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 west and NW swells need to be big in order to get in – but they do. Altogether there are eight different point breaks in the area (depending on how you decide to identify them) some of which connect depending on the swell. You count the points from the east to west, or more accurately, northeast to southwest. The points further out the point are windier and rockier, but can catch more west swell. The more southeast you go it gets sandier and less exposed to the “bad” winds, but also face a better direction for the offshore winds that help make Scorpion Bay so delicious, as this stretch of Baja turns the prevailing onshore winds around.

 

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.

 

Third Point is the source of legends, with rides that connect through 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. Go further and you’re on your way to the estuaries. Take a look around. You may as well. You drove forever to get so Scorpion Bay in the first place.

 

Scorpion Bay is a destination unto itself. It is a 14 hour drive from the California border, if you drive straight through, so it’s best to plan on two days of driving to avoid the hazardous nighttime 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 relatively 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, 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, and it’s even better if you’re good with a GPS. 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 plan, 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 fastest option is to fly yourself, assuming you're a pilot, as there's a dirt landing strip just outside of town.

 

Scorpion Bay area keeps growing and improving, with surfers, campers, fishermen and tourists coming from all over the world and putting their money into the local economy. The town of San Juanico now has all the necessary ammenities, including a PEMEX station, restaurants and lodging. Lodging has improved tremendously from the days when camping or the palapas were the only options. From luxury beachfront home rentals to the Scorpion Bay Hotel, the comfort end is well-covered.

 

And yes, you can still pull your truck up to the cliff and camp on the beach!

 

Excerpted from The Surfer's Guide to Baja

 

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