Excursion to Isla Espíritu Santo

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I’d hoped to find a recommendable hotel in La Paz because of the city’s convenience to one of Baja’s star attractions, Isla Espíritu Santo. Alas, that wasn't the case, but Andrew Harper Travel arranged for a private boat to take us from CostaBaja Resort & Spa’s marina to this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a journey of 90 minutes to two hours, depending on the sea conditions.

Once at the island, we cruised past sea cliffs striped with granite and compressed volcanic ash en route to an islet popular with sea lions (as well as camera-toting scuba divers). There we had a marvelous time snorkeling with the sea lions, which seemed to greatly enjoy swimming and playing with us (as opposed to the far less nimble scuba divers).

Boating along the coast off Isla Espíritu Santo near La Paz, Mexico - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
A sea lion we saw while snorkeling during our excursion to Isla Espíritu Santo near La Paz, Mexico - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
A giant hawkfish seen during our excursion to Isla Espíritu Santo near La Paz, Mexico - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
A sea lion swims through the ocean during our excursion to Isla Espíritu Santo near La Paz, Mexico - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Aquamarine bays with deserted beaches indent much of the island, and at one of these, surrounded on all sides by cliffs and water, we indulged in a private beach picnic of triggerfish ceviche and quinoa with fresh pineapple. We ventured into another bay punctuated with rock stacks, where the water was clear enough for us to observe schools of rays swimming along the sandy bottom. We alighted on the beach and hiked the Candelero trail, sometimes clambering over boulders, in order to access rock overhangs where Pericúes, the now-extinct indigenous inhabitants of southern Baja, likely took shelter. Viewed from the trail, the bay glowed turquoise and electric blue.

A rock shaped like a chair on the beach near the Canderelo trail on Isla Espíritu Santo near La Paz, Mexico - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
A rock face on Isla Espíritu Santo near La Paz, Mexico, worshipped by the Pericúes as a representation of one of their gods - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
Hiking on the Canderelo trail on Isla Espíritu Santo near La Paz, Mexico - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

As we motored away, we spotted jumping mobula rays and diving ducks. Our final stop was the breakwater of an old pearl farm. The protected bay it forms now serves as a nursery for fish, and the breakwater itself supports a large colony of frigate birds.

Departing from La Paz meant that we could easily reach the sea lions before the larger tourist boats arrived. If you do the excursion from Los Cabos instead, be sure to leave as early in the morning as possible. Having the playful sea lions to yourself will be well worth the effort.

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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