Mainland Mexico Surf SPOTS
& INFORMATION

While traveling through Mexico, it’s possible to climb a mountain,
swim in the ocean, see a desert, walk through a jungle, visit the coast on the lowlands, and enjoy the cooler temperatures of the highlands. The topography—and the entire nature of the country--is so diverse that any basic description of the country would miss the utterly stunning diversity of the place.

This extends even to surfing. The west coast of Mainland Mexico is 1,500 miles long and features beach breaks, point breaks, reef breaks, lefts and rights. Waves at some spots are massive and hollow; other spots offer fun for beginners. The surfing communities surrounding these world-class surf spots can be fiercely competitive, their waters filled with heavy doses of localism. In other places, the waves are world-class yet the lineups remain empty.

If you are looking for the “big one,” Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca is the place to be. Properly nicknamed “The Mexican Pipeline,” Puerto Escondido can serve up powerful waves with huge tubes; when it's on, Puerto Escondido is one of the best rides in Central America.

A variety of breaks surrounding the Mexican Pipeline also provide good alternatives when conditions are subpar. However, the region is often described as cut-throat, so come prepared. More solitary types might look further north to Central Baja where the water is a bit colder, or to the Colima and Michoacan states. The waves in the Manzanillo area of Colima are consistent, hollow, and big and can offer similar thrills without the same crowds. So, while Puerto Escondido is Mexico’s most famous wave, there are plenty of other world-class breaks with unique dynamics.

The peak season for most spots starts around May and goes until October. The waves are the biggest during this time. But even in the winter, waves are consistent and great. On the Pacific mainland, the weather is warm and board shorts are perfect in all seasons just about everywhere. The water is about 80 degrees year-round, except in some northern areas where the temperature may drop into the mid-70's during the winter months. Expect Southern swells to provide the best waves on the Pacific in Mexico.

In Mexico, some regions should be traveled very carefully, such as Southern Oaxaca, while other areas require special precautions. Most travelers experience only petty crime and theft, but some have serious problems with violence stemming from the drug trade. When planning your trip, make sure you understand the risks inherent to each city and region before leaving. Crime shouldn’t stop you from going, but it’s important to be informed and aware before arriving. According to the U.S. State Department, Mexico City, Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Monterrey have the highest crime rates. Of special interest to surfers, the Acapulco area and the state of Sinola are also violent. In addition, the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca occasionally suffer from politically motivated violence.

Considering the unexpected discoveries you’ll make, the variety of experiences, and that slight tinge of risk from crime, a trip to Mexico might best be described for most people as a surfing adventure. It’s certainly possible to camp out at a luxury resort and miss this type of experience, but that’s probably not the norm. You would miss the exciting nature of Mexico.

Find a surf school in Mexico.

Northern Mexico Surf Spots

 

Rucos

Surf Location Sinaloa: close to Marmol
Best Swell Direction Southwest
Best Tide All tides
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Summer: May-October
Wave Quality This is a very consistent, powerful, and hollow beach break
The Surfers Lots of locals surf and moderate numbers of traveling surfers, but it can be hard to access in the rain (need four-wheel drive), so it’s not the most popular spot despite its consistent wave quality
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Thieves, getting stuck on the drive in
Water Condition Clean
 

Mazatlan Area

Surf Location Sinaloa
Best Swell Direction South to Southwest
Best Tide Mid to Low
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season Summer: May-October
Wave Quality The waves in this area are typically pretty large and powerful. Some spots, such as Escollera are better left to experts. There are many spots in this area.
The Surfers Tourists and locals, usually quite a few as the Mazatlan area is consistent and popular, especially during spring break and the summer months
Boards Longboard, shortboard
Paddle Out Easy to moderate
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Sand and rock
Watch Out For… Rocks, sharks
Water Condition Clean outside city limits
 

San Blas

Surf Location Nayarit
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Mid to Low
Best Wind Direction Northwest
Best Surf Season April-October
Wave Quality The waves in this area are decent rights and lefts. The area is relatively consistent, and super long rides are frequent.
The Surfers A little bit of localism; some spots are more crowded then others
Boards Longboard, shortboard
Paddle Out Easy to moderate
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Sand, rock
Watch Out For… Rocks, sharks, no-see-ums, and mosquitoes
Water Condition Mostly clean
 

Matanchen Bay

Surf Location In the town of San Blas, Nayarit
Best Swell Direction Needs a large Southwest swell
Best Tide Mid-low
Best Wind Direction East or Northeast
Best Surf Season April-October; smaller waves in the winter (Dec-Feb) are great for beginners
Wave Quality Right-hand point break. This is the longest peeling wave in Mexico and one of the longest right-hand point breaks in the world. But it’s fickle and needs a strong swell to start working.
The Surfers Crowded. Everyone knows and goes when it’s breaking.
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Easy to moderate
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Sand, rock
Watch Out For… Rip tides, rocks, sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

Sayulita

Surf Location Nayarit, 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta
Best Swell Direction West
Best Tide Any
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season December thru April, but breaks all year
Wave Quality Consistently long rides on rights and lefts are awesome
The Surfers This is a great place for beginners to learn. There are definitely some aggressive surfers out on the water at peak times, but in general this area is known to be great for learning how to surf, especially with the number of surf camps around. Very crowded though.
Boards Big wave gun, shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Sand and rock
Watch Out For… Sharks and locals
Water Condition Clean
 

Punta Mita

Surf Location Nayarit: north of Puerto Vallarta, just south of Sayulita
Best Swell Direction West , Southwest is best, also breaks on North or Northwest
Best Tide Any
Best Wind Direction Anything out of the east
Best Surf Season May-October, very consistent during summer months
Wave Quality Hollow, fast, long, and generally great right point break. Also a variety of breaks in the area, including Veneros.
The Surfers Not too busy
Boards Big wave gun, shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Easy to moderate
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Rocky
Watch Out For… Sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

Punta Burros and Veneros (Dinosaurs)

Surf Location Nayarit: North of Puerto Vallarta and South of Sayulita; both spots are very close to Punta Mita. Right next to the Palladium Hotel.
Best Swell Direction Southwest, South
Best Tide Low
Best Wind Direction North, Northeast
Best Surf Season May-October
Wave Quality Right point break is fun and occasionally large. Sometimes compared to a shorter version of Malibu.
The Surfers Occasionally croweded
Boards Shortboard, longboard
Paddle Out Easy to moderate
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Reef
Watch Out For… Rocks, urchins
Water Condition Clean

Central Mexico Surf Spots

 

Quimixto

Surf Location Jalisco: Puerto Vallarte
Best Swell Direction Northwest
Best Tide Any
Best Wind Direction South
Best Surf Season May-October
Wave Quality Fast and hollow waves are a few feet high and perfect for beginners
The Surfers Usually empty lineups
Boards Shortboard, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate to difficult
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Reef, Rock
Watch Out For… Sharks, riptdes, rocks, urchins
Water Condition Clean
 

Cuyutlan

Surf Location Colima: 30 minutes south of Manzanillo
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Low to mid
Best Wind Direction East, Northeast
Best Surf Season May-October
Wave Quality Big waves break on the beach but frequently close out
The Surfers Not very crowded
Boards Big wave gun, shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate to difficult
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

El Paralso - Manzanillo

Surf Location Colima: Manzanillo
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Low to mid
Best Wind Direction Northeast
Best Surf Season May-October
Wave Quality Nice left point break with rights and lefts in the area
The Surfers Can get crowded at times
Boards All boards work here
Paddle Out Moderate to difficult
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Sand, rock, reef
Watch Out For… Sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

Las Pascuales / Boca de Pascuales

Surf Location Colima: Manzanillo
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Mid
Best Wind Direction Northeast
Best Surf Season May-October (good all year though)
Wave Quality 15-foot beach breaks are the norm at Pascuales. Breaks both ways and can get very hollow. Steep drop-ins are the norm – only experienced surfers need apply.
The Surfers Can get crowded at times
Boards Big wave gun
Paddle Out Very difficult (there’s no channel)
Skill Level Advanced
Bottom Sand, rock, reef
Watch Out For… Sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

Boca de Apisa

Surf Location Southern Colima south of Tecoman
Best Swell Direction Northwest in the winter, South or Southwest in the summer
Best Tide Low to mid
Best Wind Direction Northeast
Best Surf Season November-April
Wave Quality Long and fun lefts. One of the few spots that keeps going strong in the winter. Breaks down after about 6 feet. A lot of fun in the summer also.
The Surfers Can get crowded at times
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate to difficult
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Sharks
Water Condition Clean
 

La Ticla

Surf Location Michoacan
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Low, Mid
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season November-April
Wave Quality There are a variety of breaks at Ticla, but the largest is a left point break that can produce punchy and hollow surf
The Surfers Can get crowded during good swells
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Difficult for some of the breaks
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Sharks, riptides
Water Condition Muddy and/or dirty at times due to the river mouth
 

Rio Nexpa / Punta Nexpa

Surf Location Michoacan
Best Swell Direction Southwest
Best Tide Low, Mid
Best Wind Direction North, Northeast
Best Surf Season May-October, but good year round
Wave Quality The left breaks off a river mouth and is usually fast and powerful, with long rides common. This is a super fun wave.
The Surfers Can be rather busy, lots of ex-pat locals
Boards Fish, fun shape, shortboard, longboard, big wave gun
Paddle Out Moderately difficult
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Boulders
Watch Out For… Rocks, riptides
Water Condition Muddy/dirty at times due to river mouth
 

Playa Azul

Surf Location Michoacan: North of Lazaro Cardenas
Best Swell Direction Southwest and West are usually the best, but works on almost all swell directions
Best Tide Low, Mid
Best Wind Direction Northeast, East
Best Surf Season May-October for larger waves, November-April for cleaner waves
Wave Quality The waves can be very big, up to triple-overhead on a few lucky days in the summer. Consistently decent year round.
The Surfers Crowded at times in certain areas
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard, semi-gun
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Beginner to Expert
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Sharks, bandits, rips
Water Condition Occasionally dirty from river mouths,but usually clean
 

Southern Mexico Surf Spots

 

El Rancho

Surf Location Guerroro: north of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Low-Mid
Best Wind Direction East-Northeast
Best Surf Season May-October, though good year-round
Wave Quality This is a very consistent, fast, and powerful wave that barrels both left and right. This wave can get large and heavy.
The Surfers Locals and ex-pats are on it when good, otherwise moderate to no crowd on average days
Boards Shortboard, big wave gun, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Always a good workout because it breaks far out
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Sand and boulders
Watch Out For… Riptides and pseudo locals
Water Condition Clean
 

La Saladita

Surf Location Guerroro: north of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Any
Best Wind Direction North, Northeast
Best Surf Season May-October, though good year-round
Wave Quality Nicknamed: Reverse Malibu. Need we say more? See surf movie “Siestas y Olas” for a good view of this wave.
The Surfers Occasional crowds
Boards Fish, fun shape, longboards - this wave is made for longboards
Paddle Out Long but easy
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Sand, small rocks
Watch Out For… Riptides and Mexican sun
Water Condition Clean
 

Troncones

Surf Location Guerroro: Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Rising mid
Best Wind Direction North, Northeast
Best Surf Season May-October, though good year-round
Wave Quality Consistant beachbreaks and left-breaking Troncones point allow surfers of all levels to enjoy the surf
The Surfers Can get crowded, but is generally mellow
Boards Shortboard and longboard
Paddle Out Long but easy
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Sand and rocks
Watch Out For… Rips, sharks, and rocks
Water Condition Clean
 

Las Gatas – Ixtapa

Surf Location Guerroro: Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Area
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide High
Best Wind Direction Northeast, East
Best Surf Season May-October; though good year-round, summer is the time
Wave Quality When it breaks on sufficiently sized swells, the waves are hollow and can be big, but often difficult to catch when competing with locals. Rarely breaks.
The Surfers Crowded with localism
Boards Shortboard, big wave gun, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate
Skill Level Advanced
Bottom Sand and coral
Watch Out For… Rips, reef, and locals
Water Condition Clean
 

Papanoa

Surf Location West Guerrero
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Any
Best Wind Direction West
Best Surf Season May-October
Wave Quality Beach break lefts and rights are decent and fast but can close out when the swell reaches over 6 feet
The Surfers Not usually crowded
Boards Shortboard, big wave gun, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Easy to difficult depending on wave size
Skill Level Beginner to Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Sharks and other surfers
Water Condition Clean
 

Revolcadero

Surf Location Guerroro: Acapulco area
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Any
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season May-October, though good year-round
Wave Quality This place is not consistent, but when it breaks, the waves are usually very big
The Surfers Mellow
Boards Shortboard, fish, funboard, longboard
Paddle Out Varies
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Sand and rock
Watch Out For… Riptides
Water Condition Clean
 

Rio / Punta Tapextla

Surf Location Oaxaca
Best Swell Direction South, Southwest
Best Tide Mid and rising
Best Wind Direction Northeast
Best Surf Season May-October
Wave Quality Lefts and rights are hollow and barreling on a relatively consistent basis. Breaks by an estuary.
The Surfers Mellow vibe with few hassles
Boards Shortboard, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Tough
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Rock and sand
Watch Out For… Rips
Water Condition Can get dirty during rainy season
 

Puerto Escondido (Playa Zicatela)

Surf Location Oaxaca
Best Swell Direction South, West
Best Tide Any
Best Wind Direction East
Best Surf Season May-October
Wave Quality One of the best beach breaks in the world, and Mexico’s most famous wave. It’s the big one in Mexico and is often featured in movies and in print. Waves can be massive, topping out at over 20 feet. Super hollow and super fast, it is often referred to as the “Mexican Pipeline.” The right is usually the best.
The Surfers There are a lot of aggressive local surfers, and loads of travelers. Also plenty of tubes to go around.
Boards Big wave gun, shortboard, longboard
Paddle Out Often very challenging, as large beach breaks can be. If you get caught inside here, you will remember it.
Skill Level Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Currents, rips, broken boards, locals and… need to especially avoid getting hammered into the shallow bottom
Water Condition Clean
 

La Punta Puerto Escondido

Surf Location Oaxaca, south end of the Puerto Escondido Bay, accessible by a short bus ride
Best Swell Direction Southwest
Best Tide Any
Best Wind Direction Northeast
Best Surf Season May-October
Wave Quality This is a left point break very close to the beach break, so the waves are a bit smaller and easier to ride but still hollow and fast. It’s also a great alternative to the main spot when the beach break is blown out or closing out.
The Surfers Crowded, lots of localism
Boards Shortboard, big wave gun, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Difficult
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Currents, rips, urchins, sharks, sea snakes, board-break waves, and getting caught inside
Water Condition Clean
 

Zipolite

Surf Location Oaxaca: South of Puerto Escondido
Best Swell Direction South
Best Tide Any
Best Wind Direction Southeast
Best Surf Season May-October
Wave Quality Rights and lefts are fast but can close out easily
The Surfers This place is a little bit isolated, so it’s not very crowded
Boards Shortboard, big wave gun, fish, fun shape, longboard
Paddle Out Moderate to difficult
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Bottom Sand
Watch Out For… Rocks, criminals
Water Condition Clean
 
Advertise with The Surfing Site!