MORE TRIP INFORMATION
ACCOMMODATIONS: Our 8 day adventure in Baja includes 3 nights of lodging at the PosadaLuna Sol in La Paz. This quaint Mexican inn is located in la Paz with restaurants and shopping near by. Double occupancy rooms and all meals will be provided during our hotel stays on day one, day five and day six. On our final night in Baja, we plan to stay at a charming hotel in Todos Santos. For three nights we are camping at Espiritu Santos Island in the Sea of Cortez. Spacious 4 person tents are provided for 2 people. While camping, a porta-potty system is used, a small self- contained toilet basin. Throughout our experience, we have the ease that boat supported camping provides. This allows us more time to explore Baja's natural wonders rather than making and breaking new camps each day that occurs on kayak expeditions. While sleeping in a tent is always an option, you may choose to sleep some nights under a starry sky.
MAR Y AVENTURAS, OUR MEXICAN BASED OUTFITTER: We are thrilled to be under the care of Mar Y Aventuras while we explore the wonders of Baja. Like Blue Water Ventures, Mar Y Aventuras provides naturalist-led adventures and active vacations with an educational focus. Our naturalist guides have an excellent reputation for water safety, client care and imparting natural history lessons. In addition to our naturalist, we will be joined by our Mexican support crew and cook.
MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS: Baja Mexico does not require any specific immunizations for entry. However Mexico, including Baja has a relatively high occurrence of Hepatitis A. While all precautions at our hotel and base camps are made to prevent the spread of this serious liver disease, we recommend getting a vaccination for Hepatitis A. Make sure that your Tetanus (Td or Tdap) vaccine is current as well. For updates on travel to Mexico, please visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The travel advisory for H1N1 influenza ended in 2010. The seasonal flu vaccine will protect against H1N1 and several other flu strains. Dengue Fever and the Zika Virus are both transmitted by mosquitoes and exists in Mexico (although currently no cases of Zika reported in Baja). A strong repellent is a good defense against mosquitoes. See more recommendations below under the heading: INSECT REPELLENT. Please consult your physician regarding your trip. All medical precautions are the decision of each participant. Be sure to pack all medications in the original prescription package or bottle to avoid problems while clearing customs.
CLIMATE: The weather in the La Paz area is notably beautiful in mid November with temperatures ranging from 75-85 degrees during the day and 60-65 degrees at night. We may experience windy conditions so warm clothing (a medium rated fleece jacket/ warm cap), a waterproof windbreaker and good rain gear is required. Water temperatures in the Sea of Cortez will be in the low 80's, ideal for swimming. Bring a waterproof sun block/lip balm with a protection factor of 20 or higher.
PHYSICAL CONDITIONING: While experience in kayaking, snorkeling or hiking is not required to participate in this program, good general health is recommended. Your guides will offer a variety of excursions each day for those who want to keep active. Some level of upper body conditioning is advisable to prepare for kayaking and snorkeling.
ACTIVITIES INCLUDED: Snorkeling, sea kayaking, fishing, foraging, beachcombing, intertidal exploration, desert hiking, natural history talks and enjoying delicious well balanced meals are all included.
KAYAKING: A variety of single and tandem closed deck sea kayaks are provided. All boats have rudders and boat selection for our group will be determined by May Y Aventuras upon our arrival. Informal instruction will be happily provided by your Blue Water Ventures guides if you would like to fine tune your kayaking skills and rescues. Our sea kayaking destinations range from 2-4 miles depending upon the strengths and interest of our group.
SNORKELING: From our base camp at Espiritu Santo Island in the Sea of Cortez, we will kayak to white sandy beaches stopping at snorkeling locations en route. Good snorkeling can be done right from our base camp. Your Blue Water naturalist are avid snorkelers so please join us in the water. Colorful reef fish such as the Cortez damselfish and King angelfish as well as an array of invertebrate species can be observed along the rocky reefs. Weather permitting, our support boat will take us to a sea lion rookery to have an unforgettable encounter with these graceful aquatic mammals.
SNORKELING WITH WHALE SHARKS: Entering the water next to a shark which may exceed 30 feet in length is truly an unforgettable encounter! As filter feeders, whale sharks are considered harmless to snorkelers who respect these majestic sea creatures. To participate in this program, you should consider yourself a moderately strong swimmer or physically fit and comfortable in open water. Sometimes whale sharks are feeding leisurely at the surface while other times they are gliding effortlessly at a high speed. It takes a strong swimmer to swim parallel to whale sharks when they are on the move. Excellent viewing can be made from our support boat.
BABY SEA TURTLE RELEASE AT TODOS SANTOS: For 1000's of years, the remote beaches of Baja have provided a critical nesting habitat for several species of now highly endangered sea turtles. As human development increased, the pressures on sea turtle populations intensified. Habitats were loss, sea turtle eggs and meat consumed and countless numbers of sea turtles drowned in fishing nets. While some sea turtle populations are declining at an alarming rate, efforts to protect these ancient reptiles are happening on a global scale. Throughout Baja, various projects have been established to monitor nesting sea turtle beaches and relocate eggs to a protective hatchery. 45-60 days later, baby sea turtles emerge from a nest and begin a perilous journey though life. At Cochora Beach near Todos Santos, we will join Grupo Tortuguero Todos Santos A.C., a local sea turtle conservation project as they release baby sea turtles into the vast Pacific Ocean. Three species of critically endangered sea turtles nest in the vicinity of Todos Santos: the East Pacific green sea turtle also referred to as the black sea turtle, the olive ridley and the leatherback sea turtle.
FISHING: While in the Sea of Cortez, you are welcomed to grab a rod and reel and try some fishing! We ask that you bring your own lures or buy them used at our hotel. Suggested colors include: blue/silver, black/gold, green mackerel/gold or blue mackerel/silver. Popular lures are: a Rebel jointed Fastrac, mid-size Rapala Magnums or other minnow style lures. Most fishing is offered as a pre breakfast outing where you will troll behind a motorized skiff.
RENTAL GEAR: As indicated on the packing list, you will need to provide a sleeping bag, pad, snorkeling equipment and wetsuit. We can rent these items in La Paz before we depart for the Sea of Cortez on Day Two. Sleeping Bags and Pads may be rented for $20 or $15 separately, Snorkeling equipment (mask, fins and snorkel) for $15 or separate items for $10 and Wetsuits for $15.
WETSUITS: In Bahia de la Paz, water temperatures will be in the low 80's so wetsuits are not required for snorkeling when we are departing from our hotel. We highly recommend a wetsuit for snorkeling at the sea lion rookery at Los Islotes where ocean currents make the water temperatures cooler. We visit Los Isolotes when camping. You may rent a 3mm long sleeve wetsuit with short pants for $15. If you tend to get cold easily, we recommend that you bring a 3-4mm full body wetsuit. Wetsuits are worn while snorkeling but not required while kayaking.
Leaping Mobula Ray near our campsite in the Sea of Cortez
LUGGAGE: A medium to large duffel bag is recommended. Our support boat will take our luggage to camp but for extra security please waterproof your gear by lining your duffel on the inside with a garbage bag. We suggest bringing a small dry bag to protect personal items such as cameras, extra clothing and binoculars while kayaking and during boat excursions. Small dry boxes such as those made by Pelican are handy for waterproofing miscellaneous items such as small cameras, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses.
PACKING TIPS AND STORAGE IN LA PAZ: Our hotel has a secure storage area if there are items that you don't want to bring with you including lap tops or other electronics. You may even choose to leave a large duffel in La Paz and bring a smaller duffel with your clothing and personal Items. If you go this route, bring a smaller duffel with you as they are not provided by the hotel. Your sleeping bag, thermarest and dive gear may be packed separate from your clothing and personal items.
INSECT REPELLENT: Mosquitoes and a few sand gnats will be encountered in Mexico. Dengue Fever and the Zika Virus are both transmitted by mosquitoes and exists in Mexico (although currently no cases of Zika reported in Baja). A strong repellent is a good defense against mosquitoes and other insects that we may encounter. A layer of lightweight, light in color clothing is an effective defense against insects. In recent years, clients have been very happy with a Eucalyptus Lemon Natural Repellent as an alternative to products with Deet.
CAMERAS, CELL PHONES, ETC: If using a digital camera, please bring enough battery power to use for at least 4 days ( although electricity for charging batteries should be available while camping though may be limited). We will have access to electricity at during our hotel stays. If daily phone contact is required while traveling, we recommend renting a satellite phone from the United States before our trip departure. Some of you may have cell service while in La Paz. You may want to call your provider before you depart to see what the fees are for calls and texting. Another option is to set up a Skype account on your lap top or “ smart phone" before leaving home for use while in La Paz.
WIFI CONNECTION: Wifi connection is available at our hotel in La Paz on Day One, Five and Six as well as our final night in Todos Santos. If you can't part with your laptop bring it along! It may be safely stored at the hotel while we are camping.
CLOTHING: Loose fitting cotton or quick drying nylon work well while kayaking and hiking. Lighter colors seem more comfortable in the heat. Laundry is done by hand as needed by each participant.
TAKING SHOWERS: Bathing is done in saltwater followed by a quick freshwater rinse using sun showers that are provided. Joy, Dawn and CampSuds are biodegradable and lathers up nicely in saltwater. Dr. Brommer's is not recommended for saltwater bathing.
LOCAL CUISINE: Throughout our Baja adventure, expect to enjoy a variety of well balanced meals prepared by our Mexican Cooks. Though not expected, you are welcomed to help in the kitchen and practice your spanish! Vegetarian meals can be arranged upon request. Please specify any dietary restrictions or allergies on the registration form that will be sent to you.
PASSPORTS: Everyone is required to have a current passport for entry into Mexico. It usually takes 6 weeks to process a passport. For information on obtaining a passport, please visit: passports where you can also find information on how to obtain a passport quickly. Most post offices provide the service to process US passports. On your outbound flight, all passengers are given a tourist visa to complete. Please hold onto this form as you will need to provide it as you depart Mexico. You will pay a fine if this form is lost.
MONEY: There is no need to exchange US dollars into pesos before your arrival into Mexico. Most restaurants and stores including our gear rental shop accepts US currency. After your arrival into La Paz, the only costs you are responsible for during our program are: airport baggage fees, phone calls, unscheduled boat excursions, activities not described in the itinerary, personal liquor, tips for our Mexican Crew and any airport departure taxes (some airlines include these taxes in your ticket and this varies year to year). We recommend bringing small bills (1's, 5's, 10's, 20's) since pesos may be given as change. Credit cards or travellers checks may not be accepted at many stores in La Paz so cash is preferred.
TIPPING: It is customary to tip our Mexican crew as we depart our adventure. If you feel as though they have served you well, please consider a tip of $100 to be shared among our Mexican crew of cooks, boat captains and guides (cash only please).
DONATIONS: Members of the local fishing villages would greatly appreciate any used clothing or shoes you would like to donate. Fleece jackets, rain coats, pants, t-shirts and shoes of all kinds (Tevas, hiking or tennis shoes ) and sizes would be a wonderful contribution. Clothing for children of all ages is needed. Please drop off your gifts at our hotel office in La Paz on the morning of Day Two.
DELAYS: Blue Water Ventures and Mar Y Aventuras are not responsible for any costs incurred due to delays that may occur due to transportation (airline), weather, road conditions, government intervention, sickness or other contingencies for which we are unable to control.
Map of Baja Mexico Sur Map of La Paz Map of Espiritu Santos Island
La Paz City Map
California Gray Whales
Magdalena Bay Sea Lions
HOW TO REACH US IN MEXICO IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY BACK HOME: In the event of an emergency only, please call the La Paz based headquarters at: 406-522-7596.This is a US phone that will connect directly to Mexico. An alternate number is: 011-52-612-123-0559. This is the same number for the hotel where we can be reached on the evenings of Day One, Five and Six .On Day Seven we can be reached at the Guaycura Hotel in Todos Santos at: 011-52-612-175-0800.
ILLEGAL DRUG USE: The Mexican government has very severe penalties for the use of illegal drugs. Do not bring illegal substances into Mexico or purchase/use them during this program.