Aqua Verde to El Portuguese
We paddle from Aqua Verde to El Portuguese in Baja California Sur, a 10 day 71 mile paddle.
Agua Verde is approximately 3 hours south of Loreto. El Portuguese is about 2 hours north of La Paz.
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|Launch Point||Aqua Verde (Loreto, Baja California Sur)|
|Max Difficulty:||SKIII (Note: No crossings are on this paddle, planning factors are wind, long fetches, and heat)|
|Paddle Length/Time||10 Days/ 73.7 miles|
|Tide/Current Station||San Carlos, Baja California Sur, Tides are not that critical on this paddle, no to very little current)|
|Destination||El Portuguese (La Paz)|
|Special Note:||We arranged our trip with Paddling South, they specialize in Baja California kayak trips and are able to provide all the kayaking gear that you need to execute a trip like the one we did. While it is possible for you to do this with out guides you definitely need someone who can converse in Spanish. Local knowledge is also critical especially when it comes to obtaining water, knowing where you can buy water is essential, the same is true for food. Additionally, it really is nice to have the guides prepare great meals while all you worry about is paddling. Our guides provided us 3 meals a day plus a Happy Hour in the PM. We were amazed at what they were able to come up with. The other service provided was transportation to and from the start/finish point and help with logistics such as flights, hotels, and all the little things you need to know.|
Arrived in Loreto on Alaska Air from LA. I decided to come in a day early and explore Loreto…low and behold everyone else was there also. Paddling South met us at the airport and provided transportation to the Oasis Hotel, a little dated, but clean and comfortable. Paddling South decided to have our meeting on the 6th giving us the 7th totally free. We had our meet and orientation meeting with Antonio (logistics & transportation) Rudolpho and David, our guides, to familiarize us with the upcoming trip. We wandered the waterfront promenade and later the historic cobbled streets of Loreto in the evening. The mission in Loreto was established in October 1697.
Day 1 – The guides pick us up at 6:30 AM we loaded trip gear and luggage into the vans and headed south to our put-in, it is about a 3-hour drive to Agua Verde, the last 30 Km on a dirt road. About an hour into the drive the guides stop at an overlook and feed us beef filled empanadas and pork tamales, very tasty. A bit of coffee or tea and we are all set. We enjoy the view and soon spot some whales about 2-3 miles out, we can just see the spouts.
We reach Agua Verde and at the beach put-in we receive our paddling and safety instruction. We unloaded and packed the kayaks with our gear and prepared to paddle south to Punta San Bellena, our first campsite. Before we shove off we see a group of porpoises in the bay. The weather is clear and hot! We paddle 7.4 miles, the water is smooth and we have a light tailwind, in other words it’s HOT! The beach is sandy. My first surprise, turns out I forgot that I had packed my rain gear in my Exped air mattress bag, so no air mattress! Thank goodness for sandy beaches! David and Rudolpho provide us with Happy Hour snacks which we happily much on while waiting for dinner. We swim to cool down. We have a gorgeous full moon night.
Day 2 – We leave Punta San Bellena the next day headed for Punta San Telmo. We have a discussion about weather in the AM as there are north winds forecast that could be quite strong. We have a pretty quiet paddle till the PM when we start getting 1-2’ swells from the north. Again it’s a very warm day. We find a sea cave to explore along the route and Conrad, myself, and Mike and Nan all paddle into it, it’s about 75’ deep or at least that’s as far as we are willing to venture. We round Punta San Bellena and have a 6-12” surf at the beach and get to practice our surf landings… we survived… enough said about that. We setup camp while the guides prepare Happy Hour and dinner. We stake our tents down in expectation of winds. More swimming and another great night. Today we paddled 13.1 miles, trip total 20.5.
Day 3 – The night turned out Ok, we had some gusts not long after going to bed but the morning looks better. The guides are still concerned about the north wind. We leave Punta San Telmo, a little uncertain of our destination that evening. We stop at the coastal village of Tembabiche. It's an interesting place, several of us hike up the dunes to visit the old hacienda site. We refill our empty water bags and buy some packages of cookies. One thing to note, the guides are a lifesaver they talk with the locals and are able to buy water and supplies. If you do this paddle you will need a Spanish speaker along. The drudge back in the heat and with the water bags is no fun, it’s about a mile to the boats. We have lunch before heading out, destination unknown… we soon are getting 2-3’ swells from the north, we end up paddling in those conditions the rest of the day. When we ask the guides were we are going we get a “round the next Punta” answer… the afternoon turns into a slog... no fun at all… we finally land at Punta La Laguna. We are all beat; it has been a long paddling day. We swim and try snorkeling but the water is too disturbed to see anything and it is shallow. We paddled 17.2 miles, trip total 37.7.
Day 4 – We leave Punta La Laguna for Punta Los Burros. The winds have died down and I have had a talk with the guides letting them know we did not want to have another 17-mile day, too early in the season for that! We continue paddling south, enjoying the dessert views. This area is very colorful with red, green, and sand colored cliffs. The rocks are very crumbly and we see lots of sign of rock falls. We have a much easier day today…we arrive early in the PM at Punta Los Burros. We break out the snorkels and soon most of us are in the water. It’s like swimming in an aquarium with angel fish and other colorful species in the water. I follow a small manta for a while. All day we have been seeing manta ray’s jumping 3-4’ out of the water, often multiple ones, multiple times, it’s quite a show. That evening as we go to bed we can hear them jumping, sounds like someone is throwing rocks in the water. We paddled 5.1 miles, trip total 42.8.
Day 5 – We head out in the AM from Punta Los Burros enroute to Punta San Evaristo. The water is quiet and there are no winds. It’s another great weather day and we continue to enjoy the scenery. We have lunch at Punta Napolo. The shoreline here is very rocky, we start seeing some gravel beaches. We arrive at Punta San Evaristo in the early PM and setup camp. Happy Hour and dinner are prepped while we go swimming and snorkeling. We paddled 10.5 miles, trip total 53.3.
Day 6 – We leave Punta San Evarsito at 9:30, continuing south along the craggy cliffs, looking at the cactus and fig trees growing here. We reach Bahia San Evaristo just afternoon. San Evarsito is a fishing village and a salt mine and a has a nice protected bay. There is a restaurant located there and we look forward to some cold drinks. After a short discussion we decide to camp there. This will give the guides time to refill water bags and purchase more food at the local market. We have a relaxing lunch at the restaurant and a few cold drinks. Yes, there was alcohol involved. The restaurant owners let us use their toilets and “showers”, really just spigot with sun warmed water a small bail to dump water on yourself. Still great and I shave and wash my hair. We have a nice dinner that evening of fresh fish that the guides caught. It was a good day. We paddled 6.6 miles, trip total 59.9.
Day 7 – We leave San Evarsito around 9:30, onward to a long sand spit away from road heads, with a virgin cardon cactus forest stretching away into the hills. Tonight's camp at Punta El Mechudo gives us our first view to La Paz Bay; the far away city lights glow on the horizon. We have an easy day, it continues to be very warm and clear skies. We paddled 8.5 miles today, trip total 68.4.
Day 8 - Rounding Punta El Mechudo where legend has it that a great pearl was discovered, we paddle a short distance to Arroyo Verde surrounded by green copper-laden cliffs. This si our rest day. We relax on the beach and go snorkeling and some of us go kayak fishing, we had no luck… but still it was fun to try. We paddled 1.7 miles, trip total 70.1.
Day 9 - We are close to the end of the trip, so we spend the day relaxing at Arroyo Verde. Everyone is enjoying snorkeling, hiking, and just relaxing. It is a very warm day. At around 4 we head to our take-out at El Portuguese. It takes about an hour to get there. We clean out the boats and prep them for loading the next day. David takes off and soon returns with cold beer and soda!! He preps a great last trip meal for us. We paddled 3.6 miles, trip total 73.7
Days 10 The van and pickup show up at 9 and we load our gear, most of the group is heading for La Paz for the evening and then to the Cabo airport and home. It has been a great trip and we finish it up by wandering around La Paz and having one last group meal. This has been a great start to our kayak season!!
We enjoyed a pleasant day in La Paz it has a great waterfront and is a large city with all the amenities.
click here to see all the -> Pictures from our Paddle
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