Coastal Tranquility: Eight Great Sea Kayaking Spots

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Sea kayaks are not for the Inuit alone. Touring by kayak, whether on your own or with a commercial outfitter, requires no superior training or strength. Like backpacking, sea kayaking takes you to the realm beyond the reach of mechanized transportation, to the wild places not yet spoiled by civilization. And for the adventurer on a budget, the price is right: Most organized sea-kayak trips cost less than $130 per day.

Baja, Mexico: Kayaking the Gulf of Cortez

If there is an ideal sea kayaking destination, Baja, Mexico, may be it. The water is warm, the wildlife is varied and abundant, and there are countless inlets and beaches to explore. Some kayakers choose to focus on wildlife and whale-watching, while others explore the remote coves and out-of-the-way beaches that line the peninsula.

Baja is the winter breeding ground for a number of large whale species, with the largest concentrations of gray whales found in Magdalena Bay on the Pacific coast. Magdalena Bay, from January through March each year, is a prime destination. Support boats carry the gear and are used for close encounters with the big whales (in some places you can even reach out and touch the resting creatures).

Isla Espiritu Santo, a beautiful, isolated island on the Gulf Coast near La Paz, is also a prime sea kayaking destination. With a major sea lion rookery, crystal-blue waters, and numerous sea caves, this little island is a snorkelers' paradise.

The Sea of Cortez, from Conception Bay to La Paz, also offers endless wilderness adventures. Start in Loreto, and work south along 40 miles of very remote, unspoiled coastline. Visit Don Zante and Carmen Islands, both rich with marine life, beautiful scenery, and amazing seafood.

For those travelers with limited time on their hands, you can still head into the Baja waters. Weekend trips to scenic spots like the Rock Gardens along Northern Baja's Pacific coast offer all the attractions of Baja without the multi-day trip commitment.

Practically Speaking
A host of quality outfitters lead kayak trips to Baja year-round, though most tours are conducted during Mexico's warm winters. For the less-experienced, there are also sea kayak training courses in Baja where you can learn the basics of cruising the coastline in the best secret spots on both sides of the Sea of Cortez.

Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 30 Jan 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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