*The specifics of your trip will be contained in a pre-trip letter you will receive prior to your confirmed departure.
THE LAST SUPPER:
Day 1: Explore San Javier, Mission Tour, Travel to San Miguel de Comondu
Meet in Loreto at 8:30 AM for a short orientation, then load up and head to the mountains. Our first stop is the mission town of San Javier, accessed by a paved road just 45 minutes from Loreto. Over 1400’ (420 meters) above the sea level the air is cooler than Loreto and the sky is usually a lovely pale blue. Explore the town on foot while learning about the missionaries that built the mission church in the early 1800’s that you see today. We also visit some special friends in town who give you a glimpse of life in this quiet village.
We have lunch at a local ranchero and continue our drive west, winding through the mountains on dirt roads. Sometimes we’re lucky and the grader has been through recently, and other times it can be a bumpy ride. By later afternoon we arrive at San Miguel de Comondu. Comondu is the name of the Municipality that was created in 1971 by Presidential decree and today, it is the 7th largest municipality by area in all of Mexico. While some 80,000 people live here, over half are in the inland city and municipal seat of Ciudad Constitución, a large agriculture center.
By contrast, tonight’s village has about 150 inhabitants, most of whom make their living off the land and in small-scale business enterprise. One ambitious local, in love with her town and heritage, is Jacqueline, who serves as both the town’s informal ambassador for the town and owner of a small hotel called Hacienda Don Mario. This is our home for the night where we also enjoy a bountiful dinner of local fare and learn more about the towns history.
- Accommodations: Hacienda Don Mario
- Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Cultural Exploration of San Miguel and San Jose de Comondu, Return to Loreto
This morning we learn about life in this out-of-the way village. It may start with breakfast when we have piloncillo or ‘panocha de gajo’ which is a flour tortilla with fresh goat cheese.
The main highway once passed close by here, but in the 1970’s it was moved further west, leaving San Miguel and San Jose de Comondu more isolated. This has helped preserve their way of life and the charm of the town. Agriculture is important here and figs, dates, olives and mangos are a few of the crops grown.
There is also a legendary grape here – the first to be exported from old world Spain to new world Mexico and thus has historical significance. It is known as the missionary grape as it was brought across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands by the Jesuits. From South America the Jesuit missionaries migrated north along with the vines as it was used to make their sacramental wine. It remained in Mexico for decades and again moved north with the missionaries to Texas and New Mexico, and finally, in 1769, to California where it was grown with great success. Today the grape is known as the Pais in Chile, where it has played a prominent role and also sometimes called the Negra Peruana. In Argentina it known as the Criolla Chica and in North America is still recognized as the Mission.
San Miguel is a town of traditions, and we may visit locals making cheese from goat’s milk, or weaving mats from a local palm. Nearby San Jose de Comondu was the site of the fourth mission built by the Jesuits and had one of the biggest mission churches. It met a sad end when a Spanish general blew it up. However one of the naves has been preserved as a beautiful stone chapel and is well worth a visit.
Another highlight today is a hike to an intriguing geologic formation known locally as the prism. Some 14 million years ago volcanic lava cooled to create symmetrical columns that we visit.
After a lunch of local fare we begin our 2-hour drive back to Loreto, passing through spectacular mountain scenery and learning more about the natural and cultural history of the area as we go.
By late afternoon we are back in Loreto.
- Accommodations: NA
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Please see our Baja Travel Guide for full details on travel to and from Baja.
Baja has a desert climate. The weather is typically dry, warm, and sunny, with temperatures ranging between 60 - 90 F. While it may be very warm during the day, temperatures can drop down to the 60’s (50’s at Whale Camp or in the mountains) during the evening hours. Please plan to pack appropriate layers for the evenings. If you are interested in more specific information regarding the weather in Baja, we highly suggest the Weather Underground site. If you put in the location you are traveling, and the date, it will provide you with historical weather data that you can use to plan for your upcoming adventure.
Here at ROW Sea Kayak Adventures our first and foremost goal is for you to have an enjoyable and safe experience. While most of our trips are suitable for beginners, some of our trips are more active than others and it’s important that you understand the physical requirement of the trip you choose.
All of our multi-day kayaking trips are active adventures that involve some level of physical exertion and possible exposure to the elements including but not limited to wind, rain, heat, sun, cold temperatures and cold water conditions. ROW Sea Kayak Adventures is able to accommodate people with physical limitations, disabilities and medical conditions; please speak with your Adventure Consultant if you think you will require any additional assistance while on the trip. We ask that you consult your Doctor if you have health or medical conditions that could impact your ability to participate in an active and outdoor adventure. In general, all trip participants must be able to do the following:
- Wear all protective and safety equipment that are required by ROW Adventures and recommended/required by industry wide standards.
- Load and unload, on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion, the bus and/or van providing transportation for ROW Adventures activities.
- Reach the water access points (put-in and take-out) on their own, or with the aid of a qualified companion.
- Enter and exit the raft, kayak and/or inflatable kayak on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion.
- Remain seated and balanced in a floating raft, canoe, kayak or inflatable kayak w/ the aid of adaptive equipment, if necessary.
- Float on their back when entering moving and still water. The participant must be capable of turning from face-down to face-up in the water with the aid of a Personal Floatation Device and must be able to hold their breath while under water.
- Remain calm and keep breathing under control in the event of a swim.
- Climb into the kayak, with the help of another person, should an involuntary swim happen at any point on the water.
- Make progress toward the shoreline or a boat by swimming in moving water and must be able to exit the water and ascend the shoreline once reached.
- Participate as an active paddler when instructed by the guide for the duration of trip.
- Move about the campsite on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion on all trips that include overnight camping and/or lunch.
Whether you are an avid sea kayaker, or it is your first time, you’ll enjoy these incredible trips, and share in our passion for adventure, commitment to conserving the environment, and relishing unique experiences. For those new to the sport, kayaking is easy to learn in the sheltered waters that we visit, and we provide all of the camping gear, kayaking equipment and guidance needed. In addition, we keep our groups small to allow you to not only travel intimately among nature, but to ensure you receive the necessary attention from our guides.
Baja Bubble Journeys Packing list
The packing list outlined below is meant to serve as a guide to help you plan, prepare and outfit yourself for your upcoming travels. Below, we have provided our best recommendations and suggestions. These suggestions are broken down by your tour type and are based on the outlined itinerary, the geographic region, our knowledge of Baja, and our personal experience. We hope you find this list helpful, use it as a guide and feel free to amend it with your favorite travel items too!
Our Baja Bubble Journeys are generally hotel-based. However, on those trips that stay in our Magdalena Bay whale camp, you are camping in canvas tents with cots and sleeping bags. Our Cave Art & Cowboys trip is also a camping trip. When packing the important thing is to be prepared for the outdoor activities during each day. Many meals will also be eaten outside in the open air, so you will want to prepare for that as well.
During any specialized activities such as sea kayaking, snorkeling and whale watching, Sea Kayak Adventures provides all necessary equipment including: personal flotation devices (PFDs), snorkeling gear, all kayaking equipment, etc.. For those tours that include camping, we also provide all necessary camping equipment including: tent, cot (on whale camp & multi-sport tours), sleeping pad, sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, and pillow with pillow case.
These adventures are best enjoyed if you travel light. We think it is wise to avoid checking any luggage under the plane. If you do check a bag, make sure that you have everything that is either essential or would be hard to replace, with you in your carry-on. Please see below for our specific luggage recommendations for your sea kayaking, whale watching, or multi-sport tour.
- One roll-on (ideally a non-hard-sided version) or duffle luggage that meets carry-on requirements – This will serve as your main piece of luggage for the trip. If desired, you can pack an extra soft-sided duffle inside your main luggage for souvenirs on your return flight. Again, while we recommend using only carry-on luggage, checking baggage can be done at your discretion.
- One small day pack – This dual purposed pack can serve as your personal item during your flights as well as your day pack during the tour. Outside zippered pockets are nice and allow you to organize your travel gear. Carry medications, travel documents, important personal items and other essentials or “hard to-replace” items in this on the plane.
- Dry bags (for any kayaking tours): For any sea kayaking included in your tour, we provide you with a 10-liter dry bag that sits on the deck of the kayak for anything you might need during the day.
Packing List Essentials:
- Passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months after the date of your arrival.
- A photocopy of your passport, inside a ziplock bag and stowed elsewhere in your luggage. As an additional precautionary measure, consider leaving a photocopy with family or friends at home as well and taking a photo of your passport and keeping it on your phone.
- An e-copy of your air tickets with ticket numbers, emailed to yourself and someone at home in case you lose the device that has your emails.
- Cash. Plan to use local currency (pesos) for small purchases, taxis and gratuities.
- Credit and/or Debit card(s) that works internationally, ideally with chip technology. Before leaving home, if applicable, notify your bank of your travel to help prevent any fraud detection holds on your card.
- Watch or small travel clock with alarm. Phones work well for this purpose.
- Money belt or concealed passport carrier to carry your passport, travel documents and money, hidden under your clothing.
- One - two pair long, lightweight, nylon pants with zipper pockets. Zip off legs provide additional options.
- One- two pair nylon shorts, which can double as a swimsuit bottom.
- Sarong, which can be handy for changing clothes, laying on the ground and many other uses.
- Two - three short sleeve button-up shirt(s) or t-shirt(s). We recommend synthetic materials.
- One - three long sleeve quick-drying shirts for sun protection. Tight-weave nylon shirts with SPF protection are a great option for warm climates like Baja.
- Rash guard or set of synthetic long-sleeve top and full length bottoms for snorkeling. *Note - we do provide wetsuits, snorkels, masks and fins for snorkeling activities including swimming with whale sharks.
- One wide-brim, tie-on hat that packs well.
- One lightweight raincoat or water resistant windbreaker.
- Three pair light synthetic or merino wool socks.
- One pair sturdy trail shoes, or running shoes, to use for hiking and for casual camp time.
- One pair sandals with ankle straps to wear while kayaking, on the beaches, walking around towns, etc.
- Extra synthetic or wool layers for warmth during cool evenings or days.
Casual Pre & Post Activity Clothing:
- One - two additional pair(s) of pants, shorts, skirts or dresses.
- One - two short sleeve, long sleeve or button up shirt(s).
- One light sweater or jacket for warmth in the evenings and mornings.
- One pair pajamas.
- Underwear and socks.
Gear and Other Essentials:
- One buff or bandana for sun protection and cooling off.
- Face mask – while buffs do serve as a face mask we ask you to consider bringing a more effective mask primarily to use during vehicle travel.
- Walking poles – collapsible poles are great. If you have only carry-on luggage it’s best if these have dull points so you don’t have any problems with carrying them on the airplane.
- One pair of paddling gloves for kayaking tours.
- Small day pack or fanny pack for hikes.
- One wide-mouth water bottle, 1 liter or larger. A bottle that fits in a daypack pocket or clips to the outside is ideal. The wide mouth makes it much easier to refill from our large water jugs.
- Camera with batteries or charging method.
- Waterproof camera and phone case. For non-waterproof cameras and phones you may want to bring a small dry box or bag to use while kayaking. They can also slip inside the dry bag we provide during kayaking.
- Binoculars or monocular (optional).
- Sunglasses, polarized lenses are highly recommended for UV protection and enhanced clarity.
- Retaining strap for glasses and sunglasses.
- Extra pair of glasses or contacts if used for corrective or enhanced vision.
- Head lamp or small flashlight.
- Three to four kitchen garbage can liners to be used for wet clothes, dirty laundry, soiled shoes, etc.
- A few quart-size or 1-gallon ziplock bags for packing sunscreens, lotions or anything that might make a mess.
- Books or e-reader, pen and note pad, iPod or small portable music player with headphones if desired.
- Travel towel.
Toilet Kit/First Aid:
- Standard toiletry kit including general hygiene products, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. (keep liquids under 3.38 oz.(100ml) for carry-on)
- Insect repellent, bug spray or bug balm.
- Sun screen and lip balm with SPF 15-30.
- Pre-moistened toilette packets or disposable shower wipes to refresh.
- Personal medicines and prescriptions
- Dramamine - motion sickness, Benadryl - allergic reactions, Advil or Aspirin, etc.
- Heavy duty skin lotion for dry, sun-baked and salted skin.
- Small squeeze bottle of hand-sanitizer gel.
- Shampoo and soap; biodegradable options are preferable.
Packing Tips for Your Baja Adventure Tour
Whale Camp Travelers:
If you are visiting one of our Whale Camps, either Magdalena Bay or San Ignacio Lagoon, we would like to offer the following additional suggestions:
- Use Soft Sided Luggage: We do not use dry bags for our Whale Camp tours. If you will be joining us at Whale Camp, we suggest using soft sided luggage for your main bag. Your bag will accompany you to our Whale Camp, where it will be transported by Van and Panga. Using soft sided luggage will make this transfer easier.
- Pack An Extra Layer: The evenings and early mornings at Magdalena Bay and San Ignacio Lagoon can be chilly. We suggest packing a lightweight synthetic or down jacket, synthetic or merino wool long underwear, and a knit hat.
- Pack Extra Batteries: You will likely take a lot of photos while whale watching. Packing extra batteries will ensure you don’t miss any great shots. (While we do have a solar charger available at our whale camps, please don’t plan on this as your sole source of power)
- Pack A Book Or Small Games: Our Whale Camp tours offer free time in the afternoons and evenings. You can always go for a hike, stroll the beach or hang out with fellow guests; however if you think you may want to just relax, pack an e-reader or book, and some small travel games. We also have a good portable library with natural history books located at camp.
Kayaking Clothing Suggestions:
- We highly suggest that all of your kayak clothing is synthetic or wool, NOT COTTON. Synthetics are also ideal for activity, as they wick away moisture from the body and dry quickly. Added SPF protection in your clothing is always a great option for Baja.
Re-Wear Your Clothes:
The suggested numbers of clothing items are based on a one week adventure tour. We suggest using 1-2 kayaking or touring outfits, and 1-2 camp outfits that you will reuse throughout the trip. You are welcome to bring extra clothing for before or after your trip. *Note - on any hotel-based tours you can wash clothing in the bathroom sink and some accommodations may offer laundry service as well.
Snorkeling Attire: (Kayaking & Whale Shark Snorkel Tours)
- We will provide you with a shorty wetsuit, snorkel mask, fins, and PFD. For day tour extensions that include snorkeling, we recommend guests wear their swimsuit and bring sunscreen, a water bottle, sunglasses, and a lightweight windbreaker. We also strongly recommend a rash guard or synthetic long-sleeved top and full-length bottoms that you can comfortably swim in, as in some locations (particular where we snorkel with Whale Sharks), we have seen increased numbers of jellyfish. You are welcome to bring dry clothes to change into as well.
*If you have any questions, or need gear suggestions, please don’t hesitate to call the office or shoot us an e-mail. We are happy help!
Some of our Favorite Books about Baja
Reveles, D. (2004). Tequila, Lemon & Salt from Baja...Tales of Love, Faith and Magic
The border town of Tecate comes to colorful life and the lives of its inhabitants unfold, full of surprises and a few broken dreams in this collection of stories from Daniel Reveles.
Reveles, D. (2007). Guacamole Dip: From Baja...Tales of Love, Faith and Magic
The beloved storyteller takes readers back to Tecate, Baja California, for another helping - his tales are always humorous, often magical, and sometimes poignant. Reveles captures the Hispanic culture and flare perfectly.
Minch, J. (2017). Roadside Geology and Biology of Baja California, 2nd Ed
The book contains road logs that provide kilometer-by–kilometer highlights of the roadside geology and biology of specific areas.
Botello, J. (1998). Other Side: Journeys In Baja
A tale of two journeys, one outer and one inner. The outer explores the length, breadth, and depth of Baja and its rich history, its vibrant people, and the haunting beauty of the land. The inner journey involves a border world where cultures clash illuminating the landscape of the soul.
Swartz, S.L. (2014). Lagoon Time: A Guide to Grey Whales
An extraordinary first-hand account of the experiences and discoveries made by Dr. Steven Swartz and his colleagues in San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja California Sur, Mexico, that provides visitors a look into the human and natural history of Laguna San Ignacio
Crosby, H. (2010). Cave Paintings of Baja California
The Cave Paintings of Baja California are considered one of the 5 most significant areas in the world for pictographic murals and the only one in the Western Hemisphere.
Keir, D. (2016). Baja California Land of Missions
This book contains a detailed history of the activities by the Spanish and others attempting to colonize the peninsula of California from 1535 to 1855.
Aitchison, S. (2010). The desert islands of Mexico's Sea of Cortez
The desert islands in the Sea of Cortez are little known except to a few intrepid tourists, sailors, and fishermen. Though at first glance these stark islands may appear barren, they are a refuge for an astounding variety of plants and animals
Alderfer, J., & Hess, P. (2011). National Geographic backyard guide to the birds of North America
Essential for the millions of Americans who watch and feed birds in their backyards—whether experienced birders or new birding enthusiasts.
Berger, B. (1998). Almost an island: Travels in Baja California
Berger takes readers beyond the Baja of guidebooks and offers a wildly entertaining look at the real Baja California.
Carwardine, M. (1995). Whales, dolphins, and porpoises
The perfect introduction to 96 species of whale, dolphin, and porpoise. This pocket-size guide is essential for the family reference shelf, helping you to identify each species and discover more about them.
Day, T. (2006). Whale watcher: A comprehensive guide to the whales of the world and where to see them
Every year, more than four million people go whale watching, and the numbers keep growing.
Dedina, S. (2000). Saving the Gray Whale: People, Politics, and Conservation in Baja California
Once hunted by whalers and now the darling of ecotourists, the gray whale has become part of the culture, history, politics, and geography of Mexico's most isolated region.
Gotshall, D. (1998). Sea of Cortez marine animals: A guide to common fishes and invertebrates, Baja California to Panama
Howell, S. (1999). A Bird-finding Guide to Mexico
With a rich variety of stunning avifauna, Mexico provides the first taste of the Neotropics for many birders. At last here is a guide to Mexico's best birdwatching sites, from Baja California to the Yucatan Peninsula.
Hupp, B., & Malone, M. (2008). The edge of the Sea of Cortez: Tidewalkers' guide to the upper Gulf of California
Krutch, J. (1961). The Forgotten Peninsula; a Naturalist in Baja California
Krutch describes the desert plants and marine animals as well as the human and natural history of Baja California.
McPeak, R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Baja California
Covers species that occur on the Baja California Peninsula, islands of the Gulf of California, and the islands along the Pacific Coast.
Niemann, G. (2002). Baja Legends: The historic characters, events, and locations that put Baja California on the map
Perlo, B. (2006). Birds of Mexico and Central America
This is the only field guide to illustrate and describe every species of bird in Central America from Mexico to Panama, including Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. This handsome work covers more than 1,500 species.
Rebman, J., & Roberts, N. (2012). Baja California Plant Field Guide (3rd ed.)
This new edition of the Baja California Plant Field Guide discusses or describes over 715 different plants in more than 350 genera in 111 families.
Russell, D. (2001). Eye of the Whale epic passage from Baja to Siberia
Named a Best Book of the Year by three major newspapers upon its initial publication, and now available for the first time in paperback, Eye of the Whale offers an exhilarating blend of adventure and natural history as Dick Russell follows the migration of the gray whale from Mexico's Baja peninsula to the Arctic's Bering Strait.
Steinbeck, J., & Ricketts, E. (1976). The log from the Sea of Cortez: The narrative portion of the book, Sea of Cortez
1941, here reissued with a profile "About Ed Ricketts" In search of a respite from the national stage, Steinbeck and his close friend, biologist Ed Ricketts, embarked on a month long marine specimen-collecting expedition in the Gulf of California, which resulted in their collaboration on the Sea of Cortez.
Thomson, D., & Findley, L. (1979). Reef fishes of the Sea of Cortez: The rocky-shore fishes of the Gulf of California
Wilson, B., & Wilson, A. (2006). The complete whale-watching handbook: A guide to whales, dolphins, and porpoises of the world
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