An Excerpt from Loreto to La Paz by Kayak

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The Story of a Baja California Sur, Mexico Adventure

Part 1: The Gift

(February 2, 2018) In April of 2004, Lisa and I traveled to La Paz in Baja California Sur, Mexico for a base camp paddling experience on Isla Espiritu Santo.  It was a wonderful adventure.   While there, I was told about a paddling trip along the Southeastern coast of the Baja peninsula, from Loreto in the north to La Paz in the south.  The idea of paddling that remote coastline fired my imagination for years, but the trip never seemed to happen, so it remained a wish in some back corner of my mind, placed there with a few other dreams that probably would never come true.

Then fourteen years later on my seventy-fifth birthday, I opened a nondescript envelope to find Lisa had given me that trip.  As she said, “I was going to wait till you were eighty, but I wasn’t sure you would be able to do it then, so  Happy Seventy-fifth.”  This was a big deal.  It’s not like Lisa is rich.  The cost of the trip was real money to her.  And, for a variety of medical and personal reasons, she would not be coming with me.  

You Can’t Get There from Here

The information that Lisa presented came from an outfit called Tofino Expeditions.⁠1  I immediately went on its website and liked what I saw.  Tofino seemed to provide top quality equipment with experienced guides.  The trip was rated for intermediate level kayakers and above.  It was just what I wanted.  

I contacted Tofino, registered for the trip, and put my $500.00 deposit down for the weeks that fell between the winter visitors to our Florida home, only to find that the trip was on hold until there were at least four paddlers signed up, and I was number three.  Bummer!  I had hoped to get all the travel planning done before the first of two sons and their families would arrive in late February.  I kept bugging Grant Thompson at Tofino, pushing for a decision.  I was told that the drop dead date, the last day for a go or no go decision would be February 24th.  Sure enough, there was a fourth registrant on the 23rd, the day before our son, his wife, and one and three year old children were to arrive.  And I would leave for Mexico in just one month.  

I was in a panic.  I had been looking at air travel to Loreto, or La Paz, or even San Jose Del Cabo.  It really seemed like you couldn’t get to Loreto, our starting point, easily.  Then I discovered that my Passport would expire before I would leave on the trip.  I started to hyperventilate.  I had already paid for the trip, and now I couldn’t leave the country.  I found a website for a company called  They claimed they could get my passport renewed overnight if I was prepared to spend enough money.  I had two weeks, so I signed up, paid their fee, got my new passport photos at a local drugstore, and shipped them, along with my expired passport and a check to the government, overnight to Washington.  Then I waited.  My renewed passport arrived with five days to spare.

I was helping Lisa with food preparation and entertaining the kids, while at the same time running into my office whenever possible to move the travel process along.  I found that there was no way to get to Loreto from Florida without spending many overnight hours in Mexico City.  It essentially took two full days and was very expensive.  

After whining to Grant, he gently suggested flying into San Jose Del Cabo where there is a large airport, and taking a bus to La Paz (a 3.5 hour trip).  Then overnight in La Paz and take the bus the rest of the way to Loreto the next morning (a 6.5 hour trip).  So I started looking for flights.  To my surprise I found that I could fly from the Orlando International Airport, which was ninety minutes away by car, directly to Mexico City.  From Mexico City it was a 2.5 hour flight to San Jose.  The only problem was that the best flight for me left Orlando at 3:30 pm and got into San Jose at 10:50 pm their time.  So I  decided to take that flight and overnight in San Jose before taking the bus all the way to Loreto the next day.  I reserved the flights, then discovered that in my haste and confusion caused by a house full of visitors, I had booked my travel in and out a day early.  Thankfully, the folks at AeroMexico easily helped me fix my error.  Hotel reservations were made online and I was good to go.  

By this time the second son, his wife, and nineteen and seventeen year old kids had arrived.  In between cooking and entertaining, I began to gather the gear I needed, or thought I would need for the trip.  Tofino Expeditions provided a great suggested gear list.  It’s the omissions that had me concerned.  Would we have chairs to sit on?  Ten days is a long time to sit on the ground.  Should I bring my folding chair?  What about a Crazy Creek Chair for the tent?  What would the tents be like?  And the sleeping pads?  So, as usual, I over thought, over prepared, and over packed, to where I had one large gear bag, one smaller clothing bag, and a backpack with all my cameras and electronic equipment.  Finally, as the departure day approached, it seemed like I had a plan and was ready.

1 Tofino Expeditions, I learned, is affiliated with R.O.W. Adventures and Sea Kayak Adventures in the planning and delivery of this trip.

Look for the whole story in my next book, The $70,000 Outhouse.

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 © Don Yackel 2020