From beginner-friendly day trips to weeklong tours of wild coastlines, there's something for every paddler
Few water sports put you closer to nature than ocean kayaking. It’s just you, a small boat and the sea. And few places offer a better kayaking experience than the La Paz region of the Baja Peninsula. The waters are warm, the wind and seas often calm, and the coastline punctuated by an intriguing collection of small islands and coastal bays, all providing ideal destinations for paddlers. You can get a taste in a day or less, but if you have a week or more to devote to a kayak tour, you can have your fill of adventures both on the water and ashore along some of the wildest and most scenic coastlines in North America.
You don’t have to go far from town to get away from it all. A half-day or single-day trip can have you paddling in the turquoise waters of Balandra Bay, with a lunch stop at a secluded beach, or touring Sea Lion and Deception Islands, where you’ll have time to stop and explore, and perhaps don snorkel gear to swim with tropical fish. Another popular option is a trip to the mangrove wetlands of the Mogote Peninsula, which is home to more than 100 different species of coastal birds. Day trips are ideal for novice or casual paddlers, as guides often devote the first part of each excursion to the basics of paddling, and follow less demanding routes that remain in calm water.
There are a number of wild coastal islands in the La Paz region that can be explored by sea kayak. The closest to town, and the most popular, is Isla Espíritu Santo, which offers a combination of dramatic rocky cliffs and calm hidden bays. It is possible to take a day trip to the island, but if time permits, Espíritu is certainly worth more than a single day. Several outfitters organize three- to seven-day tours of the island, usually supported by a motor launch that carries provisions and camping gear, freeing paddlers to enjoy their routes along dramatic rock formations and the islands 20 sand beaches. When weather permits, trips may circumnavigate the island, with stops to snorkel, hike inland, swim with playful seals and sea lions and, during winter months, use the support skiffs for whale watching excursions farther from shore.
Those wanting a true wilderness experience, and who are willing and able to put in more time paddling, can sign up for a coastal tour from La Paz to the town of Loreto. The 140-mile voyage is typically undertaken in 9 to 12 days, with stops in small fishing villages and passages along sections of coastline that are not accessible by road. These trips are recommended for intermediate to advanced paddlers, but they are supported by motor launches to carry the heavy stuff and provide emergency support. Routes often zigzag between the mainland and the more than two dozen small islands found along the route. Itineraries are planned to allow ample daily time for side trips, snorkeling and fishing, and nights are often spent around a beachfront campfire, sharing stories of the day’s adventures.