Isla Espiritu Santo in Mexico: Ultimate Planning Guide

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Isla Espiritu Santo is one of those magical places in the Baja California Peninsula. It is a tropical paradise that has amazing landscapes and let’s not forget its endless amounts of curious wildlife.

Isla Espiritu Santo it is remote, it is wild and it is definitely something you must do when visiting La Paz or Cabo Mexico.

Below we will highlight everything you need to know about Isla Espiritu Santo to plan your visit to one of Mexico’s best national parks.

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Ultimate Isla Espiritu Santo Planning Guide


Where is Isla Espiritu Santo?

Location of Isla Espiritu Santo in Mexico

Isla Espiritu Santo is a World Heritage Site and is the 12th largest island in Mexico located a short boat trip from La Paz on the Baja California Peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.

The island itself is 80.763 square kilometers and is separated from Isla Partida by a narrow canal.

Isla Espiritu Santo is an Island surrounded by pure natural beauty. It’s where the rocky desert meets the sea and its volcanic rock formations tower along its shores and exploring inland will amaze you.

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog hiking on Isla Espiritu Santo Mexico

With endless amounts of flora and fauna that inhabits this natural protected area. Besides natural beauty around every turn, it offers an endless amount of unique wildlife experiences. 

On and around Isla Espiritu Santo there are endless adventure activities to be had.

You can snorkel or dive with sea lions, explore one of the many amazing hiking trails, camp under the stars on one of the many beaches or kayak around this amazing coastline.

That’s where the name the Mexican Galapagos comes from.

How to Get to Isla Espiritu Santo

Isla Espiritu is an island so there’s no public transportation or independent way to get to it and due to its distance from the mainland its only practical to explore it with a tour.

There are many great tour companies that offer a wide range of trips, we can firsthand recommend checking out Baja Outdoor Activities (BOA). That’s your best option for getting to lsla Espiritu Santo from La Paz.

Isla Espiritu Santo is a protected area everyone that visits must retain permits.

All visitors are also required to visit with a registered guide to has completed/passed the government issued test to guide tourist around and on land of Isla Espiritu Santo.

This is heavily enforced and we experienced this, with daily checks from the park rangers who are enforcing the rules. But you won’t have to worry about these rules if you are going with a company like BOA.

All trips to Isla Espiritu Santo depart from the marinas of La Paz or from the pier at the Malecon. On a good day the boat trip from La Paz to Isla Espiritu Santo can take 45 minutes to one hour.

On the roughest of days, it can take up to two hours and it can be dangerous at times.

Be prepared for your boat trip, it is common for people to get seasick and wet while crossing. First, you have to cross a channel to get to the island, the bay of La Paz may look nice and calm but once you get into the channel there will be rough waves.

We experienced this firsthand on our way out, however on our way back we had nice and calm waters where we reached the dock in 45 minutes from Isla Espiritu Santo Without getting rocked. 

Best Time to Visit

Landscape view from Isla Espiritu Santo

The best time to visit Isla Espiritu Santo really depends on what activity you would like to do and what wildlife you would like to see.

Every month varies, but in this kayaking Baja the Sea of Cortez travel guide we will breakdown when is the best time to visit Isla Espiritu Santo for kayaking and what wildlife you can expect to see.

MARCH TO MAY

March to May offers warmer waters with warm calm days for paddling and exploring. Making it one of the times of the year to visit Isla Espiritu Santo.

This is also a popular time where many cetaceans migrate into the Sea of Cortez and you should see, sperm and humpback whales.

This is also one of the best times of the year to view sea turtles, birders can have the chance to view blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, pelicans, frigate birds, cormorants, terns, great blue herons, ibis, whimbrels and willets.

Temperatures range from 87.1°F (30.6°C) and 83.8°F (28.8°C) with similar temperatures in the later months. Rain is frequent during the months of March to May with 10 to 16 days of significant precipitation per month.

This time of the year is normally slow for tourism, which makes it a good time for those looking for deals. It is best to check in advance to make sure companies are running kayaking trips during this time of the year.

March to May is a great time to circumnavigate Isla Espiritu Santo by kayak or just do the 4-day coastline paddle. It is best to pack a 2 or 3 season sleeping bag for camping since temperatures can drop to the low 50s°F/11°C.

JUNE TO AUGUST

During this time of the year the weather is very hot since it is the hottest time of the year in Baja.

Kayaking operators and cruise ships stop operation in this area due to the extreme heat, so it is best to check in advance to see if kayaking trips are running this time of the year. But don’t let the heat push you away from visiting this time of the year.

July is the month where you can start to see the sea lion pups when swimming with sea lions around Los Islotes.

However this is also an aggressive period since they are also defending their pups in the waters. July is also the month where they start to mate so Sea Lions are aggressive.

It’s also a great time of the year to view blue fin whales and sperm whales in the Sea of Cortez.

Elephant seals are easily found in select regions along the Pacific coast since they come to shore to breed, give birth and molt. June to August is also a good time to view chuckwallas, Iguanas, lizards and sea turtles. Bird lovers it’s the best time of the year to spot blue-footed boobies.

June to August sees around 7 to 10 days of rain per month. So pack your rain jacket or paddling jacket just in case.

SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER

September to November offers clear warm waters that are great for water-based activities like kayaking, swimming with the sea lions, snorkeling and swimming.

There’s a little chance of strong winds so paddling can be difficult at times and expect rough seas when it is blowing. This is the best time to explore the desert land of Isla since its rainy season and the Baja desert flowers will show their self’s.

Highs range from 86.3°F (30.2°C) and 83.1°F (28.4°C), which will feel very nice given the humidity and wind. It rains a significant amount this time of the year.

September to November sees an average of 8 to 11 rainy days per month. This is the second busiest time of the year for tourism, so hotels may be slightly higher priced in La Paz, Mexico.

September is still way too hot for kayaking but by early October many outfitters start offering trips, it is best to check with the company to see when they are running trips.

It is best to pack a 1 season sleeping bag for this time of the year since temperatures can drop to the mid 60°F/15°C at night.

DECEMBER TO FEBRUARY

The winter months of December to February are hands down the best time to visit Baja and the Sea of Cortez. The days are cooler there’s more of a chance of wind.

But those cooler days and the cooler ocean currents bring nutrient-rich water to the surface where they mix with the sunlight resulting in a bloom of food for marine animals.

Whales are just beginning to arrive in December. January through February is the best time to view humpback whales, gray whales and whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez.

The average high during this season is between 87.5°F (30.8°C) and 86.4°F (30.2°C). On average, it rains a very great amount during this time of the year: 12 to 15 times per month.

This time of the year there are also a few tropical storms known as chebacco’s that can bring high winds and rough seas to the area. They normally only last one day but being cough in one can be dangerous.

This can also pin down kayaking/camping trips to Isla Espiritu Santo.

December to February is a great time to circumnavigate Isla Espiritu Santo by kayak or just do the coastline paddle. It is best to pack a 3-season sleeping bag since temps can drop to 40°F/ 5°C.

Average Air and Water Temperatures

The remote landscape of Isla Espiritu Santo Mexico

Below is a quick view of average air temperature and water temps. This is important when deciding what to pack since you may have it in your mind that it’s Mexico and the weather is hot.

Well, that may be the case but keep in mind that Isla Espiritu Santo and Baja itself have a desert climate. It may be hot during the day but at night it gets cold.

On top of the cold nights, the water temperatures can be cold at times making it unpleasant to snorkel in without a wetsuit.

  • Jan 60-80 Average Air Temp 60 Average Water Temp – Strong Winds
  • Feb 65-85 Average Air Temp 60 Average Water Temp – Strong Winds
  • March 70-85 Average Air Temp 65 Average Water Temp – Mild Winds
  • April 75-90 Average Air Temp 68 Average Water Temp – Mild Winds
  • May 80-95 Average Air Temp 70 Average Water Temp – Strong Winds
  • June 80-95 Average Air Temp 78 Average Water Temp – Mild Winds
  • July 85-100 Average Air Temp 81 Average Water Temp – Light Winds
  • August 77-90 Average Air Temp 85 Average Water Temp – Light Winds
  • Sept 75-90 Average Air Temp 86 Average Water Temp – Mild Winds
  • October 80-95 Average Air Temp 80 Average Water Temp – Mild Winds
  • Nov 70-80 Average Air Temp 73 Average Water Temp – Strong Winds
  • Dec 60-80 Average Air Temp 63 Average Water Temp – Strong Winds

Usage Restrictions for the Espiritu Santos Archipelago

David Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog on a natural rock chair on Isla Espiritu Santo in Baja Mexico

Below we have listed out a few of the rules that everyone must follow when visiting Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida.

These rules are enforced by park rangers and when visiting a place like Espiritu Santos it is extremely important to follow these rules.

  • Anchoring is prohibited: Los Islotes – No overnight anchoring. San Gabriel – The whole bay is closed to anchoring. North of Bonanza – The bay is open to anchoring but the reef area to the north of the bay is closed.
  • Around Isla Los Islotes and El Refugio there’s swimming with permitted providers only with no fishing allowed. This area is closed from June 1st to September 1 to everyone.
  • Do not set foot on the islands of Los Islotes, this includes climbing and even sitting on the rocks in the water.
  • You must always remain at least 15 feet from the island of Los Islotes.
  • When visiting Los Islotes you are allowed to stay 1 1/2 hours for snorkeling or 3 hours for diving.
  • Mooring buoys are for use of permitted providers for boats of 30″ or less.
  • The use of Jet skis, water skiing, surf tables, windsurfers, banana, scooters, or similar devices in size is forbidden within the National Park limits.
  • No one is allowed to land on an islet, respect the minimum distances from approaching bird reproduction areas that is 50m, 165 ft, and sea lions (30m, 100ft) and anchor your boat only in sandy areas, not in the rocks or coral.
  • All boats and visitors must have a contained toilet or latrine on board. If you are on land you must bring portable toilets or latrines. It is not allowed to bury toilet paper or discard it on the Islands.
  • Drones are not permitted to take off or fly within the National Park area.
  • Pets are not allowed.
  • Do not bring animals or plants to the Islands.
  • Do not take rocks, shells, archeological pieces, and coral from the Islands.
  • You should never walk on or set up structures on dunes.
  • Use only authorized national park trails and camping areas.
  • Fires are allowed only with materials that come from outside the Archipelago. Do not use wood or other items from the Islands to make a fire.
  • Take with you what you bring in with you. Never leave trash or other items on the Islands. If you do find garbage please pick it up and dispose of it properly back on the mainland.
  • Swimming or scuba diving in the rookery areas of Los Islotes is not allowed.
  • Anyone looking to do some sport fishing must have a fishing license by the National Commission of Fishing and Aquaculture. Each person must have a license onboard weather they are fishing or not.
  • Report any emergencies to channel 16VHF or 612-122-6213. You can refer to the Pasaporte de la Conservacion app that offers maps and information regarding Espiritu Santo and Partida.

Isla Espiritu Santo Park Passes

National Park sing on the island of Isla Espiritu Santo

All visitors must get the proper park passes to anchor and to go ashore the islands of Espiritu Santo and Partida.

There’s two options for park passes from the CONANP, yearly passes that acts more like a passport and day passes where you get a bracelet.

Be perapred to show your park passes, we had to two of our four days there. You will be stopped by a park ranged. When buying a park passes you must your passport (for international buyers) for locals you can show your local voter’s ID card or your diver licenses.

La Paz residents are required to have a park pass for the parks outside the Espiritu Santo National Park. Handicapped and children under 6 years of age are not required to obtain a park pass.

Park passes are avable in person at the La Paz CONANP office located just a couple blocks from the Siglar Marina near Grill Campestre.

Online you an obtain a annual pass by downloading their app thats under Pasaporte de la Conservation in the app store or go to the CONANP website where you can fill out all of the infromatoin to get your park pass onlie.

How to Stay on Isla Espiritu Santo

LIna and David Stock Jr America's Adventure Couple camping on Isla Espiritu Santo (How to Stay on Isla Espiritu Santo - Camping Vs Glamping)

Just imagine waking up in paradise to a multi-colored sky, spending your days exploring were so few tourists get to explore on land and in the sea, then enjoying sundowners on your own remote beach, that’s what planning in a few days and staying on Isla Espiritu Santo offers.

There are a few options for staying on Isla Espiritu Santo. You can join a camping kayaking trip like we did or you can stay at one of the many glamping camps. Each option is amazing and each option offers something different.

BEST GLAMPING OPTIONS

Best Glamping Options on Isla Espiritu Santo - (How to Stay on Isla Espiritu Santo - Camping Vs Glamping)

Baja Camp – This luxury glamping camp on Isla Espiritu Santo offers a drop-dead beautiful location for you to base your self out of when staying on Isla Espiritu Santo. Enjoy the day snorkeling with sea lions, string-rays, sea turtles, and let’s not forget kayaking around some of the best bays on the island of Isla Espiritu Santo. This luxury glamping camp of Isla Espiritu Santo offers everything that a five-star hotel offers but in the paradise of a remote camp on a beach in Mexico.

Camp Cecil – This luxury glamping camp on Isla Espiritu Santo is one of the more poplar glamping camps, that’s due to their luxury glamping tents and all of the amenities that come with a stay here at Camp Cecil. Their local staff will go above and beyond your expectations in every way imaginable for you to have a luxury trip to Isla Espiritu Santo. Being located in the middle of Isla Espiritu Santo it is a good option for someone who wants to experience a little more.

BEST CAMPING OPTIONS

Camping on a remote beach on Isla Espiritu Santo (How to Stay on Isla Espiritu Santo - Camping Vs Glamping)

There’s plenty of amazing camping sites located on Isla Espiritu Santo. Each one offers something different than the next.

We experienced this first hand while we spent four days kayaking and camping on the island of Isla Espiritu Santo.

Our friends over at B.O.A. offer a wide array of camping on Isla Espiritu Santo experiences from one night, four nights to nine-night depending on how adventures you want to be. They are your best camping option.

A camping trip is not as luxurious as glamping on Isla Espiritu Santo but if you are looking for more of an adventurous experience, its the only way to go.

Below are a few great camping options for staying on Isla Espiritu Santo all camping options require you to go with an organized tour if you pick this option I can tell you your camping trip will be a trip of a lifetime.

  • Punta Lupona
  • Cone Beach
  • Playa Dispensa
  • Playa Colorado
  • Playa San Gabriel
  • Playa Coralito
  • Playa Gallo
  • Candelero
  • Mesteno
  • Playa Partida
  • Shallow’s Bay
  • Cardonalcito
  • El Cardonal
  • Ensenada Grande
  • El Embudo
  • The Boulders
  • El Jardin
  • Reef Beach
  • Playa Bonanza

No camping is permitted on Playa Ballena.

Safety When Visiting the Islands

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog watching a sunset while camping on Isla Espiritu Santo in Mexico

Visiting Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo is one of the safest places to visit in Mexico since it is required to visit the National Park area with specially trained guides.

This ensures your safety and also that your advising by the rules set in place by the National Park service.

A few tourists have had accidents trying to get to Isla Espiritu Santo from La Paz on a jet ski, little boat and on top of that there have been a few water accidents around Isla Espiritu Santo that have involved tourists but for the most part, it is truly a safe place to visit.

We had no fears playing in its waters, leaving our gear unprotected on the beach for hours along with climbing large boulders on its trails, but we did all of this with a registered guide who was from the area.

If there is an issue, the Mexican Navy has a highspeed board that can reach Isla Espiritu Santo from the mainland within 15 minutes. In case of any emergencies, you can use it to channel 16VHF or 612-122-6213 to contact the CONANP.

It is important to keep an eye on the weather. The weather in the Sea of Cortez can change on a drop of a dime. On top of that keep an eye out for winds that can pin you down in a section for days.

It can look nice and calm in La Paz but once you get out into the channel its as rough as the Drake Passage on the way to Antarctica.

For the most part, this is just like any other remote National Park, you have to understand your among nature, an hour away from help and you should respect it.


The Best of Isla Espiritu Santo & Isla Partida


Best Beaches

Remote beach on Isla Espiritu Santo - The best beaches on Isla Espiritu Santo Mexico

If you love beaches a visit to Isla Espiritu Santo from La Paz Mexico is a must.

There are over 20 amazing beaches to be found on Isla Espiritu Santo ranging from over 2 miles long to some smaller ones sheltered within hidden coves.

Below are the top 10 best beaches on Isla Espiritu Santo.

  • Candelero
  • Mesteno
  • Playa Partida
  • Ensenada Grande
  • El Embudo
  • Playa Bonanza
  • Punta Lupona
  • Playa San Gabriel
  • Playa Coralito
  • Playa Gallo

Best Hikes

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog hiking on the remote island of Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo in Mexico

Hiking on Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo is only allowed on specially marked trails. Below are the best hikes on Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo that you simply can not miss.

Every trail is different and hiking on Isla Espiritu Santo will allow you to discover a side of this paradise that not many people get to see.

Below are the best hikes around Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo.

  • El Embudo
  • Ensenada Grande III
  • EL Cardonal
  • EL Cardonalcito
  • EL Jardin
  • EL Candelero
  • Shallow’s Bay
  • Play Gallo
  • San Gabriel – La Bonanza

Best Snorkeling Areas

Swimming with the sea lions on Los Islotes - Isla Espiritu Santo from La Paz Mexico

A trip to Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo would not be complete unless you jump into the water and go snorkeling. There are amazing reefs and let’s not forget swimming with sea lions.

Not every beach has a reef just off of it on Isla Espiritu Santo, So it is important when planning your trip to make sure that you visit one of the best spots to go snorkeling around Espiritu Santo.

Below are the best areas to go snorkeling around Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo.

  • Los Islotes – Swimming with the sea lions!
  • Caleta Partida
  • Isla Bellena
  • Punta Prieta
  • Playa Partida
  • Reef Beach
  • Playa Bonanza
  • Playa Coralito
  • Candelero
  • Cardonalcito

Best Scuba Diving Areas

Swimming with the sea lions on Los Islotes - Isla Espiritu Santo from La Paz Mexico

The waters around Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo offers some spectacular diving experiences. There are bright-colored fish to huge predators such as hammerhead sharks.

There are even playful sea lions who are as curious of you as you are of them. Besides endless amounts of fish life, this magnificent underwater world offers impressive sea walls with amazing rock formations.

Below we will highlight the best scuba diving sites around Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo from La Paz that you simply can not miss out on when visiting.

Below are the best diving sites around Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo:

  • Los Islotes – Scuba diving with the sea lions
  • Wreck of the Fang Ming
  • The Naked Lady – Located on the north side of Isla Espiritu Santo
  • Isla Ballena – This dive site offers some amazing cave diving.

SCUBA DIVING WITH SEA LIONS AT LOS ISLOTES

Scuba diving with sea lions in Espiritu Santo Island National Park - Los Islotes from La Paz Mexico

One of the most popular things to do from La Paz Mexico is hands down swimming with the sea lions in Espiritu Santo Island National Park but why swim with them when you can dive with them.

Scuba diving with the sea lions around Los Islotes island just off Isla Espiritu Santo is truly a bucket list experience for any diver. This is one of the largest sea lion colonies on the planet and on top of that, they are one of the most active.

The sea lions of Espiritu Santo Island National Park are extremely playful with snorkeling and when your scuba diving with them they are even more excited. These curious creatures will play in your bubbles and swoop all around you throughout your whole dive.

WRECK OF THE FANG MING

Wreck of the Fang Ming

If your into scuba diving the waters around Isal Partida and Espiritu Santo are simply the best in the world for scba diving.

One of the most poplar dive sites besides scuba diving with the sea lions on Los Islotes is the wreck of the Fang Ming. This poplar dive site in the Baja Pensualia sits at a maximum depth of 70ft with the average visibility of 70ft.

In 1995, 88 Chinese citizens attempted to flee their home country. They were discovered by the Mexican Navy after two months at sea near Puerto San Carlos.

This vessel was confiscated and after years of sitting around it was prepared to be sunk as an artificial reef near Isla Ballena off the island of Espiritu Santo.

This amazing dive site off the island of Espiritu Santo offers a unique opportunity for divers to explore its outer exterior but also it’s interior.

The ship itself has been colonized by different coral species providing a home for an endless amount of fish species.


Best Caves and Paintings

View from a remote cave on Isla Espiritu Santo in Mexico

There are five different main historical protected cave and rock painting areas located on Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo. These areas are no longer open to the public and require special access to view them.

No tour or trip is permitted to visit there anymore due to them being so remote and not being able to protect them from visitors.

Many of the protected areas are where researchers have found native artifacts including human remains.

The paintings that can be found on Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo showcase natives and birds painted in red. These paintings are disappearing across the island due to not preserving them.


Best Day Trips for Visiting from La Paz

Kayak in the waters of Isla Espiritu Santo Mexico

Most visitors will visit Isla Espiritu Santo while on a day trip from La Paz Mexico. Below we will list out the best tours for visiting Isla Espiritu Santo from La Paz Mexico.


Best Day Trips for Visiting from Los Cobos

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel blog kayaking Isla Espiritu Santo

Did you know you can visit Isla Espiritu Santo from Los Cobos. It is true, you can swim with the sea lions of Los Islotes and discover the remote island of Isla Espiritu Santo on the day trips below.


Best Multi-Day Trips for Visiting Isla Espiritu Santo

Sunset on a beach while camping on Isla Espiritu Santo

If you are truly looking to experience what a visit to Isla Espiritu Santo has to offer you should look at one of the many multi-day trip options.

It is amazing how different every beach and every location is on this remote island in the Sea of Cortez.

Below are our favorite multi-day trips for visiting Isla Espiritu.

If your looking to experience Isla Espiritu Santo a little more then on a day trip we suggest going on a 4-day Isla Espiritu Santo kayaking and camping trip. This will allow you to explore the very top of Isla Partida including swimming the sea lions on Los Islotes along with exploring the most southern point Punta Dispensa and everything in between. We did this trip and it was simply magical.

If your looking for the ultimate trip, we suggest the 9-day Isla Espiritu Santo Circumnavigation kayaking tour. This tour will take you completely around the island of Espiritu Santo. Its truly an ultimate adventure in Baja and for that person who is looking to experience Isla Espiritu Santo at its fullest.

For those who are looking to not just explore Isla Espiritu Santo but also a few other remote places along the Baja Peninsula, we suggest taking an UnCruise, as we did. Discover some of the most remote places along the Baja Peninsula on an 8-day small ship adventure. You’ll experience untouched paradise that includes two days exploring Isla Espiritu Santo.


Wildlife Around Isla Partida & Espiritu Santo

Bird sitting on a rock - Wildlife in and around Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo besides swimming with the sea lions

There’s some pretty amazing wildlife that calls Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo home. Below we will highlight the wildlife you can expect to see when visiting.

Wildlife in the waters around Isla Espiritu Santo:

  • Parrotfish
  • Angelfish
  • Trumpetfish
  • Moorish Idols
  • Rainbow Wrasse
  • Sharks
  • Rays
  • Turtles
  • Dolphins
  • Whales
  • Sea Lions

Wildlife on Isla Espiritu Santo:

  • Brown Pelicans
  • Terns
  • Gulls
  • Crested Caracara
  • Mallards
  • Hawks
  • Blue-footed Boobys
  • Great Blue Herons
  • Snowy Egrets
  • Turkey Vultures
  • Hummingbirds
  • Owles
  • Osprey
  • Cormorants
  • Flycatchers
  • Baja California Rock Squirrel
  • Ringtail
  • Iguanas – Geckoes – Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Bats

This is not a complete list, its a list of the most likely animals you will see when visiting Isla Espiritu Santo. The island is home to thousands of species of plants and animals.


Plant Life Around Isla Partida & Espiritu Santo

Cactus - Plant life in and around Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo

The Baja Peninsula is where the desert meets the sea and this is true for the islands of Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo. Most travelers don’t really consider how absolutely amazing it is that plant life can survive here.

A visit to Isla Espiritu Santo from La Paz Mexico offers visitors a chance to experience large rocky cliffs dapple with green Cactaceae everywhere, but there’s more to this desert landscape that meets the eye.

Below we will highlight the plant life you can expect to see when visiting Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo.

  • Baja California Elephant Tree
  • Wild Fig
  • Blue Hesper Palm
  • Jatropha Cuneata
  • Cactus (Velvet Cactus, Coast Cholla, Fishhook Cactus, Mission Prickly-Pear, Coast Prickly-Pear, Chaparral Prickly-Pear)
  • Coastal Sandbur
  • Sandmats
  • Spurges

This is not a complete list, its a list of the most likely plans you will see when visiting Isla Espiritu Santo. The island is home to thousands of species of plants and animals.

If you are looking for a complete list you should grab the Baja California Plant field guide that will enhance your visit.


What Threatens Isla Espiritu Santo?


Birdsnest with plastic and trash in it. What Threatens Isla Espiritu Santo

Places like Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo are under threat all around the world. People generally don’t like to talk about the dark side of what threatens amazing places like this.

We feel it is important to not only highlight how you can visit Isla Espiritu Santo from La Paz but to also highlight what threatens these amazing islands.

Below are a few things that threaten Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo.

I’m going, to be honest with you, we as humans are the greatest threat to places like this. There are many different threats we impose on places like this.

One is we are loving them to death. There are too many uneducated travelers who truly don’t care about the destination and all they care about is getting that Instagram shot. This is ruining places all around the world.

A great example is a visitor who flys his drone on this island, ok one drone will not affect anything but one turns into ten a day. Before you know it, native birds are not nesting there anymore.

Or another great example is the visitor who walks off the path to that epic photo spot. Well, a little path now turns into a huge path and now every traveler is walking in an area where they shouldn’t just because one visitor had to go there to get that shot.

Besides over-tourism and let’s say travelers who don’t care, pollution is another huge threat to Isla Espiritu Santo.

Plastic bottles, cups, bags, food containers and straws are washing up on its shores daily and what does not wash up just floats around in the waters around Isla Espiritu Santo.

It never really breaks down and it is a huge threat to the animals who call Isla Espiritu Santo home.

Overfishing is a huge threat not just in the waters around Isla Espiritu Santo but throughout the world. Its one of the most serious threats to our oceans and we saw this first hand when we spent a week cruising the Sea of Cortez.

At one location we found a spot on a remote beach where all the local fishermen were ditching the fish they caught that they can not or did not want.

All left for death, the beach was littered with shark and turtle bones. This is wasteful fishing, but it goes hand and hand with commercial fishing.

These fishermen are pushed to their limits trying to make that large haul to capitalize on it. This hurts all aquatic species since the breeding population becomes too depleted to recover.

Now enters invasive species in the oceans and on land. Invasive species can range from rats, dogs, cats to even muscles in the water, all taking a toll on this vulnerable environment.

This can hurt or cause the extinction of native plants and animals, reducing biodiversity and altering habitats. This can happen from people bringing foreign species on to the islands and even due to climate change.

We have seen the effects of climate change while exploring all seven continents and it is always hard to talk about it.

From Krill that feeds fish to even the ocean waters changing a degree allowing new types of fish into the waters, to breading patterns/ migrations changing due to weather temps.

Extreme weather hands down is one of the biggest effects we experienced with climate change while visiting Isla Espiritu Santo and the Baja Peninsula.

They were having extreme winds that normally don’t blow during the time of the year we visited along with extreme rains.

The extreme rains made for a pretty landscape but when it rains in the desert it also floods and the land simply can not take the amount of rain that has fallen causing landslides and flooding. All deeply rooted due to climate change.

All of these threats are concerning and should be something we all think about when not just visiting the Baja Peninsula but also back home. Just because it does not affect you does not mean it does not affect someone else.

Visiting Isla Espiritu Santo Responsibly

Visiting Isla Espiritu Santo Responsibly with a eco friendly company out of La Paz Mexico

While visiting this amazing island it is extremely important to visit responsibly. This will keep the natural wonders for generations to come.

It’s why we all go there, so why ruin it for someone else? Below we will list out a few tips that we live by and you should also during your travels.

Traveling responsibly starts by visiting places with an eco-friendly operator. This is becoming even more important in today’s world as everyone might say they are eco-friendly but they are only acting to be.

This is called greenwashing. So its truly important to do your research on a company before booking your adventure. Don’t just go by their words, go by what you see, what other travelers have said, and if they are showcasing that they care about the area they are running tours in.

Another huge tip on how to visit Isla Espiritu Santo responsibly is while exploring the great outdoors always practice leave no trace. This is hands down the simplest guideline that every outdoor lover should follow.

Let’s keep wildlife, wild! Always respect the animals, yes even if they come right up to you. You will see some amazing endemic species on a visit to Isla Espiritu Santo National Park and throughout all of Baja but keep your distance, not just for your own safety but for theirs.

Even the smallest of interactions with them can change their lifestyle, in turn, affecting the entire ecosystem beside the animal’s life.

When exploring Isla Espiritu Santo on land never leave the marked trails or climb the sand dunes. The National Park spends most of its time and energy to maintain the trails, so don’t deviate from the established path. This also protects its plantlife from being destroyed.

Always bring your own water bottle so you don’t end up throwing away plastic bottles, your eco-friendly tour operator should provide water fill-up station on the boat or the island for you to fill up your water bottles.

Never, and I mean never, remove anything from the natural environment. In fact, it’s illegal to remove anything from Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo. This includes artifacts, shells, rocks and even sand.

It is important when visiting places like this that you only take away great memories but you also come away as an ambassador for the area, protecting it for generations to come.

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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.



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