Q:

Where can I learn to surf while in Cabo San Lucas?

I'll be vacationing with my parents in Cabo San Lucas and I’d like to learn to surf. Where are the best beaches to learn and who offers lessons? Jeremy Detroit, Michigan

Nov 13, 2006
Outside
Outside Magazine
Mexico's Cabo San Lucas

Break into the surf scene in Mexico's Cabo San Lucas

A:

You'll be better to bid your parents a quick adios and leave them at the hotel (unless they rip like Laird or are game to learn alongside you), because you can find ideal surfing conditions all across Baja's southern coast. Even surfing legend Mike Doyle calls Los Cabos (the tip of the Baja peninsula) home, which should foster some serious aspirational vibes as you learn to cut your turns. And although there are no surfing schools directly in Cabo San Lucas, just 20 minutes east lies San Jose del Cabo, a tight surfing community that's easily overshadowed by Cabo San Lucas' tourism and nightlife opportunities—a positive thing for San Jose. That mainstream distraction, along with a population of around 50,000 and plenty of waves, makes this low-key city ideal for that envied surfer lifestyle. Or you rent a car and travel 45 minutes north from Cabo San Lucas to Todos Santos, a laid-back artsy spread and home to the famed Hotel California. Either way, you'll enjoy clear blue waters, white sand beaches and the world's best margaritas.

But you said you wanted to learn to surf…which brings us back to Mike Doyle. Voted best surfer by Surfer Magazine in 1965 and '66, he has his own surfing school on Playa Acapulquito—one of the best beginner surfing beaches on the Los Cabos peninsula. Students at Mike Doyle Surf School (cabosurfshop.com/surfschool.htm; +52.624.142.2666) will find a roomy beach with long waves. Lessons are $65 per hour with board rentals beginning at $35 per day.

For the local surf scene, visit the Costa Azul Surf Shop (costa-azul.com.mx; +52.624.142.2771), located less than a mile east of Playa Acapulquito. With 24-hour ding repair, they specialize in hand-shaped surfboards and, of course, have the best ding repairmen in Baja. Lessons begin at $55 per hour, including a rash guard and a soft board that won't leave gashes in a beginner's head. Regular surfboard rentals are $20 per day.

For surf-centric accommodations, try the Cabo Surf Hotel (cabosurfhotel.com; +52.624.142.2666) where prices start at $225 per night, and you can almost touch the waves from your hotel room window. On your way back to see if the parents have fallen asleep in their lounge chairs, stop by Restaurant Tequila or Baja Natural in San Jose del Cabo for some good eats. Looking for something a little more local? Try the taco stands near the Plaza.

Just north of Cabo San Lucas between Los Cerritos and Todos Santos lies another surfing community where you'll find Pescadero Beach and what the locals call a "wave machine." Perfect for newbies, Mother Nature's perpetual swell generator seems to roll out perfectly approachable wave after wave where beginners can hone their skills from sunrise to sunset or take lessons at Pescadero Surf Camp (pescaderosurf.com; +52.612.130.3032), starting at $45 per hour, where pros will get you up and carving. Boards are just $15 per day. Accommodations include cabanas and private palapas at $10 per night. There's even a pool with a swim-up bar. For some good grub on your way out of town, try Shut Up Frank's Bar & Grill next to the Surf Camp. Or venture into Todos Santos for tacos at Bajaras Tacos or a late latte at Café Todos Santos.

Companies like Baja Wild (bajawild.com/en/tours/surfing.html, +52.624.172.6300) also provide entire packages that include surfing adventures in either Costa Azul or Todos Santos, which could be the best way to insulate yourself from your parents, should that be your plan. The trips start at $72 per day and include surfboard, wax, wet suit and rash guard, instruction, transportation, lunch and beverages. Lastly, if you'd like to snag some pointers from the regulars after your morning lesson, head off the beaten path to Nine Palms east of Costa Azul. There you might just come across a few of the best surfers in the world riding some of the most accessible waves in Baja. The options—just like the tequila—are plentiful.

—Amy Clark

Filed To: Surfing

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