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Baja Kayaking Adventure in Mexico

November 29 - December 5, 2022

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in the net of wonder forever.”

JACQUES YVES COUSTEAU (WHO DESCRIBED THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA WHERE WE DO OUR BAJA KAYAKING AS THE WORLD’S AQUARIUM)

Imagine waking up to the sound of water lapping up against the shore and opening your tent to take in the breathtaking sunrise on a pristine beach on one of the Baja Peninsula’s most beautiful islands, Espiritu Santo. You then enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast featuring a local specialty before spending the morning sea kayaking on the brilliant turquoise and tranquil Sea of Cortez. In the afternoon you engage in a hike, learn about the area’s history and geology from our local expert guides, or view the amazing aquatic life while snorkeling in a protected bay. Happy hour on the beach is proceeded by dinner and then a session of star gazing, seeing the skies like you potentially never have before. This is just a peek at what you can expect from your Baja Kayaking Adventure.

Baja Kayaking

The most important thing to know about the kayaking is that it is relaxed rather than difficult or physically taxing. We begin our adventure with a motor boat transfer from La Paz, the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, to Espiritu Santo Island. We paddle for about 3 hours each day, leaving plenty of free time to snorkel, explore one of the world’s most diverse natural aquariums, and hike into the interior of the island to discover the fascinating rock formations and remarkable plant life.

Isla Espiritu Santo is the perfect place for beginner kayakers, those who have some experience but are not used to multi-day trips, and those who are more advanced. We start with kayaking instruction, including what to do in the very rare case of your kayak tipping over. (Don’t worry – kayaks are built to be stable and we have not experienced this on any of our tours.) We have protected bays along the island to explore and our pace is moderate, both because we are on vacation and because our goal is to spot wildlife and enjoy the scenery. Our pace is moderate. Kayaking is perfect for those of all ability levels and we can even pair you with a stronger kayaker in a two-person tandem kayak.

Isla Espiritu Santo

While known for its touristed beach resorts in “Cabo”, Baja, California is the second longest peninsula in the world and has a wealth of other attributes. The state of Baja California Sur is sort of Mexico’s frontier, having the second smallest population of the country’s 32 states and only being admitted as a state in 1974. The Pacific Ocean is on the west side of the peninsula and a mountain chain runs down the spine but it is the gorgeous aquamarine, tranquil Gulf of California on the east side that is our destination. Espiritu Santo Island is a part of the Gulf of California Islands Flora and Fauna Protection Area which works to preserve the natural splendor of the area. While on the island you will have the chance to observe over 200 species of plants and more than 70 species of animals including the juancinto (little squirrel), the babisuri (ring-tailed cat), the black hare, and the sand snake. While on the water, there are over 50 species of aquatic birds, more than 15 species of marine mammals, and countless fish that we might come across during our paddling voyages.

Other Activities

Yes, this is a kayaking tour but our days are filled with other activities as well.

  • Hiking on one of the designated trails of the island
  • Going on a nature walk with our local guides to learn about geology, flora, and fauna
  • Snorkeling in the protected bays and at a sea lion rookery
  • Learning about the ancient peoples who lived in the area while searching for arrowheads, knives, “scrapers”, and other tools which we can frequently find
  • Star gazing at night as we pick out constellations and view the milky way, which is not visible to city dwellers
  • Optional swimming with whale sharks, the largest fish species in the world who are docile (and vegetarian)

Camping Life

This is luxury camping. We are supported by a motor boat and have a captain, cook, and one or two local expert guides with us. We are served three meals each day consisting of dishes such as local Mexican favorites and more international cuisine. Happy hour comes with margaritas or pina coladas while beer and wine is available for dinner. We have a solar shower to rinse off. We pitch our tents on soft sandy beaches and without cell phones or computers, you might find you sleep better here than at home!

Safe Travel in Mexico

We meet you at the airport in San Juan del Cabo, which is small and efficient, and provide a shuttle directly to our hotel in La Paz. Our local guides are with us in La Paz and throughout the trip. We shuttle back to the airport at trip’s end. For many of our trip participants, traveling to Mexico has all the culture of a foreign country but the same ease as if you were traveling to our hometown airport in Billings, Montana.

However, our American guides and some of our past trip participants choose to spend additional time in Baja California. We have rented cars, driven around the island on our own, made hotel reservations, eaten in roadside cafes, and hiked on isolated trails all with a sense of perfect security. Our experience is that while you always need to exercise awareness while traveling, Baja California is very safe.

Baja Kayaking Trip Reviews

Don’t take our word for it. Check out these Baja Kayaking Adventure reviews from one of our recent trips.

Private Tour Info

Interested in making this a private trip? Gather your friends and family, choose your dates, and let us do the planning!

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Trip Favorite Moments & Reviews

“Thank you all for doing what you do. I was wary of organized trips, as usually they try to cover too many things, leaving the average experience somehow poor. You guys reversed my idea. I doubt we could have done anything better by ourselves, and definitely not is such a well-organized way.”

Giovanni P.

Way, way, WAY beyond expectations. Simply the best! Our guides had such a depth of knowledge and passion for the flora, fauna, and culture — I found that to be wonderful and quite moving. I felt safe every single minute, and confident that we were in capable hands should anything go not to plan. A super fun crew, too!

Polly M.

Details

  • Dates: November 29 - December 5, 2022
  • Cost Per Person: $3,500
  • Optional Single Supplement: $400
  • Private Tour Minimum: 8
  • Activities: Sea-kayaking, snorkeling and hiking
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Guides: Allan Wright, And Local Guides

Other Info: Optional rental gear: snorkel set ($30), wet suit ($30), sleeping bag ($30)

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Past Traveler Tour Rating

4.89/5 stars

Trip Highlights

  • Sea-kayak in the beautiful Sea of Cortez with instruction and professional guides provided
  • Take in the stars and listen to the waves as you camp each night on a different beach
  • Swim with baby sea lions and magnificent 30-foot whale sharks (don't worry - they eat plankton!)
  • Snorkel daily in one of the world’s most diverse “natural aquariums"
  • Explore canyons with amazing rock formations and discover fascinating plant life
Day 1

Your Zephyr guides will meet you at the airport in Los Cabos, Mexico, and transport you two hours north to the town of La Paz, the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. La Paz boasts a wonderful waterfront with world class beaches. Tonight we’ll celebrate the beginning of our trip with a delicious welcome dinner and orientation. If you have the energy, we can do a quick walking tour of the historic downtown. This will be the first of two nights that we will be staying at the Hotel Catredal, in the center of town with fantastic views from the rooftop pool and terrace. We will be camping the rest of trip until we return to La Paz on our last night.

Day 2

In the morning, we leave La Paz and head for Espiritu Santo Island via high-speed motor boat. On our way to the island, we will go over the safety rules and procedures. Don’t worry if you are new to the sport of sea-kayaking: we will provide instruction on how to sea kayak (everyone will do a proper “wet exit” in shallow water) and the proper use of the provided gear. In the afternoon, we’ll embark on our first paddle beneath spectacular volcanic cliffs and arrive at the first of many beautiful beaches to set up camp and enjoy a happy hour cocktail and wonderfully prepared dinner made with fresh, local ingredients. If the moon isn’t too bright, you’ll be able to see a zillion stars above you as you drift off to sleep in your tent.

Days 3 – 5

In general, our daily routine while on the water will include breakfast between 7:00 and 7:30 AM, lunch between 1:00 and 1:30 PM and dinner between 6:00 and 6:30 PM. Depending on weather and wind conditions, each day is a little different and our route is somewhat flexible and our guides will give us route updates throughout the day. We’ll explore the coastlines of small offshore to get a closer look at where some of the over 50 different species of sea birds nest. We’ll have the opportunity to hike to a magnificent canyon to a dry waterfall with a fresh water pool where we can enjoy a refreshing dip! At some point, we will cross a short stretch of open water over to Isla Partida to set up camp in the breathtakingly beautiful bay of Ensenada Grande, where the desert’s most spectacular cactus-adorned red rocks meet the gorgeous teal sea. We’ll take a motorized boat to a smaller island that is home to a large sea lion colony and will be able to actually swim with the lion pups while snorkeling among thousands of tropical fish.

Day 6

Today is our last day on the water. After breakfast on the island, we will pack up and return to the inner La Paz bay in search of whale sharks. This is perhaps the highlight of our week – the opportunity to swim with the largest fish in the world! Following this thrilling experience, we return to La Paz by mid-afternoon and check back into our hotel. This evening we will have a final dinner to celebrate a fantastic, exciting, educational experience in Baja.

Day 7

We do not have any activities planned for today. We'll enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel and then depart La Paz for the Cabo San Lucas airport by 8 AM, arriving at SJD by 10 AM. This allows you to catch a flight any time after noon.

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Trip Accommodations

NIGHTS 1 & 6 >> HOTEL CAEDRAL / LA PAZ

Comfortable hotel with lots of charm and character, located in the heart of La Paz.

NIGHTS 2, 3, 4 & 5 >> CAMPING ON THE BEACH

Each day we’ll be kayaking to a new breathtakingly beautiful beach campsite.

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Arrival & Departure

On the first afternoon of the trip, our Zephyr guides will meet you at the Los Cabos airport (airport code SJD) at 3:00 pm - if you choose to arrive a day early, we can also arrange a pickup for you in San Jose del Cabo. We will then shuttle to La Paz, the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.
We’ll help arrange a return shuttle to the Los Cabos airport on the last day of the trip, giving you the option to fly out whenever works best for you and return home or extend your stay. Just remember, you'll need to budget in 2 hours of drive time from La Paz back to Los Cabos airport. We'll give you specific details upon booking.

Los Cabos is one of Mexico’s premier resorts so there are a good number of airlines offering flights from many different cities all over the US and Canada. There is an average of 26 flights from North America arriving in Los Cabos by 2:30 pm. Airlines that fly to Los Cabos airport include Southwest, American, United, Alaska, Frontier, Delta, and InterJet.

What's Included
  • A Zephyr guide, plus local guides will accompany you on the trip.
  • Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room and/or tent.
  • All meals once you meet the group are included.
  • All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
  • All group camping equipment is included.
  • NOT INCLUDED Beverages, desserts, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses, travel to and from the destination, sleeping bag, wet suit and snorkel gear.
Weather

In March, the average daytime temperatures for the area are 78 – 84 degrees Fahrenheit but tends to cool down to mid-50s in the evenings, making camping ideal. The sea water temperature in March is typically around 68 – 72 degrees. Tropical rainstorms are common but usually last less than an hour.

Equipment

We’ll be supplying you with all the equipment needed for kayaking and camping. However, we would recommend bringing your own sleeping bag and wetsuit. If you don’t have a sleeping bag or wetsuit, don’t fret, there will be ones available to rent if needed.

Difficulty Level

Our Baja trip is rated Moderate, which means that some base fitness is required, as our main mode of transportation will be via kayak. However, you do not need to be an experienced kayaker, for a few reasons: a motorboat escorts us and transports all our gear, so kayaks are light; you have the option of selecting a tandem kayak and we can pair you with a stronger paddler or guide, which means you wouldn’t have to paddle as hard; and if you decide to skip the kayak for a day, it is no problem as you can ride the motor boat to the next camp and paddle a shorter distance from camp when you arrive.

Physical Preparation

If you want to prepare physically prior to the trip, your enjoyment will likely increase!  We recommend anything that strengthens your core and shoulders/arms.  Yoga, sit-ups and push-ups are all good.  If you belong to a gym, you might ask a trainer what would be good exercises to prepare for kayaking.

Changes to Your Itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” on the right side column will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.

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