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Surfing in Cabo San Lucas: A Guide to the Best Waves and Spots

The Best Surf Spots and More

Situated at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, Cabo San Lucas boasts some of the best surf spots in the region. With a variety of breaks to suit all levels of surfers, it’s no wonder that Cabo San Lucas is a top destination for surfers looking for some warm water waves.

Surfing in Cabo San Lucas is available year-round, with different swells coming from both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. With a 200-degree swell window, Cabo is a wave magnet for northwest all the way to south swells (but favoring summer south swells). The best time to surf in the Sea of Cortez is between May and October, while the Pacific side of Los Cabos is best for surfing between November and April. With crystal-clear waters and stunning coastal scenery, Cabo San Lucas offers a unique surfing experience that is hard to find anywhere else in the world.  It’s also a very popular weekend spot for Californians.

aerial photography of mountain with village near sea

Best Surf Spots in Cabo San Lucas

If you’re going to surf in Cabo it might make sense to rent a car to get to the various points around the peninsula depending on where the swell is coming from, and if you’re going to venture further from “the Corridor”.  Unfortunately, localism has hit Cabo a bit, and the more popular spots such as Zippers and Monuments has its fair share of locals that will give you a decent paddle battle.

  • Warm, crystal clear water
  • Point breaks (favoring the rights)
  • Great nightlife and ammenities
  • Reliably nice weather
  • Waves are on the weaker side
  • Urchins and jellyfish
  • Some roads difficult
  • Mexico crime factor

Sea of Cortez side:

Monuments

This is an advanced spot that offers a quick and dirty left.  The picturesque setting of the beach, coupled with the breathtaking view of the iconic Arch of Cabo San Lucas in the distance, makes surfing Monuments a truly memorable experience. Working on any South or West swell, Monuments has a set of locals that make this small takeoff zone difficult to navigate for outsiders.  This wave can get really good, if not perfect, but the crowd factor makes it a tough one for anyone except confident and advanced surfers.  Hazards include rocks, reef, and urchins at low tide.

surfing in cabo san lucas
Image courtesy magicseaweed.com

El Tule 

A righthand reef that offers consistency without the crowd factor, El Tule is situated just around the corner from Monuments along the Cabo Corridor.  It offers sloping shoulders that are good for intermediate and slightly advanced beginners.

Zippers

Zippers is an impressive surf spot located in Cabo San Lucas that caters to upper-intermediate and advanced surfers. It’s considered the best wave in Cabo, so good luck getting a wave from the pack of dialed in locals who surf there consistently. The break is characterized by a steep drop-in and a long, clean face, making it an ideal right-hand point break. The beach in front offers a sandy place to relax with a beer. The surf spot attracts a significant number of local surfers who are adept at navigating the wave. It is undoubtedly a must-surf spot for anyone looking for an exciting and challenging surfing experience in Cabo San Lucas.

SURFING ZIPPERS AT CABOSSURFING ZIPPERS AT CABOS

Acapulquito

Acapulquito is Cabo’s “Old Man’s” and is popular with longboarders and beginners. The break is a long, right-hand point break that is ideal for surfers of all levels. The wave is gentle and easy to ride, making it a perfect spot for beginners and longboarders. The crowd here is more welcoming than other localized spots.

The Rock 

Another right-hand point break that has a tough crowd, The Rock is punchier than Acapulquito and can get more challenging as the tide drops and the break gets shallower with the urchins lurking below.  It’s located near Zippers and Acapulquito at the north end of the Corridor.

Surfing The Rock, San Jose del CaboSurfing The Rock, San Jose del Cabo

Shipwrecks

Shipwreck Beach is a secluded surf spot located along the East Cape, south of Playa Higuera. It features a great right-hand point that’s punchy but almost never barrels, and its name was inspired by a former offshore shipwreck that has since been removed. The break is usually uncrowded, and best accessed by 4-wheel drive vehicles due to the rough terrain. Visitors should note that there are few restaurants or facilities in the area, so bringing a cooler and shade is recommended. Shipwreck is just a 40-minute drive from San José del Cabo and is located south of a small development named Rancho Rocas del Mar. Other notable surf spots located farther up the cape include Nine Palms, Punta Perfecta, and Los Frailes. Although not well marked, the drive to this area offers breathtaking coastal scenery that is well worth the effort to locate this hidden gem.  Shipwrecks is most productive during a strong southerly swell.

Surfing in Cabo San Lucas: A Guide to the Best Waves and Spots 1
Photo courtesy Shipwrecks Properties

 

Pacific Side

Pescadero

This long beach has some sandy bottom reefs that can produce a-frames on the right northwest swells.  The waves break relatively close to shore, and there’s a righthand reef point up the beach called San Pedrito.  The beach is named after the small fishing village nearby, Pescadero.

La Pastora

La Pastora is situated north of Todos Santos and is in close proximity to the iconic Hotel California. This break can focus swell from both the northwest and the south.  It’s the most popular and crowded wave on the Pacific side of los Cabos.  This spot is the one that can handle the biggest swells. The beach is sandy with a rocky point that features both lefts and rights depending on the swell direction, with the rights being the main attraction.

Cerritos

Located just 4 miles south of Todos Santos, Playa Las Palmas, also known as Playa San Pedro, is easily accessible via a paved road. The quarter-mile stretch of sandy beach break is flanked by picturesque palm groves, with cobblestones at the north end.  This break is popular with longboarders, with northwest swells providing a gentle wrapping right, and a bonus left sheltered from the wind.  Can be good for beginners if its small. The beach also connects to Playa Pescadero, extending around the cove to the south, offering visitors an opportunity to explore a longer stretch of the coastline.

What Time of Year is Best to Surf Cabo San Lucas?

November through February is when the tourist season is at its height and most people are there vacationing from colder temperatures. Because Cabo operates best on south swells, May through October is the most consistent with long period south swells generated by hurricanes off the Mexican coast.  In the winter months it takes a strong-ish Northwest swell to make the Pacific side really light up and work its magic.

Cabo San Lucas Average Water Temperature Guide

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Temp (°F) 66.9 67.3 68.0 70.3 73.2 78.1 84.0 86.1 84.2 78.6 72.5 67.7
Temp (°C) 19.4 19.6 20.0 21.3 22.9 25.6 28.9 30.1 29.0 25.9 22.5 19.8

Wetsuit Recommendations:

Spring suits in winter, boardshorts and bikinis in the summer! Honestly, you don’t need to bring much rubber here.  In summer it’s boardshorts but during the winter you may want to bring a spring suit or jacket to protect from the wind.

Season Wetsuit Thickness
Winter Spring suit/jacket
Spring Spring suit/jacket
Summer Boardshort/bikini
Fall Boardshort/bikini

Cabo San Lucas Vibe Check

Los Cabos is known to be a destination maybe moreso for partying and beaches than surfing. However, that may make it just the ticket for people traveling with non-surfers. Although not typically on most surfer’s must-travel destinations for waves, for surfers looking for warm water and other things to do besides surfing it’s a great option.  Cabo is one of the more upscale areas in Baja thanks to its heavy tourist appeal.

Tourist spots in Los Cabos are plentiful, with a range of activities that cater to different interests. Those who love spending time by the sea will appreciate the many pristine beaches, such as Medano Beach and Chileno Beach, both of which offer excellent swimming and sunbathing opportunities. For the more adventurous, Los Cabos boasts world-class scuba diving, stand up paddleboarding, snorkeling, and deep-sea fishing. The area is also known for its fantastic golf courses and a vibrant nightlife scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants to explore.

brown rock formation in cabo san lucas on blue sea under blue sky during daytimeOne of the most iconic landmarks in Los Cabos is the famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas, a breathtaking rock formation that can be accessed via boat tours or water taxis. Additionally, cultural enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the historic town of San José del Cabo, where they can discover the Mission San José del Cabo Anuiti, a colonial-era mission church, and the Art District, which hosts a weekly Art Walk during high season.

Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, Los Cabos has experienced its share of crime in recent years. However, the Mexican government has made significant efforts to improve security in the region, including increased police presence and surveillance. As a result, most tourist areas are considered safe, but it is still crucial for visitors to exercise caution and follow standard safety practices, such as avoiding dark or isolated areas at night and not displaying valuables in public.

Surfing Lessons and Camps in Cabo San Lucas

If you’re new to surfing or just looking to improve your skills, Cabo San Lucas offers a variety of surfing lessons for all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, there’s a lesson for you.

One popular option for surfing lessons is the Mike Doyle Surf School, located inside the Cabo Surf Hotel. The school offers lessons for all levels, including private and group lessons. Their instructors are all certified in CPR, first aid, and lifeguarding, so you can feel safe while you’re learning to surf. The school also offers surfboard rentals and sales, so you can continue to practice on your own after your lesson.

Cabo Surf Shops and Equipment Rental

If you’re planning to surf in Cabo San Lucas but don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry, there are plenty of places to rent surfboards, wetsuits, and other surfing gear. Here are some of the best options:

Cabo Surf Shop – The Cabo Surf Shop is located at the Cabo Surf Hotel and has a large rental fleet of epoxy boards, including longboards, funboards, and shortboards. They also have a selection of wetsuits, leashes, and other accessories. The prices are reasonable, and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable.

Baja Waterman Surf Rentals – Baja Waterman Surf Rentals has two locations in Cabo San Lucas and offers a wide range of surfboards, from beginner foam boards to high-performance shortboards. They also have a selection of wetsuits, leashes, and other accessories. The prices are competitive, and the staff is helpful and friendly.

Mexico Surfboards – Mexico Surfboards is a local surf shop that offers surfboard rentals and sales in Cabo San Lucas. They have a selection of beginner and intermediate boards, as well as high-performance shortboards. They also offer surf lessons and surf trips to nearby breaks.

Safety Tips for Surfing in Cabo San Lucas

Surfing in Cabo San Lucas can be an amazing time, but it is important to prioritize safety while enjoying the waves. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Check the weather and ocean conditions before heading out. Avoid surfing during storms, high winds, or when the waves are too big for your skill level.
  • Respect the locals and other surfers in the water. Follow proper wave etiquette and avoid cutting in on others’ waves.
  • Stay hydrated and protect your skin from the sun. Wear sunscreen and a hat to avoid sunburn and heat exhaustion.
  • Beginner? Consider taking a surfing lesson or hiring a local guide who knows the area well. They can provide valuable tips and help you navigate the waves safely.
  • It’s Mexico – be aware of your surroundings.
  • Pulled over by the police? Be cool. Don’t bribe them. Take the ticket.

Overall, Cabo San Lucas is a must-visit destination for surfers who are looking for a tropical paradise with consistent waves and stunning scenery. With its warm weather, friendly locals, and vibrant culture, it’s the perfect place to surf, relax, and enjoy the beauty of Mexico.

Hayley Gordon

Hayley Gordon has been surfing for over 20 years. Riding both shortboards and longboards, she's traveled the world to surf but mainly sticks to her two home locations of San Diego and Long Island.

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