Santo Domingo Lote 14 S/N
San Juanico, 23812 Comondú
Baja California Sur, Mexico
+1 (858) 551-4900
Scorpion Bay HotelSan Juanico, Baja California Sur
Pitayas and Point Breaks
Adventure seeking surfers have braved the rough and remote roads of Central Baja to chase the perfect right-hand point breaks of Scorpion Bay since the 1970’s. Four main points (and potentially more on an epic swell) wrap around Punta Pequeña in the remote fishing pueblo of San Juanico. Surfers of all skill levels and styles can find their niche here while enjoying the amenities of Scorpion Bay Hotel in the heart of the town.
Not for the faint of heart, a trip to Scorpion Bay is a journey back in time. Off the grid and somewhat off the map, the surreal Mars-like landscape and the rustic charm of San Juanico and its friendly locals will make you want to stay long after the swell fades. Want to see more than the beach? Take a guided trip to the mesas and arroyos that sit behind the town for a unique look into the ranchero culture as well as some petroglyphs from the Cochimí Indians who used to wander these lands. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll find a ripe pitaya fruit ready to eat straight off the cactus.
The beautiful landscapes, flawless surf, and close-knit community are what make San Juanico so special and that’s why the Scorpion Bay Hotel is committed to improving the livelihoods of the locals and preserving the inherent charm of this Baja jewel.
Sustainability ManagementSection Performance - 69%
Scorpion Bay Hotel built their Sustainability Management System with the STOKE toolkit to create their own comprehensive set of policies and procedures for their sustainability initiatives. The SMS is the sustainability equivalent of your tide chart, barometric map, and oceanic buoy readings all rolled into one. It guides all management practices, staff training, sustainability goals and implementation strategies. This is their go-to document and your guarantee for an epic surf trip.View Criteria
‘Familia’ as the Scorpion Bay Hotel describes their team and company culture of local stewards in the small pueblo of 1,000+ residents, had no prior hospitality experience or education in sustainable tourism before SBH. Management has been steadily building their capacities over the last few years with training in hospitality and waste management while water and energy conservation came naturally to the staff who live in an off-grid community in an arid climate. With the launch of their new restaurant in summer 2018, more local staff have been added to the hotel and additional service training programs have been implemented along with new drills for their emergency response and evacuation plan.View Criteria
- 1.1 Sustainability Management System
- 1.3 Employee Training & 1.9.3 Evacuation Preparedness & Planning
Social and Economic Impacts ManagementSection Performance - 88%
Scorpion Bay’s allure as an isolated surfing destination has attracted surfers for decades, but local residents lack access to many basic services due to its location. Beyond actively working with local municipalities and utility officials to bring 24/7 electricity, the hotel has created a medical clinic in town with biannual visits from the International Health Collective, which is made up of a group of medical students and alumni from the University of California San Diego. The group treated 252 community members in 2017 and they are training local health workers on administering prescriptions, CPR, and how to recognize emergency situations in order to establish the Hermanos de la Salud de San Juanico (The Brothers/Sisters of Health from San Juanico).View Criteria
Improving access to education has been another long-term initiative whereby the hotel has built a close relationship with the local schools through donations and fundraising with recyclables sold in Constitución. The high school, which runs at night since it shares the campus with the middle school, had its first graduating class last year where the hotel donated caps and gowns to 15 students. For this year, the hotel and the school are working with local partners to design and develop a separate campus for the high school. Guests can volunteer for arts or maintenance projects at Escuela Telebachillerato SJ or bring school supplies in their luggage as part of the hotel’s partnership with Pack for a Purpose.View Criteria
In addition to hosting multiple holiday and birthday parties for the community each year, Scorpion Bay Hotel has donated soccer uniforms for both middle school and high school soccer teams (52 students) for the past three years. Furthermore, two local surfers are sponsored to compete all over Baja who are required to volunteer in the community as part of their sponsorship.View Criteria
Scorpion Bay Hotel prides itself on treating its staff like ‘familia’, which is why they provide training opportunities for their staff to become leaders of the hotel. 80% of the staff are women and three of them are in managerial or department head roles. Not to mention that the average wage for each employee is 150% above minimum wage. Beyond the hotel, ownership has supported local entrepreneurs at restaurants, the local farmers market every Friday, tour providers (fishing and hiking), and they’ve helped a local surfer start his own surf school at First Point.View Criteria
- 2.8.6 - Improving Access to Basic Services: Health & Safety
- 2.1.2 - Community Development: Education
- 2.1.7-.8 Community Development: Culture & Sports
- 2.2 - Local Employment | 2.6 - Equitable Hiring | 2.7 - Fair Wages | 2.4.4-.5: Support Local Entrepreneurs - Tours & Agriculture
Cultural Heritage Impacts ManagementSection Performance - 86%
In addition to hosting multiple holiday (Revolution Day, Semana Santa, Dia de Los Muertos, Christmas) and birthday parties for the community each year so guests can experience the local culture (respectfully), the hotel has an ambitious project to preserve the heritage of San Juanico for the next generation. Scorpion Bay hotel has funded the creation of a documentary about the history of the town and surfing’s influence by filming interviews with the community’s elders (to be released late 2018). As for everyday guest experiences, guided trips to the mesas and arroyos that sit behind the pueblo offer a unique look into the ranchero culture as well as some petroglyphs from the Cochimí Indians who used to roam the region. New for this year, day trips are provided to San Miguel de Comondu for environmental interpretive tours of the Sierras with the hotel staff.View Criteria
The rustic charm of this quaint little pueblo in the middle of the Baja desert is not lost on Scorpion Bay Hotel. They aim to incorporate every aspect of San Juanico’s culture and Baja’s surfing heritage into the guest experience. The staff and company culture embody "familia" like the rest of San Juanico due to its tight-knit community and it won’t take long before you’ll feel like part of the family as well. Baja ranchero decor and styling on the hotel blend in and set the laid-back vibe while artwork around the hotel reminds you of the rich surfing history of exploration for this destination. To top it off, the new restaurant offers Mexican coastal cuisine and traditional dishes with local produce, poultry, and seafood when seasonally available.View Criteria
- 3.1 Code of Conduct & 3.4 Interpretation
- 3.5.1-.4 Incorporation Culture: Operations, Design, Decoration, & Food
Environmental Impacts ManagementSection Performance - 62%
The town’s power is currently provided by a diesel generator for five hours in the morning and five to six hours in the evening. As a result, the hotel also has a generator from when it first opened several years ago to provide backup power when needed. However, the hotel’s owners have been pushing for 24/7 power from the national grid provider (CFE) as well as a renewable energy microgrid with the support of the Baja California Sur government, but these are long-term initiatives that haven’t materialized yet. That said, CFE has promised the grid is being brought north to San Juanico within the next year. In the meantime, the hotel has installed rooftop solar PV and batteries to power their office full-time and they plan to expand their on-site renewables as the hotel grows based on the energy audit they conducted with STOKE to calculate loads for current and future demand. As part of the kelp research project starting in October, the hotel is looking into blue carbon offset projects (mangroves, kelp, seagrass) in Baja so they can offset their own emissions and offer travel offsets to guests to become carbon neutral.View Criteria
As with most remote surfing destinations, unfortunately, the municipality is typically not able to provide a legal landfill and so a makeshift dump is provided as a temporary solution. The hotel owners will continue to work with local and regional politicians and the Ejido to either create a legitimate landfill or provide waste hauling services to one, but this is a long-term initiative. For now, hotel staff has been trained to compost on-site, take food waste to the housekeeper’s pigs, sort recycling to be taken to the Constitución (90 minutes away), and cans are given to the local school to raise money.View Criteria
- 4.2.1-.5 Energy Management and Renewable Energy & 4.4.1 Emissions
- 4.4.3 Waste Management
Commitment to a Sustainable Future
Being in a remote part of Baja certainly has its challenges when creating a sustainable and high-quality experience for guests, but with the help of STOKE’s toolkit, our team has embraced those hurdles and grown so much because of it—I wouldn’t have it any other way.
San Juanico and Scorpion Bay is near and dear to all of our hearts so to be recognized as a socially and environmentally responsible business means the world to us and we look forward to improving our level of certification in the years to come. Here are goals for the next few years:
- Support the creation of a blue carbon offset project in Mexico.
- Continue to work with local stakeholders to find a sustainable supply of water for the town and to create a recycling and trash hauling service.
- Invest in more on-site renewables at the hotel.
- Support local entrepreneurs in the creation of alternative tourism products and agriculture.
- Facilitate sustainable aquaculture research for the local fishing co-ops.
- Establish a conservatory at a nearby seal rookery and hopefully tie it into Second Point to protect the wave as well.
We appreciate your interest in San Juanico and the Scorpion Bay Hotel and we hope you’ll join us soon for an authentic Baja surfing experience.
Allie Borrelli, General Manager