The Sea of Cortez is Baja California’s own little slice of paradise, known for its crystal-clear waters, unique coastal landscapes, and exclusive — even interactive — sea life! The islands sprinkled throughout the gulf are little-known hidden gems and are home to unbelievable experiences one could only have in this beautiful corner of Mexico.
Read our guide on the best islands to visit in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico and what to pack on your adventure!
The Sea of Cortez, Mexico: The Best Islands To Visit And What To Pack
Recently, I was lucky enough to take a cruise with UnCruise Adventures — a company known for their awesome adventurous cruises. All too often, people skip straight to Mexico’s popular, touristy resort destinations, so I was thrilled to discover Mexico’s best-kept secret and visit the islands! This is truly one of the few ways to really experience the beauty of this place.
UnCruise offers a range of activities at each port — skiff tours, snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding, and hiking. This particular cruise also includes a 30-minute massage by a well-trained therapist, daily yoga classes, gourmet meals, and gym equipment on the upper sundeck.
You’ll also enjoy getting to know everyone on the ship, as the typical cruise size is a bout 50-80 guests and all meals are family style seating.
While I’ve included each of the stops on my particular itinerary, these can change slightly depending on weather.
This little cove boasts a mangrove forest and a quiet beach — a relaxing location to start off your island hopping!
UnCruise Adventures even hosts beach parties at many of the stops, setting up camp for everyone with water, beer, snacks, and even an occasional bonfire, which was a pleasant and welcomed surprise. I also loved that the ship and beach parties were fully equipped with reef-safe sunblock. I appreciate when companies are environmentally conscious.
Bahia Agua Verde
The glassy waters of this picturesque fishing village make for perfect kayaking in a secluded bay, or socializing with the locals on a mule ride. This particular stop actually sits on mainland Mexico, but it’s not easily accessible by land.
Isla Espíritu Santo
Espíritu Santo is outlined by beautiful rocky sea cliffs, not to mention home of families of sea lions. This island has been on my bucket list for years, so I was thrilled to see this on the itinerary!
Isla San Francisco
On Isla San Francisco, you’ll get the chance to go on an awesome ridge hike, witness some of Mexico’s coolest salt flats, and relax on a beautiful beach. This island is particularly known for its amazing snorkeling with vibrant marine life, including octopus, starfish, and even sea turtles.
If swimming with sea lions sounds like your idea of a magical day in paradise, you will love Los Islotes. We took skiffs tours out to this little island and snorkeled with these adorable and playful creatures.
This island — connected underwater to Isla Espíritu Santo — is a UNESCO-protected biosphere and a spot known for great kayaking.
Now THIS is what this gulf is known for, and why people come to the Sea of Cortez. On your final day, you’ll arrive back into La Paz — and actually get to go swimming with whale sharks. This will most definitely be the highlight of your trip.
In case you couldn’t already tell, UnCruise Adventures is not your typical cruise. If you’re looking for an active vacation full of wildlife and nature, I highly recommend booking one of these trips!
Baja Packing Essentials
Dramamine (Less Drowsy Formula): Even if you don’t normally get seasick, I highly recommend packing some motion sickness pills. These Dramamine tablets won’t make you drowsy like the regular formula!
Lightweight Waterproof Windbreaker: A lightweight packable windbreaker is a must-have for any trip out on the water. Even if it doesn’t rain, this will block the wind and keep you warm on chilly nights.
Sarong: Sarongs might be one of the best travel fashion pieces because you can wear it in a variation of settings — whether it’s on the boat deck, on the beach, or dressed up as a skirt and paired with a cute top for a night out.
Biodegradable Wipes: These biodegradable wipes with tea tree and aloe are perfect for freshening up in the morning or washing your face before bed.
Portable Charger: I bring one or two of these portable chargers on every trip — especially when traveling on boats.
Spring Wetsuit: UnCruise does provide wetsuits, but I found the water warm enough to use my shorty wetsuit which is a lot more comfortable than a full wetsuit and it also means I don’t have to wear a used wetsuit!