Surfing in Baja began in the mid 1940’s when vacationing surfers ventured south of the border looking for quality waves. Since then, surfers have been returning year after year, and season after season, with countless stories of perfect peeling right-hand point breaks, barreling beach breaks and freak, big wave surf spots.
Baja can be divided into two major surf regions: Northern Baja and Southern Baja. Northern Baja is much colder than Southern Baja. There is good surf year-round in Northern Baja, but it really fires during the winter months from large northwest groundswells. It’s not uncommon to need full suits, booties and a hood while surfing in Northern Baja.
Cabo San Lucas in Baja’s southern region is definitely the main draw for most traveling surfers. Cabo San Lucas and Southern Baja can produce good surf year-round, but it really lights up during the summer months when the southern hemisphere swells start to send long-period southwest groundswell into the coast. This is the secret ingredient needed for Cabo’s world-class surf spots to really fire.
Cabo San Lucas was once a warm water getaway for California surfers looking to escape the cold. Today, Cabo San Lucas is a colorful vacation town that boasts 5-star resorts just steps from the world-class surf. However, with high-priced oceanfront resorts come overcrowded lineups. It’s still an amazing place to visit and surf, but if you’re looking to escape the crowds and the scene, then you’d better look elsewhere.
Beware: Traveling through Baja is a great adventure, but each region is filled with petty thieves, banditos, drug smugglers, and Federals that are always looking for a bribe. We advise you not tocamp at any location by yourself. Always travel and surf with a large group.
Surfing in Northern Baja
Northern Baja remains relatively unchanged, as a place where traveling surfers can find perfect waves without the crowds. Some coastal developments and vacation residences have sprouted up in the larger towns of Ensenada and San Quintin. These towns are a good jumping-off point for surfing and exploring the wave-rich surrounding area.
Surfing in Southern Baja
Southern Baja surf spots are very different from those in the Northern regions. Geographically, everything looks pretty much the same: dry desert mountains and cliffs that spill dramatically into the Pacific Ocean. However, water and air temps are generally much warmer in the south. Heavy wetsuits are not needed – a 3/2 at most during January/February when water temps drop to around 65 degrees. Plus, Southern Baja surf spots are more reliant on south to southwest swells to produce the best waves at area breaks.