*Please note that the the following information is meant to provide a general overview of your tour. The specifics of your trip will be contained in a pre-trip letter you will receive prior to your confirmed departure.*
Important Trip Details:
MEETING PLACE: 7 Crown Hotel, La Paz
MEETING TIME: 7:00 PM MST
TRIP MILES: Varies depending on group size, weather and kayaker's abilities
PUT-IN: La Paz, Sea of Cortez
TAKE-OUT: La Paz, Sea of Cortez
RETURN TIME: 2:00 PM MST
THE LAST SUPPER: Join your guide and fellow trip guests for a No host farewell dinner at a favorite local restaurant.
TRIP LENGTH: 6 days
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 16
BOAT TYPE: Kayak
NEAREST AIRPORTS: La Paz International (LAP) and San Jose del Cabo (SJD)
Note on Itinerary: Approximate paddling distances listed and can vary depending on group size and weather. We will do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above. However, the itinerary may change due to reasons beyond our control such as wind, waves or inclement weather. Please Note: Although there is a very good chance we'll see whales and other marine life throughout the week, the frequency, proximity, and quality of sightings will ultimately be determined by the wildlife.
Day 0: Welcome to La Paz in Baja!
Fly direct to La Paz (LAP) or to San Jose del Cabo (SJD) and transfer north three hours to La Paz by bus, shuttle or taxi. Overnight in La Paz at the Seven Crown Centro Hotel and meet in the evening for an orientation with your Sea Kayak Adventures tour leader. We hand out waterproof bags to pack and answer all your last-minute questions. You also have time to explore the city, capital of Baja Sur, with its lively seaside promenade and many exceptional seafood restaurants.
Meals Included: 0 (travel day)
Accommodations: not included
Day 1: Visit fishing village on Sea of Cortez
We meet in the morning and head north to begin our adventure, traveling through a fascinating landscape of huge cacti and rugged mountains. Our guides, all bilingual Mexicans from the area, are a fountain of knowledge, eager to share their home with you.
By late morning we arrive at our starting point. If the weather is cooperating, we put in near Punta Coyote. If winds or rough seas are present we head to a small coastal fishing village where we may start our paddle, or camp on the property of a local fishing family. At the appropriate time we prepare the kayaks, adjust seats and foot pedals and have a safety orientation talk.
Our hoped-for destination is a small island south of San Jose called San Francisco. It has an idyllic bay and easy introductory hike to the top of the island with views of the bays below and the azure Sea of Cortez. Depending on conditions we may spend the night here or continue to Isla San Jose. Either way there is time to swim and snorkel.
As the light fades we sit down to a festive and traditional Baja dinner of fresh seafood, tortillas and more. The evening sky is soon studded with diamond-sparkling stars and sleep beckons.
Meals Included: L, D
Day 2: Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez
We rise early for a hearty breakfast and to start paddling to take advantage of the usually windless mornings. If we didn’t visit yesterday, we hope to visit another small island today located between Islas San Francisco and San Jose. El Pardito. This is a small rocky outcrop where several artisan fishing families live and we stop to learn about their life on this remote island.
After a couple hours of paddling we beach our kayaks on Isla San Jose for a well-deserved break and chance to stretch our legs with a walk on a beach. This beautiful Sea of Cortez island has dozens of long beaches of golden sand, perfect for beach combing. Depending on our mood and sea conditions we may have lunch at our first landing, or continue a short distance more.
After lunch we continue paddling another hour or so to our camp. Here you are introduced to our routine for the next few days. Arrive at camp, set up tents, take a swim or snorkel, go on a walk or, read a book. Relish the free time away from any phones or email. Disconnected from your world at home and totally connected with where you are and the people you're with.
Soon it's time for appetizers, then dinner under the stars. Relaxed, physically tired and hopefully at peace with everything around you, you fall into a deep sleep.
Meals Included: B, L, D
Paddling duration: 3-4 hours
Day 3: Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez
Warm rays from the rising sun awake you from your slumber. If that doesn't do it your guides wake you gently. We have breakfast on the beach, then pack up your stuff while your guides pack up the kitchen and camp. Then off we go into the inviting Sea of Cortez, one of the healthiest marine ecosystems in the world. We may see giant blue whales swim by, fin whales or orcas! Pods or dolphins sometimes play with us as we paddle and manta rays often soar above the surface.
We paddle a couple of hours then stop when we find a welcoming beach for a long lunch with time for walking, snorkeling or sunbathing. After lunch, settling into the rhythms of island life, we paddle a bit farther to camp. Now familiar with our routine, we spend another glorious evening.
Meals Included: B, L, D
Paddling duration: 3-4 hours
Day 4: Exploring in the Sea of Cortez
Depending on weather, the group's interests and available hiking possibilities, we may have a layover day. Often people welcome the break from kayaking and the chance to give arms and shoulders a respite from working out.
Isla San Jose has some amazing hiking trails including one that crosses the entire island. Reaching a high point on the island with expansive vistas over the azure Sea of Cortez, perhaps with whales blowing spouts in the distance, may be the highlight of the trip for you.
There is also time for digging clams from the beach when the tide is low. Your guides lift the veils of mystery in the rich tidal areas. You might also enjoy learning how to fish with one of our guides who has a passion for this!
Meals Included: B, L, D
Paddling duration: 3-4 hours
Day 5: Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez
Another day of adventure and relaxation. Weather permitting, we round the north end of the island and paddle along the eastern shore. This is a dramatic coast, adorned with cliffs, arches and secluded coves where you look into transparent waters to fish below. By now you are as one with this place. Life at home seems far away. We land and explore, on foot or snorkeling in the transparent water. Another scrumptious lunch. Another wonder-filled afternoon. A festive last night camp.
Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 6: Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez and Return to La Paz
We rise early and paddle a short distance. Then we load into our panga. We complete our paddle exploration of the island and cross back to the mainland. On arrival we have lunch, then load up into our van for the 2 ½ drive back to La Paz. Once at your hotel, a warm shower will feel great! Refreshed, we meet for a lively farewell dinner at a local restaurant and regale each other with tales of the trip. (dinner is no-host)
Meals Included: B, L
Accommodations: not included
Day 7: Return home or extend your stay
Our kayak adventure is done and we highly recommend you join our day tour Snorkeling with Whale Sharks. Alternatively, you may start your travel home.
Meals Included: 0 (travel day)
OPTIONAL: ADD A DAY TO SNORKEL WITH WHALE SHARKS for $149 (No hotel included)
You can extend your stay in La Paz a day before or after your kayak tour for a chance to snorkel with whale sharks. These plankton-eaters are the world's largest fish, and can reach lengths of up to 42' (13 m)! Whale sharks migrate into the bay of La Paz from October through April, where the shallow water of the bay harbors the favorite treats of these filter-feeding animals. Meet your guides bright and early to get a head start on the water in search of these peaceful creatures. The tour is approximately four hours, depending on the number of whale sharks present, so you'll have time to spend the afternoon exploring La Paz's beautiful Malecon.
Meals Included: L
Accommodations: not included
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 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 this website; wunderground. 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.
WHEN TO GO?
The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers the perfect blend of Baja kayaking, hiking and snorkeling. Abundant wildlife, massive whales, sunny weather and warm, crystalline waters make the Sea of Cortez in Loreto Bay National Marine Park one of the best winter sea kayaking and whale watching destinations in North America. We offer kayak tours between the months of October and May with January through April being the peak whale watching season.
Here at ROW 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 rafting 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 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 SEA KAYAKING 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. 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!
Gear Provided by Sea Kayak Adventures
Sea Kayak Adventures provides all necessary equipment for your selected tour. This includes all necessary camping equipment for your tour: tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, and pillow with pillow case. In addition to all the necessary equipment for kayaking and snorkeling: personal flotation devices (PFDs), paddles, kayaks, and three dry bags.
Provided Dry Bags
At the orientation meeting on the evening, before we start kayaking, we will provide each guest with 3 dry bags (two 20-Liter bags and one 10-Liter bag). Your kayaking guides will provide a full explanation of how to use and pack your dry bags. That evening you will pack all of your gear for your kayaking tour into your three dry bags. One of your 20-liter dry bags will contain your sleep kit; the remaining 30 liters of space in your dry bags is for your personal gear.
Not sure how to picture 10 and 20 Liters worth of space? Think of a large white kitchen trash bag for the 20 liter bag and a small bathroom size trash bag for the 10 liter bag.
The rest of your luggage can be checked into the locked hotel closet the following morning before departing for your tour.
Provided Snorkeling Attire
We will provide you with a shorty wetsuit, snorkel mask, fins, and PFD.
Sea Kayak Adventures trips 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.
We recommend packing in one soft sided, roll-on (ideally a non-hard-sided version) or duffle luggage that meets carry-on requirements. Alternatively, if you must have a checked bag; make sure your personal item is packed with your “hard to replace items.” You will be able to leave luggage not needed for your kayaking trip in hotel storage.
We also recommend bringing one small day pack. This dual purpose pack can serve as your personal item during your flights as well as your day pack for hikes 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.
Baja Kayak Packing List:
- 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)
- Copy of your air tickets with ticket numbers, placed elsewhere in your luggage
- Plan to use cash (pesos) for small purchases, taxis and gratuities
- Credit and/or Debit/ATM card that works internationally, ideally with chip technology (Before leaving home, notify your bank of your travel to help prevent any fraud detection holds on your card)
- Watch or small travel clock with alarm (if you are taking a phone, this can serve as your alarm clock)
- Money belt or concealed passport carrier to carry your passport, travel documents and money, hidden under your clothing
- TSA-accessible lock for luggage security when not on your person (optional- can buy these at any travel or outdoor recreation store)
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. We recommend keeping one outfit out of the following packing guidelines as a “pre and post-activity” outfit for mornings and nights at camp.
- One - three pair long, lightweight, nylon pants with zipper pockets (zip off legs give you more options)
- One- two pair nylon shorts
- Rashguard or swimshirt
- Sarong (optional, but super handy for changing clothes, laying on the ground, etc.)
- One - three short sleeve button-up shirt(s) or t-shirt(s)
- One - three long sleeve shirts, ideally with SPF protection
- One wide-brim, tie-on hat
- One lightweight waterproof raincoat
- 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 of sandals with ankle straps to wear while kayaking, on the beaches, walking around towns, etc.
- Extra synthetic or wool layers (e.g. long underwear) for warmth during cool evenings
Casual Pre & Post Activity Clothing
- One - two other comfortable pairs of bottoms: pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, etc.
- One - two tops: short sleeve, long sleeve and/or button up shirt(s)
- One light sweater or jacket for warmth in the evenings and mornings
- One pair pajamas
*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.
- Retaining strap for glasses and sunglasses
- Flashlight or headlamp
- One pair of paddling gloves
- Small day pack or fanny pack for hikes
- One water bottle, 1 liter or larger
- One buff or bandana for sun protection and cooling off
- Camp towel (small lightweight towel, backpacking style works great)
- Camera and appropriate charging mechanism
- Back up battery pack for electronic devices
- Waterproof camera or valuables case
- Binoculars or monocular
- Glasses or contacts if needed
- Polarized sunglasses
- Reusable dirty/clean gear bags for wet or soiled items
- Small reusable, leak-proof bags for liquid or spillable personal items
- Books or E-reader, pen and notepad, headphones, etc
Toiletries and 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
- Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 15-30
- Pre-moistened toilette packets or disposable shower wipes to refresh
- Prescriptions and any necessary personal medicines (please be sure to bring necessary prescriptions and any needed emergency medicine such as an EpiPen, Benadryl, etc)
- Heavy duty skin lotion for dry, sun-baked, and salted skin
- Small squeeze bottle of hand-sanitizer gel
- Shampoo and soap (we recommend biodegradable, multi-purpose options)
Mosquitoes and no-see-ums (sand flies) are sometimes present during our Baja tours. Please ensure that you pack a quality insect repellent and consider full coverage clothing for the evenings and time around camp. The full coverage clothing will provide great sun protection as an added bonus. We recommend repellent with DEET or Picaridin Insect Repellent (Picaridin is less toxic and less harsh on gear/clothing than DEET. Here is one example of a Picaridin-based repellent.
Sea Kayak Adventures - Recommended Baja Reading List
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
Additional Baja and Sea Kayaking Information
Weather Report- Check the local weather before you go.
Trip Advisor - Read guest reviews
Sea of Cortez - The amazing geology, flora, and fauna of this region
Baja Travel Guide - Additional information on travel to and from Baja
Meet the SKA Fleet - The boats of Sea Kayak Adventures
7 Tips for Staying Clean on an Ocean Kayaking Adventure - Expert tips for staying clean on your SKA trip
Anatomy of a Sea Kayak - Brush up on your sea kayak anatomy
Terms & Conditions
Please see our full Terms & Conditions HERE.