The Cortez offers some of the finest small-boat cruising grounds in the world. Among the most interesting and adventurous cruises is the "Stepping-Stones Cruise" through the Midriff to Bahía Kino, Sonora, the "Coasting to Loreto" route from Mulegé to Loreto, and the "Island-Hopping" and "Coasting to La Paz" routes between Loreto and La Paz. Many cruises start at San Felipe, which is close to the border and has over-the-beach launch facilities. Cruises from there can be as long or as short as desired; Puertocitos is only forty-six miles, Bahía Gonzaga thirty-nine more and Bahía de los Angeles seventy-five more. Boaters wanting a pleasant, undemanding trip often gunkhole around Isla Espíritu Santo or Islas Carmen and Danzante for a week or two. Lengthy cruises along the Pacific coast are rarely undertaken, due to logistics and weather problems, although it is great fun to explore vast Bahía Magdalena, and larger rigs can head for Banco Thetis for marlin and wahoo.
The life of a vagabundo del mar (sea gypsy) is tough, but someone has to do it
Photo by Reeve Peterson

New roads and improvements to existing roads have opened up great adventures for small-boat sailors, especially the roads to Bahías Tortugas and Asunción. In the past, this stretch of coast was very difficult to get to with anything short of an oceangoing yacht, but now it is possible to haul in cartoppers and inflatables with only modest vehicles, and although there are no paved ramps and over-the-beach launches are necessary, adventurous trailer-boat sailors can make the trip without undue difficulty. The San Evaristo road makes it possible to dive the wall at Isla las Ánimas Sur and the caves of Isla San Diego out of an inflatable or a cartopper, and the road south from Bahía de los Angeles to Bahía San Francisquito makes it possible to get close to the Midriff region. Trailer boaters often launch at Bahía San Quintín and spend time at San Martín, fishing around the nearby seamounts.

Baja's Pacific coast and the Sea of Cortez offer some of the best yachting in the world, including the run from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas and the small-boat cruises mentioned above. Trips can range from leisurely events, focusing on tranquil coves, margaritas and sunsets to action-packed visits to the lava tube caves of Isla San Martin, marlin fishing off Cabo San Lucas, dives to visit the friendly mantas at Marisla Seamount near La Paz, and exploring the remote islands of the Midriff. A number of modern marinas have been constructed, offering the full range of products and services you would expect in the United States, and a number of laws and regulations have been liberalized, allowing yachts to enter with a minimum of hassles and remain in the country for varying periods of time.

We charted a sloop for several weeks of cruising north of La Paz
Photo by Walt Peterson
A tranquil Cortez cove
Photo by Walt Peterson

by:Walt Peterson ©

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