Sea of Cortez Kayaking

Baja Mexico: (ZZ-SK-H21)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/outdoor_kayak_mexico_baja_sea_cortez_islands.aspx

Introduction
Baja Mexico

The islands of the Sea of Cortez contain striking natural beauty in a dramatic setting formed by rugged islands with high cliffs and sandy beaches, which contrast with the brilliant reflection from the desert and the surrounding turquoise waters. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers the perfect blend of Baja kayaking, hiking and snorkeling. Abundant wildlife, massive whales, sunny weather and warm, crystalline waters make the Sea of Cortez in Loreto Bay National Marine Park one of the best winter sea kayaking and whale watching destinations in North America. NOTE: First and last days for any Baja tour are arrival and departure days.
Imagine sea kayaking Baja in the warm, clear waters of Loreto Bay National Marine Park in Mexico s Sea of Cortez, paddling along a spectacular section of coastline and exploring desert islands which pierce the tranquil waters. The towering volcanic escarpments of the Sierra Giganta Mountains rising out of the sea create your backdrop. Red-hued desert colors, azure blue water and magical land formations give this area great aesthetic and photographic appeal.
These waters offer exceptional opportunities for viewing dolphins, sea lions and whales in the wild. High-flying frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and squadrons of pelicans are your companions as you kayak past manta rays and brightly colored fish.
Huge cacti thrive in this captivating landscape of white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs and hidden coves. Nature hikes take us up scenic canyons and headlands offering unforgettable panoramas of wild coastline and scattered islands. Kayaks are the best way to explore the volcanic shoreline, its sea caves and reefs. The warm, crystalline waters of the Sea of Cortez host a breathtaking array of tropical fish - perfect for snorkeling.
Each winter endangered blue whales more than five times as long as your sea kayak migrate to these waters looking for tasty crustaceans. Encountering the largest animal on earth is a thrilling experience. Fin, Humpback and Sei whales also frequent the area.
Our six- to eight-day self-supported and motorboat-supported Sea of Cortez Islands expeditions explore the beautiful Islas Danzante and Carmen. Both itineraries begin in Loreto and include both arrival and departure days. .

From January to March, we are offering a series of Sea of Cortez Kayaking & Magdalena Bay Whale watching Combo tours. These 8- to10-day tours are the ultimate Baja experience of both the Magdalena Bay gray whale nursery and sunny Sea of Cortez. You ll bring home a lifetime of memories. Click here to view a video of kayaking in the Sea of Cortez and whale watching in Magdalena Bay.

For the more adventurous, join our twelve-day Isla Carmen Circumnavigation or Loreto to La Paz Expeditions and experience a remote area few people see. Also, check our 8-day Sea of Cortez Islands and Yoga Adventure Baja sea kayak tour.

Accomodation



Since 1993, we have created a category of travel we call "camping plus".
The food served on our trips is on par with what you get in a first-rate restaurant; we provide all camping gear of the best quality: tents, sleeping bags with clean linens, self-inflating foam pads and comfortable camp seats; you get the best beach sites and you don't have to worry about missing the wildlife.
We're all about truly "getting away", but not quite "leaving it all behind". It's rugged adventure with some worldly amenities. And best of all, you'll receive unbeatable support and camaraderie from each of our guides.
Because of the relatively dry desert climate, we have few mosquitoes and gnats, no sand flies or ticks. For bathing, we can provide you with a bucket of warm water. We’ll have a portable toilet at each campsite.
To give you the opportunity to go hiking, fishing, read a book, etc., we generally arrive in camp no later than 4:00pm. Around 5:30, we serve hors d'oeuvres with dinner following around 7:00pm.



What are typical meals on the trip?

The source of many compliments, our legendary wilderness meals are prepared from fresh, healthy ingredients. Our specialty is Dutch oven cookery with savory main dishes like chicken mole, fresh fish vera cruz style, and chili rellenos; and delicious desserts from brownies to pineapple upside-down cake. We serve fresh ground coffee as well as an abundance of local fruits and vegetables. Vegetarians as well as special dietary requests can easily be accommodated. Each evening, we serve a cocktail and appetizer for "happy hour" so you can enjoy the spectacular Baja sunset while sipping a Margarita!
There's a special emphasis on our meals because we believe you are entitled to gourmet dining in the wilderness as you are at home.

Riding

What type of kayaks do you use on this trip?
Our fleet of kayaks on each trip is comprised of mostly double kayaks and one or two single kayaks shared among guests and guides. They are made by SEAWARD KAYAKS of fiberglass construction and ALL are equipped with rudders. Light weight Werner 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.

What are the differences between motorboat-supported and self-supported trips?
In Baja, some of our tours use a motorboat (panga) to carry camping gear, food and supplies ahead of the main group. This allows our kayaks to be lighter. The panga also carries chairs and tables for dining as well as a cooler with ice for cold drinks.
On our classic self-supported trips, all the gear is carried inside the kayaks allowing for expedition-style paddling without the motorboat.

Is previous kayaking experience necessary?
No prior sea kayaking or camping experience is necessary for this trip. Anyone in good health with a positive attitude can enjoy these activities. Paddling a sea kayak is easy to learn and your experienced guides will teach you all you need to know to enjoy kayaking.

Are there any physical requirements?
The amount of paddling is a good balance of challenge and ease for most of our participants. Expect a moderate workout every kayaking day. Pre-trip time spent in any activity that uses your upper body will help you enjoy your adventure with us. We do require that anyone over 70 or with any health or weight concerns consult us before signing up to make sure you are up to fully participating.

What is the minimum age limit?
The minimum age for our trips is normally 14 to ensure that all our guests are capable of fully participating in the kayaking and other activities involved. Also, a child must be at least 5 feet tall and 100 lbs in order to participate in our sea kayak tours. We do make exceptions on occasion, so call us if you think your child is physically capable of kayaking and comfortable in an adult setting.

What if I'm by myself?
If this is your first adventure tour, and you are naturally a little apprehensive about going solo, we will support you each step of the way. We get a mixture of singles, couples, families and friends. You can have your own tent, but you may share a two-person kayak with another single person or one of the guides. Please call if you have any concerns.

What about safety?
Your safety, comfort and enjoyment are our priorities. Any concerns about risks and physical abilities are handled with the greatest care by our office staff and trip leaders. Your guides are always in close proximity, well equipped with First Aid kits and specially trained in Wilderness First Aid to handle emergency situations. Your trip leader will provide a comprehensive kayak orientation and safety discussion before you begin paddling. We take your concerns or apprehensions to heart - to make kayaking a positive, fulfilling experience for you.

When is the best time to go?
Spring and fall are the most ideal times for enjoying the Sea of Cortez. The strong northerly winds blow longest and strongest from late November through early March so spring and fall trips are characterized by calmer, warmer days. Fall trips (October & November) offer warm and clear waters for great snorkeling and little chance of strong winds. An added attraction is the opportunity to observe the Baja desert in bloom following the rainy season in August and September. Winter trips (December, January & February) tend to be cooler with more chance of wind. Spring trips (March, April & May) offer warmer waters with warm calm days being common. As an added bonus on spring trips many cetaceans migrate into the Sea of Cortez at this time and sightings may include blue, fin, and humpback whales.

When is the best time to see whales?
We design our wilderness adventures to provide you with the best whale encounters imaginable. Baja California is a whale-watchers' paradise. There are few other places that harbor such a concentration and diversity of whales. The islands of Loreto National Marine Park, located in the Sea of Cortez, are home for 6 different species of whales including Blue, Fin, Sei, Humpback, Bryde's and Pilot whales.
From January through April look for spectacular sightings of Blue, Fin and Humpback whales in the warm, calm waters near Loreto on our Sea of Cortez Islands tours.
Magdalena Bay is the world-renowned winter nursery grounds of the Gray whale. From late-January to mid-March is the best time to see gray whales.

Do I need a passport to enter Mexico?
Yes, passports are required to enter Mexico. Click here for the U. S. Department of State’s Passport Requirement page.

What do the trip costs include?
Skilled professional guide services, airport transfer upon arrival, camping equipment including tents, sleeping bags, liners, and sleeping pads. Our camping trips include all meals from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day.

What is not included?
Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals, airfare, gratuities, and park fee in Loreto.

Itinerary



Six-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Loreto airport. You'll be greeted by our ground service and transported to the hotel. Check into pre-assigned rooms. Pre-trip meeting at the hotel later in evening (ground service and hotel rooms included in trip cost).

Day 2:
In the morning we'll meet for breakfast then you'll board our van and ride to the launch site. We'll teach you the basics of paddling and thoroughly review safety setting out procedures before launching kayaks. Paddle to our first night's campsite.


Days 3-4:
Our days begin with spectacular sunrises and end with delightfully cool evenings. We'll spend our mornings kayaking to a new campsite. After lunch there is plenty of time to snorkel, hike, swim or relax with a good book. Evenings find us feasting on delicious fresh food and enjoying margaritas as the sun sets on the horizon.


Day 5:
After a final lunch, we break camp and paddle to our take-out site around 2 p.m. Load van and proceed to Loreto. Check into hotel. No host farewell group dinner at a favorite local restaurant.


Day 6:
You are on your own for transportation to the airport for your flight homeward. You can use C&C English-speaking, air conditioned van transport for $8 each, or taxis (Spanish-speaking) are easily found, approximately $5-6/person; BUT depart for the airport no later than 2 hours before flight.


Eight-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Loreto airport. You'll be greeted by our ground service and transported to the hotel. Check into pre-assigned rooms. Pre-trip meeting at the hotel later in evening (ground service and hotel rooms included in trip cost).

Day 2:
In the morning we'll meet for breakfast then you'll board our van and ride to the launch site. We'll teach you the basics of paddling and thoroughly review safety setting out procedures before launching kayaks. Paddle to our first night's campsite.


Days 3-6:
Our days begin with spectacular sunrises and end with delightfully cool evenings. We'll spend our mornings kayaking to a new campsite. After lunch there is plenty of time to snorkel, hike, swim or relax with a good book. Evenings find us feasting on delicious fresh food and enjoying margaritas as the sun sets on the horizon.


Day 7:
After a final lunch, we break camp and paddle to our take-out site around 2 p.m. Load van and proceed to Loreto. Check into hotel. No host farewell group dinner at a favorite local restaurant.


Day 8:
You are on your own for transportation to the airport for your flight homeward. You can use C&C English-speaking, air conditioned van transport for $8 each, or taxis (Spanish-speaking) are easily found, approximately $5-6/person; BUT depart for the airport no later than 2 hours before flight.


Note on Itinerary: We will do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above. However, the itinerary may change due to reasons beyond our control such as wind, waves or inclement weather.


Rates and Dates for Sea of Cortez Kayaking

Rates include:

Accommodations (hotel in Loreto & camping at Danzante & Carmen), all meals at camp, kayak gear & guiding as per chosen itinerary, camping equipment & sleeping bags, airport transfer on arrival

Packages and Options





Transfer and Other Options:



 Description
2012 Transfer is included from Loreto airport.

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Any meals in town, National Park fees, snorkle and wet suit rentals, guide and staff gratuities, airport transfer on departure

Other Info
Meeting: Loreto
Airport: Loreto (LTO)
Transfer: Loreto

Climate:

The weather in Loreto is generally mild in the winter with day-time temperatures averaging 70 to 85 degrees and night-time temperatures averaging 40 to 55 degrees between December and mid-March. Spring day-time temperatures average 75 to 90 degrees and night-time temperatures average 50 to 65 degrees between mid-March and May. Loreto is in a desert where the possibility of rain is very small, but it can happen. Winds can occur anytime but are more frequent from December through February. Magdalena Bay air temperatures are a little cooler than on the Sea of Cortez side of the Baja Peninsula. Water temperatures in the Sea of Cortez range from 65 degrees in December to 73 degrees in May requiring the use of a shorty 3mm wet suit for extended snorkeling. In October and November, air temperatures range from 80 to 90 degrees and water temperatures range from 75 to 80 degrees.

What To Bring:

PERSONAL EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST

Follow this list when packing.  On most of our tours, we'll be paddling totally self-contained, which means we carry our food and water in the kayaks.  Please keep in mind that your gear (with exception of sleeping bag and pad) has to fit in the waterproof bags handed out at the group meeting, so we recommend following our list below.  Casual, comfortable camping clothes are perfect.

Duffel bags make good traveling luggage.  Use a small one for your clothes and essential items and take as carry-on luggage.  Suitcases, duffels and travel clothing may be left at the hotel.   Please note that airlines are imposing stiffer restrictions on the number and size of carry-on luggage.

A roomy two-person dome tent, warm rectangular sleeping bag with clean sheet and thermarest-style inflatable pad are provided for your convenience as well as a comfortable camp chair.  We recommend you bring your own snorkeling gear, or you can rent it from us as well as wetsuit - ask us for details.

CLOTHING

___ 1 pair light cotton/synthetic blend pants (no jeans)              

___ Swim suit (& sports bras)

___ 2 pair shorts (quick-dry nylon)                                       

___ 2-3 t-shirts

___ 1 pair long underwear top & bottom (polypropylene)    

___ 1 fleece jacket or wool sweater

___ 1-2 long sleeve lightweight cotton or SPF synthetic      

___ 1 rain jacket/windbreaker

        shirts for sun protection                                                 

___  Sun hat with broad brim

___ 1 pr lightweight water shoes (aquasocks, keens)                

___
Warm (fleece or wool) hat

___ 1 pair sandals with ankle straps for camp                        

___
2 Bandanas (multipurpose)

___ 1 pair running/walking shoes and 2 pairs socks for camp

___ Underwear

___  rash guard top & leotards or similar for snorkeling

For Dec-Feb trips, add another warm fleece/wool long-sleeve top and rain or wind pants to the list above as nights can be 45 degrees F, and omit some t-shirts.

TOILET KIT  (all gels in 3 oz trial sizes go in one quart ziplock bag if you put in a carry-on bag)

___ Personal medicines/prescriptions                                       

___ Sunscreen SPF 15-45

___ Toiletry kit w/toothbrush & paste, etc                            

___ Lip balm SPF 15-30

___ Biodegradable soap & regular shampoo                         

___ Dry skin lotion

___ Small camp towel & wash cloth                                     

___ Pre-moistened towelettes

___ Contact lens solutions   freshening up - feels great!

___ Insect repellent if prone to insect bites (rarely needed)  

___ Extra eyeglasses/contacts

 

MISCELLANEOUS GEAR

___ 1-2 Water bottles (1 quart capacity each)                        

___ Camera/film/batteries

___ Binoculars (in plastic ziplock bag)                                 

___ Headlamp/batteries/bulb

___ Sunglasses with retaining strap                                      

___ Reading material

___ Gloves  (quick dry; to prevent blisters/sunburn)            

___ Mask, snorkel & fins

___ 2-4 Zip-lock baggies & 2 garbage bags                         

___ Personal snacks, protein bars or meat

___ Fanny pack w/water bottle holders (optional)                 

       jerky if desired (we do provide trail mix)

___ Wetsuit (even if weather hot, ocean is cold Dec-April) 

___ ID & valuables

___ Pillowcase (handy to stuff with clothes to make a pillow)

 

Note:  There will be no opportunity for fresh water showers once we leave the hotel.  However, bathing with salt water, regular shampoo & towel does the job well and will not leave your skin feeling sticky.