I am sitting now at the house we rent for our Just Add Water retreats, resting and recovering after an action packed 4 days with 14 incredible women ranging in age from 21-70 and from all over the country. I consider myself a very energetic person, but these women definitely gave me a run for my money and as I sit here I am realizing how exhausted I am!
If you have never been to Rincon, located in the northwest corner of Puerto Rico, you really should. An easy flight from the states (no passport required) and you land in a place where one of the main roads is appropriately called the ‘Road to Happiness.’ Some of the most amazing surf in the world can be found here, as witnessed by the incredible surfers this place churns out, and with water temps averaging 85 degrees year round it is completely reasonable to spend hours in the ocean each day. Frequent whale sightings, sea turtles, and other magical sea life abound, and the Sunday farmers market is the place to go to stock up on organic greens and tropical fruit from the local CSA, fresh baked breads, and other goodies to sustain the body for all that there is to do here.
On this particular retreat, the main focus is yoga (of course) and stand up paddleboarding. Whether you are a total novice or a seasoned pro, there is something for everyone. We are incredibly lucky to be connected with who I jokingly call the Mayor of Rincon, Albert Lash. His business name (borrowed from the street), Rd2Happiness, does it all—surf lessons, stand up paddleboarding lessons and rentals, waterfall tours, trips to the bio-luminescent bay. Albert is an expert on all things Puerto Rico, and when he is especially proud of something (which is often), he is known to remark smilingly, “Welcome to my Island.”
Arriving to Rincon is often in the dark, on inconvenient flights to Aguadilla. However, as you de-board the plane and feel the beautiful tropical night air on your face, it’s all good.
Like Tulum, Rincon is in my heart. Maybe it’s because it’s where I learned to surf, in super clean glassy rights that seem to go on forever. Maybe it’s the paddling—I have paddled for hours here, in crystal clear water that beckons you to jump in over and over again, or maybe it’s the friendships that have formed, the friendly locals, the neighborhood dogs, the coquis who start singing when the sun goes down and again as it rises and the roosters who greet the morning as eagerly as I do when I am here.
My Favorite Moments
This trip, there was no shortage of highlights. But if I had to list 5, here goes:
1. The newest mascot at Rd2 Happiness—The tiniest puppy I have ever seen, provided my 9 year old with hours of entertainment when she wasn’t on the water with me.
2. 70 year old Rickie Schuster, one of my students from home, on day 3, learning how to stand and paddle. She spent the first two days on her knees and butt, not so convinced that she would ever stand up and perfectly content to remain in a seated position. But with some encouragement, up she went, and the smile that spread across her face will stay with me for a long time and is one of the reasons why I love my job!
3. Sana Farms—$10 for a half gallon of organic green juice. OMG. This gem of a farmstand also sells organic Chai coffee, delicious kale and other greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, coconuts and more. A daily visit here is part of the routine.
4. The surf. Most of the women (and men) who attend these retreats do so for the yoga and the SUP. And of course, yoga and SUP are AMAZING! However, Rincon is a surfer’s paradise and (yes I admit) is one of the reasons I host retreats here year after year. This last trip, the surf was perfect and soooo much fun!!! Some bigger days where I got to feel the speed and power of Mother Ocean and some smaller days perfect for a longboard and perfect for our retreat attendees to get out there and take some lessons… After one session, there were definitely a few converts!
5. SUP Yoga! This was the first retreat in 6 years that we were able to practice sup yoga WITH anchors (Puerto Rican style of course). Albert and his team filled a bunch of jugs of water with sand to create anchors and we were in business!