Mexico: Kayaking on the Sea of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez, In the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, is considered one of the world's best spots for warm-water sea kayaking. The warm waters are home to a rich ecosystem beneath the surface, with coral reefs filled with more than 800 species of marine life that attract snorkelers and scuba divers as well as kayakers. Whales, dolphins, sea lions, and manta rays are common sights on kayak expeditions.
Most kayak tours depart from the sleepy fishing village of Loreto, about an eight-hour drive from Los Cabos. Kayak tours tend to be multi-day excursions that also include snorkeling, as well as hiking and camping on several islands, such as Carmen and Dazante. Tours often stay in the Loreto Bay National Marine Park, which is protected by the Mexican government, and Magdalena Bay, home to gray whale lagoons. Kayaking is easy for most travelers to learn, and most trips are suitable even for people with no kayaking experience.
"We kayak, snorkel and hike on our tours, and are always keeping an eye out for blue and fin whales, dolphins, and sea lions," says Nancy Mertz, founder of Sea Kayak Adventures, a tour company that offers several multi-day Sea of Cortez trips. "We camp in sheltered coves with white sand beaches on the islands."
"The beauty is breath-taking," says Wendy Bach of Minneapolis who participated in a Sea Kayak Adventures tour in January. "The natural sedimentary rocks making up the desert cliffs looked like Disney had installed huge colorful boulders cemented with limestone. Cacti grew 10 feet high fanning like candelabras up and down the clay-colored mountains. Each day was clear blue skies, turquoise waters, and unspoiled white beaches."
Sea Kayak Adventures is a highly regarded outfitter with a dozen different kayak tours. Sea of Cortez trips start at $930 for six days.