"Very pleasant, knowledgeable, experienced and passionate staff! One of the best camping trips of my life. And when they say pack light, do so. You don't need much more than a swimming suit, long sleeve cover for an additional sun protection, perhaps light long pants for the evening or early morning, hat, water bottle, sun screen and mosquito spray just in case, and my best item were ankle high water booties. "
--Ludmila, Espiritu Santo Getaway
"The guides (Miguel and Hugo) were very knowledgable not only from a sea-kayaking perspective but also from a eco-system perspective. And the rest of the staff (cook, panga drivers and helpers) were just great. We kayaked a lot, ate incredibly well and learned a lot about the Baja ecosystem. We also snorkeled with an array of sea creatures including sea-lions who were very upfront and personal with us in a very fun way. There was ample time for fishing for those that were interested and I ate the best Red Snapper of my life that was caught by a client and then baked by Martin the cook. I am still drooling over that meal. For me, it was the perfect balance of exercise and relaxation. Additionally, I really liked the fact that the clients were involved in helping to setting up camp and load and unload the Pangas. I like being able to do things for myself. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who loves to kayak, swim and snorkel. The Pangas are always on stand-by in case someone gets tired during one of the longer kayak days. "
--Sue, Espiritu Santo Island
"My husband and I have traveled to Baja several times. We consistently book trips with Mar y Aventuras because they offer great options for shorter trips or longer excursions to the best destinations in Baja. Our bilingual guides (particularly Carlos) and expert crew are excellent and always exceed our expectations for service, authentic food, and overall experiences. Everyone goes out of the way to help us with whatever activity we would like - from fishing to snorkeling to kayaking to relaxing in camp. After several trips, including the Island Hopping, Baja Coast, and Whale-watching, we trust the crew's judgement on camp locations, activities, and routes. It is so reassuring to know we can fully relax and entrust the details to professionals. Through the years we have experienced once-in-a-lifetime events that have created memories we cherish. Thanks to Mar y Aventuras - Ricardo Amador, Mary Harter, guides and crew for taking such good care of us! "
--Rachel, Island Hopping
"This was a return trip last done 7 years ago. We had high winds which complicates a Island Hopping kayak trip like this but the excellent helpful crew always had alternative plans. The sea and air was warm which is what we wanted and the turtle, fish and sea lion snorkeling were excellent ! The hiking and visiting fishing villages made me feel more a traveler than just a tourist. The best part was the simplicity of the trip and lack of crowds and other boats. This trip a great way to slow down lives to a pace " the way it used to be."
--Joan, Island Hopping
"We are avid snorkelers and swimmers and were in search of a quiet disconnected vacation without too much travel and ran across the Mar y Aventuras website. We signed up for what was their first 7 day Espiritu Santo trip of the season at the end of Oct 2014. And holy guacamole, what a trip we got! The hurricane that demolished the Cabo airport meant that only folks that could fly directly into La Paz could attend that first trip. As it turned out, we were the only ones able to do so, driving down to Otay Mesa from San Diego, walking across the border with our packs, picking up a cab to the Tijuana Airport and flying direct to La Paz from there (and saving a bundle in the process). The normal minimum guests for a trip is 4, but when we booked the trip, Mary told us that no matter what, the trip would go on, regardless if we were the only ones...that's a remarkable commitment for a small firm to make. So...we were on Espiritu Santo for 5 days with Miguel, Martin, and Angel, and...no one else! We still shake our heads in disbelief. These 3 guys are easy going, funny, and expert at their craft. We had the absolute best food, day in, day out courtesy of Martin. Flawless skippering of panga by Angel, and Miguel...naturalist/guide extraordinaire, knows the area like the back of his hand. We had many fascinating discussions about geology, flora, fauna, life, growing up in La Paz, and more. A truly generous being. The trip? We kayaked 3 of the 5 days, longer each day. We swam before breakfast every day, snorkeled for HOURS in the 80 degree super clear water...I never wanted to get out of the water. The sea lion rock snorkeling excursion was the best snorkeling I'd ever experienced due to astonishing water clarity (more than 60 feet), huge and diverse fish populations, and of course the delightful and very playful sea lion juveniles and pups. And on the last day (sigh) since we were returning to La Paz anyway, and that's where the whale sharks hang out, we asked if we could leave early enough to swim with them...and...I still get goosebumps reliving it. We made it over to the whale shark area, there was just one other boat nearby when we found a young one swimming, so we jumped in with our snorkeling gear and fins and started swimming with it. Very soon I was the only one left swimming with it, due to the speed it was making, so for 20 minutes I had a solo experience with this huge shy creature...I kept calling him Buddy and we just hung out together. Eventually the boats and other swimmers rejoined us and that was that. This is the kind of trip to do when you really want to simplify things, to unplug, unwind, and experience a very unique locale. La Paz was super fun and yet still has a lot of the older traditional Mexican aspects that make it very endearing. We always felt safe, we were always well taken care of by all of the staff. Because the travel from San Diego is so easy, and La Paz and Espiritu Santo are so compelling, we will be back for more explorations, more snorkeling, more "ahhhs".
--Mike, Espiritu Santo Island
"As someone who has done self-supported trips for 30 years, I cannot imagine how I could replicate the trip we did without support. How could I carry enough water in my own kayak? I suppose I could, but it certainly wouldn't be the pleasant, playful experience that I was able to have. And to go to several islands...If I wanted to kayak from point A to point B, who would drive my motor boat from point A to point B? And if I COULD find someone to drive my motor boat, who would be as skilled at driving in the ocean as Chuy? But even if I just kayaked up the coast & was willing to lug all my own water... really...at this age, I am just UberAppreciative of ice in my cocktails. And perhaps the biggest point our trip changed on the fly almost hourly to adjust for weather. Too windy to kayak? We'll go for a walk in the desert and kayak later. Too hot to walk? We'll motor over to a protected cove and snorkel. The thing is, too, that the guides are SOooooo GOOD. Many people in our party had NEVER kayaked. I have years of kayaking experience, but it is all whitewater. Ocean kayaking is different. The guides were very safety conscious and made everyone feel comfortable. They worked with each individual to give support where needed and then allowed as much independence as desired. On top of that, they were unbelievably knowledgeable about the local flora, fauna, geology & culture. If it were possible at all, it would take YEARS of experience to replicate this trip without guides."
--Kris, Island Hopping
Flight information for trips operating in and out of La Paz including all trips to Espiritu Santo Island, Whale Watching at Magdalena Bay and Combination Trips. Ideally you want to fly in and out of La Paz for the above trips, but unfortunately there are no longer any direct flights from US cities to La Paz, so the best option is to fly to San Jose del Cabo (SJD) and take a 3 hour shuttle to La Paz. Numerous airlines fly direct between US and Canadian cities and the airport in Cabo (SJD) at reasonable rates. Cabo is also referred to as Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos and San Jose del Cabo (where the airport is actually located). Some of these airlines include Alaska, American, Continental, Frontier, Delta, Virgin America, WestJet, United and US Air.
Flight information for trips operating between La Paz and Loreto including our Island Hopping and Baja Coast trips. Ideally you want to fly into La Paz and out of Loreto for our Island Hopping trip OR into Loreto and out of La Paz for our Baja Coast trip.
The only direct flights between the US and Loreto (LTO) are from Los Angeles (LAX) on Alaska Airlines (800-252-7522). We suggest you start here with your flight search using one-way flights. For example, if your trip begins in Loreto (Baja Coast trip) you should search for one-way flights into Loreto or if it ends in Loreto (Island Hopping trip) search for one way flights out of Loreto.
If you are not having luck finding an economical, efficient flight in and out of La Paz, then the next option is to fly in or out of Cabo and take a 3 hour shuttle to or from La Paz. Numerous airlines fly direct between various US and Canadian cities and the airport in Cabo (SJD) at reasonable rates. Cabo is also referred to as Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos and San Jose del Cabo (where the airport is actually located). Some of these airlines include Alaska, American, Continental, Frontier, Delta, Virgin America, WestJet, United and US Air.
Ground Transportation between the Cabo airport and La Paz
On this website you'll find two routes going from your "Depart From" place of SAN JOSE DEL CABO AEROPUERTO to your "Destination" of LA PAZ MALECON (this is the destination you want to arrive at in La Paz). The two routes are #1. LOS BARRILES / 8 OCTUBRE (this is a stop on the outskirts of La Paz) or #2. CABO SAN LUCAS / TODOS SANTOS. The quicker route is through Los Barriles (3 hours) which takes you up the east side of the Baja Peninsula through the mountains on two lane winding roads. The Cabo San Lucas / Todos Santos route takes 3 1/2 hours as it travels south from the SJD airport down to Cabo San Lucas to lands end then north up the Pacific Coast to Todos Santos then back across the peninsula to La Paz on the Sea of Cortez side (all on four lane highways).
For private shuttles in and around the cape between Cabo and La Paz or other places we recommend the transport company Dos Mares. We have been using them for many years with high praises from our clients on their professionalism and efficiency. They can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Phone Numbers: (624) 17 4 15 24 / (624) 12 2 47 49 / (612) 15 9 01 08. If you don't want to contact them directly, we can do it for you for a 10% additional fee.
Transportation between the Cabo airport and Loreto
Hint for Purchasing Flights:
Local Bus Service: If you are already in either Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo, you can take the bus to La Paz from the local bus stations. Please allow plenty of time and flexibility. For information on bus service for all of Baja, click here. To alleviate any stress of buses possibly being cancelled or full (especially around holiday times) you can hire a private shuttle as described above, but keep in mind this will be more expensive.
Car Rentals: It is also possible to rent a car and drive to La Paz and return or drop the car in La Paz. Prices vary and all the major car rental agencies are represented in Cabo and La Paz.
If driving up from Cabo there are two options: You can drive through the mountains up the east coast or via Todos Santos along the Pacific Coast. If leaving from the airport we recommend driving up the east coast. Travel north on Highway 1 following signs out of the airport for La Paz. Go through Buena Vista and Los Barriles and on north into the mountains. Upon arrival into La Paz you continue on the main highway 1 into La Paz following signs for the Malecon (the La Paz water front promenade). Highway 1 becomes Forjadores St. From the first street light you encounter to your first turn you will go approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) over many speed bumps and intersections passing Office Depot on your right about half way. When you see a large grocery store named Aramburo on your right get into the left lane and turn left at the next light onto 5 de Febrero St. (there is usually no street sign here). After turning you should immediately see McDonalds on your right. Travel north on 5 de Febrero for approximately 5 kilometers (2-3 miles) until you can see the water of the bay of La Paz directly in front of you. At this point you are at the intersection of 5 de Febrero and Abasolo street light with a Pemex gas station on the left (northwest corner). Go straight here and look for our sign on the right, halfway through the block. Turn right into our alley and drive straight ahead for Mar Y Aventuras and Hotel Posada LunaSol.
Pack light! We prefer NOT to overload our boats with lots of excess baggage. Bring only what you will use. For example bring a small to mid-sized duffle (approximately 14x14x24inches or 35x35x60cm) for clothing and personal items. If bringing your own sleeping gear bring another duffle of similar size for your sleeping bag, pad and pillow OR you can combine them into one larger duffle approximately 18x18x35inches or 45x45x90cm. Plus you will want to bring a day-pack for extra clothing, water bottle, sunscreen and camera to have with you daily. Snorkel gear and a wetsuit is yet another bag you may have while on the trip.
View the complete equipment list for your kayaking or whale watching trip here.
For traveling to Baja and while in town
The amount of cash is subject to how much you will spend shopping, on meals, and services in town and for tipping. Travelers checks are NOT recommended as they are difficult to cash. We recommend a minimum of $200 cash in bills no larger than $20's. Please keep in mind you will need at least twice that much should you want to leave a generous tip for your guides, if joining a kayak trip, and also plan to spend money on equipment rentals at our office, meals, drinks and souvenirs in town. ATM's are available but can be unreliable. Many shops and restaurants accept US dollars but this can vary depending on where you are. Once in La Paz or Loreto you may want some pesos for purchases around town. You can change your dollars into pesos at the airport, banks (closed on weekends and holidays) or possibly a store (you pay in US dollars and receive change in pesos). Please note, no more than $300/US can be changed into pesos per month at the banks.
You may also want to bring some nice clothes you can leave behind in a bag in our storage room while on your trip that you can wear upon returning to town. For cooler months (Dec-Feb) we suggest long pants and long-sleeved shirts. During the warmer months (Oct, Nov, March-May) we recommend shorts and short-sleeved shirts or casual skirts or dresses for women.
Sleeping bags, pads and snorkeling gear may be rented in Baja. Costs per trip are:
Note: Wetsuits are highly recommended for trips in November through May. The wetsuits we rent are 3mm thick, long-sleeved, with short pants and a zipper up the front. If you tend to get cold easily, we recommend you bring a thicker and/or long sleeved wetsuit during December, January and February. There is no snorkeling on our Magdalena Bay whale watching trips and sleeping cots with pads are provided at this camp. Therefore the only item necessary for you to bring or rent on these trips is a sleeping bag.
Pads are included on Magdalena Bay Whale Watching Quick Getaways and at our Espiritu Santo Island base camp for the months of Dec, Jan, Feb through the first week of March.
Payment for rentals will be collected in Baja prior to your trip departure in cash.
Important Note for Baja Coast Trips: Since the Baja Coast trip originates in Loreto, the PFDs and rental gear must be brought up from our La Paz office. Therefore, you must provide your accurate size on the trip application form so we can assure a good fit for your PFD and wetsuit and snorkel gear if you requested them.
For all trips originating in La Paz, we will fit you with your rental gear the morning of your trip departure here at our office.
Spring and fall are the most ideal times for enjoying the Sea of Cortez. The strong northerly winds blow longest and strongest from late November through early March, so spring and fall are characterized by calmer, warmer days.
Fall trips (October & November) offer warm, clear waters for great snorkeling. Average water temperatures are 80-85° F (26-30° C) with up to 80 feet (25 meters) of visibility. Daytime high air temperatures are in the 80s to 90s (26-32° C) with little chance of rain or strong wind. An added attraction on fall trips is the opportunity to observe the Baja desert in bloom following the rainy season in August and September.
Winter trips (December through the end of February) tend to be cooler with a greater chance of wind and some chance of rain. Water temperatures are in the mid 60s (15 to 20° C) and daytime highs are from the 60s to 80s (15 to 26° C). The weather at Magdalena Bay on the Pacific coast during whale watching season in mid-winter tends to be windy and chilly although calm sunny days are common. Daytime highs may be in the 70s or 80s (21 to 26° C) with the wind it may feel more like the 50s (10 to 15° C).
Spring trips (March, April and May) offer warmer water temperatures, ranging from 68-75° F (19 to 23° C). Days are generally calm and warm with air temperatures ranging from the mid 80s to 90s (26 to 32° C).
Summer in Baja (June-September) is hot and humid with a chance of hurricanes in August and September, but it is ideal for fishing and scuba diving.
Due to the dry desert nature of Baja, it does not tend to be buggy. However, some years have sufficient precipitation to support mosquitoes, gnats and no-see-ums, especially on the islands. It is a good idea to bring insect repellent on our October and November trips, following the rainy season. The Magdalena Bay whale watching trips, Baja Coast and Island Hopping trips in March, April and May rarely experience problems with insects. Consult with our office for current conditions before your trip.
Our fleet of kayaks on each trip is comprised of approximately 2/3 double kayaks and 1/3 single kayaks. Most are made by SEDA products of fiberglass construction and all are equipped with rudders. Based on your experience, size and the group composition, your guide will help determine what kayak you will paddle, double or single. We also encourage paddlers to rotate kayak seats so everyone has a chance to paddle to their desire. If you are particularly tall (over 6'2") or large (over 200 pounds) please let us know well in advance as we may have to arrange a special kayak to be brought to camp.
We offer exclusive use of a single kayak on most trips for a fee of $50 per kayak. You must be fit and experienced in kayaking and screened in advance by our office. Single kayaks are not available at our Magdalena Bay camp. The option of exclusive use of a single kayak is limited on the Island Hopping trip to a first-come basis and available on our Combination Trip during the Espiritu Santo Island portion only.
We provide lightweight Nimbus and Werner paddles, Kokatat paddling PFD's (personal flotation devices also known as lifejackets), nylon spray skirts, paddle floats, and bilge pumps on our expeditions.
On our Espiritu Santo self-supported trips, we provide 2 dry bags per person for personal gear. Dry bags and not necessary or provided on our skiff-supported trips because your luggage and gear are transported in the skiffs.
We offer fishing as a side activity on our Sea of Cortez trips only, not on our Magdalena Bay whale watching trips. If you want to fish, please come prepared with your own lures. Medium to small, minnow-type, sinking lures are suggested such as a Rebel jointed Fastrac or mid size Rapala Magnums (4.5 to 5 inches or 9-12cm in length). See photo at right. Suggested colors include: blue/silver, black/silver, black/gold, green mackerel/gold or blue mackerel/silver. We supply the rod and reel. Fishing is done by trolling behind a motorized skiff (two rods at a time) from one to two hours before breakfast on certain mornings or from your kayak.
IMPORTANT! FISHING PERMIT INFORMATION
Fishing permits are required for anyone who plans to fish during our kayak trips. This includes fishing from either our motorized skiff or your kayak.
Permits cost $16/day - $35/week - $40/month - $52/year (US dollar prices)
You can now obtain your fishing permit on line at this secure website. If you need help with the Spanish translation, please contact our office. Here is the basic information that is requested to get your fishing permit:
A) NAME (surname) and mother's surname (optional)
Many people ask, "should I tip the guides and how much?" Tipping is voluntary and any amount you leave is greatly appreciated! If you would like to leave your guides a generous tip showing appreciation for an excellent job, 10% of the trip cost is standard in the adventure travel industry. Gratuities are pooled and distributed among your trip guides and staff evenly. If you do choose to leave a tip, please leave cash only. No travelers checks, personal checks or credit cards can be accepted.
Sea & Adventures and Mar Y Aventuras are not responsible for any costs incurred due to delays that may occur due to transportation (airline), weather, road conditions, government intervention, sickness or other contingencies for which we are unable to control.
Cell phones can be useful while in town for keeping in touch with loved ones back home. There is none to very little coverage from our camps while on the islands and coast so we encourage you to put your cell phones away once you embark on our trip. We have the capacity to charge camera and other electronic device batteries during all our trips using solar power and a 110 converter. You can bring your regular battery charger with 110 plug in for charging. We encourage everyone to unplug while on our trips! You'll be amazed how easy it is.
Mexico has strict laws regarding the possession of illegal drugs. Please be sure any medication you bring is in its original prescription bottle or package.
The country of Mexico, including Baja, has a high incidence of Hepatitis A, a contagious liver disease. While we take all precautionary steps to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A at our hotel and on our trips for complete protection we recommend our clients get vaccinated for Hepatitis A, readily available at most health clinics. Check with your physician for more information.