Go In Search of Sea Glass in Rincón
Sea glass hunting is a hobby I enjoy whenever we go to a beach. Some areas and beaches are more fruitful than others. Rincón is one of those bountiful places that have a number of different beaches that offer a variety of shapes, sizes, and some unusual colors of sea glass. I’ll tell you where to look, and what we have found.
What Is It?
Sea glass (or beach glass) is pieces of glass that have been naturally worked by the ocean into little treasures. Over the years, glass (from bottles or other sources) have found their way into the sea or other bodies of water. Due to wave action, the glass gets tumbled over the sand and small rocks. This constant rubbing, over time, causes the glass to become rounded and etched or “frosted” into pieces of beauty.
Due to more anti-littering campaigns, landfills, and recycling/reusing of glass, fewer glass bottles end up in the sea, so finding sea glass is more difficult now than in years past.
Fortunately, for us sea glass collectors, Puerto Rico has not really gotten the hang of “give a hoot, don’t pollute”, so you can still find lots here! While Rincón locals try to keep the beaches generally clean of trash, years of broken glass already in the ocean, bottles washing down rivers to the sea, and beach parties all ensure there will be sea glass treasures for years to come (both a blessing and a curse).
What We’ve Found
When we stay over in Rincón, I go “hunting” at different beaches a number of times each day (of course trying to hit lower tide). We generally stay in the southern part of Rincón, around the Corcega or Barrera areas. I usually spend a few hours each day walking up and down (from Barrera Beach until past Corcega). This area has very little surf year round, so it is great for swimming. However, it is not so great a quickly making sea glass. But there is plenty to be found.
The pieces of glass here tend to be larger, and as I went closer to Corcega, I noticed more “almost-ready” sea glass. It seemed that I spent a lot of time picking up not finished pieces and throwing them back into the ocean for more tumbling. It was hard to do — the ecological part of me said throw it in the garbage to keep the glass/trash off the beach. But the crafty/collector in me said to throw it back to it has more time to make the prize for someone else to find!
Rincón is known for getting late afternoon rains. These storms loosen up and uncover all sorts of old bottles and glass things way up stream, and they wash down rivers into the sea. The Barrera and Corcega areas are perfect for finding lots of old glass bottles and broken pieces of bottles, and loads of tumbled glass due to the plentiful little rivers and streams. I found numerous round and square bottoms of bottles, and even whole or almost whole bottles.
“Baby aspirin” jars are easy to identify. By researching the jar-bottom markings on other fragments, I was able to id 100-year old jelly jars, and a Clorox bottle that is at least 50 years old! I enjoy the identification process almost as much as finding the glass!
Since it seems most of the sea glass in this area is from old “trash”, besides the usual “clear”, green and brown, I found lots of blues (from things like Milk of Magnesia and mason jars ), rare opaque whites (from cold cream jars) and lots of light green pieces (from old Coca-Cola and other soda bottles).
We also checked out the beaches north of town — Steps Beach and Maria’s Beach. We found a small handful of glass on each of these beaches, but the pieces were very small. If I had little time, I would skip these beaches for sea glass hunting, unless you are visiting them for another reason (snorkeling or surf lessons). And who knows, maybe the day you go it will be more fruitful. It never hurts to look!
I think the most fruitful beaches for really etched rounded pieces (though smaller) are on the “northern” coast of Rincón (from Spanish Wall eastward). There is always high surf here, so the glass gets thoroughly rolled. In the past we found loads of smaller pieces up at Spanish Wall beach. Our Rincón beaches article will tell you how to get to these beaches.
One afternoon, we went to the “northern” side of Rincón. We parked at Sandy Beach, in a small wooded parking grove. The minute I hit the sand from the steps, there is a sand flat that must get water some high tides — it was loaded with quality glass. Of course I didn’t stop there, but had to check the waterfront, too. It was a very fruitful search. I found lots of smaller pieces, mainly what people would need for jewelry. I had more than I could carry in both hands after just about 30 minutes.
We later moved the car and parked to the far right of Sandy Beach (Antonio’s Beach) at Casa Isleno, and hunted to the east. Again we found loads. We marked a really fruitful area for us — when we were there, it was a sand flat above a posa (tidal pool area). We spent about an hour walking this area, I was hunting glass and Ray was taking pictures! Half a baggie-ful here.
We ran out of time to check out Pools Beach, but I assume it would be as fruitful as the Spanish Wall and Sandy Beach.
Up here we did find mostly white, with some greens and browns. But there were a few nice color treasures like ambers, chartreuse and blues. I also found a piece of amethyst glass (nice prize!).
Note that in the winter months (November to March) Rincón gets much rougher surf than in summer, so you should have really good luck then, but then again, there may be more people around hunting for it then. There is no way of know what you will find. Happy Hunting!
Tips for Hunting Sea Glass
Go at low tide, so there is maximum beach to check and fresh glass deposited. Check the high tide mark and sand flat areas where really high tides can bring treasure up onto the beach. Check in areas where little rocks collect or tidal pools. Go after there has been a storm or high surf — these higher waves may bring up treasures from depths or down from the mountains. Beaches with constant high surf will make pieces smaller but really etched. Check areas by streams/rivers where they enter the sea for unusual finds that might have washed down from the mountains.
Bring plenty of water and sunscreen. I wear a hat but no sunglasses, just so I can see the glass better, but some kind of sun protection is important. Bring something to carry your treasures home in — I use plastic ziplocs.
For safety sake, try to be aware of your surroundings. Bring another person with you, since you’ll be busy focusing on the beach … you might not see what’s going on around you.
PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it!