Surfing La Ticla
Pack your bag and get the board waxed,
you’re going to surf La Ticla…
No surf trip to Mexico is complete until you’ve surfed La Ticla - it is as fun as Pascuales is heavy. This quiet, small coastal town has had its share of recent troubles yet it doesn’t stop keen surfers from returning time and time again – and for good reason. We’ve been to La Ticla on a few occasions and always scored fun waves. You can constantly find something to surf and the break is pretty much guaranteed to work on almost any swell and just about any wind direction.
La Ticla is located on the pacific coast of the Michoacán State and about 1.5 hours drive south from the township of Tecomán. Other than surfing, La Ticla doesn’t offer much to passing by tourists like many of the smaller coastal towns along the Pacific. With this said, it is still the perfect chill out spot to pull up for a few days or even weeks until you’re completely surfed out. The consistency of waves means you won’t get many lay days here.
Crowds can be varied depending on the swell and the day of week. The weekends will draw in a few more people and so too does a decent swell. Generally the swell at Ticla is slightly bigger than most other spots around. But if you can hang out for an extra day or two following a weekend, you will certainly score uncrowded waves mid-week. We found that even when the lineup is busy, the surfers at Ticla rarely hustle so waves are shared around. The laid back lifestyle of this surf town certainly rubs off on those in the water.
LET’S MASTER THE BREAK
You will find surf with consistent swells rolling through all year round at La Ticla…
The thing we love most about La Ticla is the wave variety. Even though the main two peaks break within a stones throw of each other, they are both yet two very different waves. The main peak is a right hander that breaks right in front of the river mouth. On a good swell the wave will wall up and run along the beach ending with a peaky section close to shore. If you prefer left handers then wade through the waist to knee deep river and walk up the beach slightly. The beach bends around and away from the river kind of into a bay towards the north.
Being on a river mouth like most rivers around Mexico, the waves here break over cobblestone rock. This produces the consistency of the banks as they don’t tend to move around as much as sandy bottom beach breaks. The cobblestone creates clean peeling waves especially early mornings when the wind is almost always off shore.
Unlike its neighbour Pascaules, the wave here at La Ticla is quite soft and forgiving in comparison. We’ve surfed this on almost double overhead and even though the wave is powerful enough to produce good speed, it just seems to lack that driving force that heavier beach breaks around the area have. It’s not a bad thing. The wave is still fast enough to carve and race. It’s also a great wave for beginners and provides the perfect opportunity to advance your surfing and gain confidence on a bigger wave but without that aggressiveness.
Locals Name: Ticla
Skill Level: All Levels
Best Season: All year round
Wave Type: River Mouth
Wave Direction: Rights and lefts
Wave consistency: Very consistent
Bottom Type: Cobblestone
Best Tide: Any tide
Wind Direction: North East
Best Swell Direction: South
Water Temperature: Warm
Location: Easy to locate
Access: Good all vehicle access
Road Type: Paved road
Parking: Plenty, sandy carpark
LET’S GET PREPARED
Understanding everyone has different time and monetary restraints, we have put together some recommendations to hopefully assist you getting to La Ticla and starting your surf trip.
La Ticla is not a secret spot and more details can be easily found on the web or any travel guide of the region. There are still plenty of secret breaks to be explored and once you arrive there, the local surfers will more than likely share these with you as long as you are friendly enough - and maybe shout them a taco or two. At s u r u n c l o u d, we just would like our friends and families to enjoy our discoveries and at the same time why not let others share in the same experiences as us. We were nervous at first and found it hard to blog about our favourite spots without feeling guilt of giving up ‘secret’ locations and names in fear of the wave becoming known and also out of respect for local surfers. But it occurred to us that if you dig deep enough, all this information is already out there and available online anyway, just without these personal experiences. So here it goes…
La Ticla is about a 1.5 hour drive south from the city of Tecomán (refer below for getting to Tecomán). From Tecomán there is really only the one main coast road out of town to head towards La Ticla in the south. Keep following this main road until you come to the sign for La Ticla that turns off to the beach road. This is a paved road and is a short (5min) drive through local farms, papaya fiels and palm trees. Follow this road until you come to the small township and then turn right to continue along the paving, past the restaurants and finally onto the beach. Local buses and collectivos run between these towns also but less regularly.
By Air – The closest airports to Tecomàn are at Manzanillo (1 hour drive south), Guadalaraja (5.5 hour drive south west) and Zihuatanejo (6.5 hour drive north). Flights can be found on Skycanner direct from Mexico City to either of these destinations for around US $150 round trip for travel in 3 months – from the major cities of the United States, direct flight round trip are around US $300. Detailed information about flights and flying to/from Mexico coming soon.
By Bus – The bus trip to Tecomàn is a long and slow journey depending on where you are leaving from. Buses run all up and down the coastline and leave from each of the major cities mentioned above (By Air) to Tecomàn. Durations vary depending on origin. Detailed information about buses in Mexico coming soon.
By Car – If you are keeping the #vanlife dream alive then keep following the main highway that runs parallel with the coast north-south, depending on the direction you are coming from and look out for the signs to Tecomàn. If you are in no rush the drive along the coastline (not the highway) is a little slower but far more scenic. We have driven the coast from Zihuatanejo to La Ticla a number of times and find it easy and breathtaking. Be respectful when passing through smaller villages on the coast and try to NEVER drive at night or early before sunrise.
Once in the Tecomàn Area, the following options may be considered for easier and more efficient means of getting around. Additional information about driving in Mexico coming soon.
By Rental – If you want to make the most of your surf trip and Mexican experience then you’re going to need a car. This gives you more flexibility and allows you to surf the breaks you want and on your own time. From our experience as much as the local bus is a great adventure, sometimes it’s difficult to access all the spots you want to go via bus. Read our guide to Car Rental in Mexico Coming Soon to learn all there is to know about car rental and connect now to Skycanner to compare all the rental company available and get the best price.
By Ferry – If you are coming from Baja California (Ferry Port in La Paz) to the main land (Ferry Ports in Mazaltan and Los Mochis), there are a number of ferries available daily. Ferry times will vary depending on the service and can take anywhere from 3 hours up to 18 hours each way. Visit ferrytmc.com for the timetable and pricing.
By Taxi – Taxis are familiar to picking up surfers in these areas and most come equipped with roof racks and tie downs – beware you might want to handle your precious sled as some taxi drivers will have little care for your surfboard. If you can speak a little Spanish this will also go a long way to negotiating a good price which we recommend you do upfront as no meters are available. Generally speaking in comparison to most major countries, the taxis here in Mexico are reasonably priced and it’s not uncommon for your taxi driver to wait at the break while you surf then drop you back home after.
By Local Bus – For those on a tight budget or even just looking for a good local adventure, the local buses are for you. The local bus operates between Manzanillo and Zihuatanejo and all other major destinations. Unfortunately the services are limited and will simply not allow you to see everything there is to see on this incredible coast line.
The waters temperature in this area of Mexico is generally warm all year round except for two months from late March to May when you may need a wetsuit top or spring suit. Other than this the water is always warm and boardshorts or a swimsuit is all that is needed.
Weather wise the area has a pleasant, temperate climate for most of the year. The later winter months of March to May see cooler warm temperatures. The summer months of June to August are hot and can be wet with August receiving the highest average rainfall throughout the year.
Unfortunately at the time of writing this post there were no nearby surfboard rentals or board shops.
There are no official surf teachers at La Ticla. We’re sure however, if you ask around you will find someone keen to help you get in the water.
At the time of our stay there were no yoga studios on offer in La Ticla. If you need someone to practice yoga with, ask around a few of the traveling surfers and we are sure you will come across a yogi willing to offer their services for a small fee or may even just be happy to have a yoga buddy to practice with.
Idon’t like Mexican food, said no-one ever! So, after surfing perfect Mexican waves all day long the next best thing is eating the tastiest food around. Our favourite restaurant is located right on the beach and part of the four small restaurants next to the river. The one on the end closest to the hotel/camping area is our top pick but feel free to try them all. All of the restaurants around La Ticla offer good, cheap and local Mexican cuisine – except for the slightly more expensive hotel restaurant, although it is still a decent feed and all local cuisine.
The decision is simple as there are limited options in town. We’ve stayed at the Hotel on the beach every time we go to La Ticla. This is the only tourist hotel you will find in the area and rates are reasonable charging around MX $150 pesos per night for a basic room (bed, private bathroom and fan). At the camping area, tent or hammock fetch for about MX $50 pesos per person. Otherwise checkout Airbnb with 11 rentals to choose from starting at US $18 to $600 per night.
The small restaurant between the river and hotel also offers a basic room for rent. Enquire with the restaurant owners for more details.
And of course, La Ticla is the perfect destination for v a n l i f e. There’s specific spot to park your camper for about MX $50 pesos per night.
Travelling with a surfboard: If you are weighing up the cost of flying with your surfboard vs purchasing or even renting a board once you arrive in Mexico, then this may assist with your decision. Most airlines will charge anywhere from $25 to $150 per flight for a surfboard. It also depends on your mode of transport once you arrive in Mexico. If you have your own car or van then it may be worth taking your favourite surfboards from home. However, if your main mode of transport is going to be bus, keep in mind most bus lines will more than likely treat your precious quiver like any other baggage item, so be prepared fro dings, and plenty of them. It may be worthwhile buying some cheaper local boards. Most surf shops in coastal towns sell second hand boards and keep an eye out on Facebook groups also. Also if you happen to have a layover in LA you may even have time to pickup a fresh board in California for a decent price before starting the surf trip.
Telephone: Mexico’s telephone network is well-developed in comparison to other Latin American countries. Mexico offers a whole range of telephone services from simple land-line telephone services to high-speed internet services. Prepay cell phones are a simple way to communicate and have no lock in contract. Telcel, AT&T, Movistar and Virgin Mobile SIM cards each cost between $50 and $150 pesos and sometimes include some data within that.
Internet: Just about every town and city in Mexico has at least one Internet Cafe. Look for signs reading “Acceso a Internet” or “Cibernautica” or “Cibercafe.” Charges range from approx. US$1 an hour to US$3 an hour, depending on the location. Most restaurants and hotels offer free Wi-Fi.
Exchanging Currency: Mexico has plenty ATMs which dispense usually both pesos and US dollars. Many of the restaurants, hotels and shops in Mexico accept credit cards. During business hours, banks and Casas de Cambio will buy traveler’s checks and foreign cash from you as well, although it does take time, so you’re better off using ATMs.
Travel Insurance: We recommend that you take out adequate travel insurance when you are visiting Mexico. Health services and treatment normally covered under other countries medical system are not available in Mexico. Generally, travel insurance MUST be purchased within the country where you are a resident BEFORE prior to travelling.
Medical Attention: Most larger towns and popular tourist locations have local, government-run, health centers. Private clinics can also be found, both with English-speaking staff available.
Other than surfing, La Ticla doesn’t offer much to passing by tourists like many of the smaller coastal towns along the Pacific. So once you’ve surfed your brains out, scoffed down a few fish tacos and had your daily ritual of a hammock siesta, we then recommend you spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful neighbouring towns, beaches and coastline. Enjoy…