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Sea lions…sea lions? Is their common name making you wary of hopping in and swimming with them? (And the Spanish name doesn’t help either – lobos marinos translates literally to “sea wolves.”) If so, there’s really no need to worry, because sea lions should really have been more aptly named, “sea dogs”!
Intelligent, social, curious, playful and downright adorable (I mean, look at those teeny tiny little ears!), if you think of the California sea lion more like a breath-holding version of your trusted family canine, then you’ll better understand why everyone says that swimming with them is a fun and unforgettable experience, not to be missed!
Social groups of sea lions are made up of a small number of mature breeding males, numerous mature breeding females, and their pups and yearlings.
The older members of La Paz’s resident colonies are often observed lounging on warm rocks or found floating belly up and half asleep. Just like my family’s 11-year-old retriever, they really only perk up to eat and bark at the mailman (get too close to their territory – the rocks and boulders they call home – and you’re the mailman, in this scenario).
Still, they make fantastic photography subjects, flopped over jagged rocks in a way that just can’t be comfortable, yet clearly somehow is.
Adult sea lions colony at San Rafaelito taken by the trip and homes experiences team
Then, there are the juveniles and pups; these guys are who you’re really here to see! Full of youthful, boisterous energy, they spin and flip, jump and blow bubbles, with incredible speed and agility. Since you are always within safe reach or eyesight of your Trip&homes Experiences guides, you can ask directly about the different behaviors you’ll be observing.
One of my first questions to my guide, was why the sea lions bobbing just under the surface all seemed to be waving at me?! It turns out, by keeping a flipper or two sticking up out of the water they are able to absorb heat from the sun which counteracts the loss of body heat from being submerged and motionless in the colder water. I wish I could do that! (Though, to be fair, I was perfectly comfortable in the wetsuit provided by the excursion operator.)
Protip: The California sea lions are a protected species here in Mexico (yay!). Therefore, during their breeding months it is not permitted to snorkel or scuba near their colonies (normally this is from June-August, but it varies some, year-to-year). To ensure you get those priceless underwater closeups of their big brown eyes looking back at you, contact us before or during your stay.
Where exactly can you go swimming with the sea lions? From your Trip&homes vacation rental in La Paz, you have several choices right in your own backyard:
Day trip to Espiritu Santo Island – a UNESCO World Heritage site. Whether you choose a day trip aboard our luxurious yacht, speed boats, or our panga adventure (a panga is a local outboard motor boat, traditionally used by fishermen), you will have the privilege of interacting with the largest reproductive colony of California sea lions in the Sea of Cortez. At 400-500 members strong, there are very few locations in the world so close to a big city that allow for experiences with wild animals, like this!
Our Espiritu Santo excursions include other luxurious offerings like catered meals, fresh food on a private beach, wildlife spotting and visiting Balandra beach, in addition to the sea lion colony experience; undoubtedly a must-do while in La Paz.
Day trip to the Island on our 60 foot sport cruise yacht: Book here!
Visit the San Rafaelito sea lion colony, right here in the bay of La Paz. Just 20 minutes after departing from the marina, you can be laughing through your snorkel at the smaller colony’s youngest members. Further, not only is San Rafaelito a great spot to learn about these gorgeous marine mammals, but the healthy reef system around the islet is home to many large and colourful fish species.
San Rafaelito can be paired up with a whale shark experience, or it can be a quick tour all on its own (leaving plenty of time in your day for land-based La Paz experiences, such as a Mexican Spirits Tasting and Paring or a one-of-a-kind horseback riding with meal included.
Day trip to the Island, Sea Lions colony (including swimming with whale sharks when in season) and Balandra beach: Book here!
Day trip to the island, sea lions, whaleshark and balandra beach experience by Tripandhomes
Either way, sea lion excursions are open to scuba divers, snorkelers, swimmers, and of course those who simply wish to observe from the comfort of the boat; something for everybody!
Message our Trip&homes Experiences team now on WhatsApp to check availability and reserve your place!
Lalo +1 619 288 8423
Johnny +52 612 189 6310