Of the many adventures Alex and I have been on, our trip up the Sea of Cortez has to be one of my favorites. Not only were we venturing into a new part of the world, but also we soon found ourselves in some very remote places with rough roads and long drives between fishing villages. While we were at first worried about being robbed, we were quickly told by a local dive master that all of the thieves were down in Cabo San Lucas because that’s where all the tourists are!
We flew to Cabo San Lucas and made our way up the Sea of Cortez to La Paz. Starting out, I wanted to rent a compact car to save money. At the last minute, with a great deal of pressure from Alex, I changed to a Jeep Liberty with 4-wheel drive. As you’ll see in the video, that was a huge plus for the challenging roads in some very remote areas. Even with a jeep, however, I did manage to get it stuck in the sand on one occasion just as the tide was rolling in. It was a tense moment between Alex and I as we tried getting wood under the tires and picturing our car and possessions rolling out to sea. Fortunately for us, a fellow named Bob who had a house up the shore came to our rescue with his pickup truck and towline.
For equipment, we brought along our dome tent, snorkeling equipment, spear, a rotisserie, and some very basic camping supplies. For luggage, my golf bag worked perfect for holding all the odd shaped items. We then hit a mega store in Cabo for basic food necessities, lawn chairs, cooler, and any other items we needed and figured we could leave behind. We ended up giving most of these things to a thankful security guard at a remote road stop on our way back to the airport.
While spread out, the small towns we came upon had basic supplies in the local stores along with fresh tortillas at roadside stands. Though we had planned on scuba diving more than one time, there was only one place to get air on the entire trip. Using snorkeling gear, we were able to spear fish right off the shore every night for our dinner. The other great advantage to an adventure in Mexico is that almost all of their beaches are open to camping. We were able to find some great stretches with miles of beach, mounds of seashells; turtle prints each morning, and practically no people.
Finally, one of the highlights was spending a night on EI Espiritu Santos, a large island preserve off the shore from La Paz. We paid a fisherman to take us over to the island and he promised he’d be back to get us at 10:00 a.m. the next morning. It was an amazing evening of snorkeling in this huge bay and then camping alone under thousands of stars. The fisherman arrived on time the next morning and gave us a lift back to our car.
It was a great adventure and very doable if you have a little camping and water experience. Alex was 13 at the time and the perfect age for handling the free spirited nature of the adventure. In retrospect, the only tip I’d recommend is taking an extra spear tip. After breaking the one we brought, it took us a half-day of unsuccessful searching before having to buy a new spear.