Forget Cabo, Swim with the Sea Lions in La Paz, Baja California

Snorkeling with Sea Lions in the Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur, Mexico



Baja California is a Mexican state on the Baja California Peninsula, bordering the U.S. state of California.



In La Paz, crime is astonishingly low. According to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, there were 15 murders there in 2011. The FBI crime database reports that San Diego had 38 murders that same year, San Francisco had 50 and Los Angeles clocked in with 297

Around La Paz, the capital city of Mexico’s Baja California Sur, locals are known as Los Paceños. … No matter the reason, a trip to this laid-back capital town is worth the visit.

La Paz, Mexico. As Baja California Sur’s capital, La Paz is mostly used as a jumping-off point for Cabo San Lucas’ beach resorts.

However, its old-world charm and pleasant waterfront promenade featuring international art and restaurants overlooking the grey whale–inhabited water are reasons worth sticking around.


La Paz International Airport or Manuel Márquez de León International Airport(código IATA: LAP, código OACI: MMLP), is one of the most important in Mexico and serves the state of Baja California Sur, is located at 11 km southwest of La Paz.

Located about 25 miles from La Paz, it is about a 45 minute panga ride from downtown La Paz. The trip itself, across the beautiful Bay of La Paz can be an exciting photo safari.

The landscape spans mountains and beaches on the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California. Towns near the U.S. border include Tijuana, famous as a nightlife and shopping destination, as well as the town of Rosarito, with its wide, sandy Pacific beaches.



The Sea of Cortez is home to Isla Espiritu Santo, a UNESCO-listed nature reserve, and a nature lovers’ dream home to a significant population of sea lions and a diverse array of other marine life.

 Visitors can snorkel in what’s been called the “world’s aquarium” right alongside the 300+ resident sea lions while surrounded by an abundance of tropical fish.

The island can only be visited on a boat tour, such as the highly-rated local outfitter Baja Sur Tours, departing from La Paz, about two hours north of Los Cabos.




Swim in the area known to have baby sea lions in Baja’s Sea of Cortez on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Depart Todos Santos for La Paz, where you’ll board a boat to Los Islotes and its permanent colony of sea lions.

Delve into the surrounding waters to snorkel alongside them, also keeping an eye out for mantas and sea turtles.

Afterward enjoy a chef-prepared picnic lunch on Isla Espiritu Santo.

Then spend the afternoon as you wish: back in the water, embarking on a leisurely hike or basking in island beauty before returning to Todos Santos.

Swim and snorkel in the area  enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience swimming beside sea lion pups






 A hotspot of biodiversity SEspiritu Santo Includes the expertise of a The small-group size guarantees individualized attention

“Sea Lions are like toddlers, they will put anything in their mouth.”  “You should never swim over to where they are because that’s when you get issues,” she said. “Let them come to you”
Always let sea lions make the first move – let them approach you. Sit back, wait quietly and observe. Aim to stay calm and move slowly to avoid spooking the seals and provoking an aggressive response. Be confident that seals are generally gentle creatures unless they feel threatened.
Great white sharks and orcas feed on California sea lions, but pesticides, entangling fishing nets and environmental changes also contribute to sea lion mortality.
In 2015, climate change reduced food sources for California sea lions, resulting in thousands of stranded and malnourished pups needing rescue. Despite these problems, the population of  Sea Lions continues to rebound after reaching a low point in the 1970s as a result of hunting.

This little guy is not biting he is teething. They like to rub their gums on your hands and wrists

The Sea Lion Encounters in the Bay of La Paz are closed to all visitors due to the covid19 pandemic. This most popular of all La Paz activities will be open soon again for visits.

This includes snorkeling and scuba diving at Los Islotes, El Refugio and Roca Lobos in the Bay of La Paz. To visit the sea lion colony you must contract through one of the licensed providers.

Private vessels may not come within 200m of the colonies and may not dispatch persons into the water. Kayaks, paddleboards and of course, jet skies are banned from the area.  

Winter and spring visitors have an even chance of sighting a Gray whale, or an odd Humpback.

Dolphins are always a thrill to see and sometimes they will even bow ride the tour pangas for a distance.

In the winter time, most sea lion colony tours end with a sighting of whale sharks off the Magote just outside La Paz.

The trip to the Islands is the most enjoyable on more tranquil days; this is why the tour is particularly popular from April to November and from March to June.

Those warm summer days are very popular, where the water is warm and slipping into mask and snorkel to cavort with the yearlings are my favorite.

You will find the largest populations of sea lions in the spring. Rutting season is usually in mid April. Although the pups can be particularly playful on the warm late spring days, the bulls can be a bit more possessive of their herd.

Check with your tour guide and take his advice.

Locals and visitors of all ages can delight in the frolicking of the yearlings and the onshore drama of bulls jockeying for position.

Most of the time dozens of well fed adults can be seen lounging on the jagged rocks of the tiny isle.



It is not difficult to drive a camper through Baja, the people in Baja are kind and love to see tourists, and as long as you don’t drive at night (due to a lack of street lights) the highways are safe and easy to navigate (there’s really only one highway on the vast majority of the peninsula).

Hazards, Headlights, and the Left Turn Signal – How the Mexicans Do It.
Use your hazard lights when you need to slow down in response to something ahead. This is the custom and it alerts the person behind you not to pass. This applies to anything from a goat in the road to an unexpected tope. A TOPE is a speed bump. They can be very large and destructive to your vehicle if you hit one going too fast. Watch out for the posted TOPE signs.

Use your headlights, flashing them on and off, to alert oncoming traffic of the hazard you just passed that they are about to encounter. You may be saving the life of a goat or your oil pan!

One of the most interesting and dangerous habits of Mexican drivers is their use of the left turn signal. Because passing is inevitable on a two lane road, slower moving car drivers will use the left turn signal to let the car behind them know when it is ok to pass. But this tradition is misleading at best.


What if the driver in front of you is actually signaling a left turn? It is the perfect recipe for an accident. Perhaps the worst thing about this misguided signal is that it makes it very dangerous when you want to make a left turn. You must remember that the person behind you may take you turn signal as a signal to pass.

When I need to make a left turn from the highway, I put my hazard lights on, gradually slow down, and give the left turn signal with my left arm out of the window. Watch the vehicle behind in case he tries to pass, and watch out for oncoming trucks that might take your left arm off on the narrow lane.


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Even if you don’t desire to get in the water with these large marine mammals the trip can be very entertaining. The curious pups will bob up and down beside your boat, trying to sneak a peek at these strange 2 legged visitors who visit in the dozens every day to their tiny rock home.

Some of the pups can be particularly friendly. On a recent trip, my guest reached over the side to touch the smooth fur of a young female’s tummy. The pup surprised even me when she hopped up into the boat and enjoyed having the spot behind her ear scratched!

Remember to bring your video or still camera with you and if you are intending to get into the water, one of those disposable underwater cameras will help you conserve some very exciting memories.s the sea lions may want a little more space during that period. Snorkelers can swim with the pups and divers to Los Islotes can enjoy a double treat, as the rock is also an interesting dive, with colorful fish and coral heads sprouting from the black rock.


Buffalo BBQ
Restaurant, Mexican
Buffalo BBQ treats its guests to seafood and prime cuts of meat grilled on a vast mesquite oven, while the glass panels give diners sunset views over the marina. In a restaurant famous for excellent starters and welcoming staff, it is with its grill and wine selection where Buffalo BBQ really excels. Tenderloin, rib eye, and Angus short ribs are all cooked to perfection, while a a red and white wine list from the Americas and Europe mean a dining experience at Buffalo’s is never short on flavor.
Restaurant, Seafood, Mexican, Vegetarian
Mc-Fisher serves delicious regional platters and specialties from Baja California. Rows of coal grills line one side of the restaurant, while tables for six fill the rest of the stone courtyard. Open for over a decade, Mc-Fisher is a favorite among locals for both its entrees and tacos. Baked, grilled, and fried marlin are always on the menu, and a particular favorite are the house special enchiladas. Orders of fried fish tacos and octopus in a garlic marinade come with three bowls of fiery salsa and plateful of lime to cut the heat.

Got it!
Steinbeck’s is a short drive north of the town center in the Costa Baja Resort & Spa, which has established itself as the place for high class dining with a series of excellent restaurants. Dining al fresco at Steinbeck’s affords views of the marina and the fantastic natural light show as the skies swirl through gradations of color just after sunset. An impressively stocked bar means Steinbeck’s bartenders have the resources and knowledge to offer tequila tasting lessons. With over four hundred varieties of tequila to choose from, it is one of the largest collections in Baja, California.
Restaurant, French, Mexican, Seafood, Fusion
The team behind Nim has found a perfect balance between creating a fine dining experience and a comfortable atmosphere. On the rare occasions when Nim’s doors aren’t open for a standard evening of delicacies, the restaurant is giving cooking classes and hosting art exhibitions. On the menu you are likely to find influences from countries as far flung as Morocco, Vietnam, India, and France, but wherever the flavors hail from, the dishes are always made with the freshest of ingredients.
El Bismarkcito
Restaurant, Seafood, Mexican, $$$
Jiro Sushi
Evening in the marina
Bar, Restaurant, Mexican
Evening in the marina | © Courtesy of Odayaka Sushi Bar
Jiro Sushi holds a prime spot along the famous malecón of La Paz. The restaurant is a stone’s throw from the waters edge, which on most days seems like a placid rippling lake. Traditional Japanese sushi and sashimi are prepared here, making use of the high quality tuna available in the area. The mango, avocado and pickled ginger salads are an excellent accompaniment to the smoked eel and crab rolls, as are the kiwi margaritas topped with fresh mint.
Bar, Restaurant, Asian, Sushi, Mexican, $$$
Las Tres Virgenes
Bar, Restaurant, Steakhouse, Seafood, Mexican, $$$
The doors of Las Tres Virgenes are well and truly open, through which an inner courtyard can be seen, replete with climbing plants and smartly laid tables. A wood paneled bar serves expertly mixed cocktails, while the roaring fires of the kitchen work to attain char-grilled perfection. The staff can be seen hard at work here.




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