| Week of November 2-9, 1995|
Fear not the volcanoes of New Zealand
Sea kayaking Baja's Gulf of California
Q: My girlfriend and I are considering a nine-day sea kayaking trip in the northern part of the Gulf of California, using small towns in the Baja as basecamps. How does that sound to you? Can we expect trouble from the natives?
A: The biggest obstacle to a successful kayaking trip in the northern Gulf of California isn't unfriendly locals, but no locals. With its mountainous terrain, this part of Baja doesn't have a lot of roads or towns, so finding convenient basecamps can prove extremely difficult. The only real supply base in this area is Bahia de Los Angeles, the most popular put-in on the northern Gulf for kayakers and an easy day-and-a-half-drive from Tijuana. From here, there are beautiful white-sand beaches in either direction but not many services or accessible take-outs, so you should plan on being completely self-sustainable. It's no surprise, then, that most outfitters run group trips farther south along the Gulf--an option you may well want to consider. Tofino Expeditions runs a seven-day, full-service trip out of Loreto, about two-thirds of the way down the peninsula. Expect to pay about $900 U.S. per person, including all meals, group camping equipment, and hotel accommodations on either end. Tofino offers weekly departures from November through May; for more information, call 604-687-4455. Or sign on with Baja Expeditions for a five- or eight-day group paddle from La Paz to Espiritu Santo, a desert island ringed with turquoise coves and coral reefs--about 15 miles off the mainland and about 360 miles south of Bahia de Los Angeles. The full-service, five-day trip will run you $695 per person and the eight-day, $1,095, including all meals and group equipment (800-843-6967).
If you're still interested in designing your own trip and are looking to rent boats, consider starting out from Mulege, about 150 miles south of Bahia de Los Angeles. Mulege-based Baja Tropicales (011-52-115-30409) is one of only a handful of outfitters down there that rent kayaks to experienced paddlers; a single will run you anywhere from $20-$25 per day, depending on how many days you're out. For more information, check out "Baja California" in our winter Travel Issue, online and on newsstands now.