ACCOMMODATIONS: Our 8 day adventure in Baja includes 3 nights of doubt occupancy lodging (both in La Paz and then in Loreto ) with all meals provided, including our hotel stays on Day One, Day Two and Day Seven. While on the stunning shores of Magdalena Bay, we will be “glamping” in style with spacious walk in style safari tents with double-triple occupancy. Our final night will be spent in the quaint town of Loreto at our waterfront hotel, The Oasis a perfect end to our Baja Adventure
MAG BAY EXPERIENCE, OUR MEXICAN BASED OUTFITTER: We are thrilled to be under the care of Mag Bay Experiences while we explore the wonders of Baja’s rugged and wild Pacific side. Like Blue Water Ventures, our Mexican based outfitters provide 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: As new information unfolds regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we will update this link as we learn new requirements if any, for travel between Mexico and the United States. Mar Y Aventuras has always strived to maintain a clean, well sanitized hotel and camp. As new protocol evolves (such as the use of face masks during certain activities), we will update information here. Due to the nature of this trip traveling in vans and boats together, we will require everyone to submit proof of the COVID-19 vaccine. As of June 2022, The United States no longer requires proof of a negative COVID-19 prior to our flight home.
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 CDC Mexico . The seasonal flu vaccine may protect against several other flu strains. Dengue Fever and the Zika Virus are both transmitted by mosquitoes and exists in Mexico (although currently very few 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.
Boat rides may be bumpy and jarring with the prevailing winds across the Baja Peninsula, however sometimes, there is little jarring. We can not predict marine conditions far in advance. If you have a chronic back, shoulder or neck injury or condition you may find the boat rides uncomfortable and we don’t recommend joining us. Since our boat trips on the Pacific side may be six or more hours in duration, we suggest bringing some additional seat cushioning and/or back support. Inflatable sea cushions are affordable and easy to travel with. You may also travel with a cushion design for office chairs. For additional back support consider a Crazy Creek style folding chair combined with a seat cushion. Keep in mind that what you bring for extra back support will get wet from your wetsuit or spray, but we have plenty of room to add extra comfort. Please call us if you have any questions regarding the activities planned at 831 459 8548.
CLIMATE: The weather in Baja Sur is notably beautiful in mid November with temperatures ranging from 70-85 degrees during the day. We may experience windy cooler conditions so warm clothing (a medium rated fleece jacket/ warm cap), a waterproof windbreaker or good rain gear is required. Water temperatures in Baja may range from low to upper 70’s. Bring a waterproof sun block/lip balm with a protection factor of 20 or higher. You may review weather conditions near our Mag Bay Base camp here San Carlos Weather or this forecast that includes predicted wind: Weather Underground Other weather forecasts may be reviewed here: Loreto and La Paz
PHYSICAL CONDITIONING: Our program is appropriate for experienced snorkelers only who are comfortable in open water conditions. Good general health is required. Some level of upper body conditioning is advisable to prepare for snorkeling. You will need upper body strength to hoist yourself up on the boat ladder several times throughout the day while in Baja. While exploring offshore, our days will be long so both physical and mental endurance is required. However, you may pace yourself regarding the amount of time you spend in the water snorkeling. Your guides will offer a variety of excursions each day for those who want to keep active. Please call us if you have any questions regarding the activities planned at 831 459 8548.
ACTIVITIES INCLUDED: Snorkeling, beachcombing, hiking, intertidal exploration, sunset walking tours, natural history talks and enjoying delicious local cuisine are all included. If ocean conditions prohibit snorkeling on a given day, we will offer alternative activities such as kayaking excursions, SUP, sand dune and mangrove exploration, mountain biking, photo safari to bird island, a sunset sailing cruise, seafood foraging or visits to the local village of Magdalena Bay. Our days will be active regardless of marine or weather conditions.
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.
SNORKELING ON THE EDGE OF A THE BAIT BALL: Get ready for three action pack days as we depart the Boca of Magdalena Bay. During the fall months, a sea of sardines migrate along the Pacific Coast of Baja forming a dense concentration of bait that attract a variety of hungry predators such as striped marlins, tunas, sea lions sea birds and dolphins. Although, we can never predict wildlife encounters, mid November marks the height of migration for a variety of cetaceans including Humpback and Brydes whales. Orcas are known to patrol the open waters of Baja. We will scan the water from the comforts of our motorized skiff looking for wildlife. Our hope is to enter the water among the sleek ferraris of the ocean realm, the striped marlins. Stealthy predators, these magnificent sail fish lunge through bait balls feeding on sardines. They are agile and graceful predators that can reach a speed of 50 miles per hour. It is essential to follow the lead of our guides as we position ourselves in the water to possibly witness one of the greatest feeding events on earth!
SNORKELING GEAR: Please test out new gear prior to arrival. If you have purchased a new mask, you will need to clean it at home and then test it. Repeat cleaning until it is fog free. It will be frustrating to have a new mask fog up on our first wildlife encounter. Instructions may be reviewed here Cleaning your Mask. If you are using new fins, try them out! Some fins which have a back heel strap will fit more comfortably with a wetsuit booty or wetsuit sock. Fins that lack the back strap usually don’t require a booty or sock. A visit to a local dive shop will help answer your questions on snorkeling gear. Be sure that your wetsuit fits comfortably while doing short sprints and that your arms are not feeling too restricted.
IMPORTANT UPDATES ON SNORKEL GEAR: A few years ago, we learned about the potential dangers in full face masks. Apparently, in some models CO2 builds up inside the mask leading to blackouts, potentially fatal. Here are just a few articles regarding the dangers of full face masks. With that said, Blue Water Ventures is banning the use of full face masks while we snorkel in Baja and on all of our snorkeling programs. In Baja. we use fins and sometimes kick into some current or enjoy long snorkels. You may argue that you did your own research and purchased the top of the line full face mask. However, we can not assume this risk nor ask our guides to shadow anyone in the water who chooses to wear a full face mask. Full face masks can not be used.
WETSUITS: In Baja, water temperatures will range from the low to upper 70’s. With long days on the Pacific side, wetsuits are recommended. We recommend a full body suit, a 3mm thickness should be adequate.
CORAL SAFE SUNSCREEN: If you have had a chance to look over our website packing list, you will have noticed several brands of Coral Safe Sunscreens. There are many out there, some that claim to be safe but actually are not. A key ingredient to avoid is oxybenzone, harmful to marine life. Two brands that we personally like are: Raw Element and Stream2Sea, although there are other good brands on the market. Review this link for more details Coral Safe . We truly appreciate your consideration of coral safe sunscreen to help reduce our impact on the fragile marine ecosystem.
SEA SICKNESS PREVENTION: If you are prone to sea sickness, we highly recommend bringing some form of prevention. Medications such as Bonine or Dramamine are usually effective although drowsiness or thirst can be a side effect. Many clients have been very happy with Scopalimine patches that requires a prescription. Your local pharmacist or physician can advise you. Many health food stores will recommend herbal remedies such as Motionease for sea sick prevention and we have found this brand quite effective. In the past, several clients have successfully used “sea bands” which employ a pressure point on the wrists rather than medication. Sea Bands have no side effects and can be purchased at most dive shops or online at Prevention.
Morning Yoga and Stretching with our guardian angel, Clarissa Flores
CAMERAS: Photographing a large whale shark or speedy striped marlin can be exciting as well as distracting! Sometimes its highly recommended to leave the camera behind and simply be in the moment! Your Blue Water Ventures guides will photo document your trip and we will send a photo link to you. Over the years, we have preferred the Olympus Tough Underwater Camera with the round lens rather than the square lens. Other clients have been extremely happy with the Cannon or Fiji underwater cameras. GoPro cameras work extremely well with their wide angle setting for closer underwater wildlife, but are less effective for distance. Be sure to review your equipment prior to arrival. We will gladly offer any guidance on your equipment that we can.
INSECT REPELLENT: Mosquitoes and sand gnats will be encountered in Mexico. Dengue Fever and the Zika Virus are both transmitted by mosquitoes and exists in Mexico (although currently very few 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. We also highly recommend Avon Skin so Soft Bug Guard when we encounter no see ums (sand gnats).
CAMERAS, CELL PHONES, ETC: If using a digital camera, please bring enough battery power to use for at least 5 days while camping or bring a small portable solar charger. We will have access to electricity only 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 and Loreto. 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 “smart phone” before leaving home for use while in La Paz and Loreto. Apps such as Messenger and Facetime should work during our hotel stays.
WIFI CONNECTION: Wifi connection is available at our hotel in La Paz on Day One-Day Two and on Day Seven-Eight in Loreto.
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 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, 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 are accepted at many stores in both La Paz and Todos Santos.
TIPPING: It is customary to tip our Mexican crew as we depart our adventure. We have factored in a per person tip to be shared among our boat captains, guides and hotel staff. Tips are included in your trip cost. However, as is customary in hotels you may choose to leave a small tip in your room for hotel staff each morning. Us dollars are fine but no US coins.
DONATIONS: Members of Magdalena Village 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.
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.
USEFUL MAPS: Map of Espiritu Santos Island La Paz City Map
USEFUL LINKS: Whale Shark Research in Mexico
HOW TO REACH US IN MEXICO IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY BACK HOME: In the event of an emergency only, please call or text Kim Powell, 831 345 2417. While we are in Magdalena Bay, you may call 011 52 613 107 7163 to reach our group.
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. Products containing CBD oils or THC remains a debatable topic for international travel so please do your own research if you plan to bring them.
Phone: (831) 459-8548
Santa Cruz, California
Monday – Saturday:
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sunday CLOSED