Soooo, my best friend and I just came back from our epic surf trip. We drove down to San Juanico, known as “Scorpion Bay” from San Diego, CA. It took us 17 hours total, and we stayed in Guerrero Negro for a night to rest, but even the drive was fun and totally worth it.
I had about a month off from school and I wanted to go somewhere after I came back from Japan. I’ve known Scorpion Bay for a while somehow just because the surf spot has one of the longest waves in the world. The reason why I didn’t feel like going there before were 1. my surf skill sucked 2.its a long drive and we need 4 wheel drive to go through the dirt road 3.no one was really down. However, when I mentioned this trip to my best buddy, Josh who came to my home city, Tokyo with me this summer, he was so down. Although we invited our surf squad to come join us for the surf trip, no one wanted to come..lol So let’s talk about my surf trip with my best guy now.
Scorpion bay has 7 surf points, which break all rights. No left which sucks for me because I am a goofy footer, but I was so excited to work on my backside at the same time. We talked to people there and they said when they get decent swell, these few points can be connected, which is maybe half a mile, nothing can be crazier than this. Also, Scorpion bay only picks up south swell and some of the west swell so summer is the season, and winter is kinda dead.
We started from researching about this place. However, not so many information about how to get there, where is safe, what we are supposed to expect. I guess just because this is a low key spot and not touristy. There are the things we found from some website and blogs.
- There are North road, East road, and South road to get there
- North road is the fastest, but need 4wd and easy to get lost because there are multiple ways to get scorpion bay
- South road takes 22 hours total but all paved
- East road still needs 4wd but easy to get there
- don’t drive night
- Need Mexican tourist card when we cross the border which cost us around $24 if our trip is more than 7days
- San Ignacio is the last town where we can get gas
After researching all these, we were sketched about taking the North road, because also my friend who’s been there told me that they took the north road at first, but they got lost and they had to U-turn and reroute from East road. However, I found a facebook group called, “Friends of scorpion bay campground” and they helped me out to figure all things out. They said
- Use “maps.me” to route north road, it will lead us to go through “low road” which is by salt flats
- There are low, high, and middle roads for North road
- Don’t drive low road when its high tide
- some guys who were there the week before us weren’t asked for the Mexican tourists card
I was surprised that people in the group actually answered my questions and helped me a lot! So after getting some tips from these nice guys, we decided to go for the North road with Low road.
For the accommodation part, we camped at the bay for 5 nights. We took Josh’s Jeep so he made simple platform at the back that we could sleep inside of his Jeep!!!! It was the sickest things ever.
We planned this trip for 3weeks ahead and it came way faster than I thought.
So here’s about our trip. Finally.. lol
We left San Diego at 6am. We packed all the foods we gonna cook, firewoods, chairs, whatever we need to camp, 2 shortboards, 1fish for me, and 1 mini Simms for him.
We stopped at the border to get a stamp for our Mexican tourists cards, but it was a hassle to find where to get. We applied and paid through the online night before and we just had to get stamp right after we crossed the border but a guy sent us to wrong spot and we ended up walking back to the border and got stamps in a blue building right after the cross which I assumed immigration office.
We stopped at a taco place to get lunch on the way down to Guerrero Negro, but otherwise, we kept driving.
It took us around 12 hours including some stops. Keep in mind that after the town called El Rosarito (not the one right after Tijuana), you will not see any gas stations for 200miles, until you get close to Guerrero Negro. Our jeep can go only 200 miles with full tank, so we had to make U-turn to gas up and fill our jerry cans as well. Thank god my buddy noticed that and we only had to drive back 15 min.
My favorite part of the drive to Guerrero Negro was when we when through a desert with tons of huge cactus. I don’t even know if they have names for it but It was so beautiful and we found something looks like Lion King. lol I dropped a pin for it and we actually stopped on the way back haha. Here’s the pic what I am talking about, definitely looks like the famous rock from Lion King!!!
Before we entered Guerrero Negro, there was a border for Baja California Sur, and we expected to be checked our passport and Mexican tourists cards, but they didn’t, they weren’t even there lol some random guy was there to bullsh*t about pest control, and made us pay $2 for it lol it was interesting.
We got to a hotel that we wanted to stay called “Mararrimo” right after you enter the town. It was 595 pesos for 2 people and 100 pesos for deposit. People were nice and the restaurant was nice too. We ordered fish steak and crabs, they were both pretty good, and one plate was around $10 if I remembered right.
The next morning, we had breakfast at the motel and left Guerrero Negro around 8. Since the high tide was around 10, we took some time to enjoy our breaky. After two hours drive, we got to San Ignacio. That was the last stop before we hit the 100miles dirt road. The little town was interesting, we went through all the desert and suddenly palm trees showed up with this town out of nowhere. We gassed up and picked up beers and chips for the off-road.
And I’m telling you, the north road was so beautiful, so much fun, and the fastest.
It was bumpy, some of the roads were not even roads, but I’ve never experienced such a beautiful and fun drive before. I think it took us only about 3 hours. Luckily, we didn’t have to stuck with the dirt, and we got Scorpion bay by 2 or 3pm.
We paid our camping fee, which is 150 pesos/night per person at Cantina, and parked by the second point. By the time we got there was low tide, but we had the smallest swell that day. We took out our fish and mini Simms but we definitely needed longboards lol
We didn’t know which point is which and where to paddle out and all these stuff, and people there were so nice that they told us everything we needed and a German guy, Heinz who lived at the campground even wrote us a map for the surf points for us. So the second point is more for longboarding, and they can surf only for low tide when it’s small. The third point was our favorite, which is more shortboarding spot, and seems like it works for every tide but he told us it is better on low-tide as well. We had to go down a cliff and walk on kinda sharp rocks. We couldn’t figure out how to get down there but thanks to Heinz’s map, we found 2 entries. The fourth spot is also more for shortboarding but it works more on high tide, which is great so we can surf all tides in scorpion bay. We didn’t even check 5th- 7th points, it was a bit far too.
So the first day was quick small sesh at second point feeling kook with sitting there with our tiny boards, but we were just so stoked to be there. We grilled our steaks and vegies for the dinner and did little bonfire.
We had leftover marshmallows, but omg they were so shitty lol They stuck to each other and couldn’t get them easily. However, we figured something out. We grilled bananas as a dessert instead, and holy cow, they were so good! Grilled bananas? Must for camping! Our first day in Scorpion bay was covered with dark with the shiny moon.
We woke up with the sunrise the next morning. (Actually only me, my buddy kept sleeping and missed the beautiful sunrise lol). It was cool to see the sunrise from the ocean because we usually don’t see it in California. It’s always sunset for us. We didn’t sleep well because we had to deal with bed bugs, (actually mostly me) and I kept itching and moving around in the tiny Jeep so both of us couldn’t sleep well. Sorry lol But I think this was the worst thing in this trip, we had to deal with the bed bugs for whole 5 nights. Although I’m allergic to these bed bugs and itching like crazy, somehow Josh was not much reacted by the bugs.
I made couple coffee with a camp stove that I got for this trip, which didn’t work after I used that day lol
But anyways, Day 2 at Scorpion bay. We asked about those surf points to our neighbor, Heinz, and he told us everything we need to know as I mentioned already. It was middle to high tide by the time we got in the water, so we surfed at 4th point which we were told that it worked for high tide. We walked down from the little sand beach and it was a hustle to walk on rocks to paddle out. I was so worried about sea urchins because I already had a bad experience with urchins in Costa Rica and those rocks look like urchins’ favorite spot for me. Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with any cuts and urchins in this whole trip, but my buddy got so many cuts and couple urchins in his feet haha. He literally got cuts every single session.
This is 3rd point.
There was only one guy out there and two guys came in after 30min. The surf was not like omg it’s so goooood! for the scorpion bay, but it was definitely better than San Diego for sure haha. It was like 2-3 ft and not like crazy long rides but we had some 20sec ones for the sets. Two guys came in later were a dad and his son. They said they moved there a year ago and his son goes to a local school in San Juanico, which blew our mind. There was an extreme life that we might want in the future. They told us not to get out of the water other than the sand beach that we paddled from, there are sharper rocks and a bunch of urchins. We took out GoPro but I sucked at recording and all the footages I got were not good at all haha
After the 1st sesh, we drove to San Juanico town to buy beers and eggs for breakfast. There are a few little markets in the town. We stopped by the first one from the beach and we bought 6 eggs and beers. They put eggs in plastic bags and I already had a feeling that they were going to crack. And yes, it actually happened and we broke two eggs lol I don’t know how the locals do this haha. Oh! Also, we wanted to buy marshmallows so we did not have to deal with our shitty ones, but we actually forgot about it and honestly I think they did not even have them in the tiny store.
I think we did the second sesh at 2nd point but it didn’t work out well for us, it was still too small, mushy and many longboarders for our tiny 5’2 fish. For the evening sesh, we were planning to go back to 4th point because of the high tide, however, 3rd point looked working great when we passed there. We talked to a girl who just came out from the water and she said high tide makes the surf a bit mushy but still good, so we just paddled out for 3rd. There are two ways to get down there, steep steps but a close paddle and easy steps but long paddle. We took the steeper steps this time, it was kinda sketch at first, but it wasn’t that bad. If you have a longboard, you definitely wanna take the easy ones.
So… we scored for 3days from this sunset sesh. It was so good. Honestly, I don’t really remember about this sesh that much, but what I remembered was we experienced the “scorpion bay” as our first time I guess. Had probably the longest wave I’ve ever ridden, and the wind backed off, not many people in the water. Still, kinda small 2-3ft, sets for shoulder/close to head high. We were so stoked. We got out of the water before it gets dark because we had to deal with all the rocks to get out.
We grilled the rest of the steaks again and our 1st full day in Scorpion day was over.
The next morning, Day3 Wednesday
This day was the biggest swell that we were expecting. So we were so ready for everything. We woke up and went down to 3rd point with Josh’s camera. We took turns and took pictures of each other. I did the first hour. It was still small, probably 2-3ft occasionally 4-5. But still sooooo goooood. I checked the photos after the sesh and I noticed my bottom turn was not deep enough at all and probably that’s why my spray is tiny. At the same time, my knees were not facing inside enough. I don’t really know why these knees affect surfing lol, but my knees are usually facing a bit outside and I really have to bring this inside. Here are the pics from the sesh.
Also, Josh didn’t do great this time either. He’s regular footer and didn’t really know how to pump and get on the speed. He’s good at riding bigger boards, but not with the shortboard which you kinda actually have to put some work to stay on the waves. So it was also my project to get him on the next level. I’m not a that good surfer, but we really tried to get better in this trip. And, Josh’s improvement was so impressive. He couldn’t stay on one of the longest waves in the world until that morning, but at the end of the trip, even at the end of the day, he was pumping and enjoying more than 30sec rides. I think we just need someone who tells you what you are doing wrong and what you should do. Especially surfing, it is really hard to see ourselves. This summer, I started telling Josh any tips, anything that I noticed to help him improve on his surfing. He is my best buddy and I really wanted him to get better with me. Sounds like I’m so cheeky lol, but seriously though, I tried at the same time I was working on my surfing as well. He’s usually facing the wave too much and he said ” I saw my spray!” once. Dude, you are not supposed to see your spray when you make turns. lol So yeah we tried hard to get better in this trip and I think we actually did!
After our 1st sesh, we made our eggs with onions for breakfast and sausages. It was so good. Since the portable cookstove stopped working, we used the grill to cook. It took us a while but it worked!
I don’t remember if we surf 3rd point or 2nd point for the 2nd sesh, but we surfed twice after the 1st sesh. 2nd point didn’t work well for us that much but caught a few fun little ones which longboarders missed.
And, the best surf sesh in this trip was our 4th round of the day, sunset sesh. We paddled out at 3rd point around 6 pm. It was only 4 of us in the water, and it sized up a bit. I would say 3-4ft occasionally 5. Sets for head high. Each person had each set and we just took turns over and over. Caught one wave, paddled back, and caught one again, and paddled back. You have no idea what it looked like. And those waves are definitely 30sec or even more for the better waves. It was just so unbelievable. It might be the okay day for locals but it was amazingly great for us. I’ve never felt my legs this tired from one wave, and also never felt this much energy in the water. This was our 4th sesh and the paddle was insane after we took over 30sec waves over and over, but I could just go forever.
However, all of sudden, 5 guys with freaking inflatable mats and probably other 5 guys with longboards came in. It got packed suddenly lol And omg, these guys are party waving everywhere and I got annoyed by them a little bit. lol I had no idea where these interesting inflatable mat guys came from lol BUT, one of the guys, who looked like he was from San Onofre and we called him “San O guy” in this whole trip appeared to be Alex Knost. Okay, I didn’t even know his name or what he was before, but he is famous surfboard shaper and longboarder in Southern California. We made a friend, called Chris in this trip and he gave me a surf magazine when he left the camp. And Alex Knost was literally in the magazine. So here it is, I took a picture lol
That night, he literally ran over me with his inflatable mat. It was a legit run over haha. He was on the inflatable mat so I wasn’t scared but when he paddled back, I asked him. “Did you run over me?” and he was like “yeahhhhh”. I was so stoked the fact that he ran over me and I duck dove well even though I didn’t know that was Alex Knost lol After knowing that was him, I was stoked about this next 5 days or even more haha
But anyway, we had so much fun that night and those waves were the longest wave I’ve ridden so far. Bali couldn’t even beat this. That night, we cooked Curry and rice. We tried to cook on the BBQ grill, but the heat was too weak, so we actually cooked on the fire we made. It worked lol We even succeeded on our curry too that night!
So this night, we (actually I) wanted to do the night sesh. It was a full moon, and I hadn’t done any night sesh so I really wanted to give a shot. So we waited. It was high tide around 10, and we were hoping we had enough swell for high tide at 2nd point. However, it didn’t look so great and breaking, so we ended up not going in the water, which I regretted it later lol Because, that midnight, I woke up with some excitement noise from the water. some girls were surfing in the middle of the night. I should have waited until the tide went down.. oh well, I was too tired and wanted to go back to sleep anyways…
We knew the swell was fading, so we took out the camera again in the morning but it was so windy (onshore) somehow and it wasn’t really good sesh. We maybe surfed like 40 min each. Still though, better than San Diego but must have sucked for Scorpion bay haha.
We cooked our lunch as usual, and surfed at 3rd point 3times that day. it got better later on the day, the wind somehow backed off and turned around to be off-shore. The sunset sesh was still so much fun, Fun sunset sesh for 3 days in a row. It was still 3-4ft like the night before and we had so much fun. Josh took out his Gopro again, and we got some awesome footages. His surfing got really better too. I don’t even know how to explain how the surf was but it was so good.
That night, we were invited to our friend’s 50th birthday dinner at Cantina. The family was from La Mesa, San Diego as well and he kept coming back there for 20 plus years. Literally all the people we met there were so nice. They love surfing and they love to share a great time with others. They have 3 kids and two of them got wrecked by Tequila after the night haha. It was pretty good Tequila shots and thanks so much for having us for the special night. We had so much fun talking about surf.
That night, I was so ready to do the night sesh. We borrowed wavestorms from the family, and we jumped in the water at 2nd point around 12:30 even though the surf was tiny. We invited Chris for the night sesh too even though he only had tiny boards like us. Honestly, I felt bad that I invited him for the shitty surf haha. But the moon was bright enough, I think.. and we caught a few good ones for logging. I don’t know if it was worth it for them but I was satisfied lol I was so glad that I got to experience my first night sesh.
We thought the swell was fading a lot, but there was still something out there. In the morning, it was small. still surfable but not as exciting as those past few days. I remembered I took a nap until around lunchtime lol Chris decided to leave that afternoon. And the families left after Chris. At the end of the day, the camping ground looked more empty, everyone came with the swell and left with the swell I guess. But the evening sesh was still fun! I don’t know why but every sunset sesh was fun there, better than mornings. It was probably 2-3ft, but still really longwave and clean face.
That night, we cooked pasta lol with hand made cookstove since cooking with the BBQ grill didn’t work. I would say it was beyond successful. Our another friend, Kin who is Mexican and spoke mostly Spanish stopped by and helped me making fire. Although we didn’t understand him much, he had so much energy and good vibes. He lives a little town right next to San Juanico, we’ll see him again hopefully next summer.
Also, I was so stoked about the stove I made lol That was the last night in Scorpion bay and I was fighting with the bed bag whole night and ended up sleeping on chairs outside. These bags were unbelievable, worse than a mosquito, or maybe even scorpions, cuz we didn’t see any in this trip.
The swell was definitely gone. So small and we even debated should we surf or not. I wanted to surf even the surf was small so we packed everything and drove to our favorite 3rd point. It looked doable so we changed and went for our last surf sesh. We really have to be careful of the rocks but we got some fun waves. Only two of us in the water.
We surfed like an hour and we drove down to 1st point to get fish tacos which the family told us to go. It was right by the beach and the place was pretty. The fish tacos were so good. I was craving for fish in this whole trip. Josh got Nachos as well but those were okay for me, fish were better!
After the fish tacos, we headed back to Guerrero Negro. We took the north road again and it was so much fun.
We got splashes at Salt Flats and the Jeep got really salty and dirty. lol It’s a long drive back to San Diego, but we even enjoyed the drive. I drove from San Ignacio to Guerrero Negro. Also, another bucket list that I completed was learning how to drive a stick shift. We took Josh’s Jeep which is stick shift and I drove the car maybe a couple of hours a day to help Josh. I’m still learning and not good enough to drive in San Diego probably, I still stall sometimes, but at least I could drive in Baja California! It was really cool to drive with the beautiful view. Thanks for letting me drive your Jeep and taught me how to drive stick shift Josh!
We came back to Mararrimo motel that we stayed on our first day, and they remembered us. We had steaks for dinner and celebrated our succeeded trip. We ran into people who stayed right next to us, and they told us there was a huge fire at a hotel called Rice and Beans in San Ignacio. We literally passed by the hotel a couple of hours before the fire. I saw the video of the fire but it was a big fire. Seriously every single people we met in this trip was so nice. They told us Mexico is freaking awesome and safe, they feel unsafe in the US haha But, yes. Everyone told us Mexico is scary and dangerous before this trip, but we didn’t experience something sketch and our experience made us disagree with whatever the people said. I agree it can be very dangerous here and there, but I think everywhere and everything can be dangerous. We just have to acknowledge that there are some risks especially when you travel and not familiar with the area, and just be careful. Otherwise, you can’t try new things. But yes, we thought that was the last night of the trip, but it actually wasn’t..
We left the motel 6:30 in the morning and took the way up to San Diego. We stopped at the spot seemed like the famous rock from Lion king. And took a typical pic with a huge Cactus. Yes I know I’m such a tourist haha
We stopped at Ensenada to eat ceviche at a place called La Cevivheria and oyster bar. This is the spot I have been when I did K38 and San Miguel surf trip. Their ceviche is huge and so good. It was only a bit over $10 for the huge ceviche. We’ll come back for this again for sure.
Until this part, everything went so smooth as we planned. We thought we could g back to San Diego by the end of the day. However, things weren’t that easy for us. We tried to cross the border at Otay Mesa port because the website said it had a shorter line. We got there around 5:30 pm and the line barely moved. We waited for 5 hours and we didn’t move forward that much so I thought it might have been still faster to go to Tijuana border, but we decided to stay in the line. I had to work at 11am the next morning, and Josh let me sleep while we waited. I couldn’t sleep that much but I guess I slept a bit. We ended up crossing the border at 7:30. Can you even believe this? IT TOOK US 14HOURS TO CROSS THE FREAKING BORDER. No thanks, but that was what it was and our trip was still amazing. We learned not to cross the border on Sunday evening for sure haha.
Thanks Josh for staying awake while I was knocked out and maybe snoring right next to you, love you. Oh, and I think the only guy who was kinda mean that we met in this trip was the inspection guy at the border lol When we gave him our passports, the guy asked us if we had anything to declare. But Josh didn’t catch what he said so he asked him to repeat. Then this guy was like “ANYTHING TO DECLARE!!!” He was not definitely in the mood I guess, but wow we got stuck for 14 hours and you were not in the mood? We would be worse than that guy honestly lol Oh well, we got back to the US lol
Anyways, this was it! I wasn’t planning to write about this trip this long, but somehow I ended up writing around 5000words, holy cow lol Thanks for reading until the end. I traveled kinda a lot and have been to many places, but this trip was one of my favorite and one of the best trip as well! Also, this couldn’t be better with anyone else, my best guy made this trip awesome. Couldn’t ask him more than this, and couldn’t be more fun without Josh. He has such good/positive energy and vibes which what I like the most about him. The wave, the camping, the sunset/sunrise, the off/on roading, the people, the seafood, and even the 17hours wait at the border were awesome and we will definitely come back!
Until next time, adios!!!!