The Best Surf Spots in Baja California, Mexico

Head to Baja California in Mexico and hit the waves on your next surf break
Head to Baja California in Mexico and hit the waves on your next surf break | © Javier Garcia / Shutterstock
Jessica Vincent

A surfing hub since the 1940s, both the northern and southern tips of Baja California offer incredible right-hand swells and barreling beach breaks. And the best bit? Despite worldwide recognition, lineups still remain beautifully empty. So, whether you’re new to surfing or a wave-riding veteran, here’s where you should be heading for the best breaks in Baja.

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Northern Baja

Northern Baja offers excellent surf spots – without the huge crowds

Baja California Norte may not have the glamour and glitz of the south, but it has something even better: uncrowded lineups, year-round surf and the biggest waves on the peninsula. Remote beaches, fast point breaks and epic reef breaks make northern Baja the perfect spot for intermediate to experienced surfers. The water here can be pretty chilly all year round and facilities limited, so you’ll need to come prepared with your own wetsuit, board and, in some cases, camping gear.

Baja Malibú

Producing some of Baja California’s largest waves, Baja Malibu is a right of passage for many experienced surfers. During winter – the most popular season for this beach – expect huge barrels with a strong northwest swell. In the summer, it’s also possible to surf a decent beach break, although swells will be a lot lighter. Due to its chilly winds and lack of facilities – only basic camping and no board rental nearby – this is one of Baja’s least busy beaches, meaning you’ll likely have this surfing paradise to yourself.

K-38

Just a short drive south from Rosarito, K-38 has been luring keen surfers over the border since the 1950s. And it’s easy to see why: this wild beach has an almost perfect swell which can be surfed in any direction, if the conditions are right. As one of Baja’s most popular surf breaks, lineups can get busy during the summer. However, if you come during the winter or avoid the weekends, chances are you’ll still find your own spot.

Rosarito

With a long stretch of varied beach breaks, Rosarito is a great option if you want surf suitable for all levels. The biggest waves – which will keep even the experienced surfer entertained – break at the south end of the bay, but there are also some fun beginner waves on the north side. In the summer, Rosarito is one of Northern Baja’s most popular tourist beaches. This means that, whilst you may not have the place to yourself, there’ll be a lively nightlife scene and plenty of board shops, restaurants and places to stay nearby.

San Miguel

For those brave enough to take it on, San Miguel offers some of the best right-hand point breaks in Mexico. Waves here are consistently fast and break over a reef, so should only be tackled by experienced surfers. Despite its difficulty – or maybe because of it – San Miguel sees a lot of surfers, particularly during July and August. However, compared to lineups in US waters, this is still relatively quiet. Please note there is no board rental here and only a very basic campsite, so come prepared and stock up on supplies from the nearest town, Ensenada.

Southern Baja

If you’re looking for warmer waters, a lively après surf scene and some luxury accommodation options, Southern Baja is your ticket. The south is also a better option for beginners and improvers, as there are smaller, slower beach breaks on offer. Be warned though: with a growing number of tourists every year, expect busier lineups and pricier accommodation.

Cerritos Beach

Playa Los Cerritos, just half an hour from artsy town Todos Santos, is a hugely popular surfing spot for beginners due to its fun beach break. When a big swell hits, this can also be a great place for more experienced surfers, too. With a consistent, varied surf that’s easily accessible also comes the large crowd. However, the more experienced surfers will usually find a spot out the back.

Isla Natividad

For those hardcore surfers in search of the perfect empty wave in the middle of nowhere, Isla Natividad is the answer. If conditions are right, you’ll be met by one of the best beach barrels in the world, known as Open Doors. However, you’ll have to work for it: the wave can only be accessed by a small private plane or boat ride. The break here is extremely powerful, fast, hollow and can reach up to double overhead, so it goes without saying – this is strictly for the pros.

Punta Abreojos

Baja California Sur/MEXICO

Known for its epic right reef breaks and 200m-long (656ft) rides, Punta Abreojos is always on the top of every Baja surf veteran’s list. If you’re just starting out, there are also some easier beach breaks here. After your surf, make sure you stop by the local fishermen boats to buy the fresh catch of the day for your barbecue back at the campsite.

Playa La Pastora

Known as Cabo San Lucas’ premier big wave, La Pastora has been known to reach triple overhead. In other words, huge – and usually reserved for the pros. Those who do manage to take on this break, however, say it’s absolutely perfect. The best time to surf here is during mid-low tide. Expect both left and right breaks over a sandy bottom.

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