Pascuales. Why this wave doesn’t get more attention is beyond me. Thick. Round. Hollow. It spits like a dragon and swells slam the coast, twisting and ranging as it unleashes its deepest inner desire to be free.
Isn’t that what every wave (and human) desires? To be free—that’s definitely what I desire. You are probably thinking to yourself, ‘where the fuck is Pascuales?’ Colima, Mexico. Now you are thinking, “where is Colima?’
Colima is situated between two states—Michoacán and Jalisco. Those other states got a lot of shit going down these days but I found Colima a really nice oasis in the middle of all that Narco chaos. It’s the fourth smallest state in Mexico and has the smallest population. However, it has one of Mexico’s highest standards of living and lowest unemployment rates.
It also houses two volcanos, one active and one dormant. The active one had a few eruptions in the late 1990s but has been quiet since. Don’t wake it up. If you like to squeeze lime into your beer, then you are in the right place. Half of all the limes produced in Mexico are grown in Colima.
So how does one get to Pascuales? My favorite option is to drive down Baja California and surf the entire Baja coast hitting great waves in northern Baja, Scorpion Bay, and Cabo. Then, when the swell dies in Baja, board the ferry, skirt across to the mainland Mexico, and traverse the Pacific toward Colima. Mazatlan to Colima is a quick seven-hour drive.
Another option is to enter Mexico at Nogales and drive through Sonora and Sinaloa. From the border, the drive is about 25 hours. However, this takes you through Sinaloa, which is a place you probably want to avoid.
The third option is to drive through Chihuahua and Guadalajara—a bit longer but bypassing Sinaloa. You’ll miss all the great waves along the Pacific, but the likelihood of you becoming a statistic will be lower.
Of course, there’s always the option of flying there. The two main airports nearest to Pascuales are the Playa de Oro International Airport in Manzanillo and the Lic. Miguel de la Madrid Airport in Colima.
The closest airport to Pascuales is Colima Airport (CLQ) in Mexico, which is 62 km (39 miles) away as the crow flys. The second nearest airport to Pascuales is Playa De Oro International (Manzanillo) Airport (ZLO), also in Mexico, 71 km (44 miles) away.
There are direct international flights to Playa De Oro from Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines for around 300 bones. There are many other options, as well. I flew into Guadalajara via Volaras airline for $150 and got a rental car and drove 2.5 hours to Pascuales. Solid.
Either way, you are only a few hours from the thumping black sand beach break that is a close cousin to Puerto Escondido.
Once you get there, you can’t miss it. The beach serves up a delicious smorgasbord of lefts and rights. Delivered by any touch of south swell. If you brought your cojones, then the large days will give a run for your alpha manhood (or womanhood).
Driving through a deep channel valley off the coast, the wave reminds me of Blacks in San Diego and Santa Clara Rivermouth at my own local spot in Ventura, California. Thick. Heavy. The wave is fast. Curtain calls are frequent and powerful. Leave your retros and Mini Simmons at home and pack your fastest board. Pintails are openly welcome. Take more than one board. You might break one.
There are surfboard rentals available at the rustic surf shop located inside the surf Hotel Real De Pascuales—this hotel is right on the break and offers camping, lounging, and good vibes.
Additionally, the local cats offer ding repair service, bags of weed, and anything else you might be looking for. They will buy your boards from you if you are in the mood to leave one or two.
There are a few options for where the traveling surfer can stay. There is one charmingly rustic place right on the break, full of creepy critters and smelly feet. It is the quintessential Mexican surf shack and camp. The restaurant attached allows for proper feeding—the bean tacos were super good.
There’s also Villas Pascuales, which looks like a great option and would be an upgrade from the Real. Just down the road in El Real (the name of the town about five minutes away by car), there are nicer places to stay and a bunch of houses to rent.
However you choose to get there where ever you choose to stay, Pascuales is a wave you’ll never forget.