Surfing Playa Los Cerritos
Pack your bag and get the board waxed,
you’re going to surf Cerritos…
Playa Los Cerritos is located just outside the small village of Todos Santos in the south of Baja California. If you aren’t already aware of the many epic surf breaks in this famous Mexican state, then you’re missing out on world class waves. There are many scattered beach breaks providing good spots for surfers of all conditions plus reef and point breaks. The best breaks are El Pedrito, La Pastora and Los Cerritos. When you talk to the locals at each of these three breaks, they will be sure to tell you their spot is the best and top pick, but we were only to surf Los Cerritos and have blogged about the spot below. We can’t comment on the other breaks. As you can tell from the photos, we didn't score any swell, but trust us, this place goes off!
The break at Los Cerritos is set on a magical long stretching sand beach with a rocky point off a cliff. A beautiful colonial house (now hotel open to the public) is set at the top of the cliff overlooking the point. The beach has become quite popular of late as a result of increasing tourism due to the easy to access beach location, safe swimming waters – protected by an outer reef – and a number of good local eateries set on some of the best real estate on the coast. Be prepared for laid back friendly surf vibes, plenty of chill time and a heap of after surf festivities to keep you going between the waves.
The surf at Cerritos can be dangerous at times, though the majority of the year conditions here are some of the best you will find on the Pacific side of Baja for swimming and playing around in the waves, off the surfboard. In fact this beach is one of only a few swimmable beaches on the coast. Many other beaches around the area have strong, dangerous currents and submerged rocks making it difficult to navigate for most swimmers. Also having such a large stretch of sand at Cerritos means you can easily find a private place to swim and relax on the beach without having to worry about the crowds.
These beach vibes, like many of the blog posts you will read in the coming weeks, have undergone some drastic changes in recent years and are still happening now. Cerritos’ beach front property and land packages are beginning to be developed. What was once a surf camp mecca home to a few locals and the odd nomad is now catering to the cliff top boutique hotel and many other pop-up holiday apartment developments along the coast front. This in return has brought on beach club bars and restaurants to supply the new arrival of surf travellers and their families that this small beach town could once not offer.
LET’S MASTER THE BREAK
Playa Los Cerritos is one of the most consistent waves you will find around Baja and as a result the wave can get busy. You will find beginner waves on smaller days perfect for longboarding from the point to the beach. When the larger swells arrive the area attracts more experienced surfers in search of perfect beach and point breaking waves. The outer reef continues to the point allowing swell to break over a mix of reef and rock along the point producing fun clean waves. It’s also an easy paddle to get out to the break. Like most point breaks the current alongside the rocks will carry you out effortlessly on most days. From here you can decide to paddle all the way to the peak out the back or drift on further down the beach away from the crowds. The point break can get quick on bigger days from the north-west swells pushing in. Water here is mostly cool to cold so bring a steamer.
Locals Name: Cerritos
Skill Level: All Levels
Best Season: Winter and Spring
Crowds: Moderately busy
Best Tide: Any tide
Wind Direction: Northeast and East
Best Swell Direction: Northwest
Water Temperature: Cool to Warm
Wave Type: Beach break
Wave Direction: Rights and lefts
Wave consistency: Very consistent
Bottom Type: Sand
Location: Easy to locate
Access: Good all vehicle access
Road Type: Wide dirt road
Parking: Yes, Free and Safe
LET’S GET PREPARED
Los Cerritos 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…
Playa Cerritos is located about 15min drive south from Todos Santos on Baja California’s Pacific Coast or about 45 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. If heading towards Todos Santos from Cabo San Lucas, take the Transpeninsluar Highways until you near KM64 and look out for the road signs to Playa Los Cerritos.
The road from the highway to the beach is a dirt road stretch for about 3km all the way to the sand parking lot. The road is in decent condition and opens to all vehicles.
By Air – The closest airports to Los Cerritos are at La Paz and Los Cabos, both approximately 1.5 hour drive south and north respectively. A recent Skycanner search found round-trip flights from Mexico City to both airports in Southern Baja, direct flight only, starting at around US $150 round trip for travel in 3 months – from the major cities of the United States, direct flight round try are around US $300. Detailed information about flights and flying to/from Mexico coming soon.
By Bus – To get to Baja California Sur, your best bet is to fly there (see above); the bus trip to Los Cerritos is a long and slow journey. Buses from Tijuana via La Paz can take up to 30 hours.
By Car – Driving to Mexico from the United States, Belize or Guatemala will take you several hours but it can be the starting point for an epic #vanlife journey down the coast and throughout Central America. Obviously this is the dream and preference but just about any other car will also be ok. From the US boarder take Highway 1 for a little over 20 hours before arriving at Highway 19 for 1 hour more. Keep an eye out for KM64 sign to head to the coast… It is generally safe to drive in Mexico as long as you stick to the main roads and drive only during the day. Never drive at night. Traveling by car throughout the country allows you to travel at your own leisure and comfort. 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. Connect now to Skycanner to compare all the rental company available and get the best price.
By Ferry – If you are coming from the mainland of Mexico (Ferry Ports in Mazaltan and Los Michis) to Baja California (Ferry Port in La Paz) and vice versa, 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 meter is 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 La Paz, Todos Santos, Los Cabos 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.
During the months of May and June in Baja California Sur the water can be cool due to cool moving currents and requires a decent 3/2 steamer. Outside of these months the water is much warmer and generally boardshorts or a spring suit is all that is needed.
Weather wise the area has a pleasant, temperate climate for most of the year. The winter months of January through February see cool nights and warm, dry day time temperatures. The summer months of June to August are hot and can be wet with August receiving the highest average rainfall throughout the year.
Baja Zen Yoga – We met the owner Kim Wexman and her mother randomly at the fish tacos stand between the waves, a couple of years ago. With their great energy we couldn’t wait to try their classes. Unfortunately at this time the studio wasn’t open yet! However one of our yoga teacher friends who co-lead a Yoga Teacher Training for 3 weeks there told us it is really beautiful with a spectacular view. Worth the try | baja-zen.com | 612-142-5038 | email@example.com
Hierbabuena is an amazing restaurant with THE BEST food by far around. They grow everything right there at their garden. Arrive before sunset to enjoy the gorgeous view at this rustic and lovely farm – vegan options are available | hierbabuenarestaurante.com
Freesouls Cerritos This off the beaten path restaurant/pool bar with free wifi is pricy but absolutely worth it. Try their flat bread pizza, wonderful drinks and a nice refreshing dip in the salt water rooftop pool while you’re waiting for your cocktails to arrive. The staff is super friendly and not to mention view of Cerritos Beach in one direction and the desert mountains the other. Simply Amazing | Check the reviews on TripAdvisor | 624-191-4666
Baja Beans is a sweet coffeeplace with very goo food and a great market every Saturday | www.bajabeanscoffee.com
Cerritos Surf Town Beach Hotel & Spa has the perfect location (right on the break), seaside daybeds, pool and 26 villas starting at US $200 per night | Book it via TripAdvisor to get the best deal | cerritossurftown.com
Baja-Zen Glamping is a small boutique yoga studio sitting high on the hill with views of the ocean and the surf. First only yoga studio owner, since April 2017 it is now an outstanding glamping (glamorous camping). Tent starting US $45 per night | baja-zen.com
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 US $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.