The islands of the Sea of Cortez contain striking natural beauty in a dramatic setting formed by rugged islands with high cliffs and sandy beaches, which contrast with the brilliant reflection from the desert and the surrounding turquoise waters. 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.
Imagine sea kayaking Baja in the warm, clear waters of Loreto Bay National Marine Park in Mexico's Sea of Cortez, paddling along a spectacular section of coastline and exploring desert islands which pierce the tranquil waters. The towering volcanic escarpments of the Sierra Giganta Mountains rising out of the sea create your backdrop. Red-hued desert colors, azure blue water and magical land formations give this area great aesthetic and photographic appeal.
These waters offer exceptional opportunities for viewing dolphins, sea lions and whales in the wild. High-flying frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and squadrons of pelicans are your companions as you kayak past manta rays and brightly colored fish. The warm, crystalline waters of the Sea of Cortez host a breathtaking array of tropical fish - perfect for snorkeling.
Each winter endangered blue whales more than five times as long as your sea kayak migrate to these waters looking for tasty crustaceans. Encountering the largest animal on earth is a thrilling experience. Fin, Humpback and Sei whales also frequent the area. This video shows our guests mingling with these gentle giants at our exclusive whale camp which you can easily add to this tour.
Our three- to six-day self-supported and motorboat-supported Sea of Cortez Islands expeditions explore the beautiful Islas Danzante and Carmen. All itineraries begin in Loreto, Day 1 is kayak departure day. Optional motorboat support carries camping gear, food and supplies ahead of the main group, for lighter kayaks. The panga also carries comfortable chairs and tables for dining as well as a cooler with ice for cold drinks.
For the more adventurous, join our Isla Carmen Circumnavigation or Loreto to La Paz Expedition and experience a remote area few people see. Also, check out our combination kayak and gray whale watching tours. View a video of kayaking in Baja's Sea of Cortez and whale watching in Magdalena Bay.
Note: Day 0 & last day on Baja dates are arrival and departure dates.
Images & Videos
Arrive in Loreto, Evening Orientation Meeting
Upon your arrival in Loreto take a quick cab ride to your hotel and check into your room (Not included in trip cost). Spend your afternoon exploring the beautiful town of Loreto. You can tour the historic Mission located in the center of town, stroll through the local market and dine on authentic Mexican cuisine before meeting your guides in the designated location for an evening orientation meeting.
See our Baja Travel Guide for tips on getting to and from Loreto.
Kayak Orientation, Sea Kayak, Snorkel and Hike
Grab breakfast on your own before meeting your guides for the start of your kayaking adventure. You’ll board our van and ride to the launch site 20 minutes south of town. Before launching our kayaks your guides will provide a basic paddling overview and thorough safety orientation. We then push off for the start of our kayaking adventure, dipping our paddles into the turquoise water of the Sea of Cortez for the first time. We make our first crossing before stopping for lunch, snorkeling and hiking. Following lunch we jump back into the kayaks and head to our first campsite. Spend your evening mingling with new friends, enjoying our hors-d’oeuvre hour and feasting on an authentic Mexican dinner. As the evening comes to a close, retreat to your tent and fall asleep under a blanket of stars.
Sea Kayak, Snorkel, Hike, Beach Camp, Whale Watch
Our days begin with spectacular sunrises and end with delightfully cool evenings. Expect to paddle about 4 hours per day, broken up by a long lunch break and floating rest stops. You'll have opportunities at lunch and after kayaking to snorkel, hike, swim or relax with a good book. Each day we will have the opportunity to encounter whales, dolphins, flying manta rays, incredible birds and the beautiful scenery surrounding the Sea of Cortez. Evenings find us feasting on delicious fresh food and enjoying margaritas as the sun sets on the horizon. On dark nights don’t forget to check for bio-luminescence before heading to bed. We occasionally get the pleasure of witnessing this incredible phenomenon!
Take Out, Explore Loreto, Evening Farewell Dinner
Wake up and enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea while taking in sunrise before your final day of kayaking. We will spend the morning exploring the shorelines and watching for a final glimpse of marine life! After lunch we break camp and paddle to our take-out site around 2 p.m. Upon arrival at the take-out site we quickly unload our kayaks before making the return drive to Loreto. Once in Loreto you will check into your hotel room. Enjoy a hot shower before joining your guides and your fellow guests for a no host farewell dinner at a favorite local restaurant.
Return Home or Extend Your Stay
Departure date. Say good-bye to lovely Loreto and head back to the airport to fly home, or extend your vacation in this charming village. If you choose to extend your vacation, please see our full list of trip extensions.
Please note: The 3-, 4- and 5-day Itineraries will follow the same schedule as the 6-day itinerary, but with one to two fewer days of kayaking and camping. The Day 0 and last day remain arrival (fly in) and departure (fly out) days.
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Adult (USD)||Child (USD)|
|Mar 27, 2023 to Mar 31, 2023 |
5 Day Trip - Lowest Tier Price
|Apr 02, 2023 to Apr 05, 2023 |
4 Day Trip - Lowest Tier Price
|Apr 02, 2023 to Apr 07, 2023 |
6 Day Trip - Lowest Tier Price
|Apr 09, 2023 to Apr 12, 2023 |
4 Day Trip - Lowest Tier Price
|Apr 09, 2023 to Apr 14, 2023 |
6 Day Trip - Lowest Tier Price
|Apr 16, 2023 to Apr 19, 2023 |
4 Day Trip - Lowest Tier Price
|Apr 23, 2023 to Apr 26, 2023 |
4 Day Trip - Lowest Tier Price
|Apr 23, 2023 to Apr 28, 2023 |
6 Day Trip - Lowest Tier Price
|Apr 30, 2023 to May 03, 2023 |
4 Day Trip - Lowest Tier Price
|Apr 30, 2023 to May 05, 2023 |
6 Day Trip - Lowest Tier Price
Seasonal Rates and Departure Details
- 3, 4 & 6 Day Tours depart November - December & April
- 5 Day Tours depart Mid January thru March
3-Day Tours Rates: (Friday departures) - November and December:
We can offer other 3 Day Kayak Tours throughout the Spring on Fridays for Custom Groups
- 2- 6 Guests - $1090
- 7 - 13 Guests - Adults $990/ Youth $910
4 Day Tour Rates (Sunday Departures)
- 2 - 6 Guests - $1440
- 7 - 13 Guests - $1280
5-Day Tours (Monday departures- January-March):
Low Season - January 1 - 18, 2023 Rates:
- 2- 6 Guests - $1540
- 7 - 13 Guests - Adults $1390 / Youth $1280
High Season - January 19 - March 31, 2023 Rates:
- 2- 6 Guests - $1620
- 7 - 13 Guests - Adults $1490 / Youth $1490
6 Day Tours Rates (Sunday departures)
- 2 - 6 Guests - $1740
- 7 - 13 Guests - Adults $1590 / Youth $1470
- Single kayaks are available to reserve and use throughout the trip for an additional cost of $100. Please note, you must have previous ocean paddling experience to reserve a single kayak.
- Solo travelers will be provided with their own tent during all of our kayaking tours, at no additional cost. Please note, a limited number of single tents are available per departure.
- 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
- Transportation to and from the airport
- Hotel before and after the tour
- $30 National Parks & Biosphere Reserves access fees required by itinerary
- Items of a personal nature
WEATHER-CAUSED TRIP ALTERATIONS
Strong winds and/or rough water conditions sometimes prevent our trips from going as scheduled. We are at the mercy of nature, as well as the local Port Captains who determine if ports are open or closed. In particular, on our La Paz-based trips, winds may prevent us from crossing from the Port to Espiritu Santo Island which may also be reason for the Port Captain to close the port or prohibit crossing. In these cases there are different solutions. Sometimes we have to delay the crossing by a day or two, or have to leave Espiritu Santo Island a day or two early. In these cases we provide a substitute activity for the day(s) we cannot kayak. If the weather forecast predicts a series of days with strong winds, we also reserve the right to transfer the trip to Magdalena Bay on the Pacific Coast, which is almost always in calm, protected waters. We recognize this isn't ideal, however we have no control over nature. Most people prefer to still have a trip going, versus no kayak trip at all. Decisions to alter trips are not made until the last minute*, since we are basing our decisions on wind and weather forecasts that can change. Your guides will inform you at the evening orientation meeting if the trip location has changed or the itinerary has been altered. We use apps like Windy or Windfinder Pro to monitor winds and forecasts. The safety and security of our trips is the primary focus of our decisions.
If you purchase Trip Insurance and wish to cancel on the day of the trip, the "Trip Interruption" coverage may apply if Mexican authorities have closed the Port. If you have questions about your coverage, call the toll-free number on your Travel Insurance policy to ask. Neither our guides nor our office staff can determine if coverage will apply. Sea Kayak Adventures does reserve the right to modify and alter trip itineraries and in these circumstances will not provide any refund of trip monies paid.
*Last-minute means no sooner than noon the day prior. Final information will be provided at the evening orientation meeting.
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.
FAQ & More
How do I get to Loreto?
Please see our Baja Travel Guide for tips on getting to and from Loreto
Are your tour prices in USD?
Yes, all of our tour pricing is in US Dollars.
What’s included in this kayak package? What’s not included?
Included: Skilled professional guide services, ground transportation, motorboat-support to carry gear, snorkeling equipment, camping equipment including tents, sleeping bags, liners, and sleeping pads. Our camping trips include all meals from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day.
Not Included: Airfare, transportation to and from airport, hotels before and after kayaking, gratuities, $25 National Parks & Biosphere Reserves access fees required by itinerary, and items of a personal nature.
What kind of kayaks do you use?
For all of our Baja tours we use high quality, fiberglass kayaks, made by Seward. The majority of our fleet is comprised of tandems, as these boats offer the greatest stability, speed, and ease of paddling. There are typically a small number of single kayaks present on the tour, which will be utilized by the guides. Depending on weather conditions, and interest, they may allow guests to rotate into singles; however this will be at the guide's' discretion based on safety and the paddling objectives for the day. We also have a limited number of solo kayaks available to reserve and use throughout the trip (for an additional cost) for paddlers who have ocean kayaking experience.
Are your kayak trips motorboat supported?
Yes, if at any time a guest does not want to paddle they are welcome to ride in the panga instead.
Can I paddle a single kayak?
We have single kayaks available to reserve and use throughout the trip (for an additional cost of $100) for paddlers who have previous ocean paddling experience. If you would like to reserve a single kayak for your trip you will need to contact our Adventure Consultants to add this to your reservation and provide a summary of your ocean paddling experience.
What if I don’t have sea kayaking experience?
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.
What are the physical requirements for this trip?
When stopping at shore, you should be able to climb in and out of the kayaks on your own. They will be floating in calf-deep water. Your guides are happy to assist, but balance and limberness are required. When you get to your evening campsite, all group members must to be able to help carry the kayaks above the high tide line, in teams of 6-8, before the group disperses. You will change camp sites almost every night, but may have a layover day. Camp sites are assigned by the National Park Service immediately prior to the tour.
What’s camp like? Are there toilets and showers at camp?
When you get to your evening campsite all group members must be able to help carry the kayaks above the high tide line. You will change campsites almost every night, but may have a layover day. Campsites are assigned by the National Park Service immediately prior to the tour. We endeavor to secure the very best campsites for the natural beauty and amenities of the area. Your guides will give a demonstration of how to set up and take down your provided dome tent. We also will provide you with a sleeping bag, liner sheet, pillow and an inflatable thermarest sleeping pad. There will be a kitchen/dining area and shade tarps where you can sit back and relax.
While kayaking, we can only carry enough fresh water for drinking and cooking. There are no fresh water sources on most of the coastline and islands we visit. You can clean up with saltwater and soap off above the high tide line, or bring disposable shower wipes. A porta potty will fit into a hatch of the kayak or on the panga support boat, and will be transported to each campsite and set into a sheltered area for solid waste. Liquid waste can be expelled below the high tide line, or in a separate porta-potty bucket.
Is it safe to be around whales in sea kayaks?
As with all adventure travel, there is certainly an inherent risk that comes along with this sort of travel, as well as multiple external factors and variables that are outside of our control. However, we do take every measure to ensure that you and your family are in a safe situation while paddling. We paddle large, expedition style Sea Kayaks. Their size, girth, and weight make them very stable to paddle. We have never experienced a situation in which a whale has harmed a kayaker in the water. The whales are very aware of their surrounding, and we maintain a safe distance at all times.
What happens if it’s too windy to paddle?
If it’s too windy to paddle your guides will have alternative activities for guests to enjoy. There are opportunities to snorkel, hike or just relax on the beach with a margarita. We plan our itineraries to minimize risks posed by weather, but there is always an element of unpredictability in nature. The risk capsizing is reduced by our stable boats, but exists. All of our kayak guides are certified in kayak rescue.
What are the highlights of this tour?
The Islands of Loreto Bay are high traffic areas only to whales, dolphins, and other marine life! Boats are few and far between, and even other kayakers are seldom encountered. A few coves are popular lunch sites for passing boats or local fisherman, but otherwise you may feel as if you're alone in the wilderness. The Loreto Bay National Park Service assigns campsites on these islands, and only allows one group per site. Barring mix-ups or weather emergencies, your tour will have the beach to yourself.
When is the best time to go to see whales in the Sea of Cortez?
The islands of Loreto National Marine Park, located in the Sea of Cortez, are home for 6 different species of whales including Blue, Fin, Sei, Humpback, Bryde's and Pilot whales. From January through April look for spectacular sightings of Blue, Fin and Humpback whales in the warm, calm waters near Loreto on our Sea of Cortez Islands tours. Magdalena Bay and San Ignacio Lagoon, on the opposite side of the peninsula, are both world-renowned winter nursery grounds of the Gray whales. From late-January to mid-March is the best time to see gray whales. We operate both Gray Whale Base Camps and Kayak/Whale Watching Combos during this short season.
Can I fish?
In general, fishing is allowed in Loreto/La Paz. You would need to obtain a fishing license either before arriving or upon arrival. Our guides will not allow fishing if you are unable to produce a valid license. You will also need to bring all of your own fishing equipment. Along our kayaking routes there are areas where fishing is allowed, the guides will let you know where fishing is prohibited. Also, fishing is only allowed at the guide's discretion, as we have an itinerary, schedule and other group members that we have to take into consideration.
When is the best time to go?
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 trips are characterized by calmer, warmer days. Fall trips (October & November) offer warm and clear waters for great snorkeling and little chance of strong winds. An added attraction is the opportunity to observe the Baja desert in bloom following the rainy season in August and September. Winter trips (December, January & February) tend to be cooler with more chance of wind. Spring trips (March, April & May) offer warmer waters with warm calm days being common. As an added bonus on spring trips many cetaceans migrate into the Sea of Cortez at this time and sightings may include blue, fin, and humpback whales.
What’s the difference between Loreto & La Paz?
If you are having trouble deciding between the two destinations we suggest reading this Blog detailing the differences between Loreto and LaPaz.
What gear do I need?
Sea Kayak Adventures will provide you with a detailed packing list prior to your trip. We provide all of the necessary camping, paddling and snorkeling equipment, which you will need to fully enjoy your adventure. If you are interested in more specific information, check out our general Baja packing list here! If you have any questions, or need help deciding what to bring, you can call or e-mail one of our friendly Adventure Consultants at any time for some extra advice!
What kind of food will I eat? Do you accommodate dietary restrictions?
Our renowned wilderness meals are prepared daily by our guides using local, fresh, healthy ingredients. In Baja you can expect an authentic dining experience, with savory dishes like chiles rellenos, tostadas, ceviche, and chicken mole. We even serve delicious desserts like brownies and pineapple upside-down cake! Each morning, we serve up freshly brewed coffee or tea. Throughout the day we provide an abundance of local fruits, vegetables, and other snacks. Wine and mixed drinks are served with hors d’oeuvres each evening for happy hour.
We do our best to accommodate special dietary requests, working within the parameters of the destinations in which we operate. If you have a very strict diet, we recommend packing extra snacks that you know you can eat.
How many guests per tour?
To keep our group size small and our impact minimal, we typically limit our tours to 14 people or less. Our standard minimum to confirm a departure is 4 guests for our Islands of Loreto Bay kayak tour.
What’s the weather like in Baja?
Please check out this great website Weather Underground for temperature averages in Baja.
Will I have cell phone reception?
Contact your service provider for the best options for taking your cell phone to a different country. You are unlikely to receive cell service while paddling, but WiFi is available in many coffee shops in town. Your guides will be equipped with radios during the tour in case of emergency.
Is there any extensions I can add to the beginning or end of my trip?
If you will be extending your stay in lovely Loreto before or after your tour, we are happy to arrange a Tour Extension option to help you explore Baja. Please inquire with the office if you would like to add on a tour extension to your reservation.
Is there a single supplement fee for solo travelers?
Our tour costs are based on double occupancy on any included hotel nights. Solo travelers who would like their own single hotel room can pay a single supplement or can be matched up with another solo traveler of the same gender if one is available and willing to share. If we are unable to pair you with another solo traveler, we must apply the single supplement charge to cover our hotel costs. Solo travelers will always have their own tent during kayaking tours, at no additional cost.
Where can I store my luggage while I’m on your tour?
You can leave your luggage at your tour hotel while you are on tour. We recommend getting a luggage lock if you are leaving any electronics in the bags. We’ve never had any issues with guests leaving their bags at the hotel but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
What are your Terms and Conditions?
Please see our full Terms & Conditions HERE.
Great trip, guides were extraordinary!
Fabulous islands, great support staff
My partner and I had a fabulous 5 day trip, mostly to Carmen Island. Wind created challenges but the staff flexed and provided great experiences till we could kayak again, and supported us as we battled through the high seas and cross winds. The snorkeling was fabulous and hiking revealed amazing animals, birds and skeletons Fabulous food on a desert island.
Sherman, Diego and Jen were incredible guides! The weather was windy and challenging but they kept the trip fun, safe and interesting. Jen gave a wonderful yoga class on the beach. Sherman kept us entertained with his stories, personality, hikes and snorkeling. Diego's passion for biology, the marine reserve and cooking was enjoyed by all of us. Thank you for making this 60th birthday trip a memorable one!
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