It shouldn’t come as a surprise that in order to experience the most authentic side of the Colombian Caribbean one may have to travel to a remote Rincón (Spanish for “corner”) of the country.
With a booming international tourist industry and a coastal region that has long been a destination national tourists, it’s difficult to get off the beaten path when on the Atlantic Coast in Colombia.
The truth is, until a few years ago, this coast lived mainly of agriculture and fishing, sided by strong Afro-Colombian roots which gave it a special and unique cultural flavor to the region.
This article is the story of a little and sleepy fishermen town located in Sucre, one of the most unknown departments of Colombia, where tourism has barely set foot and traditions are still strong among its people: this village is called Rincón del Mar.
Rincón, being only two hours away from Cartagena and one from Sincelejo, is surprisingly well connected, considering how well it has resisted the tourism industry.
It belongs to the city of San Onofre, where a bus will drop you off after 1.30 hours if you are coming from Cartagena, and 10 hours if you are coming from Medellin: from there, it’s a marvelous 13 km moto-taxi ride across beautiful fincas, until you catch the sea opening up in front of you after the last hill before reaching the town of Rincón del Mar.
- Along the moto taxi ride to Rincon.
Time to get rid of your shoes folks: there is only one street in Rincón, a sand strip onto which the houses of local people open up, and that during the coolest hours of the day becomes the center of social activity.
- The colors of the streets in Rincon
A stroll on this street will take you right into the Afro-Colombian Caribbean culture: kids playing, ladies cooking, old folks telling stories and someone always smiling at you (attempting a few words in English if you look foreigner enough).
Walk the street all the way down to the bridge, on the lagoon, and you will be in the best beach in the area, La Punta, where the village ends and the coast leaves it behind, extending wild and pristine towards the north.
- Beach Life in Rincon del Mar.
The alternative is to stroll around the beach itself, facing one of the calmest and bluest sea areas that Colombia’s mainland can boost: here you will walk among fishermen returning to their sea-front houses and fixing their nets after a night’s load or kids playing football in the shades of gigantic tropical almond trees.
- A job the never ends.
- If you are thinking joining them, we will warn you, these kids play hard.
Every now and then, a homely restaurant will tempt you with the delicacies of this part of the country, straight from the sea, just a few steps away.
Lobster and caracol are caught daily by locals: here, free-diving fishing is a tradition passed from father to son.
- Not just people watching.
If it was only for the beach, the delicious food and its smiling people, Rincón del Mar would already be a wonderful place to chill, enjoy unforgettable sunsets and forget the rest.
Luckily or not, the range of activities one can do around here are enough to keep you busy on those few times when you manage to get up from your hammock.
- For the sunset lovers, Rincon’s beach faces West.
With such a complete travel experience Rincón easily becomes an absolute must in every off-the-beaten-path trip to Colombia.
For example, you can join a local guide on a canoe trip across the mangroves, learning about the frailty and importance of this ecosystem while spotting a variety of birds.
Or visit a local organic finca and learn about medicinal herbs and fruits of the region.
- Sunset on the mangroves.
- Afro Colombian traditions are strong in Rincon del Mar, and the local library gives show of dancing and music.
The local library keeps traditional dance and music alive, presenting cultural shows for the town and tourists.
For the more adventurous ones, a sunset horseback ride on the beach and hills behind the village will give you some adrenaline and allow you to spot incredible sunsets.
Not to forget what the sea has to offer: Rincón is the closest point to the Archipelago de San Bernardo, where water is as blue as blue can be.
So close that you can see them from town, you can go island hopping through the famous Mucura, Tintipan and Islote de la Cruz, and jump in the water for top class scuba diving and snorkeling.
- How blue can blue be? Múcura, one of the most beautiful island of Colombia, is a short boat ride from Rincon.
As the sun sets, you can join a tour to Cabruna, a nearby island where birds fly from mainland to sleep on their favorite branch, or do the bio-luminesce trip in one of the nearby cienagas to see the water light up with thousands of stars.
If you are lucky, a night film projection on the beach for the local kids will keep you amused and entertained, among genuine and simple laughs.
- Cabruna at sunset is home to hundreds of mainland birds.
Several accommodation options are available, from hostels to locally owned and operated cabañas and boutique hotels.
Only few of these option are available for online reservation, so unless you are visiting in high season (Christmas and Easter), we suggest you don’t reserve in advance but go to Rincón and shop around.
Can a place like this be real? Indeed, but if you think this place must be on your list for Colombia, remember also something extremely important.
Places like Rincón, so tiny and authentic, need to be respected and protected from all kinds of abuse and inconsiderate use, including that of the tourist industry.
Be sure to visit Rincón with an open heart, respecting the local environment, reducing your consumptions (water is an extremely scarce resource here), embracing local culture and traditions and spending in a fair way, making sure that the local economy, environment and culture benefit from your visit.
Hamaca y Moka
Una pareja de viajeros que buscan representar lo mejor de sus respectivos países: el apreciar la vida, la dolce vita, desde una hamaca Colombiana y con un buen café, hecho en una moka italiana. Después de mucho viajar, han decidido dedicar su tiempo a transformar turistas en viajeros responsables.