Sea of Cortez paints the most authentic picture of Mexico. Adjacent to popular cruise ports of Mazatlan, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, this cruising area offers marine life at your finger tips. Take a private yacht charter vacation to the Sea of Cortez, which divides the Baja Peninsula from the mainland, and you can enjoy spectacular scenery and fewer crowds.
Get a flavor of the true Mexico when you visit this region’s towns. With the exception of Cabo San Lucas, a popular tourist location, there are quaint ports and many remote islands with amazing biodiversity. Dubbed “the world’s aquarium” by famed explorer Jacques Cousteau because of the abundance of sea creatures, the marine life in the Sea of Cortez is outstanding, with a plethora of migratory Blue whales (largest of species coming from the Arctic and Alaska), California sea lions, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and dolphins. Kayaking, snorkeling and diving here offer a wonderful way to experience the pristine lands and diverse wildlife.
Ideal time to charter: January – April (High Season of migrating whales)
Itinerary provided from the journals of 82’ Swan Sailing Yacht CLEVELANDER
Day 1: Arrive La Paz, depart marina and anchor Puerto Balandra (8 miles, 1.5hrs) passing Roca Lobos to see sea lions. This is an isolated, unpopulated coastal area with eight beaches, an interior salt lagoon and a rock formation called “El Hongo” (the mushroom) which has become the symbol of La Paz. This area is surrounded by low reddish mountains that contain the occasional desert tree and huge cardón cactus. The red color
of the mountains contrasts with the white sands of the beaches facing the Gulf with its turquoise, blue and green waters. These waters are filled with thousands of multi-colored small fish, coral and larger fish such as tuna, striped mullet, “sierra”, barracuda, dogfish and green sharks. There are also starfish and stingrays here.
Just back from the sea itself is a salt lagoon created by sea waters that occasionally come inland. It is shallow enough to walk across and surrounded by mature mangroves. The water is generally very warm, about 84F/30C average, and because of this and its shallowness, the water evaporates rapidly, making it saltier than the ocean water. While there are small beach restaurants (palapas) and places to rent equipment for aquatic sports it has not been built up by the community that lives in the La Paz area in order to preserve its natural state.
Day 2: Head across La Paz bay to swim with whale sharks. A7er lunch sail back to Isla Espiritu Santo and anchor in Puerto Ballena. *Explore the bay by tender.
Day 2 Alternate: Bahia San Gabriel (7 miles, 1 hr). Dive the wreck of the Salvaterra (sunken ferry at 60 feet deep) or snorkel Rocas Suwanee in San Lorenzo Channel.
Afternoon hike or walk (easy well marked trail, approx 2 miles one way) over island to
Playa Bonanza or move to Puerto Ballena (4 miles 0.5 hr).
Day 3: From Puerto Ballena, snorkel at Isla Gallo and/or Isla Gallina or dive either Fang Ming wreck (70 feet deep, mast at 177 below surface) or Lapas No3 wreck (60 feet deep, mast at 27 feet below surface), these are purposely sunken wrecks to make reefs, or opt for a short hike around the bay.
Afternoon sail to Caleta Partida (6 miles, 1hr), beach, paddle boarding (Caleta Partida is perfect to learn to paddle board as it is very sheltered flat water and shallow), snorkeling, short hiking trail to head of bay, cross over beach and paddle boarding to sea caves on east coast, remote controlled sail boat reggatta.
Day 4: After breakfast morning sail out into La Paz bay. Anchor Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida for lunch. Travel Magazine voted this the most beautiful beach in Mexico and one of the top 12 beaches in the world. Beach, hike up hills overlooking the bay, swim, snorkel, tender ride round to next bay (Las Cuevitas) to see blue footed booby colony, dive at Rocas Tintorera.
Day 5: Los Islotes, snorkel and swim among friendly and curious sea lions. With its rugged cliffs and coves carved deeply into the coastline it is a good place to go beachcombing or take a hike along the rocky coast, keeping your eye out for brown pelicans, gulls, wandering great blue herons, and boobies.
Depending on weather conditions: sail down the east coast (lunch underway) and anchor at Playa la Bonanza (12 miles, 1.5 – 2hrs).
Afternoon stroll on the beach (nearly 2 miles long crescent shaped white sandy beach). OR – Return down the west coast revisiting any of the previous anchorages.
Day 6: If at Playa Bonanza morning spent at anchor, enjoying water sports, hike across the island to Bahia San Gabriel (easy well marked path, 2 miles each way) dive the wreck of the Salvaterra in San Lorenzo channel.
If on the west coast, morning at anchor enjoying water sports, afternoon sail to Puerto Ballandra (10 miles, 1.5hrs) or return to marina for evening, ready for a night on the dock or a meal ashore in La Paz.
Day 7: (If at Puerto Ballandra) After breakfast return to marina (8 miles, 1.5hrs) and guests ashore to look around La Paz.[/three_fourth][one_fourth_last][/one_fourth_last]