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|Luxury Yacht Cruises on the Sea of Cortez
La Paz, Mexico
Here's a sampling of the endless possibilities while onboard your private yacht:
Day One: Arrival and pick up from airport (usually included in price). Either dinner and/or cocktails on board or at restaurant in Marina. Overnight in your stateroom or at the nearby Fiesta Inn.
Day Two: The slow rumbling of the engines under your pillow signals your departure toward Los Islotes, one of the most spectacular destinations for underwater adventures. Grab on–board snorkeling or diving equipment (or bring your own) to explore the underwater mountains and canyons with countless species of marine plants and animals, forming a unique ecosystem. Swim alongside the playful and friendly sea lions. Move into Ensenada Grande, named one of the world's top beaches. After lunch, either wakeboard, water ski, or ride the "banana." Anchor is usually dropped in this cove for the night.
Day Three: Pick your pleasure. Fishing, spear fishing, swimming, wakeboarding, snorkeling, or diving. For first time divers, elect for private classes right from the yacht. Or for a relaxing day how about a slow cruise around the island? Others like to explore the beaches and hiking trails on the island. When the sun sets, enjoy a gourmet dinner, and if you had a lucky fishing day, the chef will be happy to prepare your catch of the day. Set sail for La Partida for the night.
Day Four: Before sunrise, your yacht would be on its way to Balandra Bay. Enjoy kayaking here, and the crew can teach guests how to clam and make fresh clam ceviche for lunch. By lunchtime, you will return to the Marina CostaBaja for afternoon flight departures.
Additional cruising days can include cruising south down the Baja coastline to the Bay of Dreams, debarking for lunch at the famous beachfront Giggling Marlin, late afternoon cruise to coast town of Los Barriles, north to white sand beaches of Playa Cachiba and Playa El Tecolote, and exploring the beautiful coves of Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida. The sea is the only limit to your adventure.
Every year from January to late March, thousands of California gray whales come to perpetuate the magical ritual of reproduction. After journeying 5,000 miles from the frigid water of the Bering Sea off Alaska, the whales birth their calves in the protected warm water lagoons found in southern Baja. If you're timing is right, you'll experience a whale sighting. These large mammals will flirt with the yacht, slide off into the horizon, and come up out of the water, dive in with a splash and a wave of their tail. If the whales are close enough, you can feel the misty spray when they blow. Usually you'll see several frolicking close by, and it can be quite scary and exciting as they can be bigger than your yacht! My December visit was too soon for whales, but a pod of dolphins chased us, leaping and twisting in the rays of the sunset.
Your captain knows all the "special" places that only locals know. He can take you to the areas where you can snorkel and catch your own lobster or dig for fresh clams––and enjoy your fresh catches that night. If diving is your forte, he can direct you to exceptional diving spots to see giant Manta and Hammerheads or explore ancient shipwrecks, or where to take your kayak through a glass cove.
From water sports to sipping an exotic cocktail at sunset, your crew develops an itinerary to fit your lifestyle. Cruising the turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez on your private luxury yacht is the epitome of a personalized vacation on the sea.
Story and photos by Diana Rowe.
Yacht Charter Options:
6100 Dawn Creek#6, Playa Vista, CA 90091, 310–350–7184, email@example.com
Children of all ages are welcome. The Donna Jean is a privately–owned 60 foot pilot house with three staterooms (up to 6 guests) and crew of 2, and will travel as far as yacht's range.
Departs from Marina CostaBaja in La Paz
All–inclusive: airport transfers, activities (diving, snorkeling, wakeboarding, fishing, etc.), gourmet meals, drinks (alcoholic and non–alcoholic), and full use of yacht. Off–yacht meals, most activities, and crew gratuities are not included.
Prices: average $2,800 per day; Full Yacht Charter, 7–day trips $14,000. (Special pricing periodically available also, such as August 2007 booking: $1,500 per day.)
American Safari Cruises
3826 18th Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119, 888–862–8881, firstname.lastname@example.org
All Mexico Sea of Cortez cruises are aboard the 120', 22–guest, Safari Quest, featuring 11 staterooms with private baths. A two–to–one guest–to–crew ratio.
Departs from Marina CostaBaja in La Paz or Loreto
All–inclusive as above, not included crew gratuity.
Price per web site: $2,995 to $7,495 per person; Full yacht charter $67,595 to $135,895, ranging from 6 days/5 nights to 10 days/9nights.
2301 5th Avenue, Suite 401, Seattle, WA 98121, 800–869–1891
Sea of Cortez/Mar de Cortés cruises are also available through Cruise West on small "ships," but with 138 people on board, these cruises are not nearly as intimate as the smaller yachts above. Departures are from Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.
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