Last Updated on September 27, 2023

As brisk fall and winter weather sets in across the United States and Canada, a calmer version of the seasons awaits kayakers in the Gulf of California. Off the coast of Loreto in Baja California Sur, the Islands of the Bay of Loreto, five nationally protected islands designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites, offer uninhabited paradises waiting to be explored.

Whether embarking on a series of day trips while staying in one of Loreto’s many boutique hotels, or a multiday kayak and camping trek, exploring the Bay of Loreto and its pristine islands, beaches, coves and mountains is pure heaven for outdoor enthusiasts.

The Gulf of California is home to more than 80% of the marine mammals in the world and the Bay of Loreto National Marine Park is a part of that. Kayakers paddling through the calm waters will quickly discover why oceanographer Jacques Cousteau famously dubbed the Gulf of California, “the aquarium of the world.”

An entire third of all the world’s cetacean species can be found in the Gulf – and that’s not all. In the winter, reclusive blue whales – the largest mammal on earth – can be spotted along with schools of dolphin, flying fish, manta rays, turtles, frigate birds, blue footed boobies and more can be part of a normal day on the water in the Bay of Loreto, making for an unforgettable experience.

Established tour operators in the region offer a variety of kayak excursions from beginner to advanced level. For longer trips including multi-day adventures, kayakers can join trips led by guides with certified operators such as ROW Adventures,  Sea Kayak Baja Mexico and Sea Kayak Adventures.

Adventurers looking to immerse themselves further can spend evenings camping along under the stars on picturesque island beaches and days exploring the distinct island landscapes, ranging from striking volcanic rock formations to petite coves to former salt mines.

Kayaking the waters off Loreto is a year-round activity, but is at its best from October through May, when migrating whale species can be seen in abundance, the air temperatures are cool and the water is invitingly warm. Travelers looking to book a kayaking excursion in Loreto will find that despite how remote the location is, it’s surprisingly easy to get to from the U.S. making it the perfect location for a quick getaway. 

Alaska Airlines offers nonstop flights from Los Angeles (LAX); American Airlines offers non-stops from Phoenix (PHX) and Dallas (DFW) that can also connect travelers across the US; and travelers from Orange County and San Diego, can make the super easy trip across the border using the Cross Border Xpress (CBX) terminal to depart from the Tijuana International Airport (TIJ).

Kayaking Loreto.
Kayaking Loreto. Photo courtesy Visit Baja Sur.

About Loreto, Baja California Sur

Situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California, the state of Baja California Sur encompasses the southern half of the Baja Peninsula. The climate is perfect for fishing, boating, surfing, and diving, making the destination an adventurer and thrill-seeker’s dream.

Rich in history, Loreto, the first capital of the Californias (Mexico and U.S.) was the first settlement in Baja California Sur and the state’s original capital. The state features breathtaking scenery from the windswept ocean beaches on the west to the tranquil, turquoise waters on the east. In between are canyons, desertscapes and lush oasis ripe for exploration.

Known for its extraordinary marine life, whale watching is one of the area’s most well-known tourist attractions along with sportfishing, kayaking and bird watching. 

More information on Baja California Sur’s Loreto and northern regions is available at Visit Baja Sur.