Rio Nexpa is a lesser-known Mexican surf spot, a river mouth offering pumping lefts that reel beautifully down a black sand point. A cluster of beach cabanas line the beachfront, and the streets are nothing more than sandy tracks; it’s blisteringly hot year-round, the waves are super consistent, and it’s a surf town that fully immerses you into the Mexican surf experience. But how do you get to Nexpa, what’s the wave like, and where should you stay? Here’s everything you need to know about surfing in Nexpa.
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Best Season for Surfing in Nexpa
Where is Rio Nexpa?
Located in Michoacan, the tiny beach town of Nexpa is directly between Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, with Colima being the closest city. Because of its remoteness, Nexpa is far from anywhere but relatively easy to reach!
How to Get to Rio Nexpa?
Without a car, the best way to get to Nexpa is by overnight bus from Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta. From Acapulco, the bus is around 12 hours. However, you can’t get the bus directly to Nexpa.
Instead, you’ll need to book a ticket to Lazaro Cardenas, a larger town south of Nexpa. From Lazaro Cardenas, you can take a local bus that drops you on the highway outside of Nexpa. (you’ll see a large rainbow-colored sign). It’s a 15-minute walk into town.
From the North, you’ll need to take a bus from Puerto Vallarta to Lazaro Cardenas. You’ll likely need to connect through Colima). From Lazaro, catch a local bus back on yourself to Nexpa. Check out the exact route you need here on BusBud.
By car is the easiest and best way to get to Rio Nexpa. It’s just off the Mex 200 highway and you can’t miss the sign. Be careful driving at night as this area is one of the more dangerous areas of Mex’s Pacific coastline.
Rio Nexpa Surf Spot Breakdown
Rio Nexpa is a left-hand river mouth, serving as a welcome break from the rights down south. Nexpa is fast, wally, and powerful, breaking at the mouth of Rio Nexpa. The wave breaks over cobblestone and finishes on a rocky shore break, so make sure you kick out early.
Nexpa is uncrowded due to its remoteness. However, there are a few locals in town that you need to respect. I saw a few locals screaming at visiting surfers when I was in the water there, but like anywhere, let locals get their waves, and you’ll be fine.
Where to Stay in Nexpa?
Although Nexpa is nothing more than a few dusty tracks and shops, there are several great accommodation options catering to traveling surfers. Prices vary from $20 – $100 per night, mostly beach cabana-style rooms.
Nexpa Cabanas is one of the best places to stay in town. If you want to stay right on the sand looking straight at the point, stay here. The property has a swimming pool, terrace, wifi, and the staff speak English and Spanish. Rooms start at $73 per room (sleeps 2). This is where I stayed during my week-long surf trip to Nexpa!
If you’re heading to Nexpa with a group of friends, it could be worth renting a villa and commuting from Caleta de Campos. Hotel Villa Tropical is a beautiful property, with a pool comfortable rooms, and sleeps 12. Prices start at $357 per night. The only downside of staying this far out is that you’re pretty far away from the surf.
Where to Eat?
Due to its size, there aren’t many eating options in Nexpa. There is one supermarket to stock up on snacks and post-surf ice creams and a handful of restaurants dotted sparingly through town. The restaurants are loose arrangements and seem to open on a whim, and you’ll have to flow with the slow pace when it comes to food.
Nexpa Surf Cabanas offers food, which is an easy option if you stay there. If you fancy a change, just take a stroll around town; there’s a handful of family-run, part accommodation, part restaurant places to eat.
Tips for Surfing in Nexpa
While the locals in town are super friendly and welcoming, the locals in the water at Nexpa are, unsurprisingly, territorial. But no more than anywhere else in Mexico, and as long as you let the locals get their waves, you’ll have no issues.
Nexpa is tiny, so don’t expect to get what you want when you want. Shops and restaurants open on relaxed schedules; you’ll need to adapt to this to enjoy your time in Nexpa. The streets are sandy tracks, and paving stops at the highway.
Surprisingly my wifi was great during my stay at Nexpa Surf Cabanas, but connections do drop, especially after heavy rain and storms. So take note of this, especially if you’re visiting during hurricane season (April – October).
Although Michoacan has a sketchy reputation, once you’re in Nexpa, it’s safe to walk around, even at night; the place is so tiny that it has a real community feel than anything dangerous.
But be cautious when walking around in bigger cities like Colima and Lazaro. I walked around Lazaro while waiting for my bus (carrying my board bag on my head). Despite the odd looks, it felt safe.
Final Words on Surfing in Nexpa
If you’re on a surf trip through Mexico and have already filled your boots with the other best surf spots in Mexico, then check out Nexpa. The wave is super fun, uncrowded, and reliable, with a relaxed, small-town vibe. It’s the sort of place that forces you to slow down.
Surfing in Nexpa is a true Mexican surf experience and a must-do trip; whether you’re basing here for a couple of weeks or just passing through, it’s a great way to break up your larger Mexico trip.
If you’ve visited Nexpa, please let me know of any other helpful tips in the comments, or if you plan to surf in Nexpa soon, flick me a personal message via email.