Sea Kayaking Baja Mexico – A Remarkable 10 Day Journey

Written By: The Planet D

As we kayak the Sea of Cortez in Baja Mexico, I am quickly reminded of how facing Mother Nature makes you feel alive.

I forgot what it feels like to not shower for 10-days as salt water bakes on my sunburnt skin.

I forgot the pain and discomfort of lips swelling from fever blisters, and I forgot just how hot the earth can get; especially when there is no shade to escape her wrath.

We’re sea kayaking through thick, hot air and with each paddle stroke, sweat pours down my face, stinging my eyes.

As I attempt to cool down by wetting my neck scarf with seawater, I think to myself...I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

Sea Kayaking Baja, Mexico

sea kayaking Baja Mexico kayak on shore
Sea kayaking in Baja, Mexico

I don’t know what it is that draws us to these uncomfortable situations.

A person could just go through life sitting on the beach drinking Mai Tais and escaping to their air-conditioned hotel room when the heat becomes too much.

But what is the fun in that?

It’s difficult to explain, but when experiencing an epic adventure away from civilization and all the comforts of home, that’s when we feel most alive.

You are reminded that there is more to life than paying bills and worrying about what your neighbors are doing.

You are an adventurer and you are living life to the fullest.

Your tired bones wake up, your eyes widen with wonder and awe and you literally feel alive again after being dormant for so long.

sea kayaking Baja Mexico Dave
Dave kayaking in Baja, Mexico

Adventure in Mexico

During our latest adventure, we’re circumnavigating San Jose Island; the sixth largest island in Mexico on the Sea of Cortez with Baja Outdoor Activities.

It is an expedition that takes 10-days to complete and it’s completely self-supported.

There is no fresh water on the island and barely any civilization save for a small fishing camp.

We had to carry everything (including tall our camping gear) with us in our kayaks.

sea kayaking Baja Mexico gear supplies
All our supplies for our sea kayaking adventure

We had boats loaded with fruit, boats loaded with vegetables, others carried canned goods, dried meats and snacks.

Boats carried tents for shade, stoves, tables, and everyone had at least one 10-litre bladder (sometimes 2) of fresh water behind their seat.

The water was not for showering or rinsing though, it was strictly for drinking and cooking.

sea kayaking Baja Mexico boats
Kayaks loaded up with everything we needed

As the days went on, our skin acclimated and soon the baked on salt felt comfortable.

My sunburn had turned into a tan, the fever blisters went away, and we had settled into a comfortable rhythm.

There is something to be said about the simplicity of day to day routine.

Each day, we awake at sunrise to pack up our tents before it becomes too hot. Breakfast is served by our guides Mario and Christian.

We find the last bit of shade to relax and drink our coffee and then we all pitch in to help clean up, wash the dishes, and pack up camp before hitting the sea.

Baja, Mexico sea kayaking adventure Deb washing dishes
Deb washes the last of the dishes after breakfast

The rest of the day is spent kayaking along the shores of Isla San Jose. 

We are paddling with a group of 10, but when covering vast distances, we are spread out and are left alone with our thoughts.

The odd pod of dolphins swims by barely giving us a second glance.

Sea turtles swim under our kayaks in the crystal clear water and flying fish scoot across the front of our boats.

See more of our wildlife encounters in Mexico when we swam with whale sharks in Mexico

Paradise in Mexico

Baja, Mexico sea activities
Enjoying the view of the sea

Guides Mario and Christian lead the way each day.

One guide is in front navigating us along the coast while the other is in back making sure that everyone makes it to the next camp safe and sound.

They love what they do and their energy is contagious. Every so often they fish for our food.

They carry lines on their kayaks and catch our dinner right from their boats. They clean the fish with swift perfection and make us the best ceviche we’ve ever had.

Whenever they had a good fishing day, we all looked forward to the giant bowl of raw chunks of fish marinated in lime juice and hot sauce.

sea kayaking Baja Mexico Dave fishing
Mario fishing for our dinner

Some days we are in camp early and have time to swim or snorkel before a happy hour of Margaritas made with fresh limes and Jose Cuervo tequila.

We go for walks on the beach, wade through the water to cool down or sit in shade under a tarp on lounge chairs made from our Thermarest’s.

The sea is calm, the air is quiet and we feel completely relaxed and content.

making ceviche on a self-sufficient sea kayaking trip in Baja, Mexico
Christian Making Fresh Ceviche

We take turns helping Mario and Christian with dinner and it turns out to be the best time of the night listening to their stories and laughing as we chop vegetables.

Once the meal is complete, everyone pitches in to clean up quickly and then it’s off to bed for a good night’s rest.

I never sleep so well as I do in a tent. I don’t know if it is being in the fresh air all day, the fatigue of paddling or simply the sound of the sea rocking me to sleep, but within minutes of hitting the pillow, I’m out until sunrise.

sea kayaking Baja Mexico tent
Our tent at camp

But when the sun comes up, it’s down to business.

We’re back in our kayak out on the sea, exploring the shore and enjoying the view. I could do this forever.

It may be tough when the wind comes up, and our shoulders may ache at the end of each day, but there is nowhere I’d rather be than paddling on the Sea of Cortez.

There’s no one I’d rather be with than my husband and the experience brings us closer together as we bond over pain and triumph.

We feel happy and alive and closer than ever.

If there’s one thing that brings a couple together, again and again, it’s doing an adventure together.

So, get out there and do an adventure of your own.

See what it’s like to give up the comforts of home for a little bit and live life the way it was meant to be, in the outdoors, with friends and family enjoying the little things and taking nothing for granted.

For photos, we used waterproof cameras. We recommend the GoPro Hereo 8

Read next:

Have you had ever experienced an adventure that pushed you beyond your limits yet made you feel alive? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

The Best Things to do in La Paz, Baja
Kayaking, Hippos and Crocs – Oh My

Our Adventure in Mexico was courtesy of Baja Outdoor Activities in La Paz. They do day kayaking trips around the Baja Peninsula including multi day group and private excursions and kayak rentals.

If you’re looking for the ultimate adventure in Mexico, drop Ben an email to see what they can do.

To find out more about travel to La Paz, Visit Baja Sur tourism to see all the Adventures in Mexico that await you on your next vacation.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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19 thoughts on “Sea Kayaking Baja Mexico – A Remarkable 10 Day Journey”

  1. What time of year was your kayak trip. We are planning to go between la Paz and loreto leaving la Paz October 18 for a 10 day trip. How choppy is the water? This will be our first kayak experience.

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  2. Gotta love Mexico…it’s one of the reasons we are based out of this amazing country. Great shots of Cortez…hope you guys make it back again 🙂

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    • Thank you! WE will definitely make it back there and I can understand why you are based there too. We’re considering making it our second home as well

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  3. This looks like another great time! We’re sea kayaking in Greece next week, though only for a day trip. Still can’t wait though since we’ll kayaking to a volcano!

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    • You would love it Dan! We love getting down and dirty and delving into an adventure. It’s so fulfilling and fun and we think everyone should experience it.

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  4. Mexico is definitely one of the most underrated countries in the world. They have everything you could want down there. We loved it for the month we were there

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  5. Mai Tai’s have got nothing on adventure! We’ve been loosely planning a kayak trip in the Sea of Cortez (around the baja), this makes me want to just get out there and do it!

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    • Agreed! Off with the Mai Tais! (Margaritas are where it’s at) But seriously, the Sea of Cortez is amazing for kayaking. Are you going on your own or are you hiring a guide? If you do want support, check out BOA. They’re really good people and they have all sorts of excursions ranging from really basic to fully catered. We love having a guide, it makes the trip that much more enjoyable. You must tell us all about it when you do go.

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      • I suppose it wouldn’t be a proper Mexico experience without the Margaritas, eh? Anyway, yeah we have a place on the coast in Puerto Penasco (on the inside of the baja), so we’ve been gradually building up our kayak-skills in the Sea of Cortez around there a bit and totally love it! We’ve been talking about going solo down around the Gulf of California (largely planning as we go and exploring places along the way, kind of thing). I will definitely have a look at BOA, thanks for the recommendations! Do you guys have plans for your next sea-filled adventure??

      • You said it. Margaritas are important. Happy hours were always such a great time. When kayaking though, nobody ever over drinks, when you have to get up at the crack of dawn to start paddling again, it’s motivation to stop at a drink or two. That sounds like an amazing trip you are planning. Our next sea filled adventure is Greenland and the Arctic Circle. We’ll be kayaking up there as well with Quark Expeditions.

  6. I must say, it has been years since Brennan and I were in Madagascar riding down a river in a dug out tree canoe. Live chickens in the back of the boat. Lips cracked, skin sun burned, totally exposed to the elements for 4 days straight. Indeed, I felt alive, but I also cried because I was so uncomfortable. The emotion was so strong in the moment. I still remember it as if it just happened yesterday.

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    • It's amazing how those moments stay with you forever. It can be very uncomfortable, but when you do come out on the other end, you feel a great sense of accomplishment. I felt very uncomfortable during the beginning of this trip. I was so hot, but then as we settled into it, I felt great and when it was all said and done, I loved every minute, even the tough parts. PS. I'd love to Madagascar.

      Reply