It is possible that your vision of Baja California has an imprint of salt shakers, limes, and tequila shots. After all, the tourism board of the region has done a great job of crafting a message of fun in the sun down in Cabo San Lucas and the beer companies have tempted us with portraits of white sand beaches and cold brews.
What they don’t always show you is the beauty of Baja beyond the superficial. Onshore the stark landscape is in direct contrast to the deep blue waters and the abundance of wildlife that drew American Novelist John Steinbeck to the region in 1940.
“The abundance of life here gives one an exuberance, a feeling of fullness and richness. The playing porpoises, the turtles, the great schools of fish which ruffle the water surface like a quick breeze, make for excitement.” –from Sea of Cortez, by John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts (1941)
ASA Sailing School GoBaja Sailing offers certification courses and charters out of La Paz, Baja California, Mexico.
Why Baja with Go Baja Sailing?
The obvious reason is sailing but, to be more specific, sailing out of La Paz makes for an ideal location to work on your sailing skills. Unlike Cabo San Lucas, La Paz has a large, protected island just 8 miles away from its marina, called Espiritu Santos Island (The Holy Spirit Island). La Paz is a bit more of a laid back Mexican city and, while it is the capital of Baja, it feels much more like an alternative to mainland Mexico. You’ll find artists colonies as well as a tranquil beach promenade. While many will mention the vibrant party scene in Cabo San Lucas the neighbor to the south, La Paz, is far more inviting for the traveler looking to learn something about the local people and culture.
Grey whale migration season brings you in close contact with these spectacular animals; Jacques Cousteau once described Baja California Sur as the Aquarium of the World. Common sightings are whales, dolphins, jumping manta rays, seals, and an abundance of fish, such as Mahi-Mahi, tuna, and wahoo.
If you are looking for a destination to escape the cold winter up north, summer never leaves Baja California Sur and from October to early May the wind is ideal for sailing and the temperatures are balmy.
Christy Walton of the Walmart Family lent her support to establishing a mining museum in El Triunfo. This tiny town of fewer than 200 people was once the epicenter of silver mining in Baja California. The Museo Ruta de Plata not only catalogs the area’s mining history it also narrates the growth and subsequent decline of the region’s population and popularity. For the adventurous traveler, this space is a spot between Todos Santos and La Paz and just one of many locations to explore the region between sailing.
Todos Santos is a true artist haven with galleries and local culture tucked away into every corner of this quaint town. The draw here is also the ability to drive just outside of the city limits to discover quiet pristine beaches that face the Pacific Ocean. If paradise is on your agenda it can be found down a dirt road in Baja California. This “Magical Town” as it is described by the tourism industry was home to sugar plantations in the late 1800s and now is populated with ex-pats and Mexican artists.
During whale season you can be sure to satiate your inner marine biologist with up close and personal viewing of grey whales as they mate and raise their young calves before the 10,000-mile trek up north. The winter months are the most popular for this activity but whales are regularly spotted throughout the year.
Here Are the Details on Sailing in Baja California With Gobaja Sailing:
What is the best time to visit and/or sail in Baja?
Nov 1 – May 30th amazing water and land temperatures and the chance of the northern winds which make for fantastic sailing
What kind of sailing community is there?
Many cruisers (foreign and American) get hooked and never leave La Paz. There are a multitude of reasons why – but for one – the locals, although mostly Spanish-speaking, are quite welcoming in this region. And, parts for your boats are easily obtainable, labor to fix or refinish your boat is very reasonable – and if they can’t find the part, there are shops in town that can actually make the part you are looking for. It’s crazy. The cost of living is very reasonable and health-care is very reasonable. An Emergency room visit with a doctor, for example, is only 25 USD.
Is Baja a good spot for first-time cruisers or is it more for experienced sailors?
OMG, yes!!! There is very little danger in the cruising grounds and navigation is 100% by line of sight (no need for radar) as fog, if any, is sparse. The Island of The Holy Spirit (‘La Isla Espíritu Santo’) is protected and its entire side is packed full of white-sand beaches and amazing anchorages, perfect for kayaking, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Known anchorages are:
- ‘The Hook’ San Francisco Island (‘Isla San Francisco’) is located 20 miles north of Espíritu Santo.
- Coyote Island (‘Isla El Coyote’) is just north of San Francisco Island, which is inhabited by 18 (mostly) family-member fishermen and has a small church and store.
- Saint Everest (‘San Evaristo’) is a local fishing village 5 miles from San Francisco Island on Baja, has a super small ‘palapa’ bar with cold beer and a small house and restaurant with 2 tables. There is just so much to see and do in this area – in fact, figure the most amount of time you can spend and add 2 days to that, as you’ll be kicking, screaming, and hollering to avoid the airport on the way home.