Watersports in Mexico
An introduction to watersports in Mexico with information about surfing, windsurfing, rafting, canoeing and diving...
Surfing and Windsurfing
Mexico offers good quality surfing in warm water; the country’s beaches have both gentle and powerful waves, so there are opportunities for surfers of all levels of experience. Mexico is very popular with professional and experienced surfers. Huatulco’s beaches offer world-class surfing, some on beaches well away from the crowds; some sites can only be reached by boat. Experienced surfers can enjoy the perfect ten-foot waves and tubes. Playa Esperanza, close to Bahía de Chahué, is a top location for both surfing and windsurfing, with warm shallow water and big waves.
Surfing is possible around Los Cabos from March until November. There are many small secluded beaches to explore. The best beaches in the area include La Bocana in the San José estuary, Nueve Palmas, Punta Perfecta, El Tule, Los Frailes, Acapulquito and La Pastora.
Mazatlán attracts surfers from around the world as the combination of wind and currents in the season (May until September) produces many good surfing days. Some of the best spots in the area include Olas Altas, Playa Norte, Playa Bruja and Playa Gaviotas. Mazatlán is popular with both beginners and experienced surfers.
Riviera Nayarit on the Pacific Coast is another popular location for surfing. Some of the best surf spots in the area include El Anclote in Punta de Mita, La Lancha and Punta Burros at the south of El Anclote, Sayulita at the north of El Anclote, and Las Playas. The surf is also good at La Caleta, which can be reached by boat from Chacala, and the Bay of Matanchen, which is famous for its long, manageable waves.
Most beaches are well-equipped with places offering both lessons and equipment rentals. There are regular competitions for all levels held around the country.
- More information on surfing in Mexico
As well as surfing, both windsurfing and kitesurfing are very popular at Mexico’s beaches. Many of the best spots are the same as for surfing. Good spots include Punta Abreojos in Baja, where windsurfing is possible all year round (although it is best between June and August), La Ventana in Baja, which experiences steady winds from November until March, Cancún and Puerto Juarez.
Mexico is an excellent place to go diving. There is much to explore in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific, the Caribbean and the Sea of Cortez. All major dive spots have numerous dive schools offering training, equipment rental and tours.
El Remate, near Campeche, has plenty of good quality dive sites over sandbanks, cliffs, coral reefs and sea grass. More experienced divers can explore the 23 underwater archeological sites dating from the 17th to the 20th century.
The waters around Los Cabos are home to over 800 marine species, and the best time to dive or snorkel here is between June and December. The Sea of Cortez is famous for its extremely clear waters, beautiful corals and abundance of wildlife, including marlin, red porgy, tuna, giant rays, sailfish, dorado and grouper. The best spots include El Arco and Santa Mariá, though there are countless others in the Sea of Cortez. The top dive sites near Cabo San Lucas are reached by boat and include Piedra Pelícano and the Dedo de Neptuno, or Neptune’s Finger.
Mexico’s Pacific coast offers some of the best diving in the country. Banderas Bay is one of the country’s top destinations, as the waters are clear and warm and home to turtles, dolphins, sharks, octopuses, eels and manta rays. Good locations in the bay include the Marietas Islands, Caletas Bay, Majahuitas and the Los Arcos marine reserve.
The Caribbean Sea of the Mayan Riviera, which is home to the world’s second largest barrier reef system, is another great dive destination.
Canoeing and kayaking are popular on Mexico’s lakes, rivers and in the sea. It is possible to kayak on nearly all beaches, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Some of the best places to paddle are the beaches and cenotes of Quintana Roo, Jalisco, the Baja peninsula, Guerrero, Michoacán, the area around Puerto Vallarta and the beaches of Oaxaca. A cenote is a sinkhole or natural pit formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock exposing the underlying groundwater.
The Mexican canoeing association oversees the sport in the country. It organizes competitions and training.
- More information on canoeing in Mexico from the National Canoeing Federation (website in Spanish)
Rafting is also popular in Mexico. Rio Pescados is an excellent location, as it is home to 17 category 3 and 4 rapids; the ideal time to visit is between September and November. The best regions of Mexico for rafting are the states of Morelos, Guerrero, Veracruz, Chiapas, San Luis Potosi and Michoacán.