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Top Surf Destinations: Hawaii Mexico & Puerto Rico

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With the start of 2019 we're finding ourselves organizing our bucket list with new experiences and places to discover. That is the reason why, today we will focus on the best surf destination in Mexico, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Whether you’re a certified pro and want a full week cruising the waves, or you’re an adventurous surfboard beginner who just wants to give it a shot! Here at L21R, we’ve compiled a list for a range of abilities in these amazing spots.  Sit back and take a look our handpicked favorite surf destinations – you’ll be ready to book your holiday by the end!


Sayulita, Nayarit

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The Surfers Paradise

Where better to begin our surfing highlight reel than this small and vibrant Mexican town in the state of Nayarit?

Once just a sleepy fishing village cradled in the arms of the lush green jungle. Sayulita is now renowned as a top surf destination in the world.

Here, you are greeted by a new range of colors, scents and flavors in each cobblestone corner.

Talk to any of the locals here, you’ll be surprised by how many of them caught what is lovingly referred to as ‘Sayulita Syndrome’ . They came here for a surf trip, and then just never left. Spend 24 hours here and you’ll soon understand why.

Boasting great waves all year round, Sayulita is a surfer’s paradise in every season, it has something to offer for everyone.

If you’re a beginner, or just a surfer who prefers a smaller wave, head to the southern end of the town: The Lunazul Surf School. Here, you'll be able to take a lesson or need to rent a board.

If you’re in search of some intermediate or advanced surfing, stick to the northern end of the beach. Here the reef causes some bigger waves.

We recommend to avoid the crowded afternoon sessions by getting out there mid-morning. The local surfers will cheer you on as you catch a wave! 

After you’ve worked up an appetite, grab lunch at El Costeño.

This old-school beach shack has been around for half a century. It still serves up the best views as you take a seat beneath their awning right on the beach and tuck into some mouth-watering cuisine. Order a cold beer and their fresh ceviche, and you won’t be disappointed!

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Puerto Vallarta

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Punta Mita

Sayulita is also just an hour or two away from some of the best gems on Mexico’s west coast. Including the world-class golf courses and bright nightlife of Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita.

If you can’t get enough surfing, head up to the colonial town of San Blas for more awesome waves at Matanchen Bay.

Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo

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Recommended for beginners

While the Yucatan Peninsula is not necessarily known for being a popular surf destination, there are a few secret jewels hidden down the coast.

One of which being the beautiful Isla Mujeres, just off the coast of Cancun. While it may be rare to catch any particularly large waves here, it’s a great location for beginners. Give surfing a try for a day on some calmer waters.

You can reach Isla Mujeres on the Ultramar ferry, which leaves every half hour from Cancun.

Once you arrive, we suggest hiring a golf buggy. You can drive down to the southern tip of the island for a spot of surfing!

Isla Mujeres also has plenty else to explore; a handicraft market, pirate tombs, seawall murals, visit the Isla Mujeres Underwater Museum and heavenly beaches.

If you’re thinking of heading to the Cancun area for your next vacation,check out our blog for more information about the top activities and tips in this spot!

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Visit the Underwater Museum

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Isla Mujeres


The North Shore, Oahu

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The birthplace of big-wave surfing

If there’s any surf location in the world that you might have heard of before, it’s probably The North Shore, in Hawaii.

Home to the ‘Super Bowl of Surfing’. The Vans Triple Crown competition, across November and December every year.

World-renowned for its enormous winter-season waves, The North Shore is widely regarded as the birthplace of big-wave surfing.

For an experienced surfer, we highly recommend Haleiwa Bay, where the waves are big and consistent. Haleiwa Town is also a very enjoyable place to explore, and you can find tasty Kalua pork wraps and nachos at one of our favorite Hawaiian eateries, Kono’s.

For Surfer starters

Meanwhile, if you’re a surf newbie looking to hop on a board for the first time, then The North Shore also boasts warmer, calmer waters, not far from the advanced surf spots of Haleiwa.

Our recommendation is to take a group or private lesson in surfing or paddle boarding at Sunset Suratt Surf Academy.

After an exciting lesson,  satisfy your foodie cravings with a picture-perfect acai bowl at Haleiwa Bowls. We like the Mana bowl, topped with fruit, seeds, coconut flakes, almond slices, and a healthy dollop of peanut butter.

Turtle Lovers

Even though,the North Shore is known as a surf destination, it is also the primary habitat for Hawaii’s rare green turtles.

The turtles live in abundance on the North Shore, and you’re likely to encounter many of them both in and out of the ocean when you’re surfing or sunbathing here.

The first section of coastline on The North Shore has even been dubbed ‘Turtle Bay’, an area which you may recognize from TV shows and movies such as Lost and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

For more exciting ideas on how to spend your time in Hawaii, check out our blog post on the perfect Hawaiian itinerary!

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Green Turtles


Rincón, Aviones, and Kikita,
Puerto Rico

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The Surf Capital of the Caribbean

As ‘the surf capital of the Caribbean’, Puerto Rico has a lot to offer to anyone looking to ride some waves.

Around the western town of Rincón, you can hit the swell on a broad range of beaches. From the big, arching waves of Tres Palmas to the quieter, intermediate surf over at Antonio’s Beach.

For Pros

One of the most consistently good spots on the island is Playa Aviones. A beach located close to the San Juan area which is a hotspot for surfers, paddle-boarders and body boarders alike. 

The only downside of Aviones is that it’s popular: you’re unlikely to find a time when this beach isn’t crowded with eager surfers, or tourists who are there to watch them.

Off the beaten path

One of our top picks in Puerto Rico is the lesser-known Kikita Beach. A pristine beach far from the crowds where Rio La Plata meets the ocean, causing an incredible wave structure for surfing.

Another awesome surf spot at Kikita is Ojo Del Buey, which literally translates to ‘The Bull’s Eye’. An area naturally closed off by sea rocks that causes big wave breaks.

Refuel with a fried red snapper and Spanish octopus at the delicious Santaella in San Juan after an energetic surf lesson or guided surf tour with Spectrum Surf.

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Playa Aviones

Kikita Beach

We hope that we’ve tempted you to try surfing in one of these sunny locations on your next vacation! Remember to have fun, and always respect the ocean! Check out our rentals page to find your ideal home in Mexico, Hawaii, or the Caribbean!

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