1.) Is it safe in Mexico?
Yes!! Sure there has been a lot of bad press lately, and it's a shame that it paints such a bad picture for the rest of Mexico. There are some troubled areas, but the Baja Peninsula is considered the safest area to travel in all of Mexico. We wouldn’t choose to spend our winters in this beautiful place if it wasn’t!
The town of Loreto is a small laid-back town steeped in local history and culture. It was founded in 1697 and was the site of the first settlement and mission in all of the Californias, back when Mexican territory stretched north to San Francisco. Loreto remained the capital of the Californias for over 150 years. It's now a quiet town with excellent food, a picturesque town center, cobblestone streets, and friendly people. Come join us this winter!
2.) What marine life will I see?
There is an abundance of marine life in the Sea of Cortez, it’s considered to be one of the most productive bodies of water in the world. We can almost guarantee dolphin or porpoise sightings on every trip. There is also excellent snorkeling, frequent sea turtle sightings, good bird watching, fun
kayak fishing, and an amazing whale season. This is why Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez the 'World's Aquarium'!
There is excellent bird watching throughout the entire winter. No matter what time of year or what route you choose, no bird watcher will be disappointed. The most common species are: Red-tailed hawk, osprey, great blue and night herons, egrets, brown pelicans, cormorants, gulls, sandpipers, frigate birds, royal terns, blue footed and brown boobies, oyster catchers, grebes, kingfishers, and hummingbirds.
Over the years we have seen whales throughout the entire winter season, but for the best chance of seeing whales coming on a trip from early February to late March is your best bet. The most common whale sightings are: Humpback, Blue, Fin, Minky, Orca, and Greys. You can also plan for an extra day or two and take a trip across the peninsula to the lagoons on the west coast where huge numbers of Grey Whales congregate to mate and birth their calves.
3.) How are Meals and Food organized?
We offer both “Fully Catered” and “Communally Catered” trip options and are happy to provide any custom trip meal options for group bookings.
We choose to run the majority of our trips with our signature and very popular “communally catered” option. This is our preference because it: allows the entire group to feel more a part of the trip and to be involved in all aspects of the adventure, fosters an atmosphere similar to being on a trip with a group of friends instead of a tour, and allows us to offer much more affordable kayak trips.
How it works: Before the trip starts each person in assigned 2-4 meals (depending on trip length and number of participants) to purchase, pack, and prepare for the group. Our guides will be there to assist you throughout the entire experience. The day before the trip starts the whole group meets in Loreto and after the introductions and orientation, we all go shopping together. This way our guides can help you with menu ideas, assessing quantities, reading labels in Spanish, and sourcing special ingredients.
Our guides are excellent cooks, and when not preparing their meals, they make excellent sous chefs and will be there to assist you with any part of the preparation and cooking of your meals. We provide all the cooking equipment and utensils, as well as dishes and cutlery. All you need is a few of your favorite recipes and a sense of adventure!
When booking your trip ask us for our list of meal ideas. Also, Ryan and Hilary, our guides, write the paddling meals articles for Wavelength Magazine, check out their Website to see their previous articles and all of Ryan and Hilary's favorite recipes.
4.) Is kayaking challenging?
No! We get all different ages and skill levels! From the very experienced paddlers who love our style of trip, to beginners who are trying it for the first time; Young families with children, baby-boomers, 30- somethings, and grandparents! We have routes and options to fit any skill level: From 3 day beginner tours, to 12 day advanced expeditions; multi-sport base camping adventures, to deluxe remote Mexican Villa getaways!
5.) How long do we paddle each day?
The distance and time spent on the water will vary depending on your route and the weather conditions.For our kayaking expeditions, we will average 2-4 hours per day.
Most days will consist of the following: Rise with the sun and enjoy breakfast and coffee/tea, after breakfast we'll pack the kayaks and paddle for a few hours in the morning, usually by lunchtime we're at our next campsite, after eating lunch we have the afternoon free to beach-comb, snorkel, hike, or just relax on the beach. Most routes are planned so there there are some lay-over days when we won't break camp and will let the group decide the days activities.
6.) Is it child and family friendly?
Absolutely! We specialize in offering custom trips for families, and with a wide range of routes designed to accommodate families. We have no minimum age, and decide each case depending on the length of the route plan and the interest level of the family. Feel free to contact us, or call toll-free and talk to us in person, to discuss which route would suit your family. We are also happy to set up custom routes or dates to fit your plans.
7.) Can I fish on the trip?
Yes! We fish on most trips, and encourage people who are interested to do the same. Although we cannot guarantee to have fish for a specific meal or day, but it's usually a welcome addition if we do catch some.
If you would like to fish, we can buy a license for you, but you will need to let us know in advance. It's about $30 CAD for a week. We also have a little bit of extra fishing gear we can lend out, but it's on a first come, first serve basis. Ask us for more information if you are interested in fishing on your trip.
8.) Do you have gear that I can rent or borrow?
We provide Two 20 liter dry bags per person, for those who don't have their own. We also have a few extra bits of gear like beach chairs, therm-a-rests, and sleeping bags. However, we don't have enough for a whole group, and you have to ask in advance if you would like one.
We also have tents and snorkeling gear for rent. It's $35 CAD for a tent, and $15 for nice snorkeling gear. Let us know at the time of booking if you would like to rent some gear. We do have some spare shorty wet suits and a few old masks and snorkels that we can lend out. We only have a few of each size, and will lend out whatever we have available on the morning of the trip, in a first come, first serve manor.
9.) Why is Travel Insurance Required?
Travel insurance is mandatory for all of our guests. This is to cover you in the event of a medical emergency or accident. It's true that medical work is less expensive in Mexico, but this also covers the cost of evacuating you from remote locations. If you need a helicopter, or a last minute flight home to have major work done your insurance will cover this. Baja Kayak Adventure Tours Ltd., is not responsible for the cost of medical procedures or remote evacuations.
There are many companies that offer travel insurance. Make sure that yours covers remote evacuations. Some companies in Canada are: BCAA, Blue Cross, or most insurance brokers. You can also purchase it online in both Canada and the USA. But you must purchase it before leaving your country or residence. Feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.
10.) What about the Zika Virus?
The Zika Virus has been an issue recently in south and central America. It's primarily transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause defects in offspring if the mother contracts the virus while pregnant. Luckily for us, Loreto is in a desert climate there are almost never mosquitoes. The only time we get bugs in this area is if there is standing water. Years when the Baja Peninsula is affected by a hurricane or tropical storm, which would usually happen in August through October, once every few years, then early season tours (October and November) may have a few mosquitoes. Once any standing water has evaporated, then there are no mosquitoes.
The CDC says that wearing long sleeves and pants, and using bug repellent is an effective way to reduce the risk of infection, which is very low in this area.
11.) Can I organize a custom trip?
Yes! We are happy to organize a custom trips for families, paddling clubs, schools, and groups of friends. We require a minimum group size of 4 to organize a custom trip. We also offer group discounts for groups of 6 or more.
We can set up a trip to fit whatever interest and experience level your group has. We can offer any combination of trip styles and routes, and have a lot of special add-ons like: boat support, a day scuba diving or sports fishing, mountain biking, hikes, whale watching, horse or mule riding, and much more! Ask us for more information about setting up a custom trip.
All trips start and finish in Loreto, a small coastal community 950 kilometers south of the US border on the Sea of Cortez. Once the capital of the Spanish-ruled state of California, it is the oldest settlement in Baja and is now a quiet, pleasant town.
Both WestJet and Alaska Airline fly right into the town of Loreto. WestJet is the best option for our Canadian customers. They fly direct Calgary – Loreto twice a week
(Wednesdays and Saturdays) from November to April. Plus the prices are in Canadian Dollars! Alaska Airline flies to Loreto from Los Angles, so unless you are from southern California, this usually involves a change of plains in LA. This is also a great option, as they fly at least 5 days a week, and more during high season.
FLIGHTS TO LORETO FILL UP VERY FAST – SO BOOK RIGHT AWAY. Flying to La Paz and busing the 5 hours north to Loreto is nother option, but often costs the same and requires a full day, when you add the 5 hour bus ride to Loreto. But many customers choose this, so they can spend a few days in the lovely city of La Paz.
Some paddlers take advantage of cheap charters into San Jose del Cabo at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula (then take an 8 hour bus ride to Loreto), others drive or bus the 16 hours from the US border or choose to drive all the way down. This can ben a good option is you a looking for a longer trip in your camper or RV. If you're driving, we recommend getting Mexican auto insurance ahead of time, we recommend purchasing this through Adventure Mexican Insurance.
Paddlers need to arrive the day before the tour starts, e.g., for those on the Dec 4-10th trip, you must arrive by the morning of the 3rd, and could fly out the 11th. We head out early the first morning. We aim to be back in Loreto by lunch on the final day, but due to the nature of wilderness travel cannot guarantee that you'll be able to catch a flight the same day. Flying at least one day after is much more relaxing.
A visa is not necessary for Canadians and Americans, though a Mexican Tourist Card is (the airline will give you one on the flight, and you should hold on to it for when you leave). Don't forget your passport, it is now a requirement for everyone. It's not usually necessary to bring US Dollars, and almost useless to bring Canadian Dollars. There are a number of bank machines in Loreto, these ATMs will give you pesos which is the most useful currency to work with when you are in Loreto. Locals appreciate your use of Mexican currency. And don’t forget, you are required to carry travel medical insurance.