Kayaking in the sea of cortez, baja california, Mexico

The combination of calm, turquoise waters, unremitting sunshine, and abundant wildlife makes a kayaking trip in the Sea of Cortez truly unforgettable. Watch out for manta rays, which surface gracefully beside you as you paddle. Nights are spent under the stars on white-sand beaches, with the craggy, cacti-studded landscape of Espíritu Santo Island as a backdrop.

From here, it is a short trip to the sheltered lagoons of Magdalena Bay where, every year, gray whales arrive from more than 5,000 miles (8,050 km) away in the Arctic, to calve and nurse their young in the shallow waters. For safety’s sake, jump off your kayak and onto a skiff to get a close view of these powerful creatures, which often breach so close to the boat that you could reach out and touch them.

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