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Baja FAQ Page

BAJA, MEXICO FAQ’s & Practical Information: 

     
 Why book with Us?

From the moment you make your first contact with us until the farewell dinner at the trip end, we aim to provide you with an efficient, personal service, quality equipment and some of the best professional guiding in the business! We average 50 expeditions (4 -7 days each trip) to Espiritu Santo Island a season. We attribute this success, in part, because we offer a flexible and affordable schedule of trips. However over the last 10 years we have received tremendous support from our guests. So many return for a second or third vacation with us or send their family and friends. Most say it is the best trip they have ever had!! Our most loyal 'supporters' have flown down to Baja to do their 10th tour with us! After every trip we seek your feed back by way of an evaluation form so that we may continue to 'tweak' the finest details. It is this attention to our guests remarks that has enabled us to develop one of Baja's most popular outfitters.

Please compare the itinerary of the trips we offer, take a close look at the number of days spent kayaking, the cost, the philosophy, and above all the efficiency and level of service. Many companies offer week trips that involve 5 or less days kayaking; our interpretation of a week vacation is 7 days activity.

What do you mean by Co-operatively Catering and Fully Catered Expeditions?

Co-operatively Catering Expeditions:

At the beginning of the trip your guides will explain how to efficiently pack the sea-kayaks. It will then become a group task each day to load all the gear (camping equipment, kitchen, food and water) into the kayaks before paddling to the next camping beach. The group will all help set up camp, cook meals and clean dishes. We have a pre-set meal plan and the guides take overall responsibility for the meals but everyone will take turns helping with the food prep etc. We find this shared catering enhances the feeling of comradeship and brings the group together to discuss the days experiences and the next days plans.

On the 7 day trip we make a re-provision on Wednesday so effectively, the most you ever carry is 3 days worth of food and water. The midweek re-provision also enable us to take away your accumulated trash and take you out by motor boat to the sea lion colony to swim with the sea lion pups!

The rewards of this style of expedition lie in the feeling of self-sufficiency, a bonding team spirit and a real sense of adventure.

Fully Catered, Motor Skiff Assisted Trips:

The itinerary remains very much the same, you still paddle from camp beach to camp beach exploring the island as you go. However a panga (motor boat) carries all the camping gear and provisions leaving you to paddle light, empty kayaks. This alleviates the repetitive task of squeezing all your gear into tiny compartments only to unpack again a few hours later. It is also physically easier to paddle a light kayak.

The panga driver and guides will take care of providing you with 3 healthy meals a day and they will do all the cleaning up. Also, having a motor boat along means that we are able to take ice chests full of cold beer and other refreshing beverages. We are also able to offer a more flexible program. For instance, less energetic folks may choose to hitch a ride in the panga to the next camping beach. We can also provide side trips to otherwise inaccessible snorkeling locations and/or go on a fishing trip to try and catch dinner. Please note that we still require your assistance to set /take down your own tent and help loading and unloading the boat every time we change camp.

Please note: Our trip prices include the meals and beverages on 'both' styles of trips.

How can you reassure me that the trip is safe?

We operate with a guide/guest ratio:

Co-operatively catered trip.- 1 guide per 6 guests.
Fully catered trip.- 1 guide/crew per 4 guests

You are equipped with a US Coastguard approved life preserver and the guides carry a cellular phone to maintain contact with our office. At the beginning of each trip the guides give a safety talk and instructions for group control on the water. You will also practice rescues and receive concise information on our safety procedures. The guides are trained and our company safety policy is based on the guidelines of the BCU (British Canoe Union).

What type of kayaks do you have?

We have a mixed fleet of fiberglass and plastic, doubles and singles, sit in side and sit on top. Manufacturers are Seaward, Prijon, Current Design, Delta and Necky.

Can I paddle a single/double kayak?

During the trip we normally switch around so that everyone has a chance to try all the 'boats.' However if you have a particular desire to be in a single or double, this can be arranged providing the guide considers it is safe to do so. Many of our experienced guests are able to paddle a single for the duration of the trip providing we are notified of such a request on the registration form.

Which month do you recommend we visit Baja?

The end of October, November and early December is our favorite time as the weather is lovely and warm and the water is perfect for snorkeling. December - March is often windy. April and May are less likely to be windy and the days are consistently hot. Check the air/sea temperatures above if this is an important factor and you have flexibility over your vacation time.

What are the conditions like for kayaking?

Baja is well known for it's gorgeous aquamarine tranquil seas and has thus become a mecca for kayakers of all abilities. In fact, it is one of the most popular paddling destinations throughout the northern hemisphere during the winter months. However it should not go unmentioned that there are regular north winds that can reach 20+mph. These "northerlies" are particularly present between mid November and mid March and can sometimes blow for three days at a time though more commonly they are limited to being strong afternoon breezes. Espiritu Santo has some deep fjord-like bays that provide protection from these prevailing winds but there could be day(s) when you can not kayak. It may still be possible to practice kayak skills - rescues, the Eskimo roll even surfing but not possible to advance from one bay to another. Your guides are highly experienced and they will always offer alternative activities if it is not deemed safe to kayak - hiking, snorkeling in a protected bay etc.

What type of meals do you have on your trips?

We provide 3 meals a day with a tasty Mexican/European flair. Quantities are plentiful and we consistently have guests raving about how delicious the meals are. We endeavor to catch fresh fish or buy from the local fishing families on the island or passing prawn trawlers. Warning: You may put weight on!

Wine is served with the evening meal and on fully catered trips we have a cooler full of ice cold beers. We also carry Sodas, fruit juice, potable water and there is a choice of coffee and tea in the mornings. We also have beverages for making delicious cocktails every evening - our margaritas and Pina Coladas are a legend!

On the registration form please mention if you are a vegetarian or have any special dietary requirements.

What is La Paz like

La Paz is a clean and safe seaside town and is state capital of Baja California Sur. It is charming and authentically Mexican with courteous locals and a very relaxing ambiance. Tourists come to La Paz as it is well known as the gateway to many outdoor pursuits. Besides sea kayaking, there is world class diving, mountain biking, wind surfing, yacht charters, fishing trips and to the south lies a mountain range offering excellent day and overnight hiking. The sea-promenade is the focal point of the town and is lined with excellent seafood restaurants, lively bars and the odd night club. In the evenings the local families stroll along the promenade (Malecon) enjoying the cool sea breeze. A margarita at sunset is fast becoming a La Paz tradition! You can also click here for general information about La Paz and Loreto.

Where do you recommend staying?

Please ask for our list of recommended hotels by email


Do you have specific trips for families?

We endeavour to put families together to promote better group dynamics - please ask which of our trips already has a family booked, or mention to us if you would rather adult company only.


Can I bring my fishing line/rod?

By all means. There is plenty of opportunity to fish on all our trips either from your kayak or from the rocky headlands. You may even be able to contribute to the menu!


How much should I tip the guides?

Tips are a gratitude and they should represent your satisfaction with the trip. However it is customary in the industry to tip 5 to 10% of the trip fee. Please allow your own judgement of our service to dictate your generosity. Note that tips are shared evenly amongst all the crew participating on a trip.


How do I get La Paz?


Once you have had your vacation reservation confirmed we suggest that you make a flight booking ASAP as airlines get booked up early, particularly during the USA vacation periods. Your destination is La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico but often it is considerably cheaper to fly to San Jose Del Cabo and then transfer by local bus (2.5-3 hours). Renting a car is an option as well.  America Airlines, Aero Mexico, Mexicana, Aero California, Air West, Continental Air and Alaska Airlines are currently offering flights to San Jose del Cabo and Aero California, Aerolitoral and Aero Mexico have flights to La Paz.

From San Jose del Cabo to La Paz:
Once you arrive in San Jose del Cabo airport take a taxi shuttle (approx $15 U.S.) or the Servipuerto Bus (approx $8 U.S.) to El Aguila Bus Terminal (tel (624)1421100) in the San Jose town, situated at Colonia 1ro de Mayo (1 block off the main federal highway to Cabo San Lucas). There is a shuttle information desk as you leave the airport - they speak a little English and they take American money. Or if you have time, check out San Jose, it is a beautiful mission town and well worth a visit.

**NOTE** If you take the taxi please ask to be dropped off at El Aguila's Bus terminal not to be mistaken with the Transportes La Paz terminal.

Once you arrive in La Paz bus terminal take a taxi (approx $3-5 U.S.) to your accommodation - please make sure you have the full address of your guesthouse/hotel to hand.

Or if you arrive direct to La Paz:
Take a taxi direct to your accommodation (approx $13 U.S. shared minibus - this will still take you to your hotel, or approx $16 U.S. private taxi) - please make sure you have the full address of your guesthouse/hotel before flying.

What to Bring:

In addition to your usual items, we recommend you pack the following; please note that if you are on a:

... COOPERATIVE CATERED TRIP: All the expedition gear is stored in our kayak hatches so your personal belongings should not exceed the capacity of one medium dry bags (9"dia x 30" approx). Your tent, sleeping bag, Therma rest and snorkel gear can be packed separately. These items can all be loaded directly into your kayak in their respective bags. If your sleeping bag is in a stuff bag it's a good idea to line it with a trash bag.
... FULLY CATERED TRIP:  Your belongings will be carried in the motor boat so you can pack everything into one or two duffel bags. You DO NOT NEED to pack your personal gear in a dry bag.

Please note that duffle bags are the most useful, suitcases with wheels are troublesome on the sand.

• Clothing General
We recommend that your clothing is made of synthetic material such as capilene, nylon etc. for quick drying during November to April. Other months, cotton is fine.
o Shorts (1 or 2 pairs)
o A couple of t-shirts
o Fleece & long pants (Nov - April)
o Foot wear: Tevas and hiking shoes
o Shorty wetsuit (Recommended Mid Dec-April)
o Swimsuit and towel
o Rain jacket (optional Dec-Feb)
o Lycra suit for snorkeling (Oct, early November and May) to avoid jelly fish stings.
• Miscellaneous
o Compact Sleeping Bag in stuff bag ~ (Rental rates: Quick Escape = $25US, Week trip = $30US)
o Sun glasses (with leash)
o Sun hat/visor/bandana
o Flashlight/Headlight
o Paddling gloves - optional
• Toiletries
o Sun cream
o After sun cream
o Small first aid kit
o Insect Repellent (Skin so Soft works well)
o Prescription Drugs
o Shampoo/Conditioner - Biodegradable
o Washcloth/towlettes
o Diarrhea medicine
• Travel Essentials
o Credit Cards (note: There are ATM's all over La Paz - this is the easiest way to get local currency).
o Do not bring travelers checks as not many places will except them (banks also don't except them).
• Camping Gear
o We have a limited supply of the following items - please advise early if you wish to reserve anything:
o Compact tents ( 1-2 person) - Free of charge
o Therma rest sleeping pads - Free of charge
o Dry Bags - Free of charge
o Snorkeling Gear ~ (Rental rates: Quick Escape = $20US, Week trip = $30US)
o Wet suits ~ (Rental rates: Quick Escape = $30US, Week trip = $40US)
o Sleeping Bags ~ (Rental rates: Quick Escape = $25US, Week trip = $30US)

Do you offer bike trips?
Yes!  We can customize a biking trip for you.  Please e-mail us.

Can I customize a trip?:
Absolutely!  Please e-mail us.

Can I customize a trip for a private group?:
Absolutely!  Please e-mail us to discuss a private group trip.
Whether you wish to organize a wedding, a private trip with friends or a trip with the family you can count on our vast local knowledge to create the ideal expedition in Baja. Email us to discuss your private tour
requirements. We take great pride in designing a custom tour and developing a unique experience based on your group preference.
When you organize your private trip with us:
o Tell us how you’d like us to plan your trip.  Our expert local guides have spent many years exploring and playing in Baja California and the Gulf of California.
o You choose how long you want to go for from 1 day to 1 month.
o You get to go with the people you WANT to be on vacation with.
o You can request a guide who is a marine biologist or a local from Baja.  All our staff is bilingual.
o The dates you wish - subject to availability and within our tour season (Oct – May)
o Choose the style of catering. Either fully catered or cooperatively catered
o Decide on the number of hotel nights you wish to have included in the tour.
o Multi-activity: design a custom tour that includes different sports, visiting culturally interesting places etc. Eating in the best restaurants and staying in the appropriate type of guest houses or hotels depending on YOUR interest and budget.

 ** Please note that all information is subject to change

 

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