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Tour Highlights

  • Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life on this unique and unforgettable swimming holiday in Baja, Mexico

  • Discover pristine beaches and isolated coves on the uninhabited island of Espiritu Santo

  • Swim alongside sea lions and other incredible marine life in warm, clear waters

  • Camp in style in a UNESCO protected area of unspoilt natural beauty

  • Relax at the end of each day with cocktails, freshly-cooked meals and truly spectacular island sunsets

Explore an island paradise filled with crystal clear waters, incredible marine life and picture perfect sunsets on this unique and unforgettable swimming holiday in Baja, Mexico. With water temperatures of around 26°C, this late-season getaway is the perfect opportunity to discover the unspoilt beauty of one of Mexico’s natural wonders.

From the white sand beaches and dramatic cliff faces to the countless hidden bays that we’ll explore throughout the week, this is a swimming adventure like no other. The area is part of the UNESCO-protected Biosphere Reserve and offers the opportunity to discover this pristine natural environment.

Based on the uninhabited island of Espiritu Santo, our base camp is located right on the beach, just a few steps from the inviting waters we’ll spend our days exploring. The camp is completely ‘off the grid’ and includes glamping-style tents with camp beds and solar heated showers. It also offers kayaks and stand-up paddle boards which can be borrowed for your own use between our scheduled swims.

Our food for the week is prepared by our very own chef and cocktails are available for all guests to enjoy as we watch the sun go down at the end of each unforgettable day.

Who is this trip for?

This trip is designed for swimmers who are looking to experience an escape from everyday life and experience a combination of coastal swims, crossings and circumnavigations. Guests should be comfortable being ‘off the grid’ throughout the duration of the trip, with no access to wifi or mobile reception on the island. Swimmers should have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the average daily swim distance of around 6 km (split over a minimum of two swims) prior to the start of the trip.

What's included?

  • Fully guided swimming holiday in Baja, Mexico
  • Swim guides and full safety escort on all swims
  • Technique coaching
  • One night's hotel accommodation in La Paz on Day 1
  • Five nights' cabin-style camping on Isla Espiritu Santo
  • All breakfasts
  • All lunches
  • All dinners (except Day 1)

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the tour
  • Dinner on Day 1
  • Conservation fee of US$25 (payable on Day 1)

Daily Itineraries

Please note that the below daily itineraries are an example of the swims that may take place during the course of your trip, however, actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and sea conditions. Your SwimTrek guides and local boat pilot will determine the most suitable swim locations each day and will communicate the plan with all guests as soon as possible.

Day 1

After arriving in La Paz and checking in to the Hotel Catedral, you will have the chance to take a walk around this colourful and vibrant city before meeting up with your guides and fellow guests for a welcome drink and safety briefing at 17:00. After your welcome meeting, you’ll have a chance to pick up any extras that you might need for the week ahead before an optional group dinner.

Day 2

After meeting in the hotel lobby early in the morning, we set off on a two-hour boat ride which brings us to our base camp at Ensenada del Candelero (Candelabra Cove) on Espiritu Santo Island. Once there, we have a chance to get set up for the week, including a brief camp orientation, followed by a short acclimatisation swim and lunch. After lunch, you have some free time to explore the camp, kayak or have a siesta before a swim along the shoreline to neighbouring Ensenada el Mezteno.

At the end of the first day on Isla Espiritu Santo, we enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Sea of Cortez while our very own chef prepares our first delicious dinner on the island.

Day 3

We start the morning with a swim in the beautiful Bahia San Gabriel (former home of the pearl beds made famous by John Steinbeck in “The Pearl”) where we swim directly past a breeding ground of magnificent frigate birds.

After lunch, we head to Las Calaveritas for our second swim of the day which takes us all the way back to base camp. Once we arrive, the rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy before settling in for an evening cocktail as the sun dips below the horizon once again.

Day 4

We start off the day with a hike from Ensenada el Embudo to a dramatic vantage point which offers a gorgeous view of Isla la Partida. The walk takes approximately 30 minutes each way.

Our first swim of the day begins at El Erizoso Punto. We swim from point to point to point, ending at Ensenada del Raza.

Back at base camp we enjoy a wonderful lunch before setting off for our afternoon crossing from Isla Espiritu Santo to the sister island of Isla Partida. On our way back to camp, there may be time for some snorkelling off El Cardoncito.

Day 5

This morning we circumnavigate Isla Ballena. The incredible water quality here is clear enough to spot the many beautiful types of fish that inhabit the underwater rocks and crannies.

After lunch, it’s time to swim along the dramatic bluffs in Ensenada el Cardoncito. Along the way, you’ll swim over an abandoned pearl farm and end on a gorgeous sandy beach. As always, our day finishes with another delicious local dinner and a chance to relax and soak in the atmosphere of the island paradise that we call home for a week.

Day 6

This morning we swim in the long bay of Ensenada el Cardonal, a bowl shaped cove of rocky red outcrops. We then make our way to Los Islotes, home to a colony of friendly and curious sea lions. After having the chance to swim and snorkel with these amazing creatures, we’ll make our way back to base camp for lunch.

We then head to the beautiful Ensenada Grande for our final afternoon swim. Our last night in camp includes a special final dinner and the chance to enjoy one more evening of watching the sunset and counting the shooting stars.

Day 7

After a great week of swimming, we’ve got time for one last morning swim in the bay in front of our campsite. Following our swim and a quick lunch, we head back to La Paz where we’ll savour the final moments of this incredible getaway.

Trip Schedule

Start Point: Hotel Catedral, La Paz

Start Time: 17:00 on Day 1

Finish Point: Hotel Catedral, La Paz

Finish Time: 15:00 on Day 7

Trip Information

Equipment checklist

In addition to your daily non-swimming clothes, we also recommend that you bring the following items:

Item Item
Swimming Costume (x2) Tight Fitting Rash Vest (to combat sea lice)
Swimming Googles* (x2) Small Daypack
Sunhat and Sunglasses Walking Shoes/Sandals
Waterproof Sun Cream (Factor 30+) Biodegradable Shampoo
Towel Waterproof Jacket
Head Torch (incl. spare batteries) Insect Repellent
Sweater/Fleece Aqua Shoes/Sandals
Trousers Dry Bag**

*Try to bring one clear lens and one tinted lens for different light conditions.

**To protect your personal belongings during the crossing between La Paz and Espiritu Santo.

Please note that SwimTrek will supply swim hats and provide water and electrolyte drinks in shared water bottles on your safety boat. If you prefer to use your own drink bottle, please feel free to bring one along. If you would like to use a wetsuit, rash vest or fins during your swims, please ensure that you bring these with you.

Swimming Distances

Swim Distances
Ensenada El Mezteno 3km
Las Calaveritas 2km
Isla Espiritu Santo - Isla Partida 2km
Ensenada El Cardoncito 2km
Ensenada Grande 2km
Bahia San Gabriel 4km
El Erizoso Punto – Ensenada Del Raza 4km
Isla Ballena 3km
Ensenada El Cardonal 3½km

Swimming Conditions

Swimming in the sea is a fantastic experience, however you should be aware that certain marine life such as sea lice, jellyfish, sea urchins and coral could be present during the swims. In all cases we will work on reducing your contact with these creatures, however if you suffer from anaphylaxis, please consult the office prior to booking.

Walking Distances

There are no roads on the island. Most walks take place on unsealed surfaces and care should be taken in these areas. The main walk on Day 4 of the trip takes approximately 30 minutes and includes a gradual uphill trajectory.

Temperatures

Month Water Temperature Daytime Air Temperature Evening Air Temperature
November 25-27°C / 77-81°F 26-28°C / 78-82°F 18-20°C / 64-68°F

*Please note that these temperatures are indicative and should be used as a guide only.

Weather Caveat

For safety reasons, we rely on decent weather conditions when carrying out our swims. As a consequence, open water swimming holidays require a certain degree of on-trip flexibility which can result in changes to the planned itinerary. These changes often add a touch of uniqueness to your trip and will be communicated to you by your SwimTrek guides as quickly as possible.

Group Size

This trip has a maximum group size of 15. The group will be split into a maximum of three groups, based on speed, with each group being accompanied by their own safety vessel/escort. 

Boat support on this trip includes one main boat and support boats to be piloted by your SwimTrek guides and a local boat pilot. Please note that this boat support is subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Getting There

To reach Hotel Catedral in La Paz you can fly direct into La Paz Airport and take a local taxi to the hotel. Alternatively, you can also fly into Cabo San Lucas International Airport which is approximately a 3-hour transfer away.

Whilst we have outlined various travel options below, they are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. We suggest that you use SkyScanner to search for flight options for this trip. Whichever route you choose to take, we recommend confirming your flights and other travel arrangements as early as possible in order to avoid price rises and availability issues.

Flights to La Paz

To search for available flights into La Paz, please visit SkyScanner.

Taxi from La Paz to Hotel Catedral

The easiest way to get to the hotel is via taxi directly from the airport. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes and costs between $20-25. Please note that the taxis in La Paz are not metered, so we recommend that you agree on a fare with your driver before your journey.

Flights to Los Cabos

To search for available flights into Los Cabos, please visit SkyScanner.

Private Transfer from Los Cabos Airport to Hotel Catedral

Once you arrive into Los Cabos, the easiest way to travel to your hotel in La Paz is via private transfer. The takes approximately 2-3 hours each way and prices vary depending on the number of people in your group. For more information please visit Baja Only or phone +1-800-352-4990.

Shuttle Bus Transfer from Cabo San Lucas

From Los Cabos International Airport, you can catch an air-conditioned shuttle directly to La Paz. All shuttles leave from Terminal 1 and tickets can be bought at the Eco Baja Tours ticket counter. The journey takes approximately four hours and costs around 545 Mexican Pesos (approx. US$30). Shuttles depart every hour between 12:30 and 17:30. For bookings and timetable information, please visit Eco Baja Tours and select ‘Los Cabos Airport (SJD)’ as your departure and ‘La Paz Malecon’ as your arrival. Once you arrive in La Paz, it is a short 5-minute walk to Hotel Catedral.

Practical Information

Accommodation

The first night’s stay of the trip will be at the Hotel Catedral in La Paz. For the rest of the trip, we will stay at Base Camp on Espiritu Santo Island. Here you can ‘glamp’ in style, with large cabin-style tents with a separate communal dining tent. Our accommodation is based on twin-share tent, however there are a limited number of single supplement tents which can be reserved during the booking process, subject to availability.

Base Camp is clean and comfortable and consists of dry toilets and shared solar-powered showers. Swimmers often choose to wash in the sea using biodegradable soap or shampoo and then rinse off in the freshwater shower.

If you would like to extend your stay in La Paz and need to book additional nights’ accommodation before or after your trip, please visit the website of Hotel Catedral or call +52 612 6901000.

Off the grid

Isla Espiritu Santo is entirely off the grid, with no wifi or mobile reception. In the event that you need to contact the outside world, camp staff are able to radio back to our partner Baja Expeditions. If someone needs to contact you in the event of an emergency, they should phone 1 800 843 6967 from the United States or Canada or 0052 612 125 4900 from elsewhere.

Meals

All meals are included on Espiritu Santo island after your arrival there on the morning of Day 2. Camp food is prepared on site by our very own chef and meals typically consist of wraps, salads and freshly caught fish.

Before dinner each night, cocktails are served while watching the sunset and you will be offered a beer or glass of wine with each dinner. Any additional alcohol that you might want with you should be purchased in La Paz and taken to the camp. Drinks can be stored in a cool box at the campsite.

Please note that dinner is not included on Day 1 of your trip, however, breakfast will be provided at Hotel Catedral on Day 2 prior to your journey to the island.

Extra Expenses

You should bring extra money with you to cover dinner on Day 1, souvenirs and your time in La Paz. The local currency is the Mexican Peso.

You will also need to bring enough cash to cover the required conservation fee of USD$25. This will be collected by your SwimTrek guide on the first night of your trip.

Finally, please note that tipping is very much part of Mexican culture. With this in mind, we suggest a tip of US$50-100 for your local crew, depending on the level of service you have received. All the gratuities are pooled and distributed evenly between the Mexican guide and camp crew.

Passports and Visas

Mexico is part of North America. Non-residents of Mexico require a full passport to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. Citizens of most countries, including all E.U. member states, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand will not require a visa but will be required to fill out an immigration form to enter Mexico as a tourist for a time period of less than 180 days. Please note that visa regulations are subject to change and we advise that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Health Information and Recommended Vaccinations

For comprehensive health information for people travelling to Mexico, including all recommended and required vaccinations, please visit Travel Health Pro. Please note that this information is subject to change and you should re-check this site regularly prior to your trip.

UK health authorities have classified Mexico as having a moderate risk of Zika virus transmission. For further information about this assessment, you should visit UK Travel Guidance and follow the advice on the Travel Health Pro. It is also recommended that you discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider, particularly if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Travel Plugs & Electricity

Please note that there are very limited charging facilities at Base Camp on the island. These operate off a solar panel and small inverter which charge at 100V using a standard North American plug. Please note that charging can be intermittent and slow and may not be available at all times. You will, however, be able to charge electrical devices in La Paz prior to departing for the island.

For a useful source of information on the different electrical outlets, electrical plugs, and electric sockets, please visit worldstandards.eu.

  • Such a great adventure! Warm, clear waters for swimming. Sleeping with the sea at your tent door, the brilliant stars and the Milky Way above. Watching the never-ending movie of the pelicans diving near the shore, good friends, great food, it was heaven on earth.

    Kelly M, Canada - 2018
  • If you have a chance to go on the Baja SwimTrek, GO! You won’t be sorry!

    Marcia M, USA - 2018
  • Great swimming! Great food! Top notch staff! Left my heart with a green turtle that I swam along side, and the beautiful Isla Espirito Santo. Quite a trip!

    Cynthia S, USA - 2018
  • Baja California was the best Swimtrek I have been on so far! The swims, the water, the wildlife, the guides and crew, the food and cocktails, the location and the other swim trekkers were all fantastic and made it a wonderfully unique and memorable experience which will be hard to beat!

    Sarah, R. USA- 2017
  • Swimming around Espiritu Santos Island was like swimming in a crowded aquarium full of rainbow colored fish and sea life.

    Laurie, R. USA- 2017
  • The Baja trip surpassed all my expectations. Every swim was like swimming in a beautiful aquarium and the scenery amazing. The guides were knowledgeable and friendly and enabled us all to enjoy swimming at our own abilities. I loved every moment.

    Nina. C. UK- 2017
  • This is one, I would suggest THE one, not to miss on the Swimtrek calendar.

    James, J. USA- 2017
  • I met a great bunch of people, had some amazing swims and was looked after by extremely knowledgeable and entertaining crew. I felt very privileged to be in such a completely unspoilt and special location

    Ruth B - 2016
  • A once in a lifetime experience I would do again in a heartbeat!

    John T, 2016
  • Go to Baja. Unplug. Unwind. Swim. Experience the beauty of this place and the people that make it possible.

    James J. 2016 - USA
  • This was a trip of a lifetime for me. My paradigm of pool swimming shifted and I am now an open water convert! The staff, the location, every swim - were perfect! Being off the grid was an unexpected bonus. I highly recommend going on this trip!

    Catharine S. 2016 - Canada