Are you looking for active travel in Baja, California ideas? Guest contributor, Pat Allen is here to tell us about her first experience going glamping in Baja, complete with an entire itinerary built around active travel.
Active Travel in Baja California
Imagine enjoying the sunset of your dreams—every night!! Now, imagine yourself enjoying that sunset on the beach, with a cocktail, watching pelicans or gray whales, while chefs are preparing an amazing meal…
I will freely admit—I never anticipated being a fan of “glamping”, but I’ve reached the age where sleeping in a tent big enough to stand up in, with the addition of cushy cots, table and chairs, has a definite appeal. Not to mention having seemingly every need catered to by an endlessly cheerful and patient staff. Even private “baños” were provided—no peering out from behind a bush hoping no one passes by!
After taking a shuttle from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz, we spent the 1st evening in a lovely hotel owned by the tour group that we booked with Mar Y Aventuras, the Posada Luna Sol. Done up in an attractive adobe style, it’s located just blocks from the beach, with a multitude of savory restaurants nearby. Optionally a delightful patio-kitchen is available for guests who wish to cook their own meals.
Glamping on Espiritu Santo Island
The following morning, after a wonderful breakfast on the patio by the pool, we were introduced to our two local guides, and received an overview of what adventures lay ahead (this particular tour spends a few days on the Sea of Cortez, and then travels by shuttle to the Pacific Ocean side of the peninsula, for whale-watching).
We were outfitted with wetsuits and snorkel gear (keep in mind that the water temps in the winter are in the mid-60’s, but the trade-off is that it’s gray whale migration time!). We also had a chance to purchase our own wine and beer, if we felt the cocktail hour provided by the company might need “expanding”. Then we loaded up in vans, and headed for the boats that would ferry us to La Isla Espiritu Santo. Here we had 2 ½ days to kayak, paddle-board, snorkel with sea lions, see nesting frigate birds, take nature walks to observe desert flora and fauna, or … just relax leisurely in the sun.
Swimming with Whale Sharks
On the way back to the mainland, we suited up to have our whale shark encounter. What a thrill—seeing those amazing, almost ethereally-spotted mammals from the side of the boat, and then swimming alongside them. (I couldn’t stop yelling “Wow! Wow! Wow! inside my snorkel). Swimming with the whale sharks is carefully monitored by Baja, i.e. only a certain number of boats/passengers are allowed per day, so as to keep the population healthy.
Whale Watching in Baja California
We returned to our hotel to shower, explore the lovely seaside town of La Paz, and reflect on our island experiences. Next morning we loaded up in the vans again, this time heading towards Lopez Mateos, on the Pacific Coast.
After a delicious lunch at the embarcadero, we boarded boats heading towards Magdalena Bay. We had gray whale encounters en route, and many more in the next 1 1/2 days, including mothers with babies. Our boat captains were so observant of the whales’ whereabouts—continually sighting and steering toward the next leviathan. What a magical experience! We were also able to see and hear them spouting from our 2nd luxury camp. Paradise!!
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Our guides were super-friendly, knowledgeable, bi-lingual, and always willing to go the extra mile. And remember the warm friendships? With groups usually under 20, and time spent together watching those amazing sunsets (and also beautiful sunrises with good coffee, for those who are early risers), conversation seemed to flow naturally, and we found so much to appreciate about each other, despite (or because of?) differing backgrounds, occupations, even ages. To that add hearing fellow travelers’ stories of interactions with wildlife, comparing whale photos, snorkeling and kayaking experiences—we were always hesitant to call it quits for the evening!
Tips for Active Travel in Baja
- For more information on kayaking in Baja, go to kayakbaja.com. There you will find an assortment of trips, varying in length, type/difficulty of physical activity, and level of “luxury”. They also provide a great pre-trip reading list, in case you want to bone up on whales, desert flora/fauna, etc. before your trip.
- For transport information, Ecobajatours.com provides a very reliable and comfortable shuttle service.
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