For an Amazing Mexico Eco-Adventure, Try Espiritu Santo Island

Sergeant Major fishes in caribbean reef Mexico Mayan RivieraA scenic 60-minute boat ride from La Paz lies Isla Espiritu Santo – one of the most beautiful islands in the Sea of Cortez. Void of hotels, shops or other tourist trappings, this uninhabited island remains an unspoiled paradise in Baja California Sur. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, Espiritu Santo is home to windswept beaches, Martian-like desert landscapes, coral reefs and a staggering array of flora and fauna.  Here you can swim with sea lions, kayak along the rocky shoreline, watch nesting frigate birds and snorkel with colorful fish, sea turtles, manta rays and other marine life.

La Paz day trip to Espiritu Santo

Experience nature in all her glory on a day trip to this protected marine park, which is regarded as one of Baja’s most important eco-tourism destinations. The island’s turquoise waters, striking rock formations and pristine coastline have an otherworldly beauty, and its relative isolation gives a sense of being in the wilderness.

Various companies in La Paz offer half and full-day excursions to Espiritu Santo Island, with plenty of chances to swim, snorkel, kayak, hike, and take in the amazing scenery. The journey is made on local fishing boats known as pangas that cruise past the island of San Rafaelito, before heading to the spectacular Balandra Bay – where you can snap pictures of an iconic mushroom-shaped rock formation.

Swimming with sea lions

A large colony of sea lions, numbering in the hundreds, bask on the banks of Los Islotes, where the real fun begins. Snorkeling with these inquisitive, acrobatic mammals – which have been known to “kiss” snorkelers on the mask—will undoubtedly be the highlight of your trip! Sea lion pups are exceptionally frisky and a delight to watch. Wet suits are provided during windier months, but average water temperatures hover between 73-84 F. Keep an eye out for huge parrot fish, grouper, rays and angel fish.

Depending on the season, travelers may catch a glimpse of pilot whales, dolphins or whale sharks – the planet’s largest fish. Experienced tour guides explain the history of the island and prepare a delicious picnic lunch on the white sands of Ensenada Grande – rated by Travel Magazine as Mexico’s most beautiful beach!

A getaway to Espiritu Santo Island should be on everyone’s bucket list. If you’re into scuba diving, this island provides phenomenal opportunities to see Mobula rays, hammerhead sharks and whale sharks. The visibility is the best (average 80 feet) from July through December.

Espiritu Santo Island Quick Facts

  • Located in the Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur
  • An hour’s boat ride from La Paz
  • Mexico’s 12th largest island with a land area of 31,000 square miles
  • Designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1995
  • Connected to Isla Partida by a small isthmus
  • Both Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida are uninhabited
  • Overnight camping available
  • Home to diverse marine life: sea lions, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, whales and rays
  • Only known habitat of the black jack rabbit
  • Half and full day eco tours available from La Paz 

Read More about Espiritu Santo Island:

  1. ThePlanetD, An Unforgettable Adventure at Mexico’s Isla Espíritu Santo
  2. TripAdvisor, Isla Espiritu Santo
  3. com, Espiritu Santo Island Day Trip
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