Surfing, Northern Baja Style

Surfers flock to the Northern Baja coast for perpetual right-breaking waves, cheap digs and eats, and Endless Summer-type camaraderie.

Undoubtedly, the most famous surf spot in all of Mexico is Killers, at Todos Santos Island. This was the location of the winning wave in the 1997-98 K2 Challenge (a worldwide contest to ride the largest wave each winter -- and be photographed doing it). Killers is a very makeable wave for confident, competent surfers. To get there you need a boat. You can get a lift from the local panga (skiff) fleet, for about $100 for the day. That's pretty much the going rate, and the tightly knit Ensenada pangueros aren't eager to undercut each other. It's about 15km (10 miles) out to the island; there you'll anchor and paddle into the lineup. You must bring everything you'll need -- food, drink, sunscreen, and so on.

Other less radical and easier-to-reach spots include the rocky Popotla break, south of Rosarito, where you'll walk to the beach through the Popotla trailer park. Calafia, just a few kilometers south of Rosarito, has a reeling right point that can get very heavy. San Miguel is the point break just south of the final tollbooth on the highway into Ensenada. It's an excellent wave but generally crowded.

If you're a surfer looking to get your bearings or a beginner wanting to get your feet wet, stop by Inner Reef (tel. 661/613-2065; Km 34.5 on the free road, 9.7km/6 miles south of Rosarito). This tiny shack, painted green with blue flames, sells all the essentials: wax, leashes, patch kits, custom surfboards, rentals, and ding repairs. Owner Mitch Benson is there daily, 9am to 5pm in winter, and 8am to 6pm in summer. He also has a shop in front of Rosarito Beach Hotel.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.