"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 Larson, Island hopping, 2010

Trip Planning Info

Getting There  |  What to Bring  |  Rental Gear in La Paz  |  Weather  |  Insects  |  Kayak Equipment  |  Fishing  |  Gratuity  |  Delays  |  Special Requests  |  References |  Drugs |  Health Information

Getting There

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, which is where our office and hotel are located. To get to La Paz, you have the following options.

  • Option #1 - The only non-stop, direct flights between the US and La Paz (LAP) are from Los Angeles (LAX). This 2-hour flight is offered by AeroMéxico (800-237-6639). Schedules vary so check their website for the most current information. Delta is a partner of AeroMexico so you can find these flights on the Delta website as well. Inexpensive, direct flights on Volaris can be found between Tijuana and La Paz. There is a shuttle between downtown San Diego and the Tijuana airport, Shuttle Tijuana offered through Volaris. We suggest you start here with your flight search, but if you are not having luck finding an economical, efficient flight in and out of La Paz try Option #2 below.

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. To reach both of these cities, you have the following options.

  • Option #1 - 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 you should search for one-way flights into Loreto and your return flight out of La Paz. If you are not having luck finding an economical, efficient flight in and out of these cities, try the following.
  • Option #2 - 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
There is an inexpensive, reliable and efficient shuttle service that departs the Cabo airport 5 times daily. This shuttle costs approximately $30/person one-way and takes 3 hours to reach downtown La Paz. From there, it is only a 5-minute cab ride to our hotel. This same shuttle departs La Paz several times daily starting at 7AM arriving in Cabo by as early as 10AM for departing flights out of Cabo. For the most current shuttle times go to www.ecobajatours.com

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 ttdosmares@hotmail.com or ttdosmares@gmail.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

  • Direct Flights:
    The airline Aereo Calafia flies direct between San Jose del Cabo, Loreto and La Paz. For the most recent schedule and prices visit their website at Aereo Calafia. The site can be viewed in English by clicking on the US tab at the top. If looking for flights to or from Cabo be sure to enter San Jose del Cabo (which is where the international airport is located). As well reservations can be made through Reservations Villas del Palmar.
  • Shuttles and Buses:
    There is also the option of using buses and shuttles to travel between Cabo and Loreto, but this often requires an extra day with an overnight in La Paz. For example, you can arrive in Cabo and take the shuttle to La Paz, overnight at our hotel there, and take the 5-hour bus ride the next day to Loreto, arriving in the afternoon. This also works in reverse if you are traveling from Loreto back to either La Paz or Cabo. The bus departs Loreto daily at 8AM and takes 5 hours to reach La Paz.

Hint for Purchasing Flights:
Most airlines now sell one-way tickets for half or even less than a round-trip ticket. Do your flight search by dividing your trip into two one-way tickets. For example, you can fly into Cabo and out of La Paz or visa-versa for any of our La Paz trips. You can fly into Loreto and out of Cabo for a Baja Coast trip, or into Cabo and out of Loreto on our Island Hopping trip keeping in mind transportation between Cabo and La Paz is reasonable and simple (info above). Transportation between Cabo and Loreto is farther and more complicated but also feasible (info above). One-way tickets give you the flexibility to find the best deals and connections.

Other Options:
There are several Mexican airlines that serve La Paz and Loreto via connections through mainland Mexico from several US cities. These flights almost always take more time due to the connections flying through Guadalajara and Mexico City.

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.

Driving

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.

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What to Bring

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
  • Current passport
  • Credit cards (Visa, Master Card and occasionally American Express are accepted by most larger restaurants and shops but not by the smaller ones.)
  • Cash

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.

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Rental Gear in La Paz

Sleeping bags, pads and snorkeling gear may be rented in Baja. Costs per trip are:

  • Sleeping bag with pad $20
  • Sleeping bag or pad separately $15
  • Snorkel gear (mask, snorkel and fins) $15
  • Mask, snorkel or fins separately $10
  • Wetsuit $15

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.

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.

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Weather

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.

Approximate Temperatures by Month (in F degrees)


Month Water Air
(lows & highs)
OCT 80 80-95
NOV 75 70-80
DEC 65 60-80
(possible strong winds)
JAN 60 60-80
(possible strong winds)
FEB 60 65-85
(possible strong winds)
MAR 65 70-85
APR 68 75-90
MAY 70 80-95
SUMMER 85 100-120

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Insects

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.

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Kayak Equipment

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.

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Fishing

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)
B) ADDRESS
C) PERMISSION (mark what length of permit you want: daily/weekly/month or year and the date).
D) AGREEMENT
Press Pagar con Tarjeta (Pay with credit card) and fill in your credit card information.

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Gratuity

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.

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Delays

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.

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Special Requests

If you have any old clothes or shoes you'd like to donate, please bring them along and we'll distribute them to the fishing villages we visit. Warm type clothes like rain jackets and fleece are especially appreciated by the fisherman as well as T-shirts, pants, and shoes (sneakers, Tevas or hiking boots, all sizes). Kids clothes and shoes are also needed. Muchas Gracias!

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References

We have compiled a list of references of people who have already joined at least one of our trips, so that first time inquiring guests can talk with someone outside our company who has already experienced one of our adventures first hand. Call our toll free number for a reference in your area or additional information on charters, group and repeat guest discounts: 800-355-7140

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Drugs

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.

Health Information

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.