Surfing Boat Trip Cruise Adventure to Mexico

Surfing Boat Trip Cruise Adventure to Mexico

When a surfer reads the headline of this blog, they might automatically think of the kind of surfing boat trip/boat charters that people take in the Maldives, The Mentawis, Fiji, etc where the surf is best accessed by boat.  However I recently came back from a different sort of surfing boat trip, it was a surf cruise, ya know on one of those big Carnival Cruise ships that hold thousands of people.

Carnival Cruise Ship Surf Cruise

I had an absolute blast, some definite chill time, crazy adventures, and surf travel learnings I’ll fill ya in on from the trip.  However most importantly, the thing I like best, and why I wanted to go on this trip in the first place, is that taking a cruise for a surf trip is the ideal way to travel for me and get a bit of a sampler platter per se of the places you might want to go back to and spend more time at later. You don’t have to live out of a backpack or a suitcase as your room travels with you and instead of being cramped in a squishy airline seat you can chillax at places like Carnival Cruiseline’s Serenity Lounge and really enjoy the travel to and from different surf regions.

Carnival Serenity Cocoon

Carnival Surf Cruise Serenity Hammock

Carnival Surf Cruise trip
Pretending to take a selfie so I could snap this shot of someone in a self made closed cocoon. Loved these cruise chairs that shielded you from most of the sun and wind!

What gave me the idea of taking a big cruise ship to explore surf spots? There aren’t a lot of “surf excursions” that these ships have so one time on a cruise to Cozumel, I thought I’d explore the island and there was a place on the east side I read about that had some surf and I rented a jeep with my mom and took off to check it out with my mom as my own excursion.  I didn’t do much research and the restaurant in front of the surf didn’t really want to rent me a board as they thought I couldn’t handle the waves that day, so they just rented me a boogie board, ha.  It was a fun time but definitely gave me the idea to plan more ahead of time and create my own “surf excursions” when I took another cruise.

Then, several years back I heard about this surf cruise trip that was being organized to Mexico. It was going to have a lot of live bands that I was a fan of and at each port there would be a chance to surf the local breaks nearby and everything including transportation/board rental, etc. would be taken care of for you.

That sounded amazing to me, as that is the convenience of cruise ships, when there is an excursion you want to do, you just check the box, sign up, and people are waiting for you as soon as the boat docks at port, no planning needed.  However, that initial cruise was canceled due to the crime in Mexico at the time so I ended up going to Oahu Hawaii for the first time that year instead.

Earlier this year, I heard that the same surf cruise was coming back and on again for October 2017.  I was so excited to finally get to go on an official themed surf cruise, with surf excursions planned at every port.  I signed up early but then never really saw much promotion of it so I was kind of wondering if the same thing was going to happen and guess what, it did – it was canceled again!

This time I got some excuse that there was a charity event conflict but I honestly just think they didn’t get enough interest in it, but bygones with that. I mean there’s just something with themed cruises for me, they always get canceled.

There was one time awhile back I was super excited to go on a Veronica Mars themed cruise but that was also canceled due to lack of interest, however some of the original people still went on the cruise and we got together to do some nerdy Veronica Mars stuff including a game of Sardines, a version of hide and seek!

Therefore, what I’ve learned, is that if you have an idea in your head for something that you want to happen, you just need to plan it yourself and go do it.  So that’s what I did.  I decided, even if the surf cruise was canceled, this time I was going to put together my own surf cruise instead.

The first order of business in planning my own surf cruise was to change the cruise that we were going on.  The original surf cruise on Carnival that was planned was going to Cabo for 2 days and then Puerta Vallarta for 1 day.  My mom (who I was bringing on the cruise with me as it would be weird to go on a cruise without her as she and my grandparents first got me into cruising) and I had both been to Cabo once and wanted to see another port.

Therefore the cruise we booked was scheduled to go to Cabo, then to Mazlatan, and finish off at Puerto Vallarta.  At Puerto Vallarta, there was an official surf excursion (which is rare) Carnival had listed so I was excited to to go on that one especially since it was kind of like a true surf boat trip as you took a little boat out to a remote surf spot with that excursion.  At Cabo, I had read online about taking buses and cabs to the Cabo Surf Hotel which is sitting smack dab in front of Old Man’s – aka Acupulquito, which is a smooth rolling easy wave that I had researched about a lot and was excited to surf.

If you rent a board at Mike Doyle Surf School and they let you surf there.  At Mazlatan, I didn’t really know much about surfing in that area so I used my app da Surf Engine to find some surf spots I wanted to try out based on my surf style, skills, and preferences, and then by looking at the surf spot pages of each one of those and clicking on the photos/videos/articles buttons, I came across some information on Jah Surf School and its owner Elias who also is a surf guide and could help me plan out surfing La Brujas beach which had peeked my interest from its information in da Surf Engine app that aligned with my surfing style and preferences.

You can read more details about surfing Puerta Vallarta/La Lancha, Cabo Old Man’s Aculpulquito, and Playa Bruja in Mazlatan at the following links below.

https://www.dasurfengine.com/la-lancha-surf-break-in-punta-mita-surf-spot-story-profile/

https://www.dasurfengine.com/playa-brujas-surf-break-in-mazlatan-surf-spot-story-profile/

https://www.dasurfengine.com/old-mans-playa-acapulquito-surf-break-in-san-jose-del-cabo-surf-spot-story-profile/

The rest of my story here is specific to the adventures of the process of taking a surf cruise to these destinations.

General Surf Cruise Itinerary

Just a few days before the Carnival Cruise was set to sail from Long Beach to Mexico, I got notified that the itinerary changed and instead of going to Cabo then to Mazlatan and then to Puerto Vallarta we were going to do it in reverse.  This was fine with me but it did bum me out a bit because the amount of time we were spending in Cabo got cut down quite a bit and we had to be back on the ship at 3pm instead of the 8pm original time.  There wasn’t any weather issues which I could understand, the reason we were given was just port traffic would be congested and they needed to revise the itinerary to relieve the congestion.

Fun Days at Sea

The first 2 days of the cruise were fun days at sea. I enjoy this part of the trip because with all the craziness that happens on shore excursions, it’s nice to have some time to just relax and look at the sea, and have some fun going down the water slide a few times.  I was on vacation all week but I ended up getting up earlier than when I typically do on a work day every day of the trip.

On fun days at sea you need to get up early to get a good spot on the ship in the Serenity area which is my favorite as it isn’t as loud and noisy as the main pool area and there are cocoons (what I call them – they’re little mini pods I guess), hammocks, and nice comfortable lounge area with couches in the shade to relax at all day.

On the first day I managed to score a great cocoon/pod at the back of the ship right in the Serenity area where I could enjoy some boat drinks and see the boat’s wake.  I really wasn’t interested in getting any sun as I knew I would get plenty of that on my excursion days so the cocoons are perfect for getting the right amount of sun and shade.

It was my secret hideaway of sorts, however by the 2nd fun day at sea, the secret was out and even though I got their at 8amish, people had gotten in before towel service even started to score their own hideaways!  However I did end up getting a nice hammock to hang out in on the 2nd day at sea plus a nice soft lounge chair for my mom right nearby it as well, so it was a good variety.

On the 3rd day at sea, after all the excursions, I was adamant about getting up as early as possible to get a cocoon/pod in the serenity area but due to the multiple time changes we had, the alarm went off and it was actually an hour later so neither the cocoon or hammock was available, but I did managed to get a cocoon/pod outside of the Serenity zone which got some sun as it got later in the day!

That’s me and my fun days at sea….the cruise ships have all kinds of activities planned during the day and evening, it’s just during the day I like to be outside and just chill, so that is my kinda fun day at sea!  The one other thing I really like about being on board the ship is the friendly service you get form everyone.  I mean I know it’s there job to be friendly, but it just seems that working on a boat and being at sea makes people genuinely in a great mood and their friendliness just comes along with the ride!!

Puerta Vallarta Excursion Day

The evening before we arrived at Puerto Vallarta, I got a note in our room mailbox notifying me that my surf excursion had been canceled due to low sign ups.  I knew something like this was going to happen as your average cruise ship goer is probably not interested in surfing and tends to do the general snorkeling/sight seeing activities that most people are interested in.  However I was extremely upset/stressed since I was informed of this cancellation at the last minute.

Immediately after seeing this I went straight down to the shore excursion desk to see what could be done.  I told the woman working the desk that there was another competitive cruise line we were considering on going on but we decided on Carnival specifically because of this surf excursion and if there was anything that could be done, including me contacting the surf excursion company myself directly.

The woman at the desk was very friendly and accommodating and said she would reach out to Puerta Vallarta Adventures and see what could be done but since it was 5pm at the time, might not know that evening and might need to get back to me early the next morning.  I was appreciative of her help but at this time I was completely stressed as I would not be able to sleep that night, not knowing if my surf boating trip to a remote surf spot was going to happen.

Therefore again, I had to take matters into my own hands and went to guest services to ask them if they could give me free internet access for the day so I could do some research on alternative options myself as I could not just “wait & see”, as this was one of the ports I was most excited to surf due to the easy rolling long riding waves for longboarders I heard they have at Punta Mita (nearby Puerta Vallarta).

The woman at the information desk was also very understanding and gave me her card and wrote free internet and just told me to sign up for the internet and refund it the next day.  At that point it was about our scheduled late dinner time on the ship but I skipped it as I needed to research some options and call some people to talk about options asap.  I quickly did some research online and found a great reputable company I heard a lot of reviews about, Tropical Accion, that offered boat trips from some of the big resorts there at Punta Mita.

I called the place and immediately asked “Hablas Ingles” so I might be able to talk to someone in English.  I was trying to use the Spanish I know (4 years in high school and a year or so in college but it’s been awhile) as I never have much of a chance to but at this point I was stressed and wanted to talk in English to discuss logistics.

I talked to Johnny who works at Tropical Accion and I’m very glad I was able to get a hold of him and talk to him.  I had done some research on maybe just taking a cab to The Regis resort and thought I might be able to rent a board there similar to what you can do at Cabo Surf Hotel, but Johnny told me that it wouldn’t be possible to do that as I would have to have a board already with me for them to allow me to surf there beach, as beaches are accessible to everyone there (even at the resorts, you just have to have a board with you).

I did read that Tropical Accion has boats that they do send to these resorts to provide transportation to those who want to explore nearby local surf breaks out of reach by vehicle.  Therefore I talked with Johnny about meeting up with him at his location in Punta Mita, at around noon which was later in the day in order to be at the Punta Mita spots that had a better tide at that time, as the original scheduled time I was going to on my surf excursion was at around 8-9am when the tide was low and Johnny didn’t recommend surfing the local breaks at that tide.

Johnny told me that a cab ride from Puerto Vallarta to his location at Punta Mita would probably cost me around $40-$50 and that it would be slightly more expensive for a cab back to PTO Vallarta from Punta Mita so the full round trip cab fare would have been around $100.  I was so appreciative of this helpful information Johnny gave me.

I would recommend Tropical Accion to anyone who is staying in and around the Punta Mita area and wants to take a boat to some of the various surf spots that are harder to get to by land, as they have very good reviews and Johnny was specifically mentioned in them as being a great guide.  So at this point I had decided that I was going to go to Tropical Accion the next day as I wanted to surf at the best tides possible for this trip.

I told my mom I had found another option to fulfill my Punta Mita surf excursion dreams but then she got super stressed thinking of me taking a cab by myself in Mexico land and being on a boat by myself with no other surf excursion people.  I really couldn’t understand why she was getting so worried as I was going to do something similar in Cabo but for some reason she wasn’t as concerned about that since she’s more familiar with the Cabo area, it was just this being on a boat by myself she was worried about thinking we were going to some far off remote place.

I just tried to explain to her that some surf spots are just easier accessed by boat and I’m not going to be off out in the ocean somewhere on a teeny island surf spot. At that point I still hadn’t ate and was getting hungry so went off to get some pizza and in the elevator ride up to the Lido deck (where I was gonna grab some 24 hour available pizza) someone was like, you look stressed!  I thought to myself, yes, indeed I am – I mean I’m on vacation, I shouldn’t be stressed!

The next morning I got a phone call at 7am from the shore excursion woman informing me of the good news that she was able to get me scheduled on the surf excursion after all and to look for a woman in an orange shirt when I got off the boat who would lead me to the Puerto Vallarta Adventures guides.

At this point I didn’t know what to do.  I really, really wanted to take a boat trip out to this more remote/hideaway type of a surf spot (La Lancha), as I’ve never accessed a surf spot by boat before.  However I had made plans with Johnny for meeting at noon and wanted to take advantage of the better tides later in the day.

Well, me being me, I initially thought I would just do both.  I would take the surf excursion with the Puerto Vallarta Adventures tour and then see if they would just leave me at La Lancha surf spot and I could get cab from there or something to Tropical Accion.  I really don’t like to back out on plans but I also really preferred the initial boat transportation without having to take 2 separate cab trips and the extra $100 it would have required.

I ended up having an amazing time with Puerta Vallarta Adventures, it was almost like a private guided tour as they had 3 people that reserved not show up so it was just me and this other girl, two surf guides/instructors (Marshall & Crystal), a photographer (Alan), and the boat driver (don’t think I forgot or don’t remember his name – I’m horrible with names that’s why I don’t care if anyone remembers mine – ha).

When we got to La Lancha I saw how remote it was and realized I didn’t think they were just going to be able to drop me off and leave me there.  That’s the thing with taking official shore excursions from the cruise ship, they have contracts in place with these companies that guarantee that you are brought back on time and the cruise won’t leave you if your official shore excursion group runs into trouble and for example gets stuck in a car accident and doesn’t make it on time.

However if you are on your own excursion, it is all up to you, regardless of what happens, to get back on the ship on time.  The surf at La Lancha wasn’t that big but even at high tide there I still managed to catch so many fun clean, green, and pristine waves and got professional photographs of my surfing there at the same time!

What I really love about surfing in southern Mexico is the warm water, it was so hot out though, that I literally was splashing water on my face while sitting on my board.  It was kind of cloudy out at the time which I was thankful for because even though in San Diego I love to soak up the sun and surf on sunny afternoons, I think I’d be a cloudy day surfing fan there, since the water is warm anyways.  Here’s a 360 video of my surf trip out to La Lancha (best watched in Chrome or the YouTube app to view in full 360!)

After surfing La Lancha I couldn’t get enough water as I was extremely thirsty from being so hot.  They had some snacks for us as well and I got some great 360 footage with my 360fly camera of the boat trip there and back.

The surf guides dropped me off at this restaurant nearby their headquarters in Vallarta Nueva, and at that point I realized I was just too tired to go out and surf again, the heat and the sun do drain the energy out of you.  I felt bad about calling Tropical Accion to cancel on Johnny and he wasn’t there when I called, but I explained my situation and said I’d definitely be coming back to Punta Mita and would try them again next time.

I figured, I’ve gotten canceled on quite a few times I shouldn’t feel so bad, things happen I guess!!  The Mexican restaurant that Puerta Vallarta Adventures took me to was this little place at the Iguana Crossing.  I was completely surprised and taken aback by all of the locals there, and when I mean locals I mean all the iguanas just walking around randomly and just sitting there in mannequin pose.

Iguana at the Taqueria

They are weird little dudes but in Mexico they are kind of like dogs, they just hang out with the humans and chill!!  For lunch, I mainly just ate fruit because when I’m really hot it just kills my appetite (esp. for hot food) – another reason I just need to stay in southern Mexico a few months, maybe I’ll lose some weight, ha! After lunch Alan the photographer showed me the pics he took and it was $25 a pic or $60 for the whole bunch.  I figured I saved money on cab fare so I bought all the pics.

Here’s a few of them, some funny wipeouts (easy waves but getting used to the feel of a new board, ha)

La Lancha surfing wipeout

La Lancha surf spot wipeout

and a great pic of surfing pristine green peelers!!!

Surfing La Lancha with Vallarta Adventures

I highly recommend Puerto Vallarta Adventures to anyone that is staying in Puerto Vallarta or Vallarta Nuevo and wants to take a boat trip out to the surf spots in Punta Mita or to anyone who is stopping there on a cruise and wants to surf in Punta Mita.

If you are going on a cruise, I would recommend booking the surfing excursion with Puerto Vallarta direct though, as to prevent this last minute stress situation that I did.  Most of the time it truly is the best deal to book shore excursions with the cruise ship as they provide a volume of business to these tour operators so even though they do take a cut of the excursions they are able to offer better deals than you might get on your own and Carnival specifically guarantees to match the price of any tour you may find that they offer which is better than the price they get.

However if you excursion is a niche type of activity that may not get enough interest, I highly recommend just booking your own excursion travel yourself!!

After my surf excursion to Punta Mita, I was back in plenty of time to the cruise ship to take another excursion out to Puerto Vallart with my mom to explore the city.  We ended up having our cab driver give us a little tour of the city and I got to see actual weather, you know, like a thunderstorm with real rain, something I don’t see much of in San Diego.  Overall a great excursion day indeed!

Mazlatan Excursion Day

This day went by smoothly without a hitch, due to my research on da Surf Engine app and my discovery of Elias, owner of Jah Surf School and awesome surf guide as well!!  I found a few surf spots via my app that I was interested in surfing in Mazlatan and Playa Brujas was one of them which led me to finding Jah Surf School.

He and his school had lots of great reviews so I decided to contact him to set up transportation and board rental  etc. I e-mailed Elias a few times to coordinate travel plans and even though my initial plans changed (via the day I would be surfing in Mazlatan due to Carnival’s last minute itinerary change), he was still able to provide us transportation, a surfboard, and a great set up with a tent, some chairs and a table for my mom & I at Playa Bruja.

Initially he had offered to take me further north past Playa Bruja to a secret surf spot but since my mom was coming with me on this excursion, I thought it would be best to just stay at Playa Bruja, plus I knew I would enjoy that spot from it’s surf spot profile in da Surf Engine app and my mom wouldn’t have to endure a bumpy ride over some dirt roads to get to a secret spot.

I’ll definitely have to come back and check out that secret spot the next time with Elias as a surf guide! I surfed at Playa Bruja the longest of any surf spots on the cruise as we had the most time there.  I even clocked a wave on my RipCurl Search GPS watch!. Even though I caught a lot of waves at La Lancha in Punta Mita, the waves are slower rolling there so they often don’t get counted on the watch but the Playa Brujas waves were a bit punchier and faster so therefore the waves registered easier.

Even though Playa Brujas had punchier waves, for some reason getting smacked in the face by a wave is just so much easier to handle when the water is warm vs. when it is colder as it usually is in San Diego.  Colder water waves just seem to have teeth that bite into you while they slap you in the face!!

The Playa Bruja waves were fun but they were also jealous of my 360Fly 360 camera I had on my rental surfboard via a suction cup mount & a bright yellow floaty in case it got separated as I had learned my lesson with surfboard suction cup camera mounts by not securely fastening it to my board before.

However this time the suction cup was securely fastened but I made the mistake of not testing this floaty because when a wave wants your camera, it will make sure the floaty doesn’t have a chance to save it.   A surfer nearby asked me about my camera and told me to walk down to the other side of the beach where the current was shifting.  I spent a little bit looking for my camera but decided it was a lost cause and just wanted to enjoy my remaining time there.

While my mom and I enjoyed our time at Playa Bruja, Elias from Jah Surf School had to take care of another responsibility, but he was back right on time to pick us back up and get us back to the ship.  Plus he also stopped by this amazing little lemonade type stand place but instead it was a road side coconut place.

Fresh Mexican coconuts right off the tree

It was on my bucket list to drink out of a Mexican coconut on this surf cruise trip to Mexico and he made that happen!  I also got to eat the Coconut meat, which in Mexico they like to put salt and some spicy stuff on.  I let them put salt on it but I usually it it sweeter (or even dehydrated, they are like candy that way) so I skipped the spicy part.  We were talking to the workers at the place (via our surf guide Elias translating) and found out that typically a coconut tree there will have 100 coconuts and there were about 20 trees nearby they picked from and the coconuts regrow about every 6 months.  If I was stranded on a deserted island, as long as I could climb a coconut tree, that’s all I would need for food and drink!!

Mexican coconut coconut water
Nothing hydrates ya better after a surf sesh than some coconut water straight off the tree from a Mexican coconut!
fresh young coconut meat
The meat from a fresh young coconut is unbelievably delicious!!

I felt bad because I made my mom feel guilty about not being any fun for not trying just one sip of my coconut water.  She ended up being a good sport and trying it, but the coconut water did not agree with her and I think I traumatized her a bit, but fortunately she had some gum to get the taste out of her mouth.  People definitely just have different tastes!

Our surf guide Elias also stopped at a pharmacy on the way back to the ship for my mom.  I would highly recommend using his surf guide/surf instructor services for anyone that is coming to Mazlatan that either wants surf lessons, a basic surf set up and surfboard rental at local beaches, or even a surf adventure to a secret spot.  He speaks great English and is a very helpful and friendly surf guide!

Cabo Surf Excursion Day

The last surf cruise excursion day I spent at Cabo.  This stop also went fairly smoothly except a slight mis-communication about the bus transportation from Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo where the Cabo Surf Hotel was located.  In my research for this trip, I read that there are two types of buses that go back and forth between the two areas (insert carless in Cabo link).  The big red and blue Subur Cabos buses that were more comfortable but came less often and the white school bus type buses which came more frequently and would often stop if you just waved at them.

Well, that’s just what I read on some article on the internet from 2013!! I should know that you can’t rely on everything that you read on the internet.  The information for the most part was correct, however I quickly learned that the white school buses don’t just stop for you if you waved at them.  I must have looked like some really stupida tourista gringa when I was trying to wave all those white school buses down once I got off the ship.  I had to walk about 15 minutes to even get to the bus stop where they were officially picking people up and the white school buses obviously did not stop for me.

When I got to the bus stop (after confirming with a few people that I was walking in the right direction to the bus stop to make sure), I saw a bigger bus stop, but it wasn’t exactly the red and blue bus and it didn’t say Subur Cabos on it so I didn’t want to make the mistake of getting on the wrong bus in Mexico.  After that big bus came the white school bus stopped and I got on.

This is where the locals were really probably like what is this stupida tourista gringa doing – ha.  It said in the article that the white school buses were cheaper too but when I got on it, it didn’t seem like they were even taking money as the bus driver just kind of shooed it away (I think they might have been changed to free local shuttle buses).

It was a packed bus and it was hot and I was just standing in the front after thinking I communicated to the bus driver in Spanish that I was going to San Jose Del Cabo at the Cabo Surf Hotel.  However when the bus didn’t get off on the San Jose del Cabo exit and instead started turning around to go back to Cabo San Lucas and I was the only one left on the bus I pulled out my print out of the carless in Cabo article I kept for reference and showed it to the guy and asked in my kind of Spanish about Cabo Surf Hotel and he basically waved for me to get off and pointed at the bus on my sheet of paper and said it would pick me up across the street.

I was basically across from this Home Depot area I think and nearby an OXXO 7-11 type convenient store and went in and grabbed a water as I was dying of thirst and hot and wanted to confirm with a worker there that a bus would stop by.  Thankfully the big bus did come shortly thereafter and I hopped on it to go the remaining distance to the Cabo Surf Hotel.

It was a full bus as well but mostly people were sitting and it was air conditioned.  As soon as I got on the bus I asked the driver in Spanish if he stopped at the Cabo Surf Hotel and he said yes.  However my seat was facing back so I had to turn around while we were driving as I wanted to make sure he actually stopped there.

I’m glad I kept my eyes peeled on the road as we did start driving by the hotel and as we did I said “Cabo Surf Hotel, Si, Si, Si” and the driver just stopped right then and there while we were on some overpass type of thing and I was able to get off and walk on the side of the highway for just a brief moment until I arrived back at the Cabo Surf Hotel.  Lesson learned here, it’s great to save some money on cab fare, but when you don’t have much time at a port, it’s probably best to just cab it.

Taking the local bus was an adventure for sure and I’m sure some people are having a laugh at it, but at least I saved on cab fare on the way to the hotel and I used that to treat myself to a nice lunch at the 7 Seas restaurant!

Surfing Old Man’s/Acapulquito in front of Cabo Surf Hotel was so fun!

Cabo Surf Hotel Beach

When I first got there the guy at the hotel lobby asked me if I for sure wanted to rent a board as the waves had been flat although they started to see some come in.  At that point I didn’t even care if I caught zero waves, just to rent a board and paddle out there was worth it!!  They have a wide variety of boards to rent there and since it is a good longboard place, it’s always easier to me to just rent longboards when you’re traveling rather than have to lug those big boys around everywhere with you.

Cabo Surf Hotel - Mike Doyle Surf School

I only did the 2 hour rental as I knew I couldn’t stay long as I had to get back at least by 1:45 to make sure I made it on the last dingy ride back to the ship at 2:15.   It was high tide when I started to surf so it was a bit tricky getting out past the shore pound and once I got out it seemed like I’d be doing good just to catch one wave.  But after about 30 minutes of waiting, the waves started to roll in.

I actually clocked 2 waves on my RipCurl Search GPS watch at this spot, as Old Man’s ironically seemed to have the strongest force of any of the surf spots I had surfed on this surf cruise. To me, from everything I’ve heard about this wave and watched on the internet, it was definitely good to surf here via a cruise and sample the spot out so I could see for myself.

I didn’t realize that the sand was so steep going into the ocean, which can create a pretty strong undertow at high tide (it was definitely tricker getting out of the surf than getting in with that “undertow”).  That’s something YouTube videos typically don’t show you.

The beach and surf spot kind of reminded me of Hawaii on the North Shore of Oahu with the sand/beach angle but the waves aren’t nearly as fierce.  They do have lots of sea urchins there which you need to watch out for, they even have a sign about them on the beach with a doctor’s phone number in case.  I brought my booties and wore them as I didn’t want to take any chances but at high tide, it’s doubtful you’ll be walking on the ground long enough to even get out past the sand.

That is one drawback of going on a surf cruise to sample surf spots, you can’t exactly control when you surf so you just have to deal with whatever the tides/conditions are at the time, which is fine, as after all you are just sampling the waves.  The waves started getting really good after I had been out there an hour or so and it was getting closer to mid-tide (which da Surf Engine app says is the best tide for that spot).

I may have accidentally dropped in on someone as I saw this pristine wave I just had to take but didn’t realize a guy was already on it…it ended up turning into a party wave I think, at least that’s what I was saying when we almost collided but the vibe is great at that beach and I came back and went up to the surfboard it looked like I about collided with and said sorry.

I don’t know if I was really sorry as I was being a bit aggressive and going on as many waves as I could as I only had 2 hours there and was in a time crunch, ha.  I’ll definitely have to go back and stay at Cabo Surf Hotel soon and spend 2-3 days at this place that is directly on such a fun surf spot.

After surfing I had some delicious fish tacos and a margarita at 7 Seas restaurant at the hotel and was able to just chill and watch the other surfers.  It’s a perfect view of the surfers from the restaurant and if I’m not surfing I always enjoy watching other people surf!!

Lunch at Cabo Surf Hotel

Surfing at Cabo Surf Hotel

After lunch it was just in time to head back to Cabo San Lucas for boarding time.  I definitely took a cab back. I asked the hotel to call me one and what the rate was so I had an 800 peso quote that I showed the taxi driver which he was cool with.  The cabs also can stop by an ATM so you can give them cash as they don’t accept credit cards.  The ATM I had to use was all in Spanish so I was glad I was able to at least use my Spanish language that I do know to figure some things out!

When I got back to the ship my mom was so excited that I made it back on time, as she knew I’d try to spend every last second I could surfing Old Man’s at the Cabo Surf Hotel (or she accidentally referred to as Dead Man’s when we were talking about it later, ha).

That’s pretty much the end of my surf cruise adventure.

As you can see, the main things I learned from this surf cruise were to plan things yourself (don’t depend on outside sources that cancel on you), ask the locals for information to back up what you’ve researched online, and test flotation devices before using them.

The benefits of going on a surf cruise are plenty, you get to sample a wider variety of surf regions, the traveling time is much more enjoyable than an airplane and you don’t have to unpack and pack time and time again because your room travels with you.  However, the advantages of traveling to a specific destination for a surf trip are that you can get way more surf time in and surf all day at the spots and can surf at the best spots during the best tides and conditions for the spot (as you can determine from the surf spot pages on da Surf Engine app).

I think Mazlatan/Playas Brujas would be a great place to bring a bigger group and stay right at the RIU all inclusive hotel at Playa Brujas beach and engage in the authentic Mexican culture there. It’s definitely a more economical option in off season as well. There is the Golden Zone touristy spot, but the region seems to me the most authentic Mexican town that isn’t as Americanized as somewhere like Puerto Vallarta and Cabo.

In fact my mom learned that the German’s settled there (which I’m part German/part Scottish) which is why she think she liked the area the best.  The town of Mazlatan was built organically and not a government zone that was built for the sole purpose of tourism.  There are so many excursions I saw from the surf cruise as well that I would have loved to went on if I hadn’t been surfing so there are a wide variety of activities beyond surfing there, although I would want to do a day excursion to the secret surf spots north of the area.

For Puerto Vallarta, I have definitely been dreaming about the pristine long green waves there.  I’ve realized that there are local condos, etc. (beyond the super expensive Four Seasons type of resorts) nearby that can be rented out at a decent rate via Air BnB/VRBO, etc. with a group of people contributing.

The surf spots of Anclote/El Faro are also fun easy long wave surf breaks and are nearby the restaurant/shopping area of Punta Mita that also have boats (like the ones from Tropical Accion) to take you to the more remote spots like La Lancha that are easier accessed by boat.

The Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa also looks like a good all inclusive type place that is more economical than a 4 Seasons type of place and is the closest hotel to La Lancha, although still a couple KM away so not exactly a quick paddle next door.  I’d also like to visit the Sayulita town slightly northeast of Punta Mita as I’ve heard it’s a quaint little surf town although I have heard the surf spot gets crowded!

In Cabo, well,  I’ll probably have to go back to the Cabo Surf Hotel myself, or with some surfing buddies I might find in da Surf Engine app that also have Cabo Old Man’s on their sand bucket list, as it’s a destination that is pretty much a focused surf trip, but an amazing right on the beach, long weekend get away perhaps soon!!

Now if you’ve actually read this through the end, give yourself a high five and I hope you score some amazing waves on your next surf adventure!!!!

Oh, and here’s the full video of the entire surf cruise trip in case you are still interested in it!

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Surf Spots, Surf Travel

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