Mexico, La Saladita, Troncones

La Saladita vs. Troncones - What's the difference?

Where should I stay... Troncones or La Saladita?
Playa La Saladita, Mexico

Often I’m asked about how the Mexico surf destinations Troncones and La Saladita compare to one another. The two “towns” are only a few miles apart as the crow flies, (20-25 minutes driving) but they offer very different experiences. Here’s my take on Troncones versus la Saladita.

Troncones has some shops and nice restaurants/hotels. Troncones is a few miles of golden sand beach with a beach break all along with one really good, though quite rocky, point break. This point break is called Troncones Point or Manzanillo Bay. Manzanillo Bay is a beautiful beach for walking, swimming, spearfishing, etc. The wave breaks over a rocky ledge with urchins so it’s best for intermediate to advanced surfers. I surfed it for two days, with head high waves, clear water and never more than one other guy out. There are other more beginner friendly waves south of here, so no need to travel all the way to la Saladita.

Troncones is best for travelers looking for a taste of “real” mexico or surfers looking for a nice place to stay that will also please your spouse, as long as you don't mind driving 20 to 30 minutes for surf if it's not breaking at Troncones Point. Troncones is usually considered the more picturesque beach as it offers miles of golden sand, with a backdrop of the beautiful mountains.

Troncones, Mexico

La Saladita is best if you want to get away from everything else, be in a very rural setting and have incredible waves at your doorstep, but you don't mind having to drive 30 minutes for shopping, dining or nightlife. La Saladita's beach is also picturesque, but during the summer months tends to shrink and usually is darker sand with rocks and pebbles at the point, though still great for long walks.

La Saladita's surf break is great for both beginner and intermediate surfers. The point break offers a really long consistent ride. You’ll find cheaper beachfront places to stay in La Saladita than Troncones. Be advised—there’s not much else to do in La Saladita but surf and swing in the hammock. The surrounding mountains are beautiful and are reminiscent of a lush Southern California. The wave, Saladita Point, is often called a reverse Malibu for good reason. It breaks long and consistent over a forgiving cobblestone bottom, but instead of going right like Malibu, Saladita breaks left making it a rare goofy foot paradise.

La Saladita's long crescent shaped beach is nice for walking. Overall you’ll find more surfer backpacker types here renting one of the locally family owned places on the point. There are some newer upscale homes and B&Bs a few minutes walk up the beach though as well. Even surf legend Corky Carroll has made La Saladita his home after traveling the world to surf.

The best thing about Troncones and La Saladita is that it doesn't have to be an either/or decision. They are so close to one another (only about 15 minutes apart with the new roads) that you can easily stay in one and surf at the other.

IN SUMMARY: La Saladita is best for great waves, Troncones is best for nicer places to stay, restaurants, shopping, and yoga.

The Breakdown

La Saladita Troncones
5 - 6 Restaurants 20+ restaurants
No need to get dressed up A couple of nice restaurants
Dirt roads Paved roads
A REALLY long left point break Miles of golden beach with a solid beach break and 1 good point break
Majority of visitors are surfers Majority of visitors are here for other reasons
Price range from cheap to high end Price range from cheap to high end
Not much else to do besides surf Yoga, shopping, dancing, skatepark, scooter rentals, biking, kayak tours
About 45 minutes from the airport About 30 minutes from the airport
Darker sandy beach with some rock and pebbles with miles of walking Sandy beach with miles of walking dotted with some rock outcroppings

Photos of Troncones and La Saladita

Troncones Point, also known as Manzanillo Bay
Manzanillo Bay in Troncones, one of the prettiest beaches in the area
Heading into Troncones, at the main intersection
Troncones is the ideal spot for a romantic getaway to enjoy their incredible beaches
Lots of accommodations to suit surfers in Troncones—from rustic hostels to high end hotels. This is Villa Milagros at the far southern end of Troncones.
Troncones has a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy on your own or with a guide
Surfer and local Shaper Bruce Grimes on a long Saladita peeler
No need to pay board fees! The locals have you covered with plenty of options for longboards and shortboards to rent in Saladita
The main scene at La Saladita—Lourdes Bar & Grill and Beach Club and beachfront lodging options—The Point House and Blanca's Bungalows
The lineup at La Saladita on a small day
Local flavor in La Saladita
Plenty of oceanfront lodging options in La Saladita. Seen here are Villas Jacqueline, Cesar's Apartment, House of Waves, Casa Esmeralda, and The Mango House and La Casita Salada just up the road.
Author image

About Matt Thomson

Original founder of Wavecation, which he launched in 2008. Currently involved as an advisor.
  • Austin, Texas