Read our tips on how to make a quick day or weekend trip to Baja, Mexico to surf uncrowded waves and eat the best tacos.
WHAT YOU 100% NEED
The most important thing you need (besides your passport) to successfully do a day trip to avoid a 3-4 hour wait back across the board is having SENTRI or Global Entry.
What is SENTRI?
SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection) program is for pre-approved travelers to enter the USA through land borders in Mexico at a more efficient and fast rate.
How to get SENTRI
Apply online here. I applied for Global Entry which also gets you TSA Precheck. If you do Global Entry it comes with SENTRI, just make sure to register your vehicle. You AND your vehicle have to be approved for SENTRI.
Once you apply it will take 1-4 weeks to get approved. Once you are approved you have to go in for a quick (5-10 min) interview. Mine took 4 mins and I did it at the San Diego Airport.
Once you do your interview you will receive your global entry card in the mail in 7-10 days. Before you head out to Mexico make sure you print out proof that the vehicle you are in is registered.
How to find the Sentri lane?
They are at the San Ysidro, Otay Mesa and Calexico Port entry points. The SENTRI lanes are always the rightmost lanes and have their own entrance. Finding the entrance can be tough. Here are step by step instructions for the San Ysidro crossing (or got to the Otay Mesa port, I hear it is easier to find the SENTRI lanes)
Note: Everyone in your car has to have SENTRI in order to use the SENTRI lane when coming back across the border. It seriously will take 15-30 mins max.
Also, make sure to get car insurance for Mexico. The best option I've found is with Baja Bound
WHERE TO SURF
Even Jesus agrees this is one of the best waves in Baja. K38 is the first wave to check out on your way down, it can be one of the more "crowded" spots but is usually always working. There are 4 breaks: The Point, The Left, Maria's, and Theresa's. Each one offers an option for long or shortboards. It is located in front of the big Jesus statue and you can view it from the viewing deck behind the K38 Surf shop. Read more and how to find it here
SECRET SPOT (Starts with an R)
Just south of K38 and before you get to La Fonda is one of my favorite breaks. It is located behind a Church and down a short dirt road. It is more hidden and less crowded than K38. It needs more swell to be workable for a shortboard but always fun on a bigger board. There are two peaks, one is faster and one is mellow. It is a reef/rock bottom. (Can't give too much away so do some research ;)
Me surfing secret spot on my shortboard
Danielle surfing secret spot on her longboard
The furthest south you will probably want to go for a day trip is La Fonda. La Fonda is a fairly reliable and consistent wave that can work for beginners to advanced on a small to medium size swell but when it gets big, this is an advanced break because of the difficult paddle out. Read more about La Fonda here
WHERE TO TACO
There is only one answer, Tacho's K38 Fish & Shrimp Tacos. This place has amazing fish and shrimp tacos, burritos (that is just a taco with a flour tortilla by the way) and quesadillas. It is located right next to K38 Surf Shop and in front of K38 surf break. Hit it after your surf and you won't be sorry. Casual, cheap and delicious. Also, if you are craving some pork or chicken, there is a street taco stand right next door.