The Surfer's Guide to Baja - Scorpion Bay/San Juanico
Scorpion Bay - San Juanico
Legendary string of right points starting at the west end of Bahía San
Juanico up at Punta Pequeña, a south facing point with a lighthouse.
Needs a solid south swell. North swells don’t get in and wests need
to be big enough to wrap. Altogether there are six different point
breaks here, some of which connect depending on the swell. You
count the points from the east to west, or more accurately, northeast
to southwest. The upper points face more to the west, are sandier
and better protected from the winds. The points further out the point
are windier and rockier, but catch more west swell.
First point, which is right in front of town, is a nice, sandy beach, but
it needs a big south swell to break, so it’s usually small, even in
summer. Second point is a good beginner spot with an easy,
perfectly-shaped, sand-bottom (watch out for stingrays at these
sandy beaches) wave on most swells, and turns into a faster and
hollower wave on bigger swells. It starts breaking off the rocky point
in front of the Scorpion Bay Cantina & Campground.
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Third Point is the source of legends, with rides that connect up to Second and First points on big swells. Third gets
sketchy on low tides due to the sharp, volcanic rock reef bottom. Lots of guys wear booties. Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and
beyond have bigger waves, and get blown out more easily as they are further out the point and more exposed. Up
around the point heads to the estuaries. Take a look around. You may as well. You drove forever to get here.
Scorpion Bay is a destination unto itself. It is a 14-plus hour drive from the California border, if you drive straight
through, so it’s best to plan on two days of driving. The easiest route comes up from the south and is paved the whole
way. It is the long way around (Loreto to Ciudad Insurgentes then up the new paved road), but kindest on your vehicle
and friends. The second least amount of off-roading has you coming in from the east for about 60 miles of dirt road
(Mulege to Rosarito to La Purísima). It is more direct, cutting about 200 miles off of your total drive from Tijuana, but you
should have a four-wheel drive vehicle or truck, and know how to take care of yourself off-road, and be ready for
anything. If you like off-road driving, and don't mind spending half a day at it, you can come in from the north road and
create about 105 miles and five hours of dust clouds. Take the turnoff toward San Ignacio then follow the signs out of
town toward the La Laguna fishing village, where many go for whale watching tours. From the lagoon head south to El
Datil (salt flats roads to another fishing village) or Cuarenta (rocky road), Ejido Cadaje, then on to San Juanico. This
north route is easier than the east route, but it's also for the off-roader, as there's sand, mud and lots of rocky road
driving. It is easy to get lost and find yourself where no one comes around for days or maybe weeks. Basically, you
have to love off-roading and be well-prepared. You also might want to check the forums at www.scorpionbay.net for
road conditions in advance.
The dirt roads leading in are graded periodically, but don’t expect them to have been prepared for your arrival. If you end
up driving in at night – a ridiculous idea – look out for livestock on those dirt roads. Good luck.
There is another option that cuts travel time to one day: Fly/drive. Fly into Loreto or La Paz and rent a car. The drive from
either is under four hours.
The Scorpion Bay area has grown, with surfers, campers, fishermen and tourists coming from all over the world. The
popularity means commerce, so the town of San Juanico has ample provisions, including a PEMEX station. As popular
as Scorpion Bay has become, however, there is little lodging other than the palapas at the Scorpion Bay Resort, a few
homes available to rent, and Lupita's up the hill.
From The Surfer's Guide to Baja. Available at core surf shops, SurfTravelGear.com and other online retailers.