The Sea of Cortez spans more than 700 miles, but the typical Baja sailing itinerary concentrates on a much smaller area, starting from La Paz 137 miles north of Cabo San Lucas (see Baja maps). The city of La Paz is itself a destination with varied attractions including museums, a performing arts theater, historic sites, numerous shops, and a delightful selection of small, intimate cafes and restaurants. Beyond the harbor is a hinterland of remote mountains and desert indented with snug coves and bays where the snorkeling is superb and the pristine white-sand beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. Deserted islands dot the waters and provide a habitat for rare species of plants and animals. Observing dolphins, whales, and manta rays is a common occurrence (January through April) while you’re enjoying a leisurely sail in balmy fair winds.
La Paz to Celeta Lobos – 6.5 nm. The first day of your Baja itinerary takes you northward across Bahia de La Paz into the Sea of Cortez. It will feel as if you’ve stepped into another world as you leave the city behind. The land rises in hues of red desert and rugged mountains soar skyward. Caleta Lobos (Lobos Cove) is only a couple of hours away, leaving you plenty of time to relax when you get there.
View day 1
Caleta Lobos to Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida – 15 nm. Your next destination lies in the Sea of Cortez beyond the peninsula that forms Bahia de La Paz. As you sail northward, the grand heights of Isla Espiritu Santo become visible a long way off. Nearly connected to this island is Isla Partida. Numerous sheltered coves line the shores of both islands. Sandy beaches, abundant wildlife, and stunning scenery are just some of the rewards awaiting you. One of the best anchorages in the area is in Celeta Partida (Partida Cove).
View day 2
Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida to Isla San José – 26 nm. Almost as soon as you leave the anchorage you’ve chosen on one of the twin islands, you’ll sail past the rocky outcrops of the appropriately named Los Islotes; it’s a protected marine preserve. California sea lions cluster on the shores, their calls and barks filling the quiet air. Vast numbers of sea birds wheel and dive overhead. Then your passage takes you across open water past Isla San Francisco and between the Baja peninsula and Isla San José, where you can anchor off the island for the afternoon to walk through the forest of giant cactuses, swim, and snorkel before sailing the remaining 10 nautical miles westward to scenic and well-protected Caleta San Evaristo.
View day 3
San Evaristo to Puerto Los Gatos – 26.5 nm. Still heading north, sail along the coast of Baja, its rugged heights ever present. As you approach your destination, the cliffs and plateaus of red stone rise off the bow. Within the bay are tall sand dunes. Black flows of ancient lava stand in stark contrast to the white-sand beaches that line the bay.
View day 4
Puerto Los Gatos to Isla San Francisco – 33 nm. Turning the bow south, sail back down the coast of the Baja peninsula, leaving Isla San José to port. Three nautical miles off the south end of the big island is the stunningly beautiful and well-protected anchorage at Isla San Francisco. Shaped like a horseshoe, the bay is lined with a beautiful white-sand beach well suited for swimming, snorkeling, and shell collecting.
View day 5
Isla San Francisco to Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida – 20 nm. Next, your Baja itinerary leads you on a sail south, back to the natural splendor of the twin islands, well worth visiting again to do more exploring and to experience a new anchorage. If you didn’t anchor in Caleta Partida, go there! It’s one of the best in the area.
View day 6
Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Espiritu Santo to Puerto Balandra – 7.5 nm. You leave the wide expanse of the Sea of Cortez in your wake and snug up along the west side of the peninsula that forms Bahia de La Paz on your last full day of sailing. As the coast passes to port, it won’t be long before you reach the quiet and scenic anchorage at Puerto Balandra. It’s just north of Caleta Lobos. White-sand beaches proliferate and the setting is spectacular with excellent views of the mountains to the west.
View day 7
Puerto Balandra to La Paz – 10 nm. Although you won’t want to sail back to reality (you can always come visit Baja again!), the final leg of your Baja sailing itinerary is an easy passage south back to the Moorings base. Please check in by 10:00 A.M.