Quick Guide to Surf and Scorpion Bay -Mexico
I can’t stay here.
I gotta go back.
I just got to Scorpion Bay. In the middle of Baja Mexico. To surf and explore.
And now I have to leave.
It’s all my fault. I didn’t think.
I was too excited to get here and surf some perfect waves. To be in less of a lineup than what I’m used to back in San Diego.
But now, I gotta go.
Quickly, but not too quickly. I should probably keep it under 60mph.
“Es Vente.” the guy said to me.
I turn around, say gracias and hand the Mexican gent in a cowboy hat my last pesos.
I just bought gas from a barrel.
Ain’t no Pemex station here.
He has a tanned wrinkly face and a stout black mustache. Sunlit rays falling on the shack behind him give it a movie scene appeal.
It was fun, buying gas from a barrel.
But now I’m broke.
And being broke in Baja ‘aint no fun.
Gas Station in Scorpion Bay
Not much specific info exists about this place, Scorpion Bay. Or the town of San Juanico to be more specific.
That’s part of the appeal, I guess.
The out of date Lonely Planet jammed in the car door of my Tacoma still has some good info in it, even if it’s 8 years out of date.
It’s pages have dog ears all over.
The Surfer’s Guide to Baja wedged in behind it is my Bible for my what I came here to do.
But I got too excited.
I got too stoked on the “olas” I forgot some things.
And now I have to turn back.
I say “adios” to the mustachioed caballero and drive down the dusty road to the center of this sleepy town and keep on driving.
I wish there was a few bits of info I could have found before I left. Three things mainly.
Yet, this is part of the trip. The adventure and dealing with mishaps, yes?
I hope my quarter tank makes it to where I need to go. I gotta try and find something that I need if I’m to have any sort of “good” time at Scorpion Bay.
First – The Baja Area
What’s there besides surf?
No ATM’s or Banks either.
Yeah, small town.
What should I have expected, right?
Well, the growing surf scene has brought up commerce a bit in this little town. Though…not to the extend that you should rely on the town to provide everything you need.
If you need to something specific…expect not to find it.
However, once you are privy to a few things you can get by no problem.
To start…You Need Cash.
There are no resources to get any pesos in San Juanico.
No banks or ATM’s.
Have I said that already?
You gotta have your pesos.
You’ll need ‘em, as every hotel (besides one) and convince store is “solo en efectivo”. Cash
If you are coming from the south stop in Ciudad Insurgentes and stock up on pesos and fresh
whatever at the LAY grocery store along the 1. You can’t miss it.
Only small convince stores selling little chocolate doughnuts, sugary pastries, Doritos, Raman and beer are found in San Juanico.
Not that that’s Baaaad.
But if you are camping a fresh tomato could be nice.
Coming from the North? Do the same in San Ignacio.
On the flip side.
There are some small and damn good places to eat.
A few small stands and tiny restaurants dot the landscape on either side of the main drag of San Juanico. Look around, explore a bit. You’ll find something.
It’s the adventure, right?
As a suggestion, there is a tiny ramshackle place littered with surfboards that serves up killer food, beer, plenty of soccer on the TV and good a amount of WiFi.
The ramshackle place. Burro Prima Vera.
They have surfboards for rent too. Decent ones at that.
Anything from a 9’ foam board to 6’ fish you’ll find it. About 200 pesos a day for each.
Just take a look around…you’ll find the place.
Second – The Drive
It’s the journey that can be tough, not the town.
The time on the road during your Baja trip…can BE the trip.
And it takes a bit to get to there. More than you’ll think.
Books say 4ish hours from Santa Rosalia. Google says similar. Listed times from one place to another tend to be pretty accurate.
The road is paved all the way to San Juanico from the south. Yet, recent road construction north of Cidudad Insurgentes have made drive times go up.
From the Border…18-20 hours.
From Santa Rosalia…7 hours.
From Cidudad Insurgentes…2.5 hours.
This road construction has travelers driving off road in more than one occasion.
The further north you get the more the road is washed out on its own as well. Detours over sand, rock and cobble are obvious.
If you are attempting the drive after any sort of rain or storm…forget about it.
If in doubt, it’s always good if you ride has high clearance and 4 wheel drive. Though, a standard car could make the bumpy trip if the weather has been good.
Want a short cut? Drive across the desert in your 4 wheel rig (and ONLY 4 wheel drive vehicles) from San Ignacio to San Juanico. Have the pleasure of Really being off road in Baja.
Don’t want to drive the whole way?
Fly into Cabo or La Paz and take a rental car! Fox is a super cheap way to go.
They got offices in San Diego, La Paz and Cabo to cover all your bases.
This is super easy and will save you from racking up the miles on your rig.
Saving Money on flights is always fun, yeah?
If you live in Southern California try flying out of Tijuana instead of San Diego.
Cross the border and take a Uber to the Tijuana Airport (yep, Uber is in Tijuana) and fly to La Paz or Cabo for SUPER cheap.
In either case, your rig or theirs, you’ll want Mexican car insurance. It’s a Mexican crime NOT to have it.
Baja Bound is the only way to go. A well respected company throughout all of Baja.
Once in your vehicle, finding your way to Scorpion Bay is easy enough. Just follow the map in the front of your Lonely Planet or other guide book and you’ll be fine.
Google Maps on your phone will come in handy too. There are signs directing you to Cidudad Insurgentes and from there to San Juanico.
Third – Baja Hotels and Tents
From camping to comfort, your options are good.
Wanna sleep by the breaks? Under the stars? You got one choice and it’s a good one.
Scorpion Bay Campground is right next to second point of the famous three and has some killer locations to pitch your tent or camper van.
They even have 3 covered palapa huts closer to third point that are available.
Rest your head at Scorpion Bay Campground
A small little kitchen is attached to the main building where you check in serves good food and beer. Prices to camp are more than reasonable at 150 pesos.
Not bad for its location with easy access to the waves and SHOWERS attached to the main building.
Don’t wanna sleep on the ground?
Throughout town there are smaller hotels varying prices and amenities.
350 pesos can get you a bed at the very plain 7 Puntas above a corner store along the main drag. No WiFi and little else. It could save you if you are in a pinch.
7 Puntas Hotel in Scorpion Bay
Or, make your way to Casitas de San Juanico! You’ll have cool rooms, AC, WiFi and an outdoor kitchen for your use. For how strong the dollar is now…this is more than nice for the price!
At 450 pesos to start this place is an easy “Si”.
Casitas Hotel in Scorpion Bay.
Want cush? Want a Cabo San Lucas type of stay?
The Scorpion Bay Hotel is the only place to consider….and the only place around that takes a credit card.
Courtyard of Scorpion Bay Hotel.
A hotel catering to surfers with big rooms, a well designed interior and a new upstairs BAR this place will rival any hotel in Cabo.
The manager, Daviel Aguilar speaks English and is more than helpful for anyone stoping by. And not just for their guests.
If you are staying they have boards to rent and WiFi throughout.
Not bad for $70 to start. And ‘aint to shabby for what you are getting…and WHERE you are getting it.
Even if you are traveling solo and got those pesos to spend…stay here. Coming down as a family and don’t want to camp?…stay here.
|Scorpion Bay Campground||Camping – 150 pesosPalapa – $45||Ruben@scorpionbay.net
Phone:(619) 239-1335, X-18
FAX at (619) 235-6018Facebook
|Hotel 7 Puntas||350 pesos||01 613 116 0806|
|Casitas de San Juanico||450 – 850 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Scorpion Bay Hotel||$70 – $130||+1 (858) 551-4900|
My quarter tank made it.
I arrive back to Scorpion Bay, 5.5 hours later, frustrated and slightly pissed.
This day of surf and sun was almost over.
I missed it.
I found a ATM in Cidudad Insurgents and got the cash I needed to last a few days.
I stashed small colorful stacks of pesos throughout my truck. Like a squirrel hoarding his acorns.
Never know when you’ll be pulled over by the Federales and have to pay their “ticket”. So I keep my money divided up.
I drive back down through the center of the sleepy town, pass the gas shack and park on a bluff overlooking points one and two. I lean forward and peer
through my dusty, cracked windshield.
Waves are still here. They never left.
Nothing was missed.
I pay for my stay and a Pacifico at the local campground, sit down in the dust and lean back againt my truck.
My head rests on the rear wheel of my Tacoma.
I slowly finish the bottle while watching the sea. My frustrations fade.
Waves are still here.
Nothing was missed.
Wave come, wave go. Always another day at Scorpion Bay.
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