If you have been thinking about traveling to Mexico by boat, you don’t want to miss out on visiting some of the awesome anchorages in the Sea of Cortez. I will cover those marinas/anchorages that we stopped at…. but there are many more! It is a beautiful trip and I highly recommend it!
Lets cover some basics before the review of each location
- Bahia = Bay
- Isla = Island
- Caleta = Cove
- Playa = Beach
- Punta = Tip or Point
Once you head into the Sea the majority of this trip there is NO cell or internet service. Tell your family that you are taking a well needed break. Some of the more developed cities along the way have poor quality service, but the service does work.
I will give a “star” rating for each location 1-5, low to high (this is our opinion only) ratings are based against other marinas or anchorages. Not against each other… not fair.
We used these two books to help navigate and make decisions on where to stay. Of course the direction of the wind/waves also determined our picks.
Whether you choose to come down with a rally like “Baja ha ha “or “CUBAR” or on your own, you will more than likely have Cabo San Lucas as your first stop. This is where I will start the review.
Cabo San Lucas Anchorage – 2.5* & Marina 3.8*
Cabo is a big huge developed city and you can get anything you want in the city with great amenities. Fuel, provisions, good cell service, snorkeling, scub, restaurants, spa, etc. etc. The city is very lively and stays up all hours of the night. If you like this, you will like this town. It was a bit too loud for us, you can hear music from bars out into the bay until 4am. (hence the lower rating than expected) Watch out for the winds and waves which can come up unexpectedly and hit you hard. Have a plan and be prepared on what you will do if this happens.
The marina is pretty good size and the noise from the bars is not so bad. It is a bit expensive and can be crowded if events are happening. e.g.; fishing tournament, boat rally, etc.
Puerto Los Cabos Marina (San Jose del Cabo) – 4.2*
Puerto Los Cabos is a short jaunt around the corner from Cabo. The marina is small and no town next to marina. There is a small amount of anchorage area inside the breakwater. Small cafe with the “Best pollo nachos”. There is an OXXO on the far side of the marina. Internet and cell service is okay in this location. We enjoyed this marina and would go back. As long as you understand it is a bus or taxi ride to town.
117 nm to….
Bahia Balandra – 3.1*
This bay is very close to La Paz and very comfy and convenient if you don’t want to go through the La Paz channel in the dark. (The channel is very tight when looking at it in the dark along with lights on the land reflect against the red/green buoys and in your eyes) You can anchor here for the night as we did. It is a really pretty bay with good snorkeling and wildlife. Pretty good protection from the wind. No cell service.
Costa Baja Marina in La Paz – 4.8*
This marina had everything including resort amenities & very luxurious! It is a bit of a ways out of town, so some people don’t like it. But the shuttle runs almost every hour for free, just tip the driver. You can find just about anything in town. Grocery with lots of very good choices, bagel shop, banks, sail shops and farmers market (smaller than PV but still very good) on Tuesday and Saturdays. Marina is very clean, great security, helpful & friendly staff, pool, restaurants, very small store (limited items), fast strong dock based pump out came to us & didn’t have to move, fuel dock, Good internet & cell service. (Not great!)
Inside La Paz 4nm…
Marina de la Paz – 4.6*
We have stayed here a couple times too. It is a great location downtown, cheaper than Costa Baja. Docks are newer and seemed well maintained, cable internet (hard wired) & Wi-Fi is good & cell service. Easy walk to lots of restaurants, we have had dental work and new eye glasses done in this town too. Lots of anchorages in bay and dinghy’s come in to dock here. One restaurant at head of marina, showers & toilets. The sewer pump-out at this marina is a manual process and didn’t work well for us. There is a small yacht club, Club Cruceros de La Paz, they have books and DVD for free. Rent DVD’s and exchanges books
There are two other marinas here in La Paz, Marina Cortez & Marina Palmira. We have not stayed in these two.
Isla Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit Island), Ensenada del la Raza – 3.2*
This island is the largest in the group of islands just north of La Paz. Lots of snorkeling and scuba is done on the group of islands. We picked Ensenada dl La Raza as our first anchorage location. Very windy stayed 1 extra night than planned because of weather. If we would have been able to get in the water might have rated a bit higher. Lots of turtles cruising around boat. Length of stay 3 nights. No cell service.
Isla San Francisco – 3.0*
Isla San Francisco is a small island south of Isla San Jose and is only 2 miles wide. The bay in this island is a semicircle that is west facing. Bugs near this island were becoming overwhelming. Good thing Angela finished making screens for the doors and window in La Paz! There is a hike up on one side, but too buggy & hot this time of year. A generally calm location from winds compared to other places. Others did it and said it was a beautiful view. Length of stay – 2 nights. No cell service.
Bahia El Gato (The Cat) – 4.3*
Legend has it that Cougars lived in caves and would come down to fish in the bay, hence the name. This is a cove on Baja California. It has white sandy beach surrounded by red rock bluffs. It is a beautiful bay. I took the kayak out and around the bay and saw lots of sea life, including these small crabs that stayed on rocks, but would run about as I got close. Dan did a snorkeling and said the fish were hundreds and enjoyed it. Wish I would have gone too. (next time) Length of stay – 2 nights. No cell Service.
Bahia Agua Verde (Green Water bay) – 4.8*
A beautiful bay with beautiful greenish blue water, sandy beaches, large rock formations. Very small tienda for shopping and a very small taco shop on the beach. Dan and I snorkeled around the Pyramid rock. The rock was in just offshore in the middle of the bay. The water was a little rough that day, so we stayed close to each other. Had Great fun! Length of stay – 2 nights. Watch the wind in this location it can pick up quickly. No cell service, but the tienda has Pay by hour internet service.
Caleta Candeleros Chico (Little Candlestick Cove) – 4.0*
Candeleros has a hotel resort at the shoreline of the bay. It stands all alone with nothing else really to support it. Hwy 1 runs past it and it seem slightly busy with guests when we went to visit. It is an unprotected anchorage & we got lucky with the wind. We were back in limited cell service for the first time in a week+. The Hotel had nice food and very good service. Was not allowed to use pool or other facilities. But they did have internet we could use. Length of stay – 2 nights
10 nm to…
Puerto Escondido Marina- 4.4*
Very protected Marina with well-maintained docks and friendly service. Very nice restaurant, covered pool, laundry/showers facilities. Closest marina to Loreto. We took the motorcycle and went into downtown Loreto for provisions, mostly vegetables. Had multiple friends at marina, always fun to visit and hang out. A bit rough with NW prevailing wind and waves. No shuttle in to Loreto (18 miles away) but you can easily rent car from about $30 usd a day. small Nice grocery store on-site, Wi-Fi at office we could use. The jumping Manta Ray put on a show every night, thank you to Dean and Roxane for these photos! Their photos turned out better than mine. Limited cell service. Length of stay – 5 nights + return stay later in the month for 11 days. Rates are much cheaper if you can stay for a whole month.
Rented a car for the day to do sightseeing and provisioning with friends. A few pictures, beautiful town. Anchorage in bay is totally unprotected and only good for day anchoring.
Isla Danzante, Honeymoon Cove – 3.6*
We really enjoyed this very small cove. Only a few boats at a time can fit in here. We snorkeled mid-day and saw dolphins hunting all the fish we saw when we were snorkeling. The next morning the dolphins came back in force. It was really fun to watch. Length of stay – 1 night. No cell service.
Isla Carmen, Bahia La Salina – 3.8*
This bay on Isla Carmen was really cool because it had a bunch of old buildings, like a ghost town. We were able to explore buildings, salt pond, very protected from NW winds, Big & easy to anchor. I think this is a must do anchorage. But once you’ve done it, it is now just a nice protected anchorage. Length of stay – 1 night. No cell service.
San Jaunico – 4.5*
This anchorage is a bit rocky with a NE wind, it was pretty crowded, but lots of room for all of us. It is very beautiful, we went for a dinghy patrol and picked out a spot to snorkel with Dean and Roxane, we also walked along the beach. length of stay – 2 nights. No cell service.
Bahia Concepcion (The sea within the sea), Punt Santo Domingo – 3.0*
This was a stop on our way to Santa Rosalia Marina. It had flat sandy bottom for anchorage for hundreds of feet at 20′ depth. It was easy to pull in pretty close We didn’t make the next planned stop to Rosalia due to family emergency. We turned back to Escondido marina to be close to an airport. If we had more time we could have gone into Bahia Concepcion area where there was a lot more anchorages and a bit of population. But family first always.
The Sea of Cortez is big and beautiful area to cruise/sail through. We only dented a very small percentage of what is available. I can understand why some people come and never leave. I hope you all get the opportunity to see this wonderful area in Mexico. We are certainly glad we did.