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For those who want to do it all! Both sea kayaking and snorkeling in a Sea of Cortez marine park off the coast of Loreto, we take you to another side of Baja bliss, whale watching. Witness Pacific Gray Whales as they arrive from icy Arctic waters to breed and give birth in the warmer waters of the Baja Pacific, then experience the pure joy and reverence. The safari-style base camp is nestled in the dunes on a remote barrier island from here a motorized skiff skillfully and sensitively provides daily excursions for up-close-and-personal whale watching encounters with these magnificently curious and gentle creatures. You really can’t imagine this Baja serenity until you experience it for yourself.
2013 Dates: Jan. 26-Feb. 3 (9-day); Feb. 1-10, Feb. 2-11, Feb. 9-18, 15-24, 16-25, Feb. 22-March 3, Feb. 23-March 4
Your people in the Baja were fantastic. The whale watching was awesome. Espiritu Santo Island was a paradise...the weather was fantastic. I could go on and on about the entire trip, but suffice it to say that it was one of the best run tours I've ever been on and everything was just perfect.
Camping, kayaking, snorkeling with sea lions and hiking on the uniquely beautiful islands was, for this family of 14, an outstanding experience. It will be recalled with the greatest pleasure for the rest of our lives. Ranging in age from 5 to 75, every one of us loved it and our only complaint is that it was all over too fast. The campsite organization was faultless and the food delicious. We received unlimited care, kindness and encouragement from Miguel and his cool team of Manolo, Ramon, Angel and Martin. We were especially touched by the golden wedding cake baked by Ramon at the campsite. Miguel's knowledge of and love for his native land are inspirational. Thank you again for all your help.
Karen was our trip planner and she answered all of our questions. Carlos was an outstanding guide. He managed the guests with kind humor and enthusiasm. He was very knowledgeable. Allejandro was a very capable boat captain and lots of fun. Although we had hoped to kayak and snorkel more, the weather--wind--made it impossible. We also had hoped to see more animals--dolphins, rays, whales, etc. Ramon\'s cooking was delicious and creative. I\'ve never eaten such fresh fish so often in one week. And his soups were wonderful.
We just got back today from our trip to La Paz. I just had to let you know what a great time we had! For me, it was my second time, but it was so different than the first!! It completely surprised me. Miguel our guide showed us things I did not see on the first trip!! He was excellent!! So knowledgeable and friendly. He did everything he could to make sure we had a great time!! Again, thank everyone for us for making our vacation a very memorable one!
Gear was clean and in good condition and the guides were fantastic, way better than we imagined. The hikes and the activities were perfect, so many different ways of looking at a single spot. Food was great, cooks were great. It was mostly regular food, tasty, hearty, plenty of it, and served with lots of smiles. Our Baja trip exceeded our expectations from every angle. We ran out of superlatives, and we're still talking about it.
The kayaking portion of this trip is spent exploring the beautiful island of Espiritu Santo in the Sea of Cortez. The other half of the trip offers close encounters with the Pacific gray whales in Magdalena Bay on the Pacific coast of Baja.
Kayaking from our base camp on Espiritu Santo Island allows us the opportunity to explore beautiful white sand beaches, canyons adorned with hanging fig trees, boulder up arroyos, and snorkel among friendly sea lions and tropical fish.
In Magdalena Bay, daily excursions into the bay provide close encounters with the magnificent and friendly gray whale. The whales migrate here every winter from their feeding grounds north of Alaska to court, breed, give birth and simply frolic in the warm, calm waters of Baja’s Pacific bays. Motorized skiffs, skillfully and sensitively operated by local boatmen, are used for whale watching excursions. Other activities may include exploring the dunes and coast in search of whalebones, bird watching, kayaking in the mangrove estuaries, or playing beach volleyball.
Meals are a combination of the best of American and Mexican traditions prepared with fresh local ingredients. Barbecued chicken, fresh fish Vera Cruz style, grilled steak tacos accompanied by guacamole and a variety of Mexican salsas, plus fresh soups and salads are just a few examples of our tasty menus. The skiffs allow us to bring large blocks of ice to store fresh produce and indulge in luxuries such as cold sodas, juice and beer. Each evening we serve a cocktail and appetizer for “happy hour” so you can enjoy the spectacular Baja sunset while sipping an ice cold Margarita! Special diets are easily accommodated due to the variety of foods we are able to store with a skiff-supported trip.
This trip provides the experience of a lifetime for avid kayakers, wildlife lovers, whale watchers and outdoor enthusiasts as they encounter the magnificent gray whale and the wonders of the Sea of Cortez.
*PLEASE NOTE: Some trips will go to Magdalena Bay first and Espiritu Santo second. All activities remain the same, only reversed.
B/L/D indicates meals included with trip cost.
All accommodations in Baja including hotel stays based upon double occupancy, all meals and beverages (including cold fruit juices, soda, beer and “happy hour” drinks) at camp and farewell dinner on final night, all transfers between hotels and camps, trip equipment including tents, instruction, naturalists, guides and cooks.
Airfare, airport transfers, gratuities, single supplement for hotel and/or tent, sleeping bags and pads, snorkeling equipment (these items can be rented in La Paz. Please see prices below under Personal Gear and Rentals). Single supplement for hotel and tent accommodations is $95/$115 or $195 for the combination trip. Single tent in camp is $25 or $75 for Mag Bay trips. If you book as a single person, but are willing to share we will try to find you a room mate of the same sex, but if we can not the single supplement fee will apply.
Our expeditions are designed to be fun, active, adventuresome and educational. If you enjoy the outdoors, have a sense of adventure and are fairly fit you should have no problem participating in any of our expeditions even if you have never kayaked or camped. Some trips spend more hours kayaking while others are more multi-activity oriented. We have a wide variety of trips and therefore suggest you check out each trip description or talk to our office prior to choosing a trip to be sure you choose the right expedition according to your interests and kayak skill level.
Personal Gear and Rentals:
Sleeping bags with pads and snorkeling equipment may be rented in Baja. Costs per trip are: Sleeping bag with pad $20 / Sleeping bag or pad separately $15/ Snorkel gear $15 / mask, snorkel or fins separately $10 / wetsuit $15 / Wetsuits are highly recommended for trips in November through May. The wetsuits we rent are 3mm thick, long-sleeved, short pants with a zipper up the front. If you tend to get cold easily, we recommend you bring a thicker and/or long sleeved wetsuit during the months of Dec, Jan and Feb. Payment for rentals will be collected in Baja prior to your trip departure in cash or traveler checks. SINCE THE BAJA COAST TRIP STARTS IN LORETO, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU GIVE US YOUR SIZE ON YOUR TRIP APPLICATION FORM. THIS WAY WE CAN OUTFIT YOU CORRECTLY FOR LIFE JACKETS, WET SUITS AND SNORKEL EQUIPMENT WHICH WILL BE BROUGHT UP FROM LA PAZ. For all other trips originating in La Paz, we will size you when you arrive in our office. Dry bags are not necessary on skiff supported trips, as your bags will be transported by skiff from camp to camp, not in the kayaks. We do suggest bringing a small dry bag to keep personal items such as a camera or dry clothes from getting wet when kayaking or riding in the skiffs. Snorkeling is available only on sea of cortez trips, not Magdalena Bay whale watching trips. We no longer provide kayak seat pads and highly recommend you bring your own. If you are vertically challenged (under 5’3″ tall) we recommend you bring a seat pad that adds a couple inches of height while sitting in the kayak seat as our shorter clients have exclaimed how much comfort this adds to their paddling experience. You may also want to bring along a pair of paddling gloves to prevent getting blisters. If you think you might want to join a night snorkel, to observe the nocturnal creatures of the sea, on fall trips (when the water is warmest), bring along an underwater flashlight with fresh batteries.
Extra Gear Storage:
We have a storage room available at our hotel, the Posada LunaSol/Mar Y Aventuras office in La Paz, for safe keeping of any personal gear you do not want to bring on a trip. If you are on a trip between La Paz and Loreto, any extra gear can be transferred from La Paz to Loreto or from Loreto to La Paz by our staff.
Our fleet of kayaks on each trip is comprised of approximately 2/3 double kayaks and 1/3 single kayaks. Most are made by SEDA products of fiber glass construction and ALL are equipped with rudders. We do have a few rotomolded or plastic boats in our fleet for variety in seat construction as some of our guests find the plastic boat seats more comfortable. Based upon your experience, size and group composition your guide will help determine what kayak you will paddle, double or single, fiberglass or plastic. As well we encourage the group to rotate kayak seats so everyone has a chance to paddle to their desire. If you are particularly tall (over 6’2″) or large (over 200 pounds) please let us know well in advance as we may have to arrange a special kayak to be brought to camp. We offer exclusive use of a single kayak on most trips for a fee of $50, although, you must be fit and experienced in kayaking and screened by our office. This option is NOT available on the Islands or Magdalena Bay portion of the Combination trip (single kayaks are available for the Kayaking Espiritu Santo Island portion). Light weight Swift and Nimbus paddles, PFD’s (Personal flotation device otherwise known as a lifejacket), nylon spray skirts, paddle floats and bilge pumps are all provided on our expeditions.
We offer fishing as a side activity on our Sea of Cortez trips only, not on our Magdalena Bay whale watching trips. If you want to fish, please come prepared with your own lures. Small minnow-type lures are suggested such as a Rebel jointed Fastrac or mid size Rapala Magnums (4.5 to 5 inches or 9-12cm in length). Suggested colors include: blue/silver, black/silver, black/gold, green mackerel/gold or blue mackerel/silver. We supply the rod and reel. Fishing is done by trolling behind a motorized skiff (two rods at a time) from one to two hours before breakfast on certain mornings or from your kayak.
FISHING PERMIT INFORMATION
Fishing permits are required for anyone who plans to fish during our kayak trips. This includes fishing from either our motorized skiff or your kayak.
Permits cost $15/day or $30/week.
To get a permit, you must fax a copy of your photo ID to our La Paz office at least one week in advance of your arrival. Our staff will pick up your permit and when you arrive in La Paz you must reimburse our office for the cost of the permit.
Please be sure to indicate whether you want a one day or one week permit.
The fax number for Mar Y Aventuras when dialing from the US or Canada is: 011-52-612-123-0559
Many people ask, “should I tip the guides and how much?” Tipping is voluntary and any amount you leave is greatly appreciated! If you would like to leave your guides a generous tip showing appreciation for an excellent job, 10% of the trip cost is standard in the adventure travel industry. Gratuities are pooled and distributed among your trip guides and staff evenly. If you do choose to leave a tip please leave cash only. No traveler’s checks, personal checks or credit cards can be accepted.
Loreto / La Paz Money Situation:
Loreto is a small town (10,000 population) where very few businesses accept credit cards or traveler checks and only one ATM machine is available that is not always operating. La Paz is a large cosmopolitan city (200,000 population) and has many ATM machines. Often you have the choice of receiving money in US dollars or pesos. Keep in mind that accessing these machines can be a hassle and they do not always work. Some businesses accept credit cards and travelers checks but you’ll be surprised how many do NOT even in La Paz. US dollars are accepted at most establishments so it is not necessary to change your dollars into pesos before you arrive. We recommend bringing plenty of cash and in small bills such as 1′s, 5′s, 10′s and 20′s to use for rentals, restaurants, tipping and other incidentals.
Sea of Cortez trips: We camp on gravel and sand beaches along the coast and islands of Baja. On skiff supported trips a large dome tent is set up by our staff and used for cooking. A shade tarp is also set up for taking breaks from the noon day sun. Chairs are provided but not dining tables. Quality 4 person tents are provided for double occupancy but it is not necessary to sleep in a tent and many folks choose to sleep out under the starry night sky.
Magdalena Bay: We camp on the lee side of barrier islands nestled in sand dunes. Camp faces the bay and often provides a great view of whales and dolphins as they swim by. The kitchen and dining area is comprised of large wall MASH tents complete with table and chairs for eating. Large (10’x12’) walk-in canvas tents are provided for sleeping accommodations, each complete with two cots, pads and tables. Please note, the larger tents in Mag Bay are for double occupancy. Smaller tents may be used for singles.
Cooking is performed by our staff yet you are welcome to lend a hand at any time. It’s a great way to practice your Spanish! Special diets are not a problem as we are stocked with copious amounts of all types of foods.
Bathing is available daily in the sea using a biodegradable soap that lathers in salt water (Dr. Bronners does NOT lather in salt water. Campsuds, Joy or Dawn work well and are biodegradable). Fresh water will be available for a quick rinse from a sun shower to complete the process.
The toilet is a porta-potty system. It is basically a small self-contained toilet basin that even uses water to flush. It is placed in a secluded spot at each camp and is available from the time you arrive until you depart.
Spring and fall are the most ideal times for enjoying the Sea of Cortez. The strong northerly winds blow longest and strongest from late Nov through early March so spring and fall are characterized by calmer, warmer days.
Fall trips (Oct & Nov) offer warm (80-85 degrees F), clear (visibility up to 80 feet) waters for great snorkeling with daytime highs in the 80′s and 90′s and little chance of rain or strong wind. An added attraction on fall trips is the opportunity to observe the Baja desert in bloom which follows the rainy season of August and September.
Winter trips (Dec, Jan & Feb) tend to be cooler with more chance of wind and some chance of rain, water temperatures are in the mid 60′s and daytime highs from the 60′s to 80′s. The weather in Magdalena Bay on the Pacific coast during whale watching season in mid winter does tend to be windy and chilly. Daytime highs may be in the 70′s but with the wind may feel more like the 50′s.
Spring trips (Mar, Apr & May) offer 68-75 degrees F waters with warm calm days being common, air temps are in the mid 80′s to 90.
Summer in Baja (June-September) is hot and humid with chance of hurricanes.
Due to the dry desert nature of Baja and most of the beaches we camp on, it does not tend to be buggy. Although, certain years can provide sufficient precipitation to support mosquitoes, gnats and no-see-ums. It is a good idea to bring some form of insect repellent along just in case, especially on fall trips (October, November) which follow the rainy season.
Sea & Adventures and Mar Y Aventuras are not responsible for any costs incurred due to delays that may occur due to transportation (airline), weather, road conditions, government intervention, sickness or other contingencies for which we are unable to control.
A Special Request:
If you have any old clothes or shoes you’d like to donate, please bring them along and we’ll distribute them to the fishing villages we visit. Warm type clothes like rain jackets and fleece are especially appreciated by the fisherman as well as T-shirts, pants, and shoes (sneakers, Tevas or hiking boots, all sizes). Kids’ clothes and shoes are also needed. Muchas Gracias!
The airlines that fly to both Loreto (LTO) and La Paz (LAP) are Aero Mexico (800-237-6639) and Alaska (800- 252-7522). For trips originating and departing from La Paz, there is the option to fly into San Jose del Cabo, also called Los Cabos (SJD) and take a three hour bus ride to La Paz. Some of the airlines that fly to Los Cabos (SJD) are Alaska, American, Continental, American West and US Airways. Expedia.com is a good web site to find the best deals from your area. If you need more suggestions, feel free to ask our US booking office or contact a travel agent.
Bus Service between Cabo and La Paz:
If you plan to take the bus from Cabo to La Paz, please keep in mind that they can be unreliable especially if you arrive into Cabo in the evening with only a couple of buses leaving that evening. If taking the bus to La Paz, please allow plenty of time and flexibility. To alleviate any stress of buses possibly being cancelled and/or full (especially around holiday times) you can hire private transport (keep in mind this is considerably more expensive). If you are interested in sharing a private transport service to take you to La Paz and wish to share it with other passengers arriving at the same time, please inquire with our US booking office. Here is a transport service we recommend http://www.bajaonly.com/
Holiday River Expedition's Travel Agents - Mateja Harrington & Cindy Swenson with Cruise and Travel Masters are happy to assist you with your travel plans. Contact Mateja or Cindy to take the work out of "Getting Here".
Toll Free - 800-264-0557 (You must ask for Mateja Harrington or Cindy Swenson) Or, do it yourself, we can help… Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN) TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM SALT LAKE CITY to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah Once in Salt Lake City most of our guests rent-a-car and drive to our meeting points. Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City (Vernal is on a Charter basis only) TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM DENVER to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah Air Service to Moab (CNY) (52 miles south of Green River), Utah from Denver, Colorado
Email Attention Mateja or Cindy: firstname.lastname@example.org">
Colorado and Utah Rivers
Gateway - Salt Lake City, Utah OR Denver, Colorado
All rental cars are located in both terminals of the Salt Lake City Airport.
Salt Lake City to Blanding 300 miles
Salt Lake City to Vernal 180 miles
Air Service to Vernal (VEL), Utah from Denver, Colorado
Or, do it yourself, we can help…
Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN)
TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM SALT LAKE CITY to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah
Once in Salt Lake City most of our guests rent-a-car and drive to our meeting points.
Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles
Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City (Vernal is on a Charter basis only)
TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM DENVER to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah
Air Service to Moab (CNY) (52 miles south of Green River), Utah from Denver, Colorado
Winter weather in Baja is usually sunny and warm. Temperatures range from 60-90oF during the day and from 45-700F in the evenings. From late November through early March strong winds are common and there is some chance of rain. October, April and May are hotter with possible day time temperatures reaching 90oF and rain is rare.
The following list includes clothing for December through early March, the coolest time in Baja. It can be chilly so don't forget your heavy fleece jacket and hat. For trips in Oct, April and May pack for hotter daytime temperatures and warmer nights (lightweight fleece jacket or sweatshirt and forget the hat).
Water temperatures range from in the 80's in October and early November to the 60's in December through March and in the 70's in April and May. We highly recommend at least a shorty type wet suit from late November through May for snorkeling on all Sea of Cortez trips. There is no snorkeling in Magdalena Bay.
Snorkel gear** (mask, snorkel & fins) for Sea of Cortez trips only. Wet suit** (for snorkeling late Nov-May trips NOT for paddling) Most wetsuits are 3mm long sleeved, short pants with a front zipper. Sleeping bag and pad**
** Available for rent in Baja
We suggest bringing a kayak seat pad and small dry bag to keep personal items such as a camera and dry clothes from getting wet when kayaking and riding in the skiffs. We also recommend paddling gloves, especially on the longer kayaking trips. For fall trips when the water is the warmest, if you think you might want to join a night snorkel to observe the nocturnal creatures of the sea, bring an underwater flashlight with fresh batteries.
*For December through mid-March trips only - Synthetic fabrics (i.e. polar fleece & capilene) not cotton are best for keeping warm in wet environments.
Optional items: Although we provide plenty of food and some snacks, if you have a high metabolism you may want to bring along a few of your own favorite snacks, camera with plenty of memory and batteries, binoculars, paddling gloves, pocket knife, insect repellent, pillow & a good book!