Adventures / Kayak Journeys

Circumnavigate Isla Espiritu Santo by Sea Kayak

Journey through one of the world's best marine life viewing destinations in Mexico's Sea of Cortez

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Trip Ref #10528

Adventures / Kayak Journeys

Circumnavigate Isla Espiritu Santo by Sea Kayak

Journey through one of the world's best marine life viewing destinations in Mexico's Sea of Cortez

DURATION

9 nights

LOCATION

Mexico

ANNUAL LEAVE

6 days off work

SEASON

Nov-May

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

La Paz Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel · Campsite

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

Although no previous kayaking experience is necessary, you will need to have relatively good levels of fitness

Paddle around craggy and dramatic island biosphere reserve coastlines and snorkel in the sparkling Gulf of Californina

Swim with the majestic Whale Shark, Sea lion pups and tropical fish in biodiverse UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wild camp on remote national park beaches, discover hidden coves under cliff-top vistas and sup Margaritas as the sun sets

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

Included

Guides

Expert, local, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

3 nights in a 4-star hotel, 6 nights wild camping on remote beaches

Meals

All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Porterage

Equipment and supply transfer to and from each beach camp using a support motor boat

Equipment

All your kayaking, snorkelling and camping equipment

Permits

All permits for the National Park and the regulated whale shark feeding grounds

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Some meals as described

Tips for your guides

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Manuel Márquez de León International Airport (La Paz International Airport)

09:00 on Day 1

Ends

Manuel Márquez de León International Airport (La Paz International Airport)

14:30 on Day 10

Transfers

Your adventure starts on Day 1 at La Paz International Airport, where you will meet your host's driver and transfer with the group to your hotel in historic downtown La Paz. There’s plenty of time to go for a stroll and explore, your luggage will be stored at the hotel until check-in. There will be a trip briefing from your guide at the hotel at 18:00.

On Day 10, your host will transfer the group to La Paz International Airport in time for flights departing from 17:00 onwards.

If you plan to arrive or depart outside of the group transfer times, you can easily hop into a taxi, priced approximately $505 MXN / $25 USD / £20 one way. A taxi desk is in front of the arrival gates, with taxis outside the arrivals hall. The journey time from the airport to La Paz city is under 30 minutes. Your guide will be on hand to assist if you need to organise a taxi for the return journey. Alternatively, your host can arrange private airport transfers. See Optional Extras for prices.

Los Cabos International Airport is located 3.5 hours drive from La Paz by public bus. If you plan to use this airport, the Eco Baja Tours shuttle bus company run a service from the airport directly to the malecón (sea promenade) in La Paz. Tickets are priced at $600 MXN / $30 USD / £25 per person each way at the time of publishing, and can be pre-booked on the Eco Baja Tours website. Alternatively, you could hire a car to road trip up the Pacific Coast stopping at bohemian town of Todos Santos before dropping the car off in La Paz. Taxis are also available. Your host can also arrange private airport transfers, see Optional Extras for prices.

Travel options

There are indirect international flights to La Paz airport from the UK and major European hubs via Mexico City and Guadalajara, as well as Phoenix and Dallas in the US.

Los Cabos International Airport is located 3.5hrs from La Paz with direct flights from major US hubs.

For those arriving early or wanting to stay on, extra nights can be arranged with your host at an additional cost. Please see Optional Extras for more information.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 7

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

During the expedition, you’ll have a chef whipping up delicious meals from their beach kitchen. Breakfasts include a tasty mix of Mexican specialities and Western favourites, including plenty of fresh local fruit. For lunch, you might be served tamales, a traditional Mesoamerican dish, freshly made salads or a variety of cold cuts all washed down with an ice cold drink. During the daily happy hour, a Piña Colada or cold beer and sliced fruit will ease you nicely into camp, following a day’s paddling. For dinner, a hearty feast awaits, with meals such as freshly caught Veracruz-style fish, chicken fajitas or one of many pasta or rice based culinary creations with spicy Mexican sauce. The food is one of the highlights of this trip!

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

La Paz

In La Paz, you'll stay at the 4-star Hotel Catedral, located in the historic area of downtown and overlooking Our Lady of La Paz Cathedral. The hotel has a contemporary modernist style, city views, an outdoor pool and sun terrace - it's a great place to relax and soak up the vibes of Baja California Sur. You'll stay in twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms.

Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida

You'll spend six nights wild camping on remote, uninhabited beaches - without a doubt, the best way to experience the natural environments of Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida. Due to their protected status, no permanent structures of any sort are allowed, aside from the camps of the local fishermen who have traditionally made their living from the island and the surrounding waters. Your support crew will select the best locations to set up camp depending on conditions. You'll sleep in high-quality dome tents, with sleeping bags and sleeping mats for your comfort.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

¡Hola México!

Touch down in La Paz, the state capital of Baja California Sur. Meet your driver at the airport and hop in the van for the short drive to your hotel in this compact city. Explore the historic downtown or take a sunny stroll beside the Sea of Cortez, before getting to know your guide and fellow travellers at this evening's expedition briefing.

Day 2

To Isla Espíritu Santo

Kayaking

2hrs · 7km

With adventure quite literally on the horizon, board a high-speed motor boat and whizz from La Paz to the island of Espíritu Santo. Under azure skies and with sand between your toes, your guides will get you up to speed on safety and explain all the basics of sea kayaking. Hop into a kayak and paddle the first strokes of your expedition beneath spectacular volcanic cliffs, eyes open for wildlife as you skim across the water, before gracefully sliding onto the sand at the first of many beautiful beaches, where you'll set up camp.

Day 3

Sandy bays and seabirds

Kayaking

3hrs · 10km

Espíritu Santo is one of 900 islands in the Gulf of California and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - so jump back into the kayak and head northward to explore this biodiverse environment. Paddle a section of coastline dotted with small offshore islands, which are home to many nesting seabirds including the blue-footed booby. Cruise into a sandy bay to explore a unique dry waterfall canyon, before a refreshing rinse at a freshwater well. Pitch your tent on a new beach, kick back with a well-deserved drink and as the sun goes down, be mesmerised by the bioluminescence that illuminates the shoreline.

Day 4

Isla Partida

Kayaking

3hrs · 10km

Flex those now thoroughly warmed up muscles and paddle to the northern tip of Isla Espíritu Santo. Look out for dolphins, rays and sea lions as you cross the shallow channel into the Isla Partida biosphere. Basecamp for the next two nights will be at Ensenada Grande beach, where you can snorkel in the clear blue sea, relax into happy hour and enjoy glorious sunsets.

Day 5

Snorkel with sea lions

Snorkelling

1hr

Hiking

1.5hrs · 2km · 240m up · 240m down

Rise and shine a little later than usual and ease into your day. Take a break from kayaking and head to Los Islotes by boat. This exquisite offshore islet is home to a large colony of sea lions - it's the perfect place to snorkel amongst a plethora of tropical fish and swim with playful sea lion pups. Back on dry land, you can stretch your legs on a short hike to the other side of the island and scramble up to the clifftop to take in breathtaking views of Isla Partida. Alternatively, you can just relax on the beach.

Day 6

Back to Espíritu Santo

Kayaking

3-4hrs · 14km

Hop back into your kayak and skim along the east coast of Isla Partida. This side of the island provides a sharp contrast in scenery, with a geological rainbow of towering cliffs. Paddle south, back across the narrow channel separating Isla Partida from Espíritu Santo. Before long an idyllic beach will appear, with its own natural turquoise pool for you to take a dip in and to pitch your tent nearby.

Day 7

Sea caves and sweeping sands

Kayaking

3-4hrs · 14km

As you paddle down the east coast, the scenery becomes more dramatic with 600m cliffs rising sharply from the sea. The rocky edifices conceal mysterious sea caves carved out by the waves, and if the conditions are favourable you can paddle through. The last camping spot of the expedition is a magnificent 3km sweep of white sand which contrasts beautifully with the azure Sea of Cortez.

Day 8

Circumnavigation complete!

Kayaking

3hrs · 10km

Get back into your sea kayak for the home straight - today's paddle will complete your epic island circumnavigation. Tuck into a well-deserved lunch and savour the last of wild island life. Give the National Park a wave as you whizz back to La Paz - and back to a real bed. Kick back at the hotel pool, people watch along the promenade or take a wander with a famed homemade ice cream from La Fuente.

Enjoy the laid-back hum of the city as the sun sets and celebrate your achievement at one of the excellent local eateries.

Day 9

Whale sharks ahoy!

Snorkelling

2hrs

You'll have been wowed by the area's biodiversity by now, but the best is yet to come. Your trip culminates with an unforgettable morning snorkelling with the largest fish in the world: the magnificent whale shark. Whale sharks are completely harmless, weigh in at up to 19,000 kilos and grow in length to approximately 19m. It's hard to grasp the size of these majestic creatures until you're in the blue waters with them. Later, tuck into a packed lunch on the boat and spend the afternoon soaking up the La Paz city vibes, before a farewell dinner with your team at a local restaurant.

Day 10

Adiós, México

After breakfast, enjoy the morning in before your group transfer to the airport, in time for your flight home.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

CAMPING KIT
Tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag

KAYAKING KIT
Single/double sea kayak, paddle, spraydeck, sponge and personal floatation device

SNORKELLING KIT
Shorty wetsuit, mask, snorkel and fins

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (20-30 litres)

CLOTHES

  • Light water/wind proof jacket
  • Synthentic layers (quick drying)
  • Long-sleeved paddling shirt
  • Long-sleeved rash vest
  • Long lycra shorts
  • Light fleece jacket or similar
  • Warm hat (mid-December to February)
  • Paddling gloves (optional, but these help to avoid blisters)
  • Buff or neckscarf (optional)
  • Lightweight trousers
  • Shorts (quick drying)
  • T-shirts (quick drying)
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses (with a cord)
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking shoes (worn-in)
  • Sandals

SLEEPING

  • Cotton or silk sleeping bag liner (optional)
  • Travel pillow or pillowcase (optional)

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Debit/credit card (ATMs in La Paz)
  • Carabiner (to attach water bottle/camera to kayak bungee)
  • Camera (must have dry box / pouch if carried on kayak)
  • Dry bag for items carried when paddling (optional)
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream (factor 50+)
  • Lip balm
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle x1 litre
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks

Single/Double/Twin Room in La Paz - per room, per night

Payable Before Departure

Single/Double/Twin Room in La Paz - per room, per night

Per Night

Optional private room and tent upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional private room and tent upgrade

Private airport transfer from Hotel Catedral to Los Cabos airport

Payable Before Departure

Private airport transfer from Hotel Catedral to Los Cabos airport

Private airport transfer from Los Cabos airport to Hotel Catedral

Payable Before Departure

Private airport transfer from Los Cabos airport to Hotel Catedral

Private airport transfer from Hotel Catedral to La Paz Airport (up to 3 people in vehicle)

Payable Before Departure

Private airport transfer from Hotel Catedral to La Paz Airport (up to 3 people in vehicle)

Private airport transfer from La Paz airport to Catedral Hotel (up to 3 people in vehicle)

Payable Before Departure

Private airport transfer from La Paz airport to Catedral Hotel (up to 3 people in vehicle)

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 154kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

You do not need any previous kayaking experience, full guidance will be provided at the beginning of the trip and while on the water. You’ll just need reasonable levels of fitness to handle up to 4 hours and 14km of kayaking on each of the paddling days. Building a little arm strength before your trip can help with sea kayaking.

You'll be paddling with your fellow adventurers in a single or double sit-in sea kayak. Your guide will lead the activities and your support crew will choose camp spots and cook meals. Any excess luggage or valuables can be safely stored at the hotel, which you can retrieve on the afternoon of Day 8. Your main soft duffel bag or rucksack, containing only what you will need for expedition, will be transported on the support boat when you set off from La Paz, with access to it each day before and after paddling. You'll only need the essential items of suncream, water bottle, sun hat and sunglasses with you when paddling each day. Daily snacks will be provided to complement the three meals included. There will be plenty of opportunities to snorkel from the beach on most days. In addition to the sleeping and cooking tents, each beach campsite will have large shades to cover the dining area serving tables and chairs, a solar shower to rinse off the salt and a marine toilet within a screened enclosure set up a distance away. You'll be well looked after by your crew on the trip, but please also expect to get stuck in with pitching and striking tents as well as loading and unloading the support boat.

The weather from November to May is generally ideal, with highs during the day between 19°C / 66°F and 32°C / 90°F and lows at night between 8°C / 46°F and 20°C / 68°F. There may be windy days that can have an impact on certain expeditions, along with the chance of an occasional rainy day in the months the trip operates.

The trip dates are scheduled across Baja California Sur's pleasant winter months, avoiding the hottest summer months and the hurricane season. However, due to weather and local wind conditions at the time of travel some changes to the route, order or timing of the activities may be necessary once you’re on the trip. Your host will ensure that if any changes are necessary, they are kept to a minimum, and your guide will keep you in the loop as the trip progresses to ensure that you have an awesome time.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion, but there is an expectation to tip for good service. All tips will be divided between the expedition guides, boat captain, chef and support crew. Your host can further advise, however we suggest the below as a guideline per person:

$10 USD / £8.50 per day

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Your host will supply drinking water dispensed from a large 20 litre thermos flask, which will be refilled regularly by the crew. Please pack your own reusable bottle, it will be well used.

Yes, you can safely store excess luggage at the hotel at the start of the trip, with valuables going into the safe. You'll be reunited with your luggage on Day 8.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

No. You will need to keep your sun cream, sun hat, sunglasses and water bottle with you whilst paddling each day (your camera is optional, but if you do take one, it must either be waterproof, or stored in a zip-lock dry pouch/dry box). You'll need to have a larger soft bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you on the support boat, and then a small daypack to carry personal items during the island hike, whale shark snorkelling day or whilst in La Paz.

The host has an extensive fleet of sea kayaks made of fibreglass or plastic. These include both single and double kayaks, available throughout the trip to give you a chance to try out different models. You will be asked for your general kayaking experience and preference of either single or double sea kayak in advance.

Double sea kayaks available are: Seaward (Passat, Southwind and Naia models), and Necky (Looksha and Amaruks models).

Single sea kayaks available are: Seaward (Aura and Tyee models), Wilderness Systems (Tempest 165 and 170 models), Seda (Swift and Ikkumma models) and Current Designs (Squall, Titan and Solstice GTS models).

Generally longer and faster than recreational kayaks, sea kayaks have better performance and manoeuvrability with rudders for testing conditions. Sea kayaks are outfitted well with multiple hatches and deck layouts to maximise storage space and access.

The sea kayaks in the fleet are North American made, with the varying sizes and models designed for both larger and smaller paddlers. The sea kayaks are made for expeditions and provide ample carrying capacity for paddlers and stowed items.

The larger single sea kayak weight limit is up to 206kg/455lbs (inclusive of paddler and gear stowed), with double sea kayaks affording twice the weight limit of the singles.

Swimming with whale sharks is a real privilege and a regulated activity, so it’s important that you follow guidance from your guide for the benefit of the whale sharks and yourself. The breeding grounds within the bay of La Paz are carefully protected by the CONANP (National Commission of Protected Natural Areas). More information can be found on the CONANP website.

Tourism plays an enormously important part in raising funds in this specific area of conservation, with each visitor paying a fee which contributes towards the protection of these fish. Your trip price includes a local tax, which helps fund the government agency that provides the monitoring and management program for sustainable tourism.

Every boat company providing whale shark tours must hold a full permit to do so, with boat skippers and guides both needing to pass exams in order to meet the strict guidelines. All tour operators work hand in hand with the authorities to produce data which monitors whale shark activity in the area and feeds into necessary adjustments to the management plan.

If your trip has fewer than 6 people, you will be joined by members of the public for the whale shark snorkelling day only.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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