For those short on time, we offer this long weekend trip with three nights of camping on Isla Espiritu Santo and exploration by kayak. We camp on expansive white sand beaches, paddle in protected coves along the island coast, and snorkel with playful sea lions. We’ve designed this tour for those tight on time. Our 5-day Espirtu Santos tour remains our favorite and provides more time to explore the island and all its beauty.
Isla Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit Island) is a National Park and a UNESCO Biosphere reserve just off the coast of Baja California Sur, near La Paz, the capital city. Rising dramatically from the sea, the island has a numerous deep bays with long promontories on either side, giving protection from wind and creating a fascinating coastal sea kayak route. The colors are luxurious – deep reds and subtle yellows, set off by green cactus and a brilliant blue sky.
Baja wildlife is a highlight of the trip. Many seabirds make the island their home and we usually paddle by a colony of frigatebirds busy with activity. These masters of the sky soar for hours above us, looking for an opportunity to steal food from other birds. There are also osprey, terns, comorants, herons, blue-footed boobies, oystercatchers, grebes and a host of land birds including red-tailed hawks, vultures and mockingbirds. Underwater are colorful fish, sea stars and urchins. A guest favorite is snorkeling at a colony of sea lions at Los Islotes, where a sea lion rookery is located and playful teenage sea lions swim with us.
We offer several walks and hikes during our island visit as well. The Park has a number of trails that lead up arroyos (dry riverbeds), or to the tops of the peaks where stunning views over the Gulf of California are a feast for the eyes. Sunsets are spectacular as the orange orb settles into the turquoise sea.
This trip is suitable for beginner kayakers and we have a motorized panga (motorboat) that carries our camp gear and provides support as needed for the trip. This gives us ultimate flexibility in case someone gets tired and wants a rest on the boat, etc.
SWIM WITH WHALE SHARKS! Add a day before or after your kayak tour and join us on our “Swimming with Whale Sharks” tour. You swim with our local whale shark guide to see these giant and gentle creatures up close while learning about their biology and life history along with supporting whale shark research and conservation work.
NOTE: On select dates, this trip is combined with an interior Baja exploration on our “Baja Sea to Mountains” adventure.
Images & Videos
Arrive in La Paz at your leisure. Direct flights are available or fly to Cabo San Lucas and transfer north three hours on a shuttle bus. Check into your room at the Seven Crowns Hotel (not included in trip cost) and explore La Paz on your own. In the evening we have an orientation meeting and give you your dry bags to pack. We provide everything you need in terms of camping gear (tents, sleeping bags, tents), snorkels, masks and wetsuits.
Meet your guide at the designated time in the morning, dressed ready to kayak. We transfer to the harbor and take our motorized boat about two hours to the island of Espiritu Santo. Once there we have a kayak orientation to familiarize you with your kayak and trip safety, and soon, start our paddle. We enjoy lunch on a beach along the way, with time to take a dip in the warm, clear waters of the Gulf of California.
By late afternoon we arrive at our camp on Isla Espiritu Santo. There is time to explore on land, or underwater by mask and snorkel. Your guides will accompany you and are happy to help you learn how to snorkel if you are not practiced.
Soon it’s time for appetizers while we watch an amazing sunset. Dinner is served under the open sky, prepared by our staff with fresh, local ingredients. After dinner, enjoy the stars and when tired, retire to your tent.
The day is a mix of sea kayaking on the clear blue waters of the Sea of Cortez, walking up desert arroyos and swimming or snorkeling to discover marine wonders. The coastline of Isla Espirtu Santo is perfect for kayaking with many protected bays. The water in the bays gets shallower you move closer to shore, providing wonderful views of the sea bottom. There are many sparkling white sand beaches on the island and we choose one of these for lunch.
We arrive at our next camp with time to enjoy this wondrous landscape. You might want to hike above camp for stunning views of the island and surrounding sea. Or you may wish to snorkel among darting tropical fish. Or just relax and catch up on a book or visit with new friends. Dinner, stargazing or moon-watching and overnight at our beach camp.
Similar to the day before, we enjoy another superb day of sun and water. We paddle along the coastline, marveling at the desert beauty, wildlife and crystal seas. There is a magical sense here as the desert is so full of life. Tiny flowers, running lizards, various cacti and succulents weave a tapestry of color and intrigue. Underwater is an entirely different ecosystem where patient observation rewards one with new discoveries.
We spend another evening at camp with appetizers, a lovely sunset and dinner.
If we haven’t done it yet, we head out early to snorkel with the young sea lions at Las Islotes. This is home to a large sea lion rookery. Keeping our distance from the main rookery, we swim at a location where the younger sea lions usually engage with us. They love to play, swirling in the water, and if you dive and swirl too, they tend to stick around longer and play more. Being face-to-face with a young sea lion is a thrilling experience and this is often a real highlight of the trip! Afterwards we return to camp to finalize packing, perhaps take a short walk, and then are met by our panga to return us to La Paz by early afternoon.
On this Baja kayak tour, each day’s weather determines our activities and schedule. Sometimes afternoon winds mean that it’s best to kayak in the morning only. Or a cooler day may make for perfect hiking conditions. We encourage you to come with a flexible attitude and understanding that nature is the one in charge. We reserve the right to substitute other activities if weather prevents the trip from going as planned.
Note: Those joining our “Baja Mountain & Sea” tour transfer immediately to the Ranch Cacachilas on arrival in La Paz. Others are transferred to the Seven Crowns Hotel.
Dates & Rates
NEW 4-day Departure Fall and Spring, departs Friday-Monday
Single Supplement: Solo travelers will always have their own tent during kayaking tours, at no additional cost.
- Full services of our Adventure Consultants
- Professional naturalist and bi-lingual guides
- All meals and beverages as indicated on the itinerary
- All transportation while on tour
- All kayaking, camping, and snorkeling equipment
- Panga supported kayaking tour
Tour Does Not Include:
Transportation to and from the airport
Hotel before and after the tour
$25 National Parks & Biosphere Reserves access fees required by itinerary
- Items of a personal nature
ALL PRICES IN US DOLLARS. We will do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website. However, tour itineraries or sub contractors (such as taxi, cruise boats or hotels) may change slightly due to reasons beyond our control including but not limited to Acts of God, wind, waves, inclement weather or other. We always welcome you to call us to clarify any item - often this is the best way to fully clarify expectations - call us collect or on our toll-free number. You will be sent pre-trip email with latest details within a month of your tour - it is your responsibility to check in with us prior to your trip to see if you have all the information you need. We will always do our best to provide you with the best possible tour and to fully meet your expectations to the best of our ability.