Baja Sea Kayaking & Whale Watching Adventure

from $1,895

The Sea of Cortez is a breathtaking sight, with the southeastern landscape of Baja California Sur running into the bright blue ocean. The desert ridges and canyons around Loreto boast the richest variety of life on the peninsula, and the nearby islands and reefs teem with life.

From the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range to the idyllic coastline, Baja California Sur is a natural paradise for adventurous travelers.

Sea Kayaking and Whale Watching in the Sea of Cortez

In February and early March of each year, the whale migration comes to Baja California Sur. Humpback whales, blue whales, gray whales, sperm whales, fin whales, and other species have been seen in the Sea of Cortez, but near Loreto, the most common sightings are blue and humpback whales. In fact, a triangular section of water just south of Isla del Carmen is known as “the blue whale triangle” owing to the large numbers of blue whale sightings there.

This trip is a mix of kayaking with daily excursions in our panga, a motorized support boat that can get us into the Blue Whale Triangle in a short time. These majestic creatures are the largest animal on earth, and viewing them close-up is a breathtaking experience, to say the least.

In order to provide more information on whales in the Sea of Cortez, we also bring along a local naturalist who specializes in the study of cetaceans. We also adjust our typical kayaking schedule to fit in more opportunities for whale watching.

Day Before
When you arrive at Loreto’s airport, we are there to transport you to your waterfront hotel. Spend the afternoon exploring the town’s history and visiting its shops, then meet back at the hotel at 6:00pm for a thorough orientation. Your guides will answer any questions you have, and map out the flow of the coming days for you.

Day 1
The day begins with breakfast at our favorite local café. We then take a van from the hotel to Magdalena Bay, located on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula. We board our panga, and for the next 3-4 hours watch mother gray whales and their young swimming together under the guidance of our resident naturalist. The whales often get close enough to touch you, or look you in the eye. Lunch at a local restaurant in the fishing village of Puerto Lopez Mateo is included, and afterwards we head back to the Sea of Cortez to begin our kayak adventure. We will stay at the Tripui Hotel for the night before we start our paddling adventure.

Day 2
The sun rising over the Sea of Cortez and casting its light on the jagged promontories of Isla Danzante, and the Giganta range to the West, is a sight to behold. Your guides will point out Los Candeleros Islands, small rocks jutting above the water that serve as a home to cormorants, boobies, and ospreys. Blue whales and pods of dolphins have been spotted in the channel between the two islands, so when we cross to Isla del Carmen later in the day, be sure to keep an eye out. We make camp on the southwestern tip of Isla del Carmen, and will have plenty of time in the afternoon for hiking, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, or a trip into the Blue Whale Triangle.

Day 3
After a delicious breakfast of Mexican eggs, tortillas, fresh fruit, and fresh coffee, we’ll go on a day trip to the coves of Isla del Carmen, then return to the campsite for more activities. You’ll have another opportunity to go see whales.

Day 4
We have spent two nights at the Isla del Carmen campsite, so it’s time to cross back to Isla Danzante for a new campsite, one surrounded by massive rock formations. We’ll spend some time exploring Danzante’s shoreline, with its many tranquil coves, until we finally reach the cove where our camp is located.

Day 5
Today is our final crossing, back to the Baja Peninsula mainland, and our final campsite. Once we make it across the channel to the peninsula, you’ll have one last afternoon to explore the campsite’s rocky shoreline, dotted with enormous boulders. The snorkeling is excellent, and at night you will have the opportunity to paddle out and view bioluminescent sea creatures beneath the mirror like waters.

Day 6
The sun rises over the Sea of Cortez one last time, making fiery colors briefly appear on the turquoise-hued water. Bid goodbye to this magnificent piece of the planet. We’ll have breakfast, pack up, and paddle back to Puerto Escondido for the take-out, where a van will be waiting to take us back to Loreto. Once we’ve all showered and enjoyed a final seaside lunch or snack, it’s back to the airport, your head filled with the past week’s experiences, your heart looking forward to your next adventure.

Day After
Time to travel home and remember all your fond memories of Baja!

Hotel accommodations are not included in the trip package. You will want to book accommodations for at least the night before the first published day of the trip, and then again for the night of the last published day of the trip.

For our confirmed clients, we are pleased to offer the services of our preferred Travel Planners, to assist with all of your flight and hotel needs. Although limited in number, visitors to Loreto have lodging choices that range from Luxury to budget. Our travel planner will assist you in determining lodging that fits your preferences. Our Travel planners are seasoned Baja veterans, and will help you find the best flight arrangements as well, so that your trip planning is smooth and efficient.

Departure Dates:

2019
February 16-21
February 23-28

March 2-7
March 9-14

Trip Price:

$1,895 per person, based on double occupancy

Packing List

Air Temperature and Sun Protection

During February, March and April, daytime air temperatures in Loreto range from low 70s earlier in the season to the mid-80s later on with light afternoon breezes to sometimes strong Northerly winds. With the aridity the nights can drop to the 50s on the earlier dates, occasionally into the 40s, thus requiring warm layers. By mid-March on, there are often evenings where no layers are needed.

Water Temperature and Snorkel Gear

Water temperatures range from 69 degrees early in our season to 77 degrees towards the end. Most people feel more comfortable snorkeling in full wetsuits earlier in the season when the water is cooler. We have light wetsuits available which consist of a “farmer john” (sleeveless) suit that covers down to the knees and a wetsuit jacket which fits over the top. Depending upon the water temperature, some guests may be more comfortable in a fuller or thicker wetsuit. For trips earlier in the season, if you know you are more comfortable in a warmer suit, or if you want to check for fit beforehand (we do have sizes running from XS – XXL) we recommend you bring your own. We also have masks, snorkels and fins available. If you are an avid snorkeler and have your own gear, you are welcome to bring it down.

Packing Guidelines

Although we expect beautiful balmy weather, stormy winds occasionally intrude into the usually gracious Sea of Cortez. Follow the list closely and you will be comfortable throughout the trip. Feel free to adapt according to previous camping and kayaking experience. Keep in mind the list is oriented to make sure you have enough nighttime and morning layers for the earlier/cooler trip dates.  After you have arrived in Loreto and met with your guides, your bulk gear will be repacked into “boat bags” which will be given to you, along with a small personal “dry bag” for incidentals and a mesh bag for snorkeling gear. Your boat bags will be transported on our support boat while you are on the water (kayaking/paddleboarding). If you are unsure whether or not to bring an item on the packing list, we recommend you bring it. You will have enough boat bags to fit all the gear on the list, and the gear will be transported on the support boat from campsite to campsite.

Here’s an example of how things will be packed:

● The large and medium size boat bags Sea Trek provides will hold your clothes and gear that need to stay dry.

● The small dry bag Sea Trek provides can be used as a “deck bag” that you will keep with you while on the water. It will hold the items you might want while paddling(sunscreen, camera, windbreaker, lip balm etc.).

● The mesh bag Sea Trek provides is convenient for carrying snorkel gear, etc.

Extra baggage, clothing, etc., that you don’t need while “on the water” will be stored securely in our storage facility, and there will be no access to these items until the end of your trip. Valuables will go with you (passport, wallet). (In the event that you have an emergency which requires you to return to the United States, your passport is required, so having it with you gets you where you need to go as quickly as possible.) If you have small laptop, talk to your guide about storage.

What We Provide

● All commissary gear (meals, drinks etc.).

● Sun shade and camp chairs for use during the day and at meal times.

● Sun “shower”: we bring a limited amount of fresh water which is available for a quick “final rinse” if desired after a wonderful bath in the Sea of Cortez.

● A small “library” bag consisting of bird, fish and other interesting natural history books of the area.

● For kayak trips​ gear includes: fiberglass doubles and fiberglass/plastic singles, a couple paddleboards (to try out), lightweight Werner paddles, PFDs, sprayskirts and paddling jackets.

● For Stand Up paddling trips ​gear includes: Paddleboards, paddles, PFDs & paddling jackets.

● Enough boat bags (2 large/medium and 1 small) for all your clothing, a large mesh bag (for carrying snorkel gear).

● A roomy one or two person tent.

● Light wetsuits and snorkeling gear you are welcome to use. You are also welcome to bring your own custom gear.

● Sleeping bags and pads are not included, but can be rented from us for an extra charge of $30 per week per item.

What To Bring

CLOTHING

Tops

● 1 thin capilene shirt for paddling: a quick dry material (not cotton).

● 1 long sleeve shirt: some sort of light fabric for sun protection during the day (UPF suggested).

● 3 – 4 extra shirts: some people like 1 more long sleeve shirt (for bug protection if needed in the evening), a shirt to sleep in (the one you always keep clean), a tank top, an extra short sleeve shirt. The mix is up to you.

● 1 fleece sweater: cotton is not recommended

● 1 “puffy” jacket: any warm jacket (down, synthetic), you may not need it, but the desert can get very chilly at night (not needed for April trips).

● 1 wind/rain jacket: some sort of waterproof / water resistant jacket in case of wind and (unlikely case) of rain.

● 1 warm fleece hat or beanie (especially for earlier trips).

● 1 sun hat with tie down strap (for wind) secured via a barrel lock.

Bottoms

● 2 pair’s shorts: one quick drying nylon for paddling, one for hiking.

● 2 pair socks for hiking or the evening

● 1 lightweight pair of socks to wear with sandals for sun protection.

● 1 pair lightweight pants for daytime sun protection (lightweight, comfortable, non-cotton): any kind of light hiking pants work well). Many folks enjoy having a sarong for covering legs while sitting on the beach.

● 1 pair warm pants for night time warmth: fleece pants work great, or warm long underwear under a second pair of pants is another good option.

● Swimsuit.

● Underwear.

Town Clothes

● Casual clothes for 2 travel days and evenings in Loreto: these are clothes you will leave with your luggage staying in our secure storage while you are “on the water”. It’s always nice to have a fresh set of clothing ready for you when you finish your trip.

Footwear

● 1 pair for walking (e.g. running shoes or light hiking shoes): closed-toes shoes with ankle support are recommended to protect your feet and ankles from loose rock, cactus, etc. when walking in the desert.

● 1 pair for kayaking (e.g. Teva type sport sandals; neoprene booties or water shoes): sturdy enough to walk over some rocks getting in and out of the water. Sandals without a heel-strap are not recommended for getting in and out of the water or kayaking. “Flip-flop” type sandals are not recommended for kayaking.

● 1 pair of sandals for the beach: some people enjoy a second pair of sandals (or Crocs) for the beach to change into after kayaking. Sandals with toe protection for the beach can be helpful.

● For Stand Up paddling trips.​ Since most SUP paddlers go barefoot you’ll need something to hike in (see above) and something for camp wear (Sport sandals or Crocs have been the preference).

Miscellaneous

● 1 pair paddling gloves: biking gloves work great if you don’t have, or don’t want to invest in paddling gloves.

● 1 one quart plastic water bottle.

● Pareo or sarong.

● 2 bandannas to clean sunglasses, etc.

● 1 pair sunglasses with retention strap (e.g. Chums or Croakies).

● Waterproof sunscreen.

● Lip protection: any kind of stick with sun protection in it.

● Toiletries: toothbrush, etc.

● Prescription and over-the-counter medications you require (Motion sickness pills if needed).

● 1 Saltwater shampoo and soap: The more biodegradable brands you can bring the better for the environment. (Sea Suds or Camp Suds work best).

● 1 medium size towel.

● 1 Ditty bag to hold your personal toiletries and medications.

● Head lamp + extra batteries.

● Earplugs: if you are sensitive to sounds while sleeping or if you need them while swimming.

● Bug spray: some trips are bug free, and on some trips we experience bugs such as mosquitoes and “no-see-ums” which are similar. A long sleeve shirt and pants are your best defense, but a bug spray of your choice is recommended.

● Battery or solar based charger for electronics if you choose to use electronics on the trip.

Important Items

● Passport

● Wallet / Cash / Etc.

● Insurance Card / Travelers Insurance Info

● Copy of Passport

● Itinerary, Flight Confirmation Numbers, Tickets

● Names and phone numbers for hotels and contacts if travelling before or after the Sea Trek portion of the trip.

● Cell Phone. Watch

Snorkeling

● Snorkel, mask, fins, wetsuit (Sea Trek can provide this gear or you can bring your own. The wetsuits we provide are “shorty” wetsuits, and the water temperature can be brisk early in the season).We recommend bringing your own full suit for February – early March trips if you run on the cold side.  Anti-fog drops for your mask can be nice, but are not required. Some people like light water socks under their fins to prevent chafing.

Camping Equipment

● Lightweight compact sleeping bag with stuff sack (Those who “sleep cold” should bring a bag rated to approximately 32° Fahrenheit.). We can rent you a nice bag.

● Compact sleeping pad (self-inflating Thermarest or ensolite foam pad). Sea Trek can rent to you.

Optional

● Camera (in a waterproof box or bag) and extra batteries.

● Waterproof case for phone (if using the phone for pictures around the water is desired).

● Binoculars.

● Fishing gear (medium weight collapsible). Call office for advice if you wish.

● Reading material.

● Pen and paper for journal.

● Lightweight carabiner or two to clip your water bottle or other gear to other things like your kayak

● Sunglasses / glasses cleaner or wipes (for getting some of the salt off at the end of the day)

● Aloe-vera or other if you know you are prone to sunburn.

● Anti-itch cream such as a hydrocortisone if you like to carry it with you (Sea Trek will have some as well).

● A small cloth for wiping sand off your feet before getting into your tent (an extra bandana works fine).

● Specialty beverages, snacks, or sweeteners of your choice.

● Small pillowcase (stuff down jacket/clothing in to make a pillow).

Additional comments:

Ideally, on the water you are wearing quick drying clothes like a short or long sleeve lightweight capilene (non-cotton) shirt. At night it can get chilly so bring layers and don’t forget a windbreaker.

Please try to bring all personal items with you from the States as Loreto can often have limited supplies of preferred items.

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