Mexico’s long been a favourite with sun worshippers – with gorgeous, golden beaches, languid tropical climates and crystalline ocean waters, it’s a dream winter sun getaway.
But the Pacific coast of Mexico has a lot more to offer than just tacos and tequila. It’s also a global surfing hotspot – with some record-breaking waves, monster barrels and secret surfing beaches where you can escape the crowds.
You’ll find a huge range of diversity amongst the best surf spots in Mexico – from hedonistic party beaches and chilled out, ultra-hippy vibes, to truly monstrous world class barrels. So grab your surf board and sombrero, and start planning your dream surfing tour of Mexico’s finest waves.
Northern Baja California
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Closest to the US border with California, the gorgeous coastline of Baja California is the perfect place to start a rundown of the best surf spots in Mexico.
The coast of Northern Baja is a little more rustic – be prepared for off-road driving, pack your camping gear, warmer gear and a good map.
With the brimming surf scene spilling out of the US in the twentieth century, keen surfers from Southern California soon made Northern Baja their alternative playground, and Ensenada became the unofficial hub of Mexican surfing.
With good sized waves of 5 feet or more and plenty of right and left turns along its several beaches, Ensenada is a popular and chilled out surf community. Long waves promise fun rides, and its beaches have something to offer for every level.
Hankering for a little more nightlife fun?
Head to nearby beach, Rosarito, which is perfect for all-levels surfing and has a buzzing nightlife scene to boot. It’s a popular tourist spot, so expect crowds, but if you love being immersed in a lively part atmosphere and want to get a little surfing practice in too, this lengthy beach has plenty of varied breaks on offer.
But beyond the party beaches, Baja is also home to some of the most powerful swell on the Mexican coast, and if you’re an experienced surfer, look forward to indulging yourself in a slice of paradise, all to yourself.
Baja Malibu is a pretty epic beach break spot, with huge barrels on offer, and a strong northern swell. Malibu is thin on the ground when it comes to all the usual surf facilities however, but if you have your own board and don’t need the extra frills, you’ll be rewarded with all the space you could ever ask for.
Image Source: Flickr
Northern Baja has great swell through the year, but you’ll find the best breaks during winter – when it also gets pretty busy. While the area holds many of the best surf spots in Mexico, just be warned that the water can still get chilly, so pack a wetsuit.
Southern Baja California
For a little more glam, and warmer waves, Southern Baja delivers a more polished take on surfing in Mexico. With slower and gentler breaks, this might be just the ticket if you’re still getting the hang of things, and want to soak up a little more luxury while you’re at it.
Autumn to spring is prime time here. Between October and April, you’ll find great south and south-western swell, with warmer temperatures in the water than further north.
Los Cerritos is probably Southern Baja’s most beloved surf spot, with a long stretch of sandy beach, headed by a cliff. You’ll find a fun beach break here which can often get busy with intermediate and beginners close to the shore, but more experienced surfers can find plenty to enjoy further out back.
With a laid back vibe and emerging upscale eateries and boutique hotels and apartments emerging, it’s a little less hippy surfer vibe, and a little more gloss.
If you’re craving something a little stronger though, fly down to Isla Natividad, home to Open Doors – and some of Mexico’s most infamous breaks.
The island is only accessible by plane or boat, which means you’ll only be in the company of the most dedicated surfers. Watch and learn, as Doors usually delivers pretty powerful lefts and some of the world’s toughest beach break barrels. There’s not much else on offer apart from the waves here, so check the surf report before you head down.
Sayulita might not be brimming with sky high waves and pounding barrels, but it’s the charmingly sweet surfer village vibe that makes this surf spot a must see in Mexico.
Think beautiful people, beautiful beaches, and a blissed out, easy going atmosphere that’ll have you daydreaming about finding ways to never leave.
(You wouldn’t be the first either – those blissful vibes have also earned Sayulita some of the priciest real estate in Mexico.)
The pretty, colourful village is a real surfer’s paradise, and perfect for all abilities. There are plenty of surf schools and board hire shops if you’re only popping in for a few days, and the waves here offer consistently decent rides. The south side of Sayulita beach tends to stay small, so is ideal for beginners, but if you paddle up north to the reef, that’s where you’ll find the bigger break.
The crowd at Sayulita does get busy, especially as the waves pick up by afternoon, but this is a place to learn the fine art of patience and relaxation – and if you’re feeling stuck, the tropical sun, dozens of beach bars and friendly eateries will certainly help.
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While Mexico has a thriving surf scene, it’s also rich in fantastic surf spots that have somehow managed to stay just below the crowded radar.
For a little extra travel time, you can very easily find yourself enjoying world class waves, without having to jostle through the usual crowds you’d find on similar beaches elsewhere in the world.
Troncones has to be placed high up on the list of the best surf spots in Mexico, and a perfect place for more skilled surfers to strut their stuff. Further south from Sayulita, this little seaside town offers up endless left breaks – aptly nicknamed the Wave Machine.
Troncones has two great swell seasons – hurricane season between April to October brings the size, while during November to March, waves drop down in height, but with excellent consistency and shape, and deliciously warm weather. So take your pick.
With fresh fish tacos and ceviche galore, serious margaritas and the ocean as your playground, this is quite possibly the most perfect Mexican surfing haven.
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The general rule of thumb for Mexican surfing is: the further off the beaten track you go, the bigger the surfing gains.
And if you head down to the small southern state of Colima, you’ll find yourself at the home of the Ola Verde, or green waves, that make surfing in this region so distinctive.
The good vibes of Colima make life sweet and easy. The region has some of the best quality of life in the country, and you’ll find plenty of places to camp, rent and repair boards. As one of the major homes of Mexico’s limes, fresh wedges galore to accompany an ice cold beer.
Cuyutlan in Colima is a gorgeous all-levels surf destination, a small seaside village more renowned for its coconut farms and gourmet sea salt than bustling tourist throngs, but it’s well worth a surfing trip. Head down to its striking black sand beach, which draws in swell from every imaginable direction, and the occasional beach break barrel when conditions are right.
If you’re hoping to ride the iconic green wave, head down between April and May, where the phosphorescent plankton in the sea light up just as the sun begins to set, creating the magical display.
Beyond picturesque waves, Colima also has some sweet tricks hidden up her sleeves, and if you’re a serious grinder, then a visit to Pascuales is a must.
One for the fearless, Pascuales is one of those secret gems that will leave you reeling in wonder, at how it’s stayed hidden for so long.
Check into one of the small, rustic shacks, fuel up on the fresh tacos, and soak up the quintessential Mexican surfer vibe, before heading out to brave the sea.
The waves here will reaffirm your awe and appreciation of the power of the ocean – immense barrels pound the beach on the daily, serving up ample lefts and rights. Winter gets busy here with excellent surfing for intermediate levels and above, but summer is when the real power switches on. Even if you don’t get wet, simply standing on the sand and taking in the sheer hum of energy from the ocean can be a thrilling experience.
With world class waves, fast, lengthy and furious rides, Pascuales is one for confident pros only. Watch out for powerful rips and currents that have been known to break a few bones and more than a few boards, and if you can, head out during the weekday when the crowds are much thinner.
Do it right, and you’ll enjoy some truly unforgettable Mexican waves.