Places to Paddle tm
Canoeing - Kayaking - Rafting

Sea of Cortez from Loreto to Punta Verde, Baja California Sur, Mexico

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Copyright 2002 Alfonso Vazquez-Cuervo - See Terms of Use

Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Morris Friedman vagabondmo@mediaone.net
  • Date Submitted: 1/2002
  • Location: Sea of Cortez from Loreto to Punta Verde, Baja California Sur, Mexico
  • Class: 1 with open water subject to high winds and waves. It's best to travel early morning in the Sea of Cortez because as temps rise the sea conditions change increasing winds and size of swells.
  • Distance Paddled:10 to 12 miles daily for 6 days
  • Water Level: tidal
  • Water: salt
  • Wildlife: sea turtles, fish sea birds, dolphins, killer whales
  • Special Regulations:

Entry

  • Directions: We flew to Los Angeles and then to Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico. There is only one major road into town. The capital of Baja California Sur is La Paz. Located 84 miles south of Muleg╚ and 217 miles north of La Paz is the historic town of Loreto (loh-REH-toh) or "Conch█" in the indigenous language which means "red mangrove". Not only is it the oldest town in Baja California, founded in 1697 by the Jesuits, but its surrounding scenery is incomparable; the magnificent Sierra de la Giganta mountain range, the awesome desert and the azure Sea of Cortez.
  • Fee: none
  • Description: beach
  • Parking: paved road
  • Facilities: No facilities at the put-in or takeout. We had to dig catholes away from the shore. We were told that this policy would probably change and that soon the government would require packing waste out.
  • Handicap Access:

Exit

  • Directions: Punta Verde, Mexico
  • Fee: none
  • Description: beach
  • Parking: unpaved road
  • Facilities: None
  • Handicap Access:

What We Saw

Baja is a magical sea kayaking paradise. Rain is seldom seen and the weather is great. especially in March and April.

We were able to travel over the desert to the Pacific Coast for a 1 day whale watching excursion. A mama gray whale and her baby played next to our boat. The baby rode the mother's back.

Back in Loreto we'd tried to pay the bartender in pesos and he said, "We don't take "funny money" here!"

We put in the next day near Loreto and paddled for our first stop which was Isla De Carmen. This is one of the largest islands in the Sea of Cortez and is almost directly east of Loreto. Landing was careful as the rocks are sharp. It's important to have a controlled landing to avoid damage to fiberglass hulls bearing the weight of paddlers and gear.

The first tasks when landing are to unload the gear and set up the kitchen. The trip was guided by Paddling South, a Loreto -based business. Food was always tasty and plentiful. We had to drink warm beer (no refrigerator).

Sanitation is important and we were given instruction in washing hands, dishes, etc. After setting up camp we were free to explore and hike, snorkel, or just relax. This is a great place for snorkeling and the water feels great after paddling.

Our first day ended in a beautiful sunset with a pod of killer whales (orcas) swimming by, blasting water through their blow holes. We slept on a pad with sleeping bags for all but one of the nights, when a tent protected us from threatening weather.

One of the stops gave us the opportunity to hike to a hot spring that bubbles up from the sea floor. We spent a couple of hours there. We needed a good cleaning by this point in the trip. Seems like we always had time for a siesta before dinner and most of us took it without argument.

Every landing was a new adventure giving us a different experience with the flora and fauna.

One of the great pleasures of this trip was the evening story telling and joke making which went on to the late hours, even though the early morning coffee call was sure to alert us to another day on the water.

At one stop we were brought some burros which we rode into the desert and had lunch in a cave. A couple of the guys did some climbing. Afterwards we had a siesta, then rode the burros to their ranch where the lady of the house made a delightful home cooked Mexican feast complete with the coldest soda and best tasting I can remember! We had to hike back to the campsite after the meal.
When we landed the day before being picked up, one of our guys volunteered to go with some fishermen to a restaurant and buy a case of beer. The fishermen let us cool the beer in the barrel in which their fish were being iced.

Sorry to say that we also witnessed one of the fishermen butcher a live sea turtle. It's their way of life, but it was sure gross!.

The trip back to Loreto ended at a fish taco place which was absolutely the greatest. Cold soda, freshly made tortillas, guacamole, and fried fish which couldn't be beat.

What a great trip!