Kayaking in Mexico: 4 Days on the Sea of Cortez

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A trip to La Paz, Mexico would not be complete without visiting the islands of Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida. This is one of the best things to do in Baja. Isla Espiritu Santo is home to hundreds of sea lions where you can swim with them in their natural habitat.

On top of that, this island paradise has some of the most beautiful landscapes found in the Sea of Cortez and a fascinating history to delve into during a visit.

Most travelers experience Isla Espiritu Santo on a day trip from La Paz, but as adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers, we wanted something more than that. We wanted a trip that would allow us to connect with this island and all of its wonders it has to offer.

We were lucky to experience this gem firsthand while we explored its crystal-clear turquoise waters, towering rocky shoreline with archways, swimming with curious sea lions and its endless amounts of wildlife on a 4-day kayaking & camping trip with Baja Outdoor Activities

There’s truly no other way to experience the Mexican Galapagos than by kayaking Isla Espiritu Santo.

Of course, this adventure was so much more than paddling. As a Top 100 Travel Adventure, it offered that but also gave us the kayak as a capsule to guide us through the natural paradise.

We spent our days exploring the island and its waters, by night we spent it relaxing on its beaches under thousands of stars, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Our kayaking in Mexico guide will not only give you the information about kayaking Isla Espiritu Santo but we will tell you our story that came to life as we explored one of the best kayaking locations in the Sea of Cortez for four days by kayaking and camping.

Kayaking in Mexico: 4 Days on the Sea of Cortez

Our kayaking in Mexico adventure would begin at the headquarters of Baja Outdoor Activities (BOA) in La Paz Mexico. We spent a few days in La Paz before starting our kayaking adventure.

La Paz was one of those cities we fell in love with it the moment we landed. It’s known as the adventure capital of the Baja Peninsula and rightfully so there are many adventures to be had in around La Paz.  

Day 1 La Paz to Isla Partida 

Campsite Ensenada Grande

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers kayaking in Baja Mexico

Today would be the start of our 4-day camping and kayaking trip along the coastline of the island of Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo. With butterflies in our stomachs and excitement in the air, we entered the Baja Outdoor Activities (BOA) head office. 

Ready for an adventure. 

This wasn’t our first multi-day kayaking trip. We have paddled for multiple days in the Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island, throughout islands in the Philippines and in the icy waters of Greenland among towering icebergs, to name a few.

We’re experienced paddlers but of course, still get anxious at the start of all new adventures.

We try to prepare for these types of adventures both physically, and mentally. But no matter how many adventures we go on, there’s still butterflies.

As I tell anyone, I have an underlying respect for the sea. I understand my limitations and I understand that mother nature will throw whatever she throws at us. 

Sunset kayaking in Mexico around Isla Espiritu Santo Baja Mexico

The good, the bad and the ugly. No adventure can be set in concrete, sure you can have an outlined plan, but 9 times out of 10 that plan will need to be adjusted. That’s what makes it an adventure.

The night before we packed everything we would need for the expedition into smaller bags since we would leave our larger bags with our eco-tour operator out of La Paz, Baja Outdoor Activities (BOA). 

It’s always hard to decide what we should pack but luckily BOA gave us a great packing list to go off of.

On top of that, we have been in contact with them back and forth about the unseasonal weather they have been having and what extra cold-weather gear we should bring to be comfortable.

Once at BOA, we dropped our larger bags, met our guides and got outfitted with the necessary gear that we would need for the trip. This included PFDs, dry suits, snorkels and fins.

After being outfitted with gear, we jumped into the van and headed off to the marina where a boat would be waiting to bring us to Isla Partida.

Getting to Isla Partida

Boat unloading gear in La Paz for a Kayaking Mexico trip

On the boat, our guides informed us that we should put on our rain jackets and put away anything we did not want to get wet.

A few of us looked at him like he was crazy since it seemed to be a nice day but we did not take into account that it may be nice here but not in the channel between La Paz and Isla Espiritu Santo.

As we made our way out of the bay it hit us like a ton of bricks. The Baja winds that everyone talks about and the conditions that our guides warned us about.

With our boat rocking and waves splashing, we made our way slowly towards Isla Espiritu Santo.

The boat ride was long and rough, causing us to spend most of the time with our heads down. When we finally sailed into Ensenada Grande Sur, the relief from the waves and wind was immediate.

Arriving in Paradise

Enscenada Grande Beach in Baja Mexico on Isla Partida

This was what I had pictured the waters of Baja to be like, bright teal water leading to white sandy beaches. It was paradise and we were the only boat there.

With towering red cliffs surrounding us, we made our way as close as we could with our boat before the captain and crew told us to grab our personal items, jump out and shuffle to shore.

It’s important to shuffle when walking in the waters in the Sea of Cortez due to a large number of stingrays. Shuffling your feet will scare away any aquatic animals that could hurt you while you’re walking in the water.

Isla Partida and Espiritu Santo are an UNESCO World Heritage Site and this means there are no man-made structures, glamping huts or bathrooms where we would be staying.

The beaches of these islands are located within the national park where very few travelers even visit. Making this area the best kayaking in Mexico.

If they’re lucky they may visit on a day trip and they’ll only get two hours on the beach. When we arrived we had the place to ourselves for the afternoon, overnight and morning. 

Trip Orientation & Skill Check

Kayaking in Mexico - Trip Orientation & Skill Check with BOA Outdoors

A few minutes after we stepped foot onto the beach our guides, Chino and Tulio, called us all over for a campsite orientation.

We went over the rules and regulations for kayaking in Mexico and in this protected area, where we were and were not allowed to go, where they would be setting up Paco a.k.a. the bio-toilet and also what the afternoon would entail for us.

Our group then did a round-robin introduction of our entire group. We introduced ourselves, talked about our experience with kayaking and what we would like to get out of the trip.

Paco a.k.a. the bio-toilet while kayaking Isla Espiritu Santo in Baja Mexico
Camp toilet ‘Paco’ setup during our kayaking expedition

This was a great question to ask all the travelers because it was the time for people to highlight their skill levels and learn more about each other. 

Some people had tons of experience and others were there for a fun time, a few even have paddled on this trip before with the same guides so our group was a good mix of experiences. 

On top of that, some people wanted to learn about the different flora and fauna, others wanted to know about the history of Isla Espiritu Santo and some were into learning about the wildlife that calls this amazing island home.

Knowing this information would help the guides custom tailor the trip to our group’s needs and wants.

Local Mexican food while kayaking in Mexico

After our brief campsite orientation, we indulged in our first camp meal. It always surprises us how amazing the food is on these expeditions. This would also be our first challenge with the world-famous Baja winds on this trip.

I do not believe any of us were prepared or even thought about how difficult it would be to eat with those winds blowing constantly, but it was truly challenging. 

With every gust, a piece of my meal would fly off the plate, or the bowl of chips would fly off the buffet table. We did what we could to shelter our plates but we all had plenty of laughs in the process.

After lunch, we were left with the reality that the winds would not let up. This meant that the planned paddling for the day would be canceled and we would be looking to explore the area by land instead. 

Hiking Enscenada Grande

Hiking Enscenada Grande on Isla Partida in Baja Mexico

With our hiking shoes laced up, sunscreen lathered on and our cameras around our necks we followed our guides to a trail that would take us to one of the best lookouts on Isla Partida.

This was exciting because I did not expect to be able to experience Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo in this way. 

We expected to just see it by the shore as we kayaked around it and its beaches as we camped on it. Instead, the wind made for a perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with Isla Partida.

Different cacti found on on Isla Partida while hiking.

The island has five different hikes located on five different beaches located on the protected West – Southwest side.

Our hike would take us roughly 2 ½ hours moving slowly through boulderous terrain while learning about rocks, flora and fauna along the way.

The main highlight was learning about the different cacti found on the island. I did not expect to have experienced naturalists as guides who could answer all of our questions along the way.

The more we asked, the more they pointed out along the way. We even found native tools and pottery along the path.

As we made our way closer to the top of the island, the vegetation changed and the wind met us like an old friend blowing a lot stronger than it did back on the beach.

Lookout on Isla Partida

We all pushed on, holding on to our hats as we made it step by step closer to the cliff side. The views were amazing and we were able to stand right on the edge of a massive cliff.

It was hard to stand there for a given amount of time since the wind was blowing us backward. We all took a few minutes to admire the views before heading back down.

This hike was a great opportunity for all of us to get to know each other as we shared stories of past travels, hiking adventures, kayaking adventures and everything else under the Baja sun that day. 

Camping on Isla Partida

Isla Partida Beach while kayaking in Baja Mexico

Once back on the beach it was time to set up camp. All we needed to do was pick a location, dig the corner stakes in and put up the tent.

Putting up a tent with the wind blowing was hard but BOA had the perfect little tent pucks that you dig into the ground to create sand anchors for the tent. 

Anyone who has set up a tent before knows how impossible it is to keep tent stakes into the ground on a sandy beach. These little pucks worked like magic and I wish I had them for other trips.

With the wind howling, we cautiously set up our tents. Admittedly, this was as challenging as eating our lunch this afternoon.

Just imagine little pieces of lettuce flying off our plates and now we were fighting the winds with a large kite. Good thing Lina and I have a system down for setting up our tent, for those who had a little difficulty our guides were there for them.

Camping on Isla Espiritu Santo Mexico - From La Paz

Naturally, we all lined our tents in a row along the shoreline of the beach with the opening of our front door to the ocean. This would provide a perfect sunset view.

As we got settled into our tents with all of our gear the sun started to set, and Edgar the cook yelled out that it was time for sundowners!

We enjoyed tasty cold margaritas as we watched the sunset over the bay from our own personal beach. With the sun going down, the last bit of heat left the air.

America's Adventure Couple Lina and David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers  Kayaking in Mexico

I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be kayaking in Mexico and be freezing to death. But that was the case. 

Temperatures dropped quickly but luckily, we checked the pre-packing list that BOA sent out to us and we were prepared with down jackets and a winter cap.

This is something I never thought about but Baja is a desert and when night comes in the desert it gets cold out. 

With the sun dipping across the mountains peaks of La Paz it was time for dinner. Once again Edgar made a mouth-watering mexican meal for us and we finished our first day of adventure with full stomachs, under a beautiful clear and full moon lit sky. 

Day 2 Ensenada Grande Sur to Candelero

6 miles of paddling

Tents with a sunrise on the beach of Ensenada Grande Sur on Isla Partida while kayaking in Mexico

After a chilly night in the tent, we awoke to pure paradise early in the morning.

With the wind still blowing and the sun just starting to peek out over the red rock mountain peaks behind us, Lina and I sat on the beach having our morning coffee.

Suffice to say, I had butterflies in my stomach as I watched the waves ripple across the bay.

Lina made fun of me because we have paddled in worse before, but I think it just surprised me since this was not what I pictured for kayaking in Mexico. I thought it would be nice calm teal waters to paddle in. But today would not be the case.

Chino and Tulio spent the better part of breakfast checking the weather for the latest updates before making our paddling plan.

Isla Espiritu Santo Campsite Map from BOA

After everyone had eaten it was time to tear down camp and get ready for a day of kayaking Isla Espiritu Santo.

As we packed up everything, trying not to get sand in everything, we jumped around camp to help our fellow adventurers with tearing down.

With our beachfront condos and camping gear packed away on the main tarp, it was time to help the crew load the support boat with everything we weren’t taking with us in our kayaks.

This was nice since some kayaking trips you have to pack everything into your kayaks. 

With the beach looking like we found it, we all formed a fire line and loaded up everything into the support boat. After everything was loaded it was time to get the game plan for our day of kayaking in Mexico from Chino.

The game plan was to be in the water by 9:30 A.M. and paddle 6 miles from our campsite Ensenada Grande Sur located on Isla Partida to Candelero Beach located on Isla Espiritu Santo. 

Kayaking group orientation in Mexico

They instructed us on what we would run into and how we should handle it. They also went through a full range of signals like SOS, paddle harder, back paddle and line up.

Everything was performed on the beach to ensure that everyone understood what was required of them on each signal.

With paddles in hand we also went through the proper paddling techniques. This was great since a few of us were experienced paddlers, but we may be a little rusty from not kayaking in a while.

On top of this, it also provided a good warm-up and stretch before a day of paddling on rough seas.

Kayaking from Isla Partida to Isla Espiritu Santo

America's Adventure Couple Lina and David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers  Kayaking in Mexico

Finally, it was time to get into the water. We had selected our kayaks the day before and both of us prefer to have single kayaks.

This is simply due to us having completely different paddling styles. We also like to explore differently once in the kayak.

Leaving the beach, we paddled left through the turquoise bay and made our way along the shoreline where we spotted a small white religious statue tucked in one of the caves.

It was about 50 feet up and perfectly placed in a cave and looks to have been placed there for years with no way of getting up to it nowadays. 

Tulio explained to us that it was the watcher of the bay and that the fishermen pray to the statue for good weather, great fishing and, of course, making it back home to their families.

Reaching the end of the bay, you could see the wind was really ripping around the exit point and the water had large choppy waves.

Our guides instructed us all to paddle in a straight line with one guide on each end, just in case someone had an issue. This would make it so they could get to one of us within a few seconds.

Large rocky wall while on Isla Espiritu Santo in Baja Mexico
Kayaking in Mexico

In a large line formation, our group paddled onward into the wind. It hit us like a ton of bricks pushing us as we entered the open channel. The gust almost knocked my hat off my head as I paddled around the protected corner of the bay.

With the wind to our backs, we made our way south towards Isla Espiritu Santo. 

The waves were large at times and it was nerve breaking since it wasn’t as simple as just paddling. There were times you had to paddle then start back paddling, so you wouldn’t end up dipping the front of the kayak into rolling waves. 

As we made our way past the second bay, Cardonalcito on Isla Partida, we observed a narrow entrance with steep high cliffs leading to a pretty little beach. I quickly thought to myself, yay its beach time, but we weren’t heading to that beach. 

Instead, we tucked around into the bay to enjoy the calmer waters and take in our surroundings. This is always important when exploring, that you take time to truly take in the surroundings, this means no camera, no phones, just sitting back and taking in the sights.

Kayakers in Mexico along Isla Espiritu Santo

It allows you to connect and appreciate it a little more than just getting that Instagram shot and heading off. 

It was also a chance for a few of us to calm our nerves as we were paddling in big waves when exposed. I grabbed a snack and a few sips from my water bottle before paddling on to the furthest point we could see on Isla Espiritu Santo.

This would be where we crossed the stretch between Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo that seemed to be where the conversing tides met, creating for some more interesting paddling. With the front of our kayaks pointing to the farthest point, we made our way across. 

Dealing With Massive Waves

Lina Stock and David Stock Jr America's Adventure Couple kayaking in Mexico

Kayaking in Mexico during heavy winds and big waves is no joke! We’ve done it before and know how to handle it, but that doesn’t stop the adrenaline from flowing.

The kayak was more like a bucking bronco with every swell and every paddle stroke.

The front of the kayak would dip down in the same waves and others would try to twist it so you would have to keep correcting yourself as much as you could without over correcting.

It was a constant fight with what mother nature was throwing at us.

With every paddle stroke, the farthest point became closer and the rolling waves simmered down. Once we reached it, we hooked around its towering red rock wall leading to two white-sand beaches.

The waves calmed down, but the wind was turned up even more than it was before, with a hard 400-yard head down paddle we made it to the beach of our campsite, Candelero.

Setting Up Camp at Candelero

Tent and kayaks at campsite Candelero on Isla Espiritu Santo Baja Mexico

Once on shore, our guides and fellow kayakers helped everyone to pull their kayaks up past the tide zone. We stripped out of our life vests, sea skirts, and paddling clothes while Chef Edgar was hard at work in the cook tent making lunch. 

Chairs were set up in a rocky out cove that sheltered us from the wind, which provided us with a great opportunity to relax and share stories about today’s paddling without the constant blowing of the wind. 

A few of us took books from the provided library that gave us a little more insight into the area, others just enjoyed the sun along the rocky ridge while sipping on chilled beverages.

It was a welcome time of relaxation after the aggressive waves we navigated all morning in our relocation.

Campsite Candelero on Isla Espiritu Santo Baja Mexico

After an hour of R&R, it was time for lunch. Edgar had prepared a pineapple salad mix with fresh avocado, tostada chips, and a fresh Jurel fish all servable on a flour or corn taco shell.

It was very tasty and since we all were hungry from the paddle it went down quickly.

After lunch, we had an hour and a half to get our tents up before heading out on a hike. This was a lot easier since the endless Baja winds had died down to just a light blow.

A few of us put our tents right on the beach while others moved inland near the rocks for more protection from the wind.

We placed our large two-person tent next to the kayaks making for a picture-perfect moment. It was yet again prime beachfront property, with our door opening to the waterfront. Lina rested while watching the waves hitting shore just feet from our tent’s door. 

That’s one thing I love about remote adventures, it puts you in places you simply could not experience otherwise.

Yes, sometimes it pushes you and makes you uncomfortable but moments like that are worth having a beach to yourself in a tent surrounded by paradise.

Campsite Candelero on Isla Espiritu Santo Baja Mexico

Campsite Candelero offers two stunning beaches with a spectacular red rock ridge that splits the bay in half. Like Enscenada Grande, there were no permanent facilities for us to use.

On the other side of the ridge was a glamping camp where they offer fully catered luxury packages for those who only want to dip their toes into the area.

Glamping on Isla Espiritu Santo is a great option for those that are less adventurous and prefer a more luxurious type of setting.

This campsite looked nice but being based in one area wouldn’t be that great, you wouldn’t get that in-depth experience like we were getting from exploring so many different areas.  

Learning the History on Isla Espiritu Santo

David Stock of Divergent Travelers hiking on Isla Espiritu Santo while on a kayaking trip in Mexico

After some RnR in paradise, it was time to go on a hiking adventure. Our guides informed us of how long this hike would take and that halfway through there would be an option to explore more or just head back to camp to relax depending on what you would like to do. 

Yesterday’s hiking adventure on Isla Partida was more about plant life and getting connected with the natural habitat where today would be more about the history and the indigenous people who lived on Isla Espiritu Santo.

When most people think of visiting Isla Espiritu Santo and the Sea of Cortez, they think of amazing wildlife experiences like swimming with the sea lions, the whales or the whale sharks.

Not many people think about exploring archaeological remains that date back 9,000 years. 

The unique history and the endless amounts of archaeological remains were just a few of the many things that surprise me when kayaking Isla Espiritu Santo with BOA that I did not expect to experience firsthand.

Read more: Isla Espiritu Santo in Mexico: Ultimate Planning Guide

Candelero Bay on Isla Espiritu Santo Baja

The island of Isla Espiritu Santo was home to the first national people called the Pericu. The Pericu were nomads who were best known for their sailing and fishing skills.

They lived as one with nature on Isla Espiritu Santo understanding never to deplete their waters and lands from overhunting. In doing so they rotated from bay to bay allowing areas to remain naturally plentiful.

This was important in survival for them since the land of Isla Espiritu Santo was infertile.

Chino brought us to the very spot where you could see a half-moon rock formation under the surface of the bay. This half-moon acted as a corral and was one of the methods the Pericu used to catch fish.

They also used it as a live aquarium, to keep the fish alive until they were ready to consume them.

Heading inland we walked along a salt flat where you could see thousands of oyster shells littering the land. There were two distinct colors, white and black. The dark ones had holes smashed in the middle of them.

B.O.A. kayaking guide telling us about the history of Isla Espiritu Santo Mexico
BOA Kayaking Guide, Chino

Chino explained how the native people would heat up the shells and then smash them with a tool. All of the black shells were cooked in an oven turning them from white to black.

We followed the path of black shells right up to a native rock oven that was used for boiling water and making soups. This ancient oven still had the scorch marks from when the indigenous people would light fires to heat up the round sections like an oven. All around the area were tools and pieces of pottery leftover. 

Archaeological sights on Isla Espiritu Santo Baja Mexico

This amazed me since there aren’t many sights that you can visit anymore where you can find artifacts like this.

They were the type of artifacts that belong in a museum. Chino explained how on Isla Espiritu Santo, and throughout the Sea of Cortez, there are endless amounts of artifacts waiting to be discovered and saved. 

Unfortunately though, like across much of Mexico, there is no funding to excavate and protect these precious items.

The national park service of Isla Espiritu Santo is doing what they can, but they are more there to make sure operators and tourists are exploring in a proper manner.

One of the main archaeological sights on Isla Espiritu Santo is a series of intricate cave paintings. They are extremely restricted nowadays and no one is permitted to visit them.

It was a bummer to hear about, but I understand the need to preserve them.

Hiking from Candelero Beach

Hiking trail from Candelero Beach on Isla Espiritu Santo in Baja Mexico

As we made our way back over to our side of the bay, we continued our hiking adventure up a large rocky path that took us right up an old dried waterfall bed.

Halfway up this path was a well that was dug out in World War II. The well still contained water, which was pretty amazing given the age of the well and that it was dug out around 1939. 

From the well we followed a winding path around a red rock cliff that opened up to a large boulder area that was once a good size pool. Now there are huge boulders with trees scattered throughout that you can explore.

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers  hiking on Isla Espiritu Santo while on a kayaking trip in Mexico

We all took our time climbing over boulders and exploring, while our guides shared information about this hidden location.

With the sun setting we headed back towards camp for snacks and sundowners. Unlike the night before, the wind had died down to a light breeze.

This made it perfect for sitting on the beach sipping our fresh pina coladas while the sun melted into the ocean before us. 

Local Mexican food while kayaking in Mexico around Isla Espiritu Santo Baja

Dinner for the night would be a brilliant Thai noodle dish with shrimp, some veggies and a mouthwatering fresh dessert of strawberries and chocolate syrup. It’s always amazing what cooks can produce on a remote adventure.

Same as the night before, we were tucked into our sleeping bags by 8pm, drifting to sleep with the light of the full moon shining into our tent and the sound of the ocean lapping the beach. 

Day 3 -Candelero to Playa Colorado

6.3 miles of paddling

Sunset with Kayaks in Mexico on Candelero beach - Isla Espiritu Santo Baja

We awoke to a multicolored sky over the bay and no wind! This was the Baja I had dreamt of kayaking around.

We enjoyed a coffee on the beach as the sun showed itself from the ridgeline behind us. Edgar prepared us a breakfast of Chilaquiles to fuel us for the day. 

Chilaquiles have a huge cultural significance in Mexico. They provide an important reminder of the history of Mexican cuisine and we had it freshly made by our local chef on a remote beach.

After taking our time enjoying breakfast it was time to pack up camp and get ready for a beautiful day of kayaking in Mexico on the Sea of Cortez. But before we jumped into our kayaks, we all got together and got our game plan from Chino.

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers  kayaking in Mexico - Isla Espiritu Santo

He explained our route, how long it would take us and what we should expect to see. After getting fully informed he had us all grab our paddles to do some stretches and practice a few techniques to improve our paddling.

Jumping into our kayaks, we were ready to explore the shoreline of Isla Espiritu Santo. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and we would be blessed with a no wind day. This made it perfect for paddling. 

Pushing away from the beach we made our way around a little island that was located in the bay. There were lots of birds who really did not care about us kayaking since they do not see many tourists.

As we paddled on, we made our way out of the teal shallow water into the darker blue waters of the Sea of Cortez and started making our way south.

Kayaking Along Espiritu Santo

Kayak in calm waters while kayaking around Isla Espiritu Santo in Mexico

With large cliffs to the left of us, we made our way slowly paddling and enjoying the moment with every paddle stroke. We observed the unique rock formations and observed an osprey nest tucked away on the cliff line.

The Sea of Cortez was calm that day making it perfect for kayaking around Isla Espiritu Santo.

The sun reflected off the cliffs showcasing different shades of red that glimmered in the sun. It also gave us a great view deep into the clear water. As we made our way slowly past Camp Cecil, we were told to keep our eyes out for surfacing sea turtles. 

Out of nowhere one popped up next to Lina’s kayak. Then more popped up a few yards away from us. They would only surface for a few seconds before heading back down but it was truly magical to be surrounded by sea turtles in their natural habitat.

Eager for more sightings, our group agreed to pull out our paddles and float in silence for the chance of more sightings. Out of nowhere, turtles started popping up all around us. 

They were curious but still shy because the moment we would start paddling they would disappear to the depths of the ocean.

So it turned into a game of paddling to reposition then being quiet to see the turtles. This went on for the better part of 30 minutes. 

Leaving the turtle bay behind we paddled to the furthest rocky point where we hooked to the left into the nice calm bay of Playa Coralito to make camp for the night.

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers  kayaking near Camp Cecil on Isla Espiritu Santo
Waiting for turtles to pop up around us

Our guides instructed us to avoid an area where local fishermen had their boat anchored but otherwise, we had the bay to ourselves to take our time and paddle in.

Lina and I stayed back just paddling slow and talking about how crazy our sea turtle encounters were.

Once on the beach, we pulled the kayaks up past the tide line and emptied out our personal items. With the sun high we enjoyed some nice cold beverages and changed into our swimsuits while snacking.

Since the wind died down, we had a chance to make up an adventure we did not get to do the first day due to the strong winds. 

With our snorkeling gear in hands, we jumped on a boat that would be bringing us back up north along the path we kayaked to a little island located at the tip of Isla Partida called Los Islotes. 

Swimming with the Sea Lions at Los Islotes

Island of Los Islotes - Swimming with the Sea Lions from La Paz Mexico

It was a quick 20 minute speed boat ride and even though there were no winds, the Sea of Cortez was rocking and rolling once we left the protection of the island.

The little island of Los Islotes is known for one main thing and this is where people come from all around the world to swim with the sea lions out of La Paz, Mexico. Its sea lion colony is one of the healthiest in the Baja peninsula. 

We were extremely lucky since we were already out on Isla Espiritu Santo so we had a short distance to go and we could plan our trip being there without any other groups.

This was planned out well by BOA, since our small group would have the couple hundred sea lions to ourselves during the visit.

With our snorkeling gear and wetsuits on, we jumped into the chilly waters to see if the sea lions would come out to play with us.

Swimming with the Sea Lions at Los Islotes from La Paz Mexico

Within seconds these curious creatures came out to greet us, torpedoing past us as if they were playing a game of cat and mouse, coming from every direction.

Much like our experience in the Galapagos Islands, it was amazing to see these creatures in their natural habitat gliding through the water effortlessly.

At times we had anywhere from one to five sea lions interacting with us. We did our best to maintain a safe distance, but these curious creatures did not care.

Our time in the water went by as quick as the Sea lions swam past us and it was time to get back to the boat.

With the excitement of swimming with sea lions in the Sea of Cortez, the ride back to Playa Coralito flew by. We were all sharing stories about the curious and playful creatures. 

Making Camp at Playa Coralito

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers at campsite Playa Coralito on Isla Espiritu Santo

Playa Coralito has a long stretch of white sand beach and at both ends of the beach are fisherman dwellings with their own sheltered slipways. There are no major hikes here unlike the other campsites we stayed at. 

There’s just a short one, where you can hike up the cliff on the southern side to get a great view of the lagoon if the tide is out, but as of now, the tide was in so that was off the plate for us.

Instead, we all grabbed our beach chairs, beach blankets and enjoyed the Baja sun.

When we weren’t enjoying the sun and snorkeling, we had lunch under our large shaded tent. A few locals came by to chat it up with the group and they thanked us for taking the time to explore Isla Espiritu Santo. 

They were truly impressed and to tell you the truth, jealous of our Isla Espiritu Santo kayaking trip. Within a few hours, the five boats left the 11 of us to pitch our tents on yet another great beachfront property location.

Sunset on Isla Espiritu Santo Kayaking Trip from La Paz Mexico
Enjoying sundowner and sunset on our last night of the kayaking trip

With our tents pitched, our toes in the sand and a drink in our hands we sat there enjoying our last sunset while camping on Isla Espiritu Santo.

It was bittersweet and crazy to think that tomorrow would be our last day kayaking in Mexico. 

It’s funny how even though we had the afternoon to rest once the sun went down, we all called it a night, retreating to our tents.

Bundled up in our tents we laughed about those crazy sea lions, the turtles popping up from nowhere and how amazing the day was before falling asleep to the waves hitting the beach.

Day 4 Playa Coralito to Playa Colorado 

3.5 miles paddling

Remote camping on Playa Coralito beach thats located on Isla Espiritu Santo

I don’t think it can ever get old waking up in paradise with a simple zip of the tent door just steps away from the Sea of Cortez.

That is why I love adventure travel, we get to experience a location in a more intimate way. But all great adventures must come to an end. 

Today would be our last day of kayaking Isla Espiritu Santo and exploring one of Baja’s most unique and special destinations.

With a coffee in hand we drank in our last sunrise. It seemed to be one of the best sunrises we have had the whole kayaking trip in Baja or maybe that was because we knew we would be back among civilization soon.

We joked around with Edgar as he put the finishing touches on the hot breakfast he made.

After a tasty breakfast of eggs and fried potatoes, we all started tearing down camp. Once the last item was placed on the tarp to go back to the boat, Chino and Tulio got all of us together to talk about today’s game plan.

Playa Coralito beach located on Isla Espiritu Santo

Since the wind was pretty much nothing, we had an easy day of paddling ahead of us. This would give us a chance to take everything in with no rush. 

We truly were on island time today, so this meant we actually had time to go snorkeling or for an extra paddle around the bay if we wanted to before we headed out by kayak to Playa Colorado.

After having two hours to snorkel, beachcomb and paddle the Coralito Bay, we helped each other with our kayaks and pushed off for the last paddle of the trip. 

Kayaking to Playa Colorado

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers  kayaking in Mexico
Lina kayaking in Mexico near Isla Espiritu Santo

We paddled along a large rocky wall that opened up to the ocean, from there we made our way to the farthest point that we could see called Punta Prieta.

This seemed to be the end of Isla Espiritu Santo but that wasn’t the case. Once we rounded the point, we saw that the island tucks in towards the southeast a little bit.  

We paddled slowly across Playa San Gabriel bay where we kept an eye out for sea turtles coming to the surface. We weren’t as lucky as we were the day before but that’s wildlife.

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers kayaking in Mexico - Isla Espiritu Santo

From there we made the last push towards Playa Colorado. 

Lina and I lagged behind to enjoy our last few moments of sea kayaking near Isla Espiritu Santo. We took photos and observed birds before making the last push to the beach. 

Last Lunch in Paradise

Local Mexican food while kayaking around Isla Espiritu Santo - Baja

The crew had a tent set up with chairs out and there were snacks waiting for us along with ice-cold drinks. Everyone moved slowly as if they wanted to take in every moment.

We all sat there in disbelief that the days flew by so quickly while Edgar worked on preparing our last meal together as a group.

Once the food came out, we all hit it like a bunch of crazy sea lions. Since there was no wind, we could actually sit there and enjoy every bite instead of worrying about it flying off our plates.

A few of us even had extra helpings before snacking on ice cream for dessert.

As we ate, the crew loaded the kayaks onto our support boat for the trip back to La Paz. Finishing with lunch, we walked into the water to the support boat.

With everything strapped to the sides of the boat, we said goodbye to Isla Espiritu Santo.

Back to La Paz

BOA eco-friendly company out of La Paz that gives kayaking trips to Isla Espiritu Santo

We all sat in the boat quietly, reminiscing about the adventures we had together that week. The boat trip went by fast that day from Isla Espiritu Santo to La Paz. It took no more than 40 minutes with nice calm seas.

Cruising into the Atalanta Marina, just north of La Paz, our boat pulled up to a dock and we all jumped out. Back at BOA it was time to say goodby to what were strangers at the beginning of this adventure but now are friends. 

Kayaking Isla Espiritu Santo with Baja Outdoor Activities was truly an amazing adventure and is something you should consider adding to your must-do travel list when visiting La Paz, Mexico. 

Adventuring with BOA in Baja

Other Great Trips Offered by BOA

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers sitting on a remote beach on Isla Espiritu Santo

Maybe you’re looking for something more or less adventurous than the 4-day kayaking camping trip of Isla Espiritu Santo that we did.

If you’re short on time or if you’re only looking for a trip that will give you a sample of what we did, you should look at the ½ day coastal day tour with BOA.

This tour offers a great introduction to sea kayaking and it’s a great way to spend a morning or afternoon while you’re visiting La Paz.

If you are looking for an ultimate adventure, we suggest the 9-day Isla Espiritu Santo Circumnavigation kayaking tour. This tour will take you around the entire island, where we only did the inside passage.

This tour is weather permitting, and it is a true adventure, you should have paddling experience for this trip.

The Sea of Cortez is one of the world’s last wilderness frontiers that offers an opportunity unlike anywhere else in the world for unique marine encounters.

We experienced this first hand with BOA. Their knowledgeable and experienced local guides will provide an amazing trip for you out of La Paz Mexico.

Sustainable Adventuring with BOA

Ensenada Grande Campsite on Isla Partida while kayaking in Baja Mexico

There’s plenty of amazing eco-friendly companies that offer endless amounts of Isla Espiritu Santo tours from La Paz. However, not all eco tours are created equal.

For our top 100 travel adventures and all of our adventures for that matter, we look for companies that not only care about their local communities today but also for future generations to come.

This is why we went with Baja Outdoor Activities (BOA). BOA runs the top eco tours in La Paz, Mexico. BOA strives for a 100% local employment score. This means their boat drivers, cooks, guides, office staff and management all live in La Paz or in a nearby town. 

This means you have a true local experience by people who have passion for this area.

BOA Kayaking Group hiking on Isla Espiritu Santo while kayaking in Mexico

People who have not just moved here to guide kayaking adventures but people who have lived here for years and have a great knowledge about nature, wildlife and the hidden gems that you’ll be exploring.

On top of the 100% local employment score, they support local shops by only buying and trading with local businesses for handmade food including tamales, tostadas, ceviche, bales and so on. Not all companies do that.

They are also a leading force in supporting local conservation. You can only lead by example, by actually being out in the community supporting, teaching and leading the way in conservation and not just green washing it.

This is important in today’s world where travelers and tour operators are loving places to death. 

Some operators would rather make the quick buck. There’s nothing sustainable about that.

When you’re looking into your next adventure, wherever it is in the world, remember it is important to look beyond the price.

Pre and Post-Trip Lodging in La Paz

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers at Hotel Catedral La Paz

Don’t forget to plan some extra days to explore the amazing city of La Paz. For pre and post-trip lodging options, we stayed at the Hotel Catedral La Paz.

This gave us the best options for being close to the Malecon but located just a few blocks up where it was nice and quiet.

The Hotel Catedral La Paz is located in the historic district across from the Cathedral of Our Lady of La Paz and just a short walk from the bus station where the shuttle vans drop off from Cabo San Lucas.

This lovely hotel offers a gorgeous courtyard where breakfast is served, and the rooftop pool offers a great spot to relax on a sunny day. The rooms are spacious, very clean and comfortable.

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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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