Baja Kayak Adventures Tours is a Canadian Eco-Tour company, owned and operated by three long-time friends and guides: brother and sister Ryan and Hilary Masson, and Joel Lopes from Guadalajara Mexico. Ryan and Hilary Masson are fully trained and certified guides with extensive paddling experience throughout Baja (and British Columbia.)
As a family growing up on Canada's West Coast, we have fostered a natural love for the ocean and maritime recreation. We spend our free time together travelling, kayaking, sailing, camping, and hosting BBQs and dinner parties with our friends and family. Our family also operates Silva Bay Kayak Adventures during the summer months in British Columbia's beautiful Gulf Islands.
Joel's Aunt and Uncle, Peter and Anna Marcus started Gabriola Cycle and Kayak nearly 30 years ago. Joel together with Ryan and Hilary bought the Mexican half of the business in 2006 and re-named it Baja Kayak Adventure Tours. We still run our tours with the same philosophy that set Gabriola Cycle and Kayak apart.
Our goal is to get people out on the water so they can experience and enjoy the amazing diversity of the coastal-desert ecosystem - Baja and Mexico's Sea of Cortez. With our reasonable pricing we can customize a tour for any interest or budget. Baja Kayak Adventure Tours offer a wide range of kayaking tour options, both camping or villa based:
Day Tours and Lessons
And Paddling Retreats at an exclusive and remote Mexican Villa
With this variety we can create an unforgettable experience for any interest or skill level. Join us in Baja, the best winter paddling in this Hemisphere!
Our lead guide Ryan has a diploma in Tourism, Parks, and Recreation Management. He has spent the last 13 years working in Tourism and the last 10 years as a full time kayak guide. Ryan is certified Level II Guide with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC, and has a 3 star certification with the British Canoe and Kayak Union.
Ryan is also a certified Master, Limited 60 GT (Commercial Sea Captain) with Transport Canada and spends part of his summers as Captain on 2 boats: the M.V. Island Bay doing Mother-ship Kayak Tours in Haida Gwaii (http://www.tourhaidagwaii.com), and the Achiever, a 72-foot sailboat doing marine reasearch for Raincoast Conservation Foundation (http://www.raincoast.org/). The rest of the summer he is one of our lead Kayaking, Paddle Boarding and Sailing guides with Silva Bay Kayak Adventures, our family's summer business in our home town of Gabriola Island.
In the off-season Ryan is assistant instructor at Safer Oceans Systems, teaching Transport Canada approved boating and marine training courses. Six years ago Ryan crewed on a 46-foot sailboat "Hokimai" for three months from Baja, Mexico crossing the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia. Ryan was also a board member for the Silva Bay Shipyard School, Canada's only full-time wooden boat building school. Ryan spends his free time mountain biking, racing cyclocross, sailing, hiking, rock climbing, surfing, skiing and playing music.
Joel Lopez is a lead guide and partner in the business. He comes from Guadalajara, Mexico and is the nephew of Peter and Anna Marcus (founders and owners of Gabriola Cycle and Kayak.) He brings extensive knowledge from his years guiding in Baja, Mexico. Joel is an active member of the Loreto community and is well known and respected throughout. He has certifications from Wilderness Medicine Institute's Advanced First Responder certification for First Aid, NOLS Advanced Wilderness Medicine, and has 3 Star Certification with the British Canoe and Kayak Union (www.bcu.org.uk). Joel is a PADI Dive Master and on his way to a certified PADI Dive Instructor. In the off-season he works with Dolphin Dive Center in Loreto.
Wanda Urbanowicz is our Office Manager and will help you through the booking process and answer your trip quesions. Wanda lives in Nanaimo with her husband and two active teenagers. Wanda studied Environmental Studies and Geography at the University of Victoria, spent 15 years as Executive Chef at Victoria's Rebar Modern Food Restaurant, co-authored and self-published the award-winning Rebar Modern Food Cookbook, worked as a Recreation Program Director in Alberta for 8 years and now works from home and volunteers as a high school and club track and field coach.
Hilary Masson has been guiding in Baja for many years and is still a business partner while continuing to run our sister company on Gabriola Island in the summer months. She has an associates degree in Environmental Studies at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C. In 2003 she attended Hooksum Outdoor Leadership School on north western Vancouver Island where she completed a month long certification program covering a diverse range of outdoor leadership skills. From there she has guided on the coast of B.C. including Haida Gwaii - Queen Charlotte Islands, in the summer months. She is a certified Level II guide with Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC. In 2010 Hilary completed her Advanced Wilderness First Aid Certification with the Wilderness Medicine Institute in Spanish, at the National Outdoor Leadership School's Mexico campus.
Hilary was the regular “Paddle Meals” contributor to Wave Length Magazine where she shared her passion for camp cooking for 6 years. Hilary is fluent in Spanish, as she has spent 8 full winter seasons paddling in Baja Mexico. Hilary is also committed to giving back to the community where she lives in the winter, so she volunteers for the Bay of Loreto National Park putting on a wide variety of public stewardship events for locals. She also is a certified environmental educator with the Bio-regional Environmental Education Project funded by the San Diego Natural History Museum, and has completed various environmental education projects in Loreto.
Jesus is our assistant kayak guide. He was born in Mulege, a small coastal town just north of Loreto. He has a Degree in Alternative Eco-Tourism from the state university in Loreto. He grew up fishing with his family, and has alwasy had a passion for outdoor activites and the amazing nature found in Baja California. When he's not guiding for us he helps run a family campground and tour center in Mulege. He is a great kayak guide and an amazing cook, and plans to continue working with us and improving his spoken English skills.
ERICK GONZALESAnother one of our amazing Lead Guides. Erick, sometimes called "Tuku" by his friends. He has been a professhonal kayak guide for over 10 years starting in Chile, Baja and Yucatan in México, and BC Canada for a few summers.
He has a degree in Sustainable Development for Tourism. Erick likes craft beer, mexican food, bikepacking, volleyball, slacklining.
The Bahia de Loreto Parque Nacional encompasses the islands of Coronado, Carmen, Danzante, Santa Catalina and Monserrat and all of their surrounding waters. In 2005 the Park was inscribed to the United Nations list of World Protected Sites. The Park offers protected habitat for an amazing array of marine wildlife and provides an ideal location to explore and recreate.
Other organizations have taken notice of the Park since its creation. The US-based Nature Conservancy has offered help in protecting this area. The Nature Conservancy created a special group called the GEA or Grupo Ecologista Antares, a non-profit group whose programs and efforts over the last 10 years have made them the most effective organization in addressing the environmental issues of the area. Currently the GEA has plans to open an Eco-Center specializing in education, research and protection of the sea and desert in Loreto.
We feel it is our responsibility to help protect the area in which we work and insure that it remains the same for future generations. Our guides are passionate about the Flora and Fauna of the area and work hard to insure that our impact on the area remains as low as possible. We are strongly committed to running our company in a way that keeps our ecological footprint as small as possible.
While on trips we use Eco-friendly products such as eco-safe soap and bleach in our dishwater, and we pack out all of our garbage and human waste. On the other side of the operation we run our office from our house and are almost entierely paperless in our office operations.
Thanks to all of our clients who help support our collective desire to keep beautiful Baja clean and pristine. We respect the work of the Bahia de Loreto Marine Park and other local organizations that make it possible to offer these great tours in this amazing ecosystem.
For more info on the Marine Park and what you can do to help, check out these websites:
Grupo Ecologista Antares, A.S.
www.geantares.org.mx This is a good site for info on the marine park, what programs are underway to protect it and what you can do to help.
United Nations Environmental Program – World Conservation Monitoring Center www.unep-wcmc.org/sites/wh/gulf_calif.html
An excellent site on the Loreto park and others throughout the Baja Peninsula, it is also linked to pages on the other UN protected areas worldwide.
This site contains heaps of info on the Sea Turtles in the Sea of Cortez
Leave No Trace – Center for outdoor ethics
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships. Leave No Trace builds awareness, appreciation and respect for our wild lands.