Wave hello to the best surfing beaches in Los Cabos.
By Chris Sands
Many visitors see the gorgeous, golden sand beaches of Los Cabos as leisure-time utopias, the perfect places to relax in umbrella-shaded lounge chairs and enjoy umbrella-garnished tropical cocktails. And that’s OK.
Just understand that for a smaller, more specifically motivated group of individuals, these picturesque stretches of coastline aren’t just seen as destinations but rather as jumping-off points for world-class, water-based experiences.
Surfers account for a significant portion of this thrill-seeking subset, and the good news for active types is that anyone interested in a vacation adventure is welcome to join their ranks. The beauty of the Los Cabos surf scene is that it offers incredible diversity, with Sea of Cortés and Pacific Ocean side surf breaks suited to every skill level and a wide array of local activities specialists offering everything from apparel and board rentals to lessons and surfing “surfaris.” Summer remains the most popular season, but good waves are available year-round.
For the uninitiated, here is a basic guide to Los Cabos’ best beaches for surfing.
San José del Cabo and The Tourist Corridor
Neighboring beaches Acapulquito and Costa Azul are two of the centerpieces of the local surf scene, and both are easily accessible from the Tourist Corridor highway as you approach San José del Cabo from Cabo San Lucas. Playa Costa Azul (km 29) has something for everyone, with a beginner-friendly middle break framed by advanced to expert-level right-hand reef breaks at Zippers and the Rock (or La Roca). The middle break is often used for surf lessons, while the more easterly Zippers is the site of the annual Los Cabos Open of Surf, a six-star Association of Surfing Professionals–sanctioned event that draws some of the world’s best wave riders. Acapulquito, or Old Man’s Beach (km 28), is home to the boutique Cabo Surf Hotel (624-142-2676) and surfing legend Mike Doyle’s Cabo Surf Shop; it is especially popular with beginner and intermediate-level surfers.
Next to Zippers, Monuments is the area’s most famous surf break. It’s also the closest to Cabo San Lucas. Anyone can enjoy the spectacular views of Land’s End from Monuments Beach (km 5), but surfing its celebrated lefty point break is best left to the experts. Advanced surfers will also want to check out the right-hand rocky-reef break off Playa El Tule (km 16.2), east of Bahia Chileno (Chileno Bay). If testing yourself at these tricky Tourist Corridor surf spots while also attempting to avoid rocks and sea urchins doesn’t quench your thirst for adventure, better try bungee jumping or zip lining at nearby Wild Canyon (624-144-4433), Baja’s biggest and baddest theme park.
Generally speaking, spring and summer are considered the best seasons for surfing from Sea of Cortés–side beaches, while fall and winter favor the Pacific Coast breaks at Playas Los Cerritos (Cerritos Beach), San Pedrito, and La Pastora. That said, Playa Los Cerritos sees steady year-round action, not only for its beautiful scenery and consistently good beach breaks but also for the cold beer and fresh seafood at the Cerritos Beach Club and Surf. Cabo Expeditions (624-143-2700) is the best among several companies that offer surf lessons at Playa Los Cerritos, with excursions that leave from Cabo San Lucas. But if you go on your own, board rentals and lessons can easily be arranged on the beach. Advanced surfers may prefer San Pedrito at Pescadero, or La Pastora, which is just north of Todos Santos. All three beaches are within an hour or so of Cabo San Lucas by car.
Baja California Sur’s rustic and beautiful East Cape also features some memorable surf beaches, and there are several local surf shops and activities providers who organize day trips over dirt roads to secluded hot spots like Shipwrecks and Nine Palms. The shipwreck at Shipwrecks has been gone for decades, and Nine Palms has considerably more than nine palms, but such quibbles aside, both spots offer rippable right-hand point breaks, particularly in the summer when occasional chubascos (tropical storms) generate strong southerly swells. For overnight camping trips, four-wheel drive rental cars are a necessity. Transportation and directions are available from top local agencies like Budget (www.budgetloscabos.com), Cactus (www.cactuscar.com), National (www.nationalcar.com.mx), and Payless (www.paylesscsl.com).