The Surfer's Guide to Baja - Cuatro Casas /
Punta San Telmo
Cuatro Casas / Punta San Telmo
Probably the best known and crowded break in this stretch of Baja,
but the reason for its popularity is a bit of a mystery. It’s certainly a
good right reef/point on its good days, like at least a dozen other
breaks in Baja. But it is not quite as epic as lore leads one to expect,
and crime has become a major factor. More on that below.
Cuatro Casas breaks best on souths, but bigger northwests also
provide good surf. The terrain and kelp keep the wind damage down,
so it stays glassier than other spots, and it gets damn windy in this
stretch of Baja. Mostly longboards in the lineup here. It’s probably so
well known because it has been written up in the surf press since
the sixties. That, and the campgrounds right at the break, highlighted
by the Boat Ranch. There is a great article about the Boat Ranch in
The Surfer’s Journal (Volume 10, Number 2). I can’t do the place
justice here, but you really should check it out. It’s an experience.
Camp here for $5/night (parking for the day costs the same) and you’
ll get to use the outhouses.
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It’s easy enough to find Cuatro Casas once you get down to the beach, but picking the right road down can be confusing.
Try this: About 12 kilometers south of the town of Colonet you will encounter San Telmo. About 9/10’s of a mile south of the
San Telmo PEMEX is a turnoff that goes through a few farms and leads to the beach (about 5½ to 6 miles). The turnoff is a
little hard to find, but it’s just past the “Abarrotes Ormart” store on your right and across from “Estetica Y Novedades
Marilu.” Once you get near the beach take the best-looking dirt road to the south and you’ll run into the back side of Punta
San Telmo, or Cuatro Casas. The dirt roads in this whole area have improved dramatically—graded to a very good
condition, so getting a bit lost isn’t a disaster. You’ll quickly be back on track.
Camping was the rule for decades, but Cuatro Casas has gone “upscale” on us with the opening of the Cuatro Casas
Hostel (www.cuatrocasashostel.com) where you can book a bed or a private room.
It's no secret that the crime rate in Northern Baja has been on the rise, not just the gang and drug related crime, but tourist
attacks. One of the better known incidents involved long-time surfer and Baja explorer Pat Weber. Pat was camping with
his girlfriend at Cuatro Casas where he was robbed at gunpoint and girlfriend was sexually assaulted. Pat has sworn
never to return. Very sad. The story is a bit old now, but you can get it here.
From The Surfer's Guide to Baja. Available at core surf shops, SurfTravelGear.com and other online retailers.