*Please note that 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:
WHALE WATCHING PORTION:
MEETING PLACE: Oasis Hotel, Loreto
MEETING TIME: 7:00 PM MST
TRIP MILES: 2-hour drive from Loreto to Lopez Mateos Marina on the Pacific Ocean.
PUT-IN: Panga boat ferry from Lopez Mateos Marina to Madalena Bay Whale Camp
TAKE-OUT: Lopez Mateos Marina on the Pacific Ocean
RETURN TIME: 3rd Day, 2:00 PM MST
TRIP LENGTH: 3 days
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 8
BOAT TYPE: Panga Motor Boat
MEETING PLACE: Oasis Hotel, Loreto
MEETING TIME: 3rd Day, 6:00 PM MST
TRIP MILES: 3- 5 miles per day
PUT-IN: Puerto Escondido, 20 miles south of Loreto in the Sea of Cortez or Malecon La Paz
TAKE-OUT: Puerto Escondido, 20 miles south of Loreto in Sea of Cortez or Malecon La Paz
RETURN TIME: 8th Day, 2:00 PM MST
TRIP LENGTH: 5 days
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 12
BOAT TYPE: Kayak
THE LAST SUPPER: Join your guide and fellow trip guests for a No host farewell dinner at a favorite local restaurant.
NEAREST AIRPORTS: Loreto International Airport (LTO).
3x5 Kayak & Whale Watch Combo Tour Itinerary
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 Loreto in Baja!
Upon your arrival in Loreto take a quick cab ride to your hotel and check into your room (Not included in the trip cost). Spend your afternoon exploring the beautiful town. In Loreto, you can tour the historic Mission located in the center of town, stroll through the local market and dine on authentic Mexican cuisine. An evening orientation will be held in Loreto at the Oasis Hotel lobby
Accommodations: Not Included
Meals Included: 0 (travel day)
Day 1: Whale Watching in Magdalena Bay
- Accommodations: Camping
- Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Whale Watching in Magdalena Bay
- Accommodations: Camping
- Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Return to Loreto
- Accommodations: Oasis hotel
- Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4: Time to Go Kayaking
- Accommodations: Camping
- Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner
- Paddling Duration: 3-4 hours
Day 5-7: Camping and kayaking in the Sea of Cortez
- Accommodations: Camping
- Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Paddling Duration: 3-4 hours per day
Day 8: Return to Loreto
- Accommodations: Not Included
- Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9: Fly Home or extend your stay with a Day Tour!
Please see our Baja Travel Guide for full details on travel to and from Baja.
We highly recommend checking the weather prior to your trip for an updated forecast and current conditions. We recommend the following websites.
Weather in Loreto, Baja - Weather Underground
Weather in La Paz, Baja - Weather Underground
WHEN TO GO?
For many people, the best time to go is the time that fits their vacation, or when they want to escape the chill of winter in the north. Here's some other information to help you decide what would be the best time to go in order to meet your expectations and desires.
Baja weather is much more mild than many places in North America, but it is still in North America, as it is north of the equator, and does have all four seasons. The summer months of June through August are blistering hot and rather humid in Baja Sur. It's a time that sport-fishers and a few other tourists come, but it's not peak season due to the heat. All the summer heat has the benefit of heating up the sea and that is appealing to people that love warm water. As the weather cools down in September and we begin our kayaking and tour season in October, the water holds that heat and the Gulf of California is wonderfully warm. If your dream is hot weather and warm water, then October through mid November is a great time to visit Baja. By early December the seas have cooled somewhat and daytime temperatures are lower. It's not cold by any means, but it's not hot either. Days are generally in the 70's (20’s C) and nights in the 60's (15 C). Clear blue skies and sunshine can make it feel warmer of course, but these are the true temperatures. We go snorkeling, but as water temperatures are in the 60's (15 C), most people wear the wetsuits that we provide.
- Loreto average temperatures
- Loreto Gulf of California average water temperatures
- La Paz average temperatures
- La Paz Gulf of California average temperatures
Winds are also a factor in Baja. The Gulf of California is less windy in October, November, and mid-March through the summer, than it is in December through February. That's why some of our trips, like Isla San Jose, are only offered during the less windy timeframes because of logistics and the orientation of the islands. Be aware that your trip may be altered by wind conditions at any time, but it's more likely to be an issue in the December through February timeframe.
Whales! Both the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) and the Pacific are important habitats for whales who come here by the thousands. Seeing gray whales at our Magdalena Bay whale watching camp on the Pacific coast, is a highlight for many. The mothers arrive starting in late December to give birth and nurture their calves before swimming north to Arctic waters, starting in late March and April. On the Gulf of California side of the Baja peninsula there are blue, minke, fin and orcas and we often see these while we are kayaking from mid-January to mid-March. Seeing whales is a big draw for many and one reason our peak season is generally mid-January through late March. If you don't care so much about whales, and warmer weather is of paramount importance, then it's best to come outside of the whale season. You will still see plenty of marine life, and some animals, like manta rays, are more active in the late spring.
Compared to much of North America, Baja weather is idyllic. Even the coldest day in Baja is mighty nice! With the proper clothing and expectations, it's always the "best" time to be in Baja! But consider your wishes and the experience you want to have when deciding when to go. Always feel welcome to contact our staff if you have questions.
Sea Kayak Adventures Physical Requirements
Here at 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 sea 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. 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 Sea Kayak 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 Sea Kayak 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 + Whale Watching Packing List Overview
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!
Our whale camp is located on an island on the Pacific Coast side of Baja. At times it is quite a bit cooler on the Pacific side than the Gulf of California side. Fog and mist are common. When out in the pangas (motorboats) for whale watching, it can be windy and cool. If you’re lucky and the sun is out during the day you will need to focus on sun-protection. However, evenings are always cool and the weather is highly variable. Thus, be sure to pay attention to our recommendations about cold-weather gear.
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. We also provide all necessary kayak gear including personal flotation devices (PFDs), paddles, kayaks, and three dry bags. We provide masks, snorkels, fins and wetsuits. *Please note if you wear eyeglasses you should bring your own mask to accommodate those or your own prescription lens mask. Our wetsuits are a mix of short legs and full length legs and we will provide one for you, but can't guarantee if it will be long or short legged.
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 only your kayaking tour into your three dry bags. The smallest one is best used for items you might need during the day and is stowed inside the cockpit where you sit, or on the deck of your kayak. Sleeping bags are packed separately.
If you have extra luggage, it can be left at the hotel where you stay. If you do not stay at our recommended trip hotel be sure to check with the place you do stay.
Provided Snorkeling Attire
We will provide you with a shorty wetsuit, snorkel mask, fins, and PFD.
Sea Kayak 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/ personal item.
Use Soft Sided Luggage
We do not use dry bags for our Whale Camp tours. We suggest using soft sided luggage for your main bag. Since we do not use dry bags for whale camp; 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. This will serve as your main piece of luggage for the trip. During your kayaking portion of your combo trip, you will be able to store your extra luggage at the hotel since you will be using dry bags. In addition, if you do have a checked bag you can leave luggage behind in storage at your tour hotel during your whale watching tour & kayak tour.
One Small Day Pack
This dual purpose pack can serve as your personal item during your flights as well as your day pack during the whale camp portion of your 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 Sea Kayaking + Whale Watching Packing List
- Passport – must be valid for at least six (6) months after the date of your arrival
- A photo of your passport on your phone. 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 and/or email someone back home your air ticket information in case you lose your phone.
- Credit and/or Debit/ATM card that works internationally, ideally with chip technology (Some banks want you to notify them of travel plans ahead of time which often can be done online.) In Loreto there are two banks where you can get pesos using your ATM debit card. The one with the best rate is Banco Azteca.
- Plan to use cash (pesos) for small purchases, taxis and incidental tipping
- USD, CAD or Euros for guide gratuities at the end of your trip
- 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 “post activity” outfit for mornings and nights at camp. The evenings and early mornings can be chilly at whale camp, therefore packing according to this list is important.
- One - three pair long, lightweight, nylon pants with zipper pockets (zip off legs give you more options)
- One pair of nylon shorts
- Rashguard - great for use as sun-protection and extra warmth when snorkeling
- Sarong (optional, but super handy for changing clothes, laying on the ground, etc.)
- One windbreaker or light raincoat (better) that truly stops wind, for use on the pangas when whale watching
- One - three short sleeve button-up shirt(s) or t-shirt(s) (synthetic is best)
- One - three long sleeve shirts, ideally with SPF protection
- One light-weight bottom layer like a long-sleeve synthetic shirt or merino wool t-shirt
- One medium-weight layer of fleece - synthetic or merino wool for warmth
- One heavier-weight layer of fleece OR a "puffy jacket" of synthetic down
- One wide-brim, tie-on hat
- 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. They will get sandy at camp
- One pair of sandals with ankle straps to wear while kayaking, on the beaches, walking around towns, etc.
- One buff - for sun protection as well as wind protection on cold days
- One warm beanie cap or ski cap (especially important on whale watching trips and November to March when cooler winds can be present)
Casual Pre & Post Activity Clothing
- One - two other comfortable pairs of bottoms: pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, etc.
- One pair other lightweight shoes for time in town
- 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
- Retaining strap for glasses and sunglasses
- Flashlight or Headlamp
- One pair of paddling gloves
- One pair of light wool gloves if you get cold easily
- Small day pack or fanny pack for hikes (optional)
- One large-mouth water bottle, 1 liter or larger
- One carabiner (this is optional but useful for clipping your water bottle to your kayak)
- Towel (small lightweight towel, backpacking style works great)
- Camera and appropriate charging mechanism (We do have a solar panel at whale camp that can recharge phones but it doesn’t always work based on sunshine.)
- Waterproof Camera 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 pillable personal items
- Books or E-reader, pen, and notepad, headphones. If you want to listen to music, please do it privately with earbuds or headphones.
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 Bug Spray or Bug Balm
- Sunscreen and Lip balm with SPF 20-50
- 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 bottle of hand-sanitizer gel
- Shampoo and soap (we recommend biodegradable, multi-purpose options)
- *Optional female urinary device (allows women to urinate standing up without removing clothing). Silicon or hard plastic ones work great. Popular name brands include Gogirl and Shewee.
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 - Baja Recommended 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, Sea Kayaking, and Whale Watching 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 Best Places to Eat in Loreto, Baja - Explore our favorite restaurants
Best Things To Do in Loreto, Baja - Fill your extra days with the best experiences in Loreto.
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
History of Magdalena Bay - A deeper look at Mag Bay
Common Birds of Magdalena Bay - Learn about birds you'll see while kayaking.
The Migration of Gray Whales - Learn the migration patterns of the magnificent Gray Whales.
Insiders Guide to Loreto, Baja - Everything to see and do in Loreto.
Guide to Loreto Bay National Marine Park - Learn about the five islands that make up the national park.
Baja's Underwater Wonders: Snorkeling the Sea of Cortez - Explore the underwater world before you arrive!
Terms & Conditions
Please see our full Terms & Conditions HERE.