ivaled only by boardsailing, kayaking
is Baja's most rapidly expanding outdoor activity, and a number of locations and
routes are of special interest. The 583-mile kayak trip from San Felipe to La Paz
is, of course, the ultimate kayak trip, but you don't have to be a
forty-miles-a-day, open-water kayaker to enjoy the Cortez. The two most popular
kayak routes in the Cortez, the "Coasting to La Paz" route from Escondido to La
Paz and the "Coasting to Loreto" route from Mulegé to Loreto, are both well
within the ability of most kayakers. These are favored not only because of their
fine scenery, abundant wildlife and lack of civilization, but also because they
are the right distance apart for two- or one-week trips, about 135 and 85 miles
respectively. In addition, they start and end at sizable towns on the
Transpeninsular Highway, making it possible for those on one-way trips to hitchhike or
take the bus back to pick up vehicles.
Kayakers explore the Cortez coast Photo by Walt Peterson
ahía de los Angeles is an increasingly popular kayaking area. There are many
islands to explore and sandy campsites, and its relatively compact area makes it
a fine place for a slow-bell kayak/camping trip. More ambitious kayakers can head
to Puerto Don Juan and south along the coast to Bahía las Ánimas, a round trip
taking a week or so, or head north to Isla Coronado. Those with the requisite
open-water experience can head out to Guardian Angel Island, Puerto Refugio at
its north end being a prime destination.
ahía Concepción is calm and scenic and is a great place to practice paddling,
self-righting and self-rescue procedures. Once you have these down pat, you can
head for the open Cortez to try out your skills in waves. Kayakers also like to
launch at Puerto Escondido and head south along the coast past Isla Danzante for
Bahía Agua Verde. The deeply indented western sides of Islas Espíritu Santo and
Partida Sur north of La Paz have many fine sand beaches, making them popular
destinations for novice kayakers and those interested in leisurely kayak/camping.
lengthy trip along Baja's Pacific coast can be recommended only to intrepid
kayakers, for tales of being overpowered by currents and wind, getting lost in
fog and pitchpoling are the central themes of many of the accounts of kayak trips
down this coast. In spite of this, there are still some excellent locations.
Bahía Magdalena is a popular destination, where kayakers can seek out gray whales
and explore the mangrove-lined waterways, moving camp only when the mood strikes.
Although not often visited by kayakers, the coastline north of Santa Rosalillita
has much to recommend it, including secluded beaches, plenty of firewood and
excellent fishing and foraging. The coast along the southwest shore of the Punta
Banda peninsula just south of Ensenada is pleasant and undemanding, an ideal
place for a first ocean trip, and a trip out to the Islas de Todos Santos can be
made once the basics are mastered.