We spent one week exploring the beautiful Island of Espíritu Santo by kayak in the Sea of Cortez, about 20 km from La Paz, Baja California. We thought one week would be enough but in the end it was too short.
May is the off season for kayaking which allowed us to have the island to ourselves. The wind was not strong but the mosquitoes were in full force.
The Sea of Cortez is one of the bodies of water with the most variety of wildlife, 31 different species of marine mammals make this sea their home. We spent the week paddling amongst pods of dolphins, sea turtles, jumping manta rays and sea lions. Camping in the islands many bays where the clear, warm turquoise water meets secluded fine white sand beaches.
WHERE IS ESPIRITU SANTO ISLAND?
WHAT WE LIKED THE MOST
- Camping in caves
- Swimming in pristine clear waters
- Plenty of wildlife: dolphins, turtles, mobula rays, sea lions…
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE THAT MUCH
- Mosquitoes at night
- Heat during the day
EQUIPMENT CHECK LIST
- 2-Seater Sea Kayak
- Spray Skirts (x2)
- Kayak Paddle (x3)
- MRS Mutha Hubba Tent
- Thermarest Z Lite Matress (x2)
- Exped 500 Sleeping Bags (x2)
- Sea To Summit Silk Sleeping Liner (x2)
- PRIMUS OmniLite Camping Stove
- PRIMUS Gourmet Cooking Set
- Petzl Head Torch (x2)
- Exped Dry Bag
- MSR 10L Water Sack (x4)
CLOTHING (PER PERSON)
- Arc’teryx Rain Jacket
- Arc’teryx Epsilon Soft Shell Fleece
- Icebreaker Base Layer
- T-shirts (x3)
- Swimming Suit
- Salomon Waterproof Hiking Pants
- Icebreaker Socks (x3)
- Icebreaker Undies (x3)
- Teva Sandals
- Icebreaker Beanie
- Costa del Mar Sunglasses
- Food & Water (1gallon per person/day)
- Mosquito Repellent
You can paddle around the 2 islands, Espíritu Santo and Partida, in 3-4 days. But we would recommend to give yourself a week and you will enjoy it much more. There are plenty of isolated bays to explore and many sandy beaches to camp.
The overnight trips run from October to May. This is when the weather is best for kayaking. However, kayak rentals to experienced paddlers are available all year round.
You can start paddling from La Paz or take a ride to Tecolote beach and start from there. Shuttle service is also provided if needed. You can check their rates here.
Go around May, when the crowds are gone and it’s still not too hot to enjoy the paddling. Try to make the crossing at around noon. The wind dies almost every day between 12pm and 2pm.
VIDEO: KAYAKING IN ESPIRITU SANTO ISLAND
If you like enjoying the nature in solitude, exploring areas where there is no civilization and feeling conected to the surroundings, then Espiritu Santo Island is for you. We absolutely loved the week we spent there. It was one of the highlights of Baja California.
Pack your tent, bring plenty of food and water and get ready to enjoy one of the most beautiful and incredible places in the Sea of Cortez.
Location: La Paz, Baja California Sur. Mexico
Price: 200 USD (double sea kayak weekly rental fee)
Useful Notes: Although the conditions for sea kayaking in the Sea of Cortez are exceptional, you need to be experienced to perform this adventure independently. Tours are available for less experienced travelers.
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Whoa! Looks so amazing. We are definitely keeping this in the book for when we go down there… and when we are finally ready for an offline adventure. So intensely beautiful!
Yes, It’s a very special place. We can’t wait to return.
Are you guys heading to Mexico soon?
Do we need any permits to kayak and campa round this island?
looks like such a beautiful place! What an experience!
It was truly special 🙂
The color of that water – so vibrant and turquoise! Looks like an unforgettable adventure 🙂
Absolutely. The morning swim in that water was the best part of the trip 🙂
Wow, look at that water! And it doesn’t look crowded at all. Sounds like a wonderful trip!
We were the only ones during the week we were there 🙂
This look amazing. I bet the snorkeling is amazing.
It was pretty good, specially with at the sea lion colony 🙂
Looks like a wonderful place to just tune out and enjoy the water and nature, did you see some whales?
We didn’t, but we were a bit after the whale season which ends in April. We saw lots of dolphins, mobula rays, turtles and sea lions though.
Brilliant! Looks like an awesome time! Love kayaking!
With a kayak is by far the best way to explore an island 🙂
You have some beautiful pictures! I’d love to try kayaking again, but I’d like to do it with a guide since I’ve only done it once.
Is there any place in particular you would like to go kayaking?
I have always wanted to do this. I didn’t know you could camp in caves though!
It’s very sunny on the island, so camping in a cave is your best option 🙂
Where on the island did you find caves? I’m planing a trip there next month.
There is so much energy in your photos! Sounds exciting too!
Wow, what an experience that must have been to enjoy the island relatively free of any one else present. Stunning images!
It was a very special experience, indeed. One of those you remember for years 🙂
Looks like you enjoyed your time there… although the mossies can be a real pain… quite literally 😀
We only had very bad mosquitoes the first 2 nights. On the other side of the island they were not too bad which was a relief!
Thanks for this comprehensive account of your trip around Espiritu Santo Island in Baja California Sur, Mexico. We were privileged to have been able to provide you with the equipment rental necessary to realize your adventure!
As an outfitter in Baja for 22 years and having guided there for 10 years prior to opening our business in La Paz in 1993 I’m surprised to hear the mosquitoes were plentiful during your trip in May!? May is one of the driest months in Southern Baja and therefore usually provides bug free camping on the island. That said there are beaches (those with mangroves) that do have bugs year around while there are many other beaches that provide bug free camping that time of year!
In my 32 years paddling on the island I’ve never experienced mosquitoes in May because I know what beaches to avoid. I’m sorry our office did not pass this information onto you!!
In general December through July are the bug free months on the island (if you know what beaches to avoid) while August and September are the rainy season and October through November tend to be buggy everywhere as they follow the rainy season.
I want to be their , what i have to do?
Hey Gurung, the easiest way is to go to La Paz, Mexico and either hire a kayak or go with a tour to the island.