If you’re planning a surfing tour from the United States to Mexico and Central America, it’s a good idea to plan ahead a bit.
After all, you wouldn’t embark on a surf trip without a thorough checklist, so why not look into the top surf spots in the region before you head down there?
A great way to go is by RV: you can drive down and hit up the spots along with other attractions. You might also want to consider an RV extended warranty that will reimburse you for any unexpected food, beverage, and lodging expenses just in case.
If it doesn’t go without saying, many of these spots are for more advanced surfers. With that said, there are surf schools available in some of these areas.
Surf Spot 1): Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Puerto Escondido… if you’re in the surf tour world, you know the name Puerto Escondido is practically Spanish for giant waves (no, obviously not literally). Located in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido’s Playa Zicatela is 3.5 kilometers of golden sand and crashing waves.
If you’re looking for 20-foot waves and you don’t mind a few broken boards, Puerto Escondido is a good bet.
Surf Spot 2): Mazatlán, Mexico
Located along Mexico’s Pacific coastline, Mazatlán is famous for its beaches: Playa Norte, Playa Bruja, and Playa Olas Atlas, all of which are world-class surfing.
If that’s not enough, there’s also the romantic beauty of a historic Mexican town, one which used to be the capital of the state of Sinaloa. The people are friendly, the weather is nice, and the food is delightful as well.
Surf Spot 3): El Tunco, El Salvador
Branching out from Mexico, we come to El Tunco, El Salvador. Known for world-class surfing, El Tunco is located a mere one hour from El Salvador’s capital city, San Salvador. The surfing is top-notch, but there are opportunities for beginners as well as for advanced surfers.
In addition to all the great surfing, El Tunco has great tourist amenities: there are plenty of hotels and restaurants where you can hang out and spend time. If you’re there during the weekend, you’re likely to find many visitors from the city who are there to party.
Surf Spot 4): El Paredón, Guatemala
There’s this stereotype about Guatemala and surfing, namely that Guatemala doesn’t have good beaches.
Guess what? That stereotype comes from people who are either ignorant of the beautiful El Paredón, or else they’ve heard of it and are helping to keep the secret.
El Paredón is a Guatemalan fishing village which offers top-quality surfing on a black sand beach, complete with palm trees and everything. Taken as a whole, this is a surfing experience which is not to be missed.
Sure, other Central American countries have more surfing beaches, but Guatemala has El Paredón, and that’s enough. See it sooner rather than later, if you can, because later it may well be spoiled by tourism.
Surf Spot 5): Playa Colorado, Nicaragua
Great surfing, a picturesque resort, barrels for days… there’s no wonder Playa Colorado is part of the reason Nicaragua is being billed as the next Costa Rica. Playa Colorado is a private beach, and you can get to it by staying in Hacienda Iguana or else by boat.
This is one of those locations that was something of a secret gem for a time, but now the secret is out and tourists are beginning to flock there. Still, there’s no reason you can’t go and have a good time.
Surf Spot 6): Popoyo, Outer Reef, Nicaragua
If you’re looking for fast, powerful waves, this is the spot for you. Outer Reef is a tough surfing spot, one which you will have to access by boat – and on some days by tow.
Once you’re out there, you’re going to find surf on the right or left, with a heavy barrel. This is the kind of surfing experience that is well worth an RV trip down from the States.
Be warned: this location is a board-breaker, so plan accordingly and bring a full quiver.
Top Surf Spot 7): Witches Rock, Costa Rica
We’ll close our list with one of the most iconic surf spots out there: Witches Rock of Costa Rica.
This surf spot is iconic for a reason: it was made quite famous in surf film The Endless Summer II. In addition to a world-class surf experience, expect many epic, photo-worthy moments, especially with the rock itself in the background.