2,038. This is the number of miles of coastline surrounding Baja California and its islands. The approximately 800 mile long peninsula is the second largest peninsula in the world, which means countless beaches for surfers where they can stop, unload a board and jump into the water. On most surfers’ wish list, a trip to the Baja coast only stops for waves, fish tacos and tequila drinks. For those who want that to happen, here are the six best beaches from north to south for surfers along Baja’s Pacific Coast.
Known for its consistent beach breaks and some of the biggest waves on the peninsula, Baja Malibu Beach is the first popular surfing hotspot once you cross the border. Located in Rosarito, just 18 miles south of the US-Mexico border, Baja Malibu is a quick day trip from San Diego. When all the elements line up, the beach is known as a world-class surf spot for intermediate and advanced surfers. The winter months are when the waves really shine with huge barrels thanks to the northwest swells. The summer months can see a decent, albeit inconsistent, beach vacation. Most surfers bypass Baja Malibu for classic Baja spots like K38, La Fonda, and San Miguel 30 minutes south, which means the water is never too crowded and there’s always room in programming.
This famous group of excellent surf breaks is known as K-38 because it is located at mile 38 of Baja Highway 1. January is the best month for K-38 where according to surf forecasts around the half the time the waves hold up. well for long runs in the prevailing cross-offshore, offshore or light wind conditions. That said, the exposed coral reef produces surfable waves all year round. Because K-38 is famous for its consistent, high-quality waves, the beach is known to get crowded on weekends. A midweek surf trip to Baja is ideal if you don’t want to fight for the waves.
A fall is the rocky surfaces. Booties to protect feet from rocks, reefs and sea urchins are always a good idea. Also try to find secure parking at a hotel or paid parking with a security guard. The area is notorious for burglaries and vehicle thefts.
Not to be confused with the town of Todos Santos at the southern tip of Baja, Isla Todos Santos is an island 10 miles off the coast of Ensenada. The waves here are not for the casual surfer. The break, known as the Killers, produces some of the strongest waves in the world. Waves in the area can reach a potential face of 50 feet. Strong currents, rocks and huge waves make the water unsuitable for anyone but the most experienced big wave surfers. The infamous point-break is only accessible by boat.
The best time to surf Todos Santos’ Killers is early morning from November to March. Even if you’re not a big wave surfer, hopping on a charter boat from Ensenada to watch the surfers battle the big waves is a great way to spend a day.
In recent years, the small fishing village of San Juanico, better known as Scorpion Bay, has transformed into a classic Baja surf spot. The long, wide beach has four break points that produce very different types of waves, making it a perfect spot for groups of surfers with different skill levels. The first and second points are usually smaller waves, which makes it exceptional for beginner surfers and longboarders. The third and fourth breakpoints are steeper, creating long barrels where surfers can ride the waves for a minute or more.
When all the right conditions are right, the bay can produce world-class waves, although Scorpion Bay is known for its erratic surf conditions. In general, spring and summer offer the most consistent waves. If the waves aren’t pumping, hire a fishing boat and go fishing with the local fishermen. Due to its remote location, the water never gets too crowded. Nearby campsites and a hotel house overnight guests.
About 20 minutes from the famous artist town of Todos Santos is Playa Los Cerritos. The long sandy beach backs onto the rocky tip of a cliff. The beach is known for its very consistent waves, which makes any day of the year a great day for surfing. Because of the consistency, surf schools gravitate to this beach to teach beginner surfers how to catch a wave.
The beach caters for beginners and experienced surfers depending on the size of the swell. Due to increased tourism in the area, the beach can get very crowded. To escape the crowds, head away from the rocky point to a secluded area on the north side of the beach. Despite the crowded water, the area retains a laid-back, friendly vibe. The sunsets are a spectacular reason to stay after a long day of surfing.
Finally, we come to the southern tip of the peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. The Los Cabos area is home to scenic beaches popular with snorkelers, snorkelers, and surfers. For surfers, Costa Azul Beach at the southwest end of San José del Cabo might have the best break in the entire region. The low-key sandy beach is popular with locals and tourists of all skill levels.
The surf here breaks in two places along the beach. The northernmost break is ideal for intermediate surfers. The far south of the beach is best for beginners as the swell is more sheltered and tends to form a gentler wave. Summer surf is great at Costa Azul Beach, but winter surf can be hit or miss.
Jennifer Simonson is a travel writer by trade and a lover of the world’s food, cultures, drinks and outdoor spaces by nature.