Tips for Sea Kayaking in Baja

How to make the most of your next paddling adventure in Mexico

A peninsula hanging on the northwestern side of Mexico, Baja is at one point a colorful desert of blooming cacti and century plants and at another a long stretch of steep rock cliffs cutting off into the wide blue ocean. It was also the site of the first annual Baja Sea Kayaking festival hosted by Aqua Adventures on April 11-14. The festival was created to bring sea kayakers down to explore Baja’s stellar rock gardens and encourage sea kayaking in Mexico. Curious to see how the first ever festival was going to be, C&K’s online editor ventured down with Aqua Adventures staff and dozens of the participants. Here are the tips she learned while down there to prepare for the next sea kayaking adventure in Baja.

The water is expensive
Most people in North America and Europe don’t have to think about how much water they use. In Baja, though, people get their water by trucks, making it very expensive and hard to come by. Respect that reality and be very conservative with the amount of water you use to wash your hands and shower.

Toilets are different
Most sewage systems can’t handle toilet paper so you don’t flush it. Get used to that.

Dress appropriately
Yes, it’s Mexico; no, the water’s not warm in April. Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. While the air can get warm, especially when the sun appears, one flip into the water will bring the body temperature down fast. Prepare for that.

Get the patch!
Argh, not an eye patch. Having something for motion sickness, even if you think you don’t need it, will keep you from having a rough weekend, as the writer learned the hard way. Conditions vary greatly with the swells, and what could be a familiar scene can quickly turn into a churning, heaving, okay I’m making myself sick. You get the idea.

Watch out for wildlife
And I don’t mean the animals. It seems as though every plant is designed for attack with 4-inch long needles jutting off every thick leaf. I fell onto one of the century plants and pushed a needle clean through my hand, the only injury the whole trip. Just be careful where you walk.

With the right group, Baja is the perfect place to gain experience
There was something for everyone—beginner to advanced—to enjoy. Rock gardens offered all kinds of features easy and very tricky. Dolphins and seals were great entertainment for those just wanting to paddle along the coast and sight-see.

Border patrol sucks coming back on the weekend
You could wait two hours in line; you could wait four hours in line. We waited three and a half. Mondays are no better, either. Do not let this deter you from experiencing such an exciting part of Mexico. This venture is really no different than driving through/near Boston, New York, Chicago, L.A. or any other major city in the country. Except you just left an amazing experience and are going home.

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