TRAVEL – Central America and Mexico

Lonesome camp nights, banditos and empty points may do Mexico and Central America some justice. Besides a few stand out, developed surf towns there is more than enough room to wander. Learn your Spanish, be prepared to drive down some long dusty roads, and be it beach break, point or reef, there are waves all over. Baja Norte and Sur are always good for a quick trip out of the States. Get lost with Surfer Magazine’s Travel Report surf maps and information.


The Country. Mexico is the third largest country in Latin American with 760,000 square miles, and has the largest Spanish-speaking population with almost 70,000,000 people. It is a delightfully varied country geographically with mountains and marshes, jungles and deserts,and miles of tropical coastline on the mainland portion. It is this part of the county that is increasingly alluring to surfers, especially ones from California and Texas who can drive there on basically good roads. 75% of the people are mestizos, or mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry, about 15% pure Indian, and the remaining 10% are European or other descendents. In the larger cities you can get by with English, but in the more remote areas likely to be desirable to surfers, a knowledge of the local Spanish is key. The government is a democratic and representative federal republic with a total of 31 states. Guerrero is a tropical state with about 300 miles of coastline located 260 miles due south of Mexico City. Its main claim to fame is what many consider the greatest pleasue resort inthe world, Acapulco. 150 miles to the north and still within Guerrero is the newer and smaller resort complex of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. The state is two hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (LA).


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Long point waves and wide stretches of clean, crisp beach break (with hollow sections on the right tide) characterize most ofthe country. The Caribbean side is more treacherous, with coral reefs, but it also has the best and biggest surf in the country. The Pacific side is usually off shore in the mornings, which is the best time to surf because it’s the least crowded and hot. Surf is reasonably consistent year-round, perhaps larger in the rainy season (especially Puntarenas), but many of the best surf spots are inaccessible during the rainy season because the dirt roads become impassable. The dry season is preferred because offshores are more frequent, roads are better and there are good swells on the Caribbean side and the northern part of the country. Sharks are present and numerous, but no attacks have been recorded in the last 10 years. Best times of year to surf Costa Rica: North Pacific Coast (Guanacaste), November to March (offshores during dry season only). Central Pacific (Puntarenas, Jaco, Quepos), May to October (rainy season). Caribbean Coast, December to February. South Coast (Osa Peninsula, Pavones), May to October.