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TRIP OVERVIEW

7 days
Retreat
6km/day
Moderate

Trip Dates

2024
12 May - 18 May
2 Spaces
19 May - 25 May
5 Spaces
17 Nov - 23 Nov
Available
24 Nov - 30 Nov
Available
01 Dec - 07 Dec
Available

Tour Highlights

  • Swim the stunning Baja peninsula, alongside sea lions and other incredible marine life in warm, clear waters

  • Discover pristine beaches and isolated coves on the uninhabited island of Espiritu Santo - there's no light pollution, which makes for fantastic stargazing!

  • Camp in style in a UNESCO protected area of unspoilt natural beauty - a birder's paradise, which is home to blue-footed booby, frigate, cormorant, pelican, red tailed hawks, hummingbirds...

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

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

We start with a comfortable hotel night then head to 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 camps are 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 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 camp food is prepared by our very own chef and is eaten al fresco then watch the sun go down at the end of each unforgettable day. Your last night is back at the hotel with for a farewell dinner so you can reflect on the past week’s adventures.


Who is this trip for?

This trip is designed for swimmers who are looking for a remote 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 Wi-Fi or mobile reception on the island.

Swimmers should have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the average swim distance and average daily swim distance (over the course of two swims) prior to the start of the trip.

The average swim distance is around 3km. The average daily swim distance is around 6km.

We have given this trip a ‘Moderate’ grading. Most swimmers comfortable in the open water will be able to take part and enjoy one of these trips.


What's included?

  • Fully guided swimming holiday (swimmers only)
  • Professional swim guides and full safety escort on all swims (swimmers only)
  • All breakfasts
  • All lunches (swimmers only)
  • All dinners
  • Water sport activities (subject to availability and may incur an additional charge. Please see 'Trip Information' section for trip specific details)
  • Full ABTOT Financial Protection
  • Conservation fee (US$25)
  • Two nights' hotel accommodation in La Paz on night 1 and 6
  • Four nights' tent camping on Isla Espiritu Santo

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the tour
  • Alcoholic beverages, which can be purchased locally
  • Dinner on Day 1 in La Paz

Sample Trip Itinerary

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

Trip Schedule

Start Point: Hotel Catedral, La Paz

Start Time: 16:00 on Day 1

Finish Point: Hotel Catedral, La Paz

Finish Time: 11:00 on Day 7

Day 1

After arriving into La Paz, Baja you will be able to check-in into the Hotel Catedral. We then meet for a short safety briefing and an acclimatisation swim before returning to the hotel. After a welcome meeting and drink, 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 our boat for the first swim and then on to our beachfront camp on Espiritu Santo Island. Once there, we have a chance to get set up for the week, including a brief camp orientation, followed by 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

Our first swim of the day will begin at El Erizoso Punto, where we’ll swim from point to point to point, ending at Ensenada del Raza.

We return to the new base camp and 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 play in the underwater rocks and nooks.

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 at 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.

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 is back at our hotel in La Paz and includes a farewell dinner and the chance to enjoy an evening enjoying la Paz.

Day 7

After a great week of swimming, we’ve got time for a last morning swim. Following our swim and breakfast we say goodbye to the Sea of Cortez.

Accommodation

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Espiritu Santo Island Base Camp

Espiritu Santo Island Base Camp is located on the beach of a remote island on the Baja Peninsula, just a few steps from the water's edge. The camp sleeps guests in Cabin-Style tents with beds, sleeping pads and solar showers.

Location Summary

Isla Espiritu Santo

This uninhabited protected island area is an important eco-tourism destination. It was declared part of a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO in 1995 and is the only known habitat of the black jackrabbit. The surrounding reefs are home to parrotfish, angelfish, trumpetfish, and rainbow wrasse, while many other species pass nearby including rays, turtles, dolphins, and even whales. Bird species include magnificent frigate birds, brown pelicans, great blue herons, snowy egrets, turkey vultures, and hummingbirds.

Isla Partida

Ensenada Grande beach on Isla Partida is one of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches and is consistently rated as one of the top beaches on TripAdvisor. Sea kayaking is a popular activity in this area and if you’re lucky, you may catch sight of the large sea lion colony that resides on Isla Lobos off the northern tip of the island.

Trip Grading

We have given this trip a ‘Moderate’ grading. Most swimmers comfortable in the open water will be able to take part and enjoy one of these trips.

Swimming Distances

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

*Please note that these swims are an example of what may take place during your trip and should be used as a guide only. Actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and swim conditions.

Swimming Conditions

Swimming in the open water is a fantastic experience, however you should be aware that certain marine life such as jellyfish, plankton, sea lice, sea urchins and coral could be present during the swims and may cause some discomfort. In all cases we will work on reducing your contact with these creatures and that any interactions are managed safely. If you suffer from anaphylaxis, please consult the office prior to booking.

Walking Conditions

There are no roads on the island. Most walks take place on unsealed surfaces and care should be taken in these areas.

Temperatures

Month Water Temp* Daytime Air Temp* Evening Air Temp*
May 19-23°C / 80-85°F 26-32°C / 82-90°F 18-20°C / 64-68°F
October 27-30°C / 81-86°F 28-31°C / 82-88°F 21-25°C / 70-77°F
November 25-28°C / 77-82°F 26-28°C / 79-82°F 18-20°C / 64-68°F
December 22-26°C / 72-79°F 23-26°C / 73-79°F 17-19°C / 63-66°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.

Trip Information

Group size and Boat Support

This trip has a maximum group size of 16. 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 two support boats crewed by SwimTrek guides or safety crew and a local boat pilot. Please note that this boat support is subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Equipment Checklist

For your basic, essential packing list, please visit our Packing List page on the website. For additional, location specific items, please see the information below.

SwimTrek will provide water and electrolytes at every location and refill your bottles.

Item Item
Biodegradable Shampoo Head Torch (incl. spare batteries)
Swimming Goggles (x 2) * Small Daypack/ Dry Bag**
Waterproof Jacket Trousers (for the cooler evenings)
Insect Repellent Sweater/Fleece (for the cooler evenings)
Rash Vest, Swim Leggings or Shorts*** Personal Drink Bottle (x2)

*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.

***Due to the nature of the location, the sun can be very strong, and we strongly advise that you bring a rash vest and swim leggings or shorts with you.

SwimTrek will supply swim hats, and will refill your personal drink bottles. Please ensure these are clearly marked to help our coaches identify yours. If you would like to use a wetsuit, rash vest, snorkel, or fins during your swims, please ensure that you bring these with you.

Getting There

To reach Hotel Catedral in La Paz you can fly into La Paz International Airport (LAP) and take a local taxi to the hotel. Alternatively, you can also fly into Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), which is approximately a 2-hour transfer away.

Taxi from La Paz International Airport to Hotel Catedral

The easiest way to get to the hotel is via taxi directly from the airport. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes. 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.

Private Transfer from Los Cabos International Airport to Hotel Catedral

Once you arrive at 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 contact our partners at Red Travel Mexico red@redtravelmexico.com.

Accommodation

The first and last 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 Camps on Espiritu Santo Island. Here you have tents for 2 guests sharing 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. Inline with rules of the National Park and to minimise negative impacts on the delicate ecosystem Espiritu Santo Island we move base camp mid-way through our stay. The camp crew make the move whilst we swim, you just need to ensure your bags are packed before leaving for swimming.

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation and Trip Extension Options

If you would like to extend your stay in La Paz and need to book additional nights’ accommodation before or after your trip, please contact our partners at Red Travel Mexico: red@redtravelmexico.com

Food and Drink

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

Three meals per day are included on Espiritu Santo island after your arrival there. Camp food is prepared on site by our very own chef and meals typically include wraps, salads and freshly caught fish.

Non-alcoholic drinks (water, soda, coffee, tea, Gatorade, juice, etc.) are included. 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. In compliance with national park permits and liability insurance guests are no longer allowed to purchase drinks on the island.

For more information, please visit our food and drink page on the website.

Travel Advice

For more information on any of the following sections please visit the Travel Advice page of our website.

Money, Extra Expenses and Tipping

You will need to bring enough cash to cover hotel environmental bed tax which is MXD$33.68 for the nights in the hotel. Please ensure you have the correct amount to avoid the need for change. The local currency is the Mexican Peso. SwimTrek include the National Park fee in the cost of your holiday.

You should bring extra money with you to cover items such as meals not already included in your package, drinks, entertainment, souvenirs, etc.

In some countries, tipping (gratuities) is not part of the culture - in others it has become an expected norm. We believe that tipping is done entirely at your own discretion. If you have been provided with excellent service it may be something you wish to do. Your SwimTrek Guides can advise on local norms for service providers like boat crew, waiters or taxis. Nothing is expected for your SwimTrek Guides but many groups like to present something to the Guides at the end of the trip.

Responsible Travel

SwimTrek is conscious of the importance of protecting the world’s natural wonders. We are acutely aware of our responsibility to not only take care of the natural environments which we are lucky enough to explore, but also to educate our guests about the importance of conservation efforts and responsible tourism. It’s for this reason that we have worked so closely with our partners to ensure that our trips are conducted in the most responsible and sustainable way possible, working tirelessly to minimise the impact of our presence on local marine life and the natural habitat.

For more information, please visit our Responsible Travel page on the website.

Passports and Visas

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 all EU member states, the US, Canada, the UK, 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 it is important that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Travel Insurance

We consider comprehensive travel insurance to be essential, and we strongly recommend that you purchase insurance which includes, but is not limited to, cover for illness, accident, emergency repatriation, ambulance, air ambulance, helicopter rescue services, cancellation, lost luggage and delays. Your travel insurance should also cover you for open water swimming and any other activity listed in your trip itinerary (including races and competitions, where applicable). Please read your policy details carefully and remember to take them with you on your trip for your own reference.

For further information, please visit our Travel Insurance page on the website.

At the Welcome meeting our local partners will collect details of your travel insurance including company/insurance provider, policy number, and date of expiry they will also require all guests to sign a standard liability release.

Here at SwimTrek, we pride ourselves on our focus on safety and the well-being of all our guests. As we operate in some beautiful and remote locations medical facilities are not always easily accessible. SwimTrek Guides, and many staff working for our local partners, are first aid trained. However, we ask that you read our Travel Health page to ensure that you are informed about general Travel and Swim Health precautions.

Internet Access, Electricity and Travel Plugs

Isla Espiritu Santo is entirely off the grid, with no Wi-Fi or mobile reception. In the event of an emergency and if someone needs to contact you, please inform them to contact the SwimTrek office.

Please note that there are very limited charging facilities at the 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 the hotel prior to departing for the island.

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


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  • Another amazing week with SwimTrek team. As always felt completely safe and well looked after and escaped work and all normal daily stresses!

    Carolyn A, NZ - 2023
  • SwimTrek-the best company for safety organisation destinations and all round professionalism - absolutely superb!

    Anna M, UK - 2023
  • This trip is incredible. It’s a truly special experience. The week is rewarding and adventurous. I highly recommend this trip!

    Kendall S, USA - 2023
  • We've done this SwimTrek twice now and could see doing it again! The water, the geography, the sea-lions and the sunsets do not disappoint. Magical.

    Christina C, USA - 2022
  • Baja Isla Espíritu was in equal parts empowering, relaxing, interesting and enchanting. Pack light and get ready for a magical, unplugged week of challenging swims, highly supported beach camping, terrific local food, beautiful sea life and stunning vistas. This trip was easy for a solo swimmer. You can engage with the group or find solitude on the beach or under the stars. I spent the entire week barefoot. We had a great range of swimming speeds and the guides made sure we all got correct level of challenge.

    Julia R, USA - 2022
  • Before my trip, one comment that stood out to me on the Swim Trek website was that going on a swim adventure once a year is non-negotiable. I understand now why that's the case. I most certainly now believe the same thing! I had one of the best weeks of my life on the Baja Mexico trip in all aspects - great swimming, great people, and great off the grid adventure! Thank you to Jamie and the team.

    Janine G, Canada - 2022
  • This trip far exceeded my expectations and I would pinch myself to make sure this was in fact real and not a dream.

    Karen, 2021
  • I feel like I just came home from summer camp. Camping on the beach with no internet is a great way to relax and unwind.

    Elizabeth, 2021
  • In addition to the natural beauty including tropical fish, sea lions, coral, and unparalleled sunsets, it was wonderful to be free of the internet and phone service for nearly a week!

    Judy, 2021