From Baja California to Oaxaca, the Pacific Coast of Mexico is home to some of the planet’s most sublime surfing spots. “Mexico is a dream destination for a surfing trip,” raves Dane Sharp of iconic surf company Rip Curl. “The water is warm, there are waves everywhere and much of the coastline is largely unexplored.” Here are our top 10 spots to hang ten in Mexico.
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
This low-key fishing village and port offers an unpretentious beach experience that’s all about the waves including the legendary pipeline that put Mexican surfing on the map, the beach break Zicatela.
- Best For: Advanced surfers.
- Where to Stay: The reasonably priced and superlatively situated Villas Carrizalillo, strung along a clifftop overlooking a beautiful beach, is the town’s top pick. Check rates
- Where to Eat: Carmen’s Cafecito is a buzzy breakfast spot serving pastries, juices, and local specialties.
Fast cementing its reputation as one of Mexico’s hippest surf towns, Sayulita, just north of Puerto Vallarta, is all good vibes and great beaches. An entrenched surf community gathers for the dependably good waves, particularly the north swell from December through April.
- Best For: Surfers at all levels seeking a fun lifestyle after the sun goes down.
- Where to Stay: Check Sayulita Life for a selection of privately rented villas.
- Where to Eat: Stop in at the famous Don Pedro’s, a convivial seafood restaurant right on the beach for pizza, fresh seafood, and buzz-inducing cocktails.
A former fishing village turned artsy surfer hangout near Zihuatanejo, the main draw for surfers is the sought-after break at the beach community of Troncones Point. Several surf shops in town rent out boards and offer lessons.
- Best For: Both intermediate and expert surfers, but beginners are also catered for.
- Where to Stay: Abadia (The Abby) is a tranquil five-room B&B right on the beach, with its own palm-fringed swimming pool.
- Where to Eat: Cocina del Sol, the restaurant at Manzanillo Bay’s Hacienda Eden, offers gourmet grub from the wood-fired oven in a romantic beachfront setting.
Not for the faint of heart, Boca de Pascuales in the tiny state of Colima is a legendary monster of a river mouth beach break with barreling tubes breaking from both left and right, sometimes reaching heights of 10 meters.
- Best For: Experienced surfers only.
- Where to Stay: The barebones Hotel Real de Pascuales is hugely popular with surfers, possibly for its friendly service and rock-bottom prices.
- Where to Eat: The restaurant at the famous Las Hamacas hotel dishes up deliciously fresh seafood and is open year-round.
Boasting excellent conditions year-round, the alluring city of Mazatlan, known as the "colonial city on the beach," has several top-notch surf beaches, including Playa Brujas, Olas Altas, and Los Pinos.
- Best For: All levels.
- Where to Stay: The Melville is a 20-suite boutique hotel housed in a neoclassical former post office on Constitución.
- Where to Eat: Try Puerto Viejo in the Old Town for fresh-caught seafood and beer with ocean views.
Todos Santos, Baja California Sur
The stretch of coast between Los Cabos and Todos Santos is famous for world-class surf. During summer months the impressive swells draw crowds to San Pedrito, where the big-wave action is, while beautiful Playa Los Cerritos is a big hit with camping surfers looking for a warm-weather escape.
- Best For: Intermediate surfers.
- Where to Stay: The fun Pescadero Surf Camp has everything a boarder needs off the beach: comfortable palapas, organized surf safaris and a swim up pool bar.
- Where to Eat: The much-feted Café Santa Fe dishes up wood-fired pizzas and outrageously fresh seafood.
Ensenada, Baja California
This good-time town 70 miles south of the border was once the haunt of singer Jim Morrison, who used to hang out at San Miguel, a surfer’s beach north of town. Santo Tomas, also in the north, is another popular spot. The best surfing is had during the winter months, so pack a wetsuit.
- Best For: Intermediate to Expert.
- Where to Stay: The whimsical Hotel Bahia is colorful, comfortable and cheap, with a pool and complimentary margaritas at check-in.
- Where to Eat: Try the fish tacos at Casamar, a friendly family-owned joint near the port.
Bahias de Huatulco, Oaxaca
The newish planned resort town of Huatulco is laid-back and unspoiled, with clear water, fine sand and seafood palapas strung along the beachfront. The best surfing beaches are La Bocana, at the mouth of the Rio Copalita, and Barra de la Cruz, about 12 miles east of town.
- Best For: Experienced surfers.
- Where to Stay: Mision de los Arcos is an elegant, Spanish Colonial-style whitewashed hotel with a beach club.
- Where to Eat: The chilaquiles at Terra-Cotta come highly recommended.
Punta de Mita, Nayarit
The gentle, long waves at the resort community of Punta Mita, particularly on the beach at Banderas Bay, are ideal for novices.
- Best For: Beginners.
- Where to Stay: The 11-suite Imanta Resort is a stunning retreat on a private half-mile beach. The restaurant, with its focus on seafood, is worth staying in for.
San Blas, Nayarit
This chilled-out fishing village has a beach, Las Islitas, that was once famous for the longest wave in the world: as a result, it’s something of a surfer’s Shangri-La, although most of the action is now centered around Borrego Beach.
- Best For: Beginner and intermediate until September/October, when the serious surfers move in.
- Where to Stay: Stoner's Surf Camp is the hangout for campers and budget travelers wanting a piece of the action. They also give lessons.
- Where to Eat: Drop by cheekily named Casa de Canibal for retro dishes like shrimp cocktails and stroganoff.