Best tour in La Paz! Visit Espiritu Santo Island

If you come to La Paz and don’t visit Espiritu Santo, you’ve done your vacation wrong! Without hesitation, I can say that this is one of the must-do excursions in Baja California Sur. I’ve been there more times than I can count, and yet it feels like a brand-new adventure each time.

On top of the unforgettable memories, you also get bang for your buck taking this “island” tour, since Espiritu Santo is actually an archipelago, comprised of two main islands – La Partida and Espiritu Santo – three islets, and four rocky promontories. So much amazingness to explore that you can imagine why I keep going back!

Whether you’re dreaming of experiencing Espiritu Santo on a thrilling panga tour (the small fibreglass fishing boats used for most water excursions around La Paz), or on a private luxury yacht catering to your group’s every whim, the Trip&homes Experiences team has got you covered:

  • Panga tour to Espiritu Santo with Trip&homes – Book here (price per person around $115 – 130 USD)

 

  • Luxury trip to the Island on a 60-foot 3-cabin Hatteras Yacht with beach and water toys included – Book here (8-hour day trips starting at $1500 USD for up to 15 passengers)

Even though it only runs about 20 miles from north to south, and six at its widest east-west point, there are too many notable features within this UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve for me to fawn over all of them, but allow me to highlight the top 5:

Los Islotes – the northernmost islet, home to a healthy California sea lion colony of over 500 individuals. Granted, snorkelling and scuba diving with the playful juvenile sea lions are the main attractions at Los Islotes, but don’t forget to look past those adorable brown eyes and whiskers; the reef surrounding the rocky islet is INCREDIBLE. Teeming with colourful fish and healthy corals, the reef could be a destination all on its own.

La Mascara – an eroded rock formation resembling a (slightly creepy) howling mask, cries out over the Cortez waters. Espiritu Santo translates to “Holy Spirit”, but maybe there’s a spirit of another persuasion here as well? This photogenic cliff is located within the bay of the famous Playa Candelero.
The world’s first pearl farm – from the 16th to 19th centuries, La Paz was the world’s #1 export of pearls. It’s why our gorgeous city was founded in the first place! The crown jewel of La Paz is literally the British Queen’s crown jewel.
In the early days, the Sea of Cortez offered a seemingly endless source of natural wealth for pearl oyster fisheries….seemingly; by the late-1800’s the native stock had all but disappeared. In response, an enterprising local designed a farming system within the embrace of Espiritu Santo’s protected bays (and employing 1000 people!). The project was successful for a couple of decades, but eventually, the fatal combination of disease and a sacking following the Mexican Revolution was too much to overcome. Today, jetties originally built for the farm act as a sanctuary and nursery for thousands of frigate birds, nesting on its rocky surface.
The Isla Partida arch – Los Cabos doesn’t have the only famous rock archway in Baja California Sur! The forces of erosion have created another impressive work of art with this 40-foot-high opening carved through an otherwise very solid-looking rock. A skilled captain can take your boat right through on a calm day!
The East side – rainbow rocks and sheer cliffs plunge deep into the ocean, reaching almost unimaginable depths immediately offshore (300 feet, what?!). The geological layers tell a cyclical story of creation and destruction, to those who know how to interpret them. Over here, perfectly straight sections of dark lava, and there, wavy patterns of compressed pink ash.
These islands were a part of mainland Mexico 6 million years ago, before seismic shifts in tectonic plates sheared off the peninsula as we know it today, thrusting deep, old, prehistoric rock towards the sky. Even the non-geologically inclined visitor can’t help but appreciate the forces of creation involved.

In summary, Isla Espiritu Santo is not to be missed! French explorer and marine researcher, Jacques Cousteau, wondrously proclaimed the Sea of Cortez, The Aquarium of the World, and the protected biosphere of Espiritu Santo is waiting for you a mere 25-minute boat ride away from your Trip&homes accommodation in La Paz.

Make it a day trip on its own or combine Espiritu Santo with a visit to the world’s largest fish – the whale shark!

 

By: Terri Lynn Manna

Terri Lynn Manna

Terri Lynn Manna is an avid writer based between La Paz, Mexico, and Montreal, Canada, where she draws inspiration from the waterways and wilderness that surround her. With over 50 countries stamped in her passport, she's a seasoned backpacker who shares her insights on travel practicalities and the myriad adventures waiting to be experienced.

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