Surfing around Cabo Pulmo

The East  Cape of Baja California Sur is not really known for its surfing but there are a few great spots not far form Cabo Pulmo. The south swell occurs during the summer months and into September with steady but small surf and offshore winds. Some of the spots can get crowded but the local surfers are gracious and let the beginners catch a few waves! 

El Rincon

This break is a few kilometres north of Cabo Pulmo but is really a spot for more experienced surfers as the wave breaks right onto a rocky shoreline. This break is rarely active and maybe no more than in the month or June to early July. 

9 Palms

Probably the most popular,  hence, the busiest surf break of the East Cape.  The drive takes about 45 minutes from Cabo Pulmo on the grated road heading south out of town. 9 Palms is a right point break with fairly consistent waves and an easy paddle out when the conditions are not too big. Beginners can surf inside as the waves can get quite big. There are no services there so you will need to bring water and food for the day.

The Pacific Coast

Santa Lucia de Los Cerritos

One of the “closest” breaks on the Pacific from Cabo Pulmo is Cerritos or Santa Lucia de los Cerritos. ” It takes about 2.5 to 3 hours from Cabo Pulmo and is best to plan a few days on the Pacific side or maybe on your way back to the airport. The fastest is to head back to Los Cabos and take the express highway to the Pacific side heading to Todos Santos. Cerritos has it all from hotels, restaurants and also camping and surf lessons. There are both point and beach breaks throughout the year, but the winter is best as a north swell is required for the point to come into action. The water is generally warm throughout the year except for the dead of winter (January through March) or when the water “flips,” meaning the cold Aleutian currents sweeps down and causes a substantial drop in temperatures. If you don’t have a board, you can rent one directly at the beach or take lessons from numerous surf schools.

San Juanico Scorpion Bay

Scorpion Bay, a small fishing village literally at the end of the road may be one of the best surf spots in the entire world. About 14 hours from Tijuana and the US border, this small village sees a massive influx of southern Californians during the summer months. With camping on the beach, hotels and hostels, this is one of the most popular summer  breaks on the entire Pacific Coast. “Discovered” in the 1070s by intrepid surfers, it is now being developed into a tourist destination with a lot of controversy along with development. 

From Cabo Pulmo, it takes roughly a very long day of driving, so best to stop in La Paz for the evening and head out the following morning very early. When leaving Pulmo, head north on the Highway 1 towards La Paz and then onwards to Ciudad Constitućion, a town of about 45,000 souls in the middle of the peninsula. Known for agriculture, some really good mechanics ( I found out the hard way!) and a few hotels, this town is not unpleasant except for the ridiculous traffic lights and stops signs at each corner. From Constitućion, you need another 2.5 hours to San Juanico on the newly “paved” road which can wash out after rains and becomes impassible after a hurricane. Head north to Ciudad Insurgentes on the highway 53 and then towards La Purisima but turn off at Las Barancas and follow the isgn to San Juanico.  You cannot be distracted driving here as there is frequent wildlife on the highway, some traffic and giant potholes and crosswinds. Driving at night is really foolish! It’s best to stock up in Constitućion for food and gas as there is really not much in San Juanico but for a few tiendas without electricity. There is one gas station, actually a gentleman with a barrel of gas and a pump who charges a reasonable price per litre for gas, considering he has to haul it in.

San Juanico is a friendly town, with a thriving commercial fishing scene, a few good places to eat and lots of surfers. If you come to Cabo Pulmo in the summer and can’t stand the heat or the humidity, San Juanico offers a respite as Pacific nights are much cooler than the Gulf of California. The southern portion of the beach past the fishing pangas is beautiful with lost of space to beach comb, fish and just be alone. Well worth the drive!

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