabana on the corner of the house. Usually this was in the sun or rain! This is what I will consider internet v1.0. It was much easier than packing up and going to a cafe, plus we didn’t have to buy coffee or sit outside some place and look like moochers. We could mooch from our own home!
I then figured out how to setup a repeater bridge by installing a Linux variant DD-WRT on a Linksys router. The bridge would take the internet signal from yonder and repeat it so that we had wireless access from within the cabana! It needed to be waterproof so I bought a plastic trashcan from the dollar store, drilled holes for the antennas and hung it upside down. I had to hang it upside down to keep the rain from draining into the antenna holes.
Version 2.0 worked really well, it was nice to sit inside the cabana and have access. Of course with both 1.0 and 2.0 the speeds were pretty much dialup. The Access Point we were using was pretty far away. Eventually the trees grew tall enough to block our access. We had to find another source!
We had been talking to our neighbor about the idea of paying for a share of his internet and in return he would put his wireless router in his window nearest our property to get a good line of sight link to our wireless bridge. Well this worked out really well! This was version 3.0 and I even made a little wood box for it out of scrap T-111 because the plastic trashcan disintegrated in the sun!! The speeds were MUCH faster and it worked really well.
Forward to the cabin being built and wanting to have internet over there. It is easily 500 feet and there is a forest between the router box, so no signal is going to make it over there. We had already put in an electricity line and I did some research.
Apparently companies have figured out how to make a device that will transmit from an electric outlet to an electric outlet. This is perfect! It is called Ethernet over power in case you may want to use it. One end plugs into the wireless router (Ethernet up-link) and plugs into the power outlet the router is plugged into. The other end plugs into an outlet at the cabin. Since they are on the same circuit they can talk. The device at the cabin also has a wireless router built into it! So now we have wireless internet at and around the cabin!
The only problem I had now was that apparently wires and cables are fun to chew on. So rats and iguanas have been chewing up the power and Ethernet cables inside the box and it quits working.
So here comes version 4.0 pictured below. It is waterproof, chew proof relays a wireless signal from our neighbor to our concrete cabana AND sends a signal thru the electric line to the new cabin. It isn’t pretty, but hey, maybe nobody will want to steal it?
4.0 is Ratproof!
It is fun to invent, design, build and test. That is what we have been doing the entire time we have lived here in Rincón! What can I say? I’m a geek.
The Sahara dust that the wind carries with storms over the ocean limits visibility and creates hazy days, but also spectacular sunsets and sunrises
Here in Rincón we are now in the midst of the transition to “season.” Season, as people here call it, is the tourist season. Surf’s up and it’s cold up north, so many North Americans and others come to Rincón and Puerto Rico in general during the winter.
But right now, early October, we are in the transition. A few people are trickling in, but overall the roads are still nice and unclogged, the beaches are empty and the days are slow and lazy. Britton and I have acclimated to the temperature (by NOT using air conditioning and losing some weight) and need little more than a fan and a nice cold beverage to stay comfortable.
At a beach near 3 Hermanos
It’s just as beautiful as ever. Because we really have nothing to gain by the season we have never really cared one way or another, but this year we are looking forward to it a little more because our band has been practicing all summer for it and also because our cabin should be finished soon and we can rent out our little cabana that we’ve been living in.
Britton and Chris installing the interior doors and also finishing up the bathroom
Our little cabana will be available for rent soon! contact us if interested!
Practicing on the keys at a jam
Checking out some costuming ideas too! Halloween is the official start of season and a lot of fun in Rincón! How do you like this look?
Or how about this one in a pink wig?
When we’re not working on the cabin or jamming with the band, we’ve been enjoying our days just as always.
And there’s still always some new and weird thing to see! Yes, this car has horns! Literal horns.
Palm silhouettes in a fiery sunset
Our beautiful friend Isabella at DAR’s weekly horse class near Sandy Beach
Jangueando con amigos Walter y Pedro
Enjoying a girls’ night out at Villa Cofresí (I swear I’m not that tan!)
Just playing around with some cute kiddos at the Lazy Parrot!
Sunday morning brunch at our house with our friends the VanEes
A clear tropical day at our finca
It’s a time of preparation and also relaxation. Enjoying the calm before the storm. When the tourists and part-timers (seasonal people) come everything becomes more electric and exciting, the humidity drops a bit and the days become crystalline, but it also means that the stores run out of certain things, prices tend to get a little crazy, the roads are more dangerous and people can unwittingly (or wittingly) be a little annoying and arrogant. Still, I happily accept this seasonal change over the snow, wind, gloomy dark and cold any day though.