by Julie Trevelyan
Baja, Mexico, is a pretty sweet destination anytime. But heading to go sea kayaking? Now we’re talking. Sea kayaking is exciting, breathtaking, and a marvelous way to experience a fun connection with our oceans. Kayaking around Espiritu Santo Island in Baja fits the ticket very nicely.
Isla Espiritu Santo is located in the Sea of Cortez, only twenty miles yet seemingly a world away from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan La Paz, Mexico. Totaling about 31 square miles, it’s the twelfth-largest island in Mexico and blessed with gorgeous turquoise waters and white sand beaches. In other words, this is a fabulous place for sea kayaking and camping! Of the over 1,000 islands in the region, Isla Espiritu Santo is widely considered the crowning glory.
Water temps range from the mid-60s to mid-80s (Farenheit) depending on time of year. Air temperatures have a similar range, reaching upwards of 90 degrees in the hottest summer months. Specifics for each month’s temperatures can help you decide what time of year is best for a trip.
The island abounds with possibilities beyond the core kayaking. Snorkel in the crystal clear waters? Yep, you can do that. Take a little hike to pretty canyons festooned with trees unusual to your eyes? Certainly. Sink a line for some sea bass? Definitely. Go on a jaunt to swim with sea lions? Oh, yeah! The always alluring draw of simply relaxing on the beach with a good book under that wonderful Baja sunshine is a choice many happy paddlers make as well.
The volcanic history of the island leaves it covered in layers of black lava and pinkish volcanic ash. Evidence of old seismic faults can be spotted in the rugged line of the cliffs, which add dramatic skylines to your vistas. In later times, English, French, and Dutch pirates hid themselves and their loot on the island from other opportunistic pirates. There being no honor among thieves, etc., some entertaining tales about their exploits can be had for the asking. Pearl oyster fishing has a long background in the waters of Espiritu Santo, beginning with the native locals who had no knives and therefore got the oysters to reveal their precious contents by throwing the shells on fire to crack open. Pearl fishing became more sophisticated over the years before it ended in the early 20th century due to the pearls diminishing in size, quantity, and quality. Today, all that is left are old-timer memories and stories.
Who will enjoy this trip most:
Families, couples, singles, friends—anyone who wants to explore a gorgeous island by kayak is a good candidate for paddling Espiritu Santo. Beginners to experienced kayakers are welcome. If you’re a beginner, a willingness to learn the “wet exit” is mandatory during the orientation. It’s easy! The biggest qualifications you need to have to get the most out of an Espiritu Santo sea kayaking trip are a sense of adventure and a desire to just kick it and relaaahhx while on vacation in paradise.
1. Isla Espiritu Santo has a well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage site designation.
2. The world’s first successful pearl oyster farm was developed here in 1903.
3. Jacques Cousteau labeled the entire Sea of Cortez area the “aquarium of the world.”
Written by Julie Trevelyan.
Julie is a freelance writer and wilderness guide in southern Utah. She especially enjoys books, coffee, yoga, wild country, horses, and dark chocolate.