January 28th, 2016
SeaMade: The Budget Surf Trip / Baja Edition A series on surf, cross training and lessons on all things salty by guest blogger, Madison
SeaMade: ¡Viaje a Baja Norte!
Baja Norte (the northern region of Baja, Mexico for all you gringos) is considered the wild west of Mexico. Countless point breaks, reef breaks, and shore breaks are sure to give you enough paddle time to be arm breakers. Add a ten-story blinking Jesus, donkeys painted like zebras, cha-cha dance offs, vineyards, tacos, tequila, and cantinas and you are sure to get a taste of the real wild west. From my house in Cardiff, I can get to my favorite surf spots and taco stands in less than two hours. It’s hard to believe I’m in such a different element just two hours from home. Read on for tips on Baja travel, surf, eats and more on a budget…
San Ysidro is the fastest way to get to Baja from costal California towns. Once you pass the guards, keep right and follow al signs for “Highway 1 Rosarito/Ensenda Scenic Route”. This will take you to the toll road, which is super speedy and worry free. And they’re off! Exit the toll road at Puerto Nuevo and start making random surf, shopping, and food stops at that point.
Do not forget your passport, as they are required to get back north across the border. If you do forget it, no worries- you can say adios to your friends and get more waves to yourself.
First things first upon crossing the border- tequila and lobster! Puerto Nuevo has some of the best restaurants and shopping in Northern Baja. Even better than restaurants are little taco stands. They have the best tacos ever and fresh fruit, like coconuts. My favorite is El Leñador, which is on the west side of the highway somewhere near the massive Jesus.
You can’t go wrong with staying at Las Gaviotas, a gated community about an hour south of the border. They have a website with endless possibilities of budget-friendly houses to rent that are right above a pretty good surf break. The hood is super safe, has a beautiful pool on the cliff above the ocean, and even has its own pop-up shop fish market. I could go here for a week and never leave, but of course the land outside the Gavi walls lure me out for exploration.
If you have a camper/trailer/motorhome, I recommend camping, but tent camping can be a bit sketchy. After K38 you’ll see random signs like this for day use and overnight camping. I grew up camping here and running rampant through the fields and beaches. Good times that toughened me up and opened my eyes to third world living.
Unless you have a CENTRI pass, there is no escaping Mexico easily. If you go to Mexico frequently, definitely apply for a CENTRI pass. It’s a borderline fast pass that allows you to swiftly move through a special borderline in about 10 minutes or less.
So, ¡Ándale! Hopefully you can make it to the wild west of Baja Norte soon. Just be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to feel out of your element, and you’ll be golden. More to come in terms of a Baja wave guide next time on SeaMade.
* Get more Baja surf trip tips
* Check out SeaMade: The Budget Surf Trip / North LA, Ventura and Santa Barbara Edition
* More posts from the #SeaMade Series
* Follow Madison on Instagram at @mmadisonn