Bring sunscreen! Sunshine, with pleasant daytime temperatures ranging from 18 to 30 Celsius, is the norm. In March it starts getting warmer. The evenings can be cool as you are in a desert environment. A 3-season sleeping bag is advisable (2 season bag in March). Water is warm, not hot. Wetsuits are nice for snorkeling, but not necessary. Rain is rare. THE WIND CAN BLOW STRONG, sometimes for several days in a row. It is not uncommon, particularly in late December through mid February, for kayak groups to be shore-bound for 2 or 3 days in a row. We cannot be responsible for days lost kayaking because of strong winds. On these days, we partake in land activities. Weather ultimately determines our specific route.
We paddle a mix of fiberglass kayaks [Necky, Nimbus, Current Designs, Seda, and Seaward] and take mostly singles with one or two double kayaks only. We share boats so you can paddle some different kayak models. No kayaking experience is necessary, though we insist that you know how to swim and have a good level of fitness and upper-body strength. We supply dry bags and all cooking equipment. Bring snorkeling gear if you have it. You provide your own personal camping items (we can rent you a tent, depending on availability). Our safety equipment includes paddle floats and pumps and for every boat, while guides are equipped with a full emergency kit containing flare guns, an expedition first aid kit, VHF marine radio, hand-held GPS and satellite phone.
Camping in Baja’s desert environment requires a few changes from what we are used to at home. We rarely have campfires, due to the scarcity of wood in the desert (and the prohibition of fires within the Bahia de Loreto Marine Protected Area). Human waste is packed out in a port-a-pottie. Fishing can be good (and fun) although licenses must be bought ahead of time in Loreto. However, sometimes seafood can be purchased from local fishermen while out on the water.
To keep costs low and to involve everyone in cooking, meals are shared. Everyone is responsible for the purchase and preparation of 2-3 group meals. There is a fair sized grocery store in Loreto, where we can help you when we shop the day before our trip starts. You may wish to bring specialty items (specialty spices, power bars, ‘no-bake’ cheesecake, Gatorade crystals, powdered humus, etc.) from home, and buy in Loreto your fresh fruit, tortillas, cervezas… Kayaks act as large coolers when on the water, so you can plan on eating fresh food the entire trip. The guides provide all of the coffee, tea, milk, sugar, a variety of spices, olive and vegetable oil for everyone’s use in the communal kitchen. In our kitchen equipment we also have the option of a hand-crank blender for smoothies, and/or Outback Oven for cakes and other baking. Definitely plan on eating fresh fruit and veggies the entire trip, to take advantage of local produce (hey you are in Mexico)!
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. ALASKA AIRLINES has flights from Los Angeles to Loreto. ALASKA AIRLINES flies into Loreto on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday each week. There are presently few other operators flying to Loreto, but rumors of more to come soon. FLIGHTS TO LORETO FILL UP VERY FAST – BOOK RIGHT AWAY. Flying to La Paz and busing the 5 hours north to Loreto is a good option: La Paz has more daily flights. Some paddlers choose to drive or bus (16 hours) from the US border or have taken 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 may choose to drive all the way down, or may already be planning a trip in their camper or RV. 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 the 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 is best to bring American dollars or US traveler’s cheques in small denominations ($20). US cash is accepted just about everywhere in Baja. Credit cards are not. DON’T BRING CANADIAN DOLLARS. There are three bank machines in Loreto, this ATMs will give you pesos which is the most useful currency to work with when you are ‘out n’ about’ in Loreto. Locals appreciate your use of Mexican currency. Don’t forget, you are required to carry medical insurance for travelers.