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Introducing West Coast

West is best – at least as far as those quintessential snapshots of Puerto Rico go. Here the languid, azure ocean takes on a visceral palpability because this is the place to get in it: paddling like mad to catch a ride on one perfect wave after another, or swimming off sandy shorelines that regularly grace 'world's best beach' lists. The region's pièce de résistance is Rincón, a surfin’ safari outpost (named in a Beach Boys song, for goodness’ sake!) where grizzled beach bums and stoned locals catch waves in the salty dawn, and mingle around beach bonfires at twilight.

As well as taking the drop on flawless surf, Porta del Sol (Gateway to the Sun) is a land of stormy shorelines, low-key resorts and down-to-earth fishing villages. Grab a few cold ones, bite down on a conch fritter or three, and get ready to brave the waves, bask in the stunning sunsets and absorb the mellow spirit of slacker independence.