Like most fantastic, life-changing interactions with nature, some fool behaves poorly and wrecks things for everybody. Unlike past trips to the Sea of Cortez, we can no longer just jump in the water and swim with the Sea Lions at Los Islotes without a guide. This location is now a marine protected area, which is a good thing (mostly). We have found a guide, now we just have to get a head count.
Our pal Jose Sierra from San Evaristo has worked a miracle and is able to be our guide so we can still swim with the Sea Lions at Los Islotes. He will pick us up in a panga (local open 30’ skiff) and take us to Los Islotes, where the sea lions hang out. You will be able to swim with them, so be sure to bring your underwater cameras! Our boats come with snorkel gear and Jose has wetsuits, so you won’t even get chilly! I know those of you from the Frozen North will find the water warm, but I’m a wimp when it comes to water under 80 degrees. I’m guessing the water will be in the high 60s in deep water…
In case you are sitting there wondering what I’m talking about, Sea Lions are members of the Seal family. They are the ones you used to see at the circus balancing a ball on their noses and, unlike seals, they have earlobes! That’s how you can tell a Sea Lion from a Seal at at glance. The Sea Lions live near Los Islotes (ease low tays) which is a large rock outcropping, meaning ‘isolated’. There are a lot of fish there for them to eat there as well as a place to lie in the sun, relax and snooze.
There are huge males, who mostly sleep (surprise), females and pups of all ages. The young ones are playful like puppies and love to swim with us. No, you don’t go up to a sleeping one and poke at it, or sit on it or act like you want to take it home. The males don’t take kindly to that and get grumpy. You will only need to float on the surface and the playful ones will come to you or swim near you for a look. As cute as they are, we don’t touch or pet them. See grumpy males, above.
You will be in the water long enough to have a blast and take pictures and wonder how you got so lucky to have this experience. There are ladders on the pangas, so you just get out and have a seat and Jose will bring you back to our boats.
Jose needs to make a living like everybody else and also pay for permits to take us there, which means the cost of this adventure is $42 fee per person. Well worth it, I must say! And you won’t be spending any money at the bars or restaurants out there, so why not? You’re on vacation, so make every moment count.
Jose also needs a head count as soon as possible so he can get the permits ahead of time so you must RSVP for this experience. There is a limit to how many people can be in the water with the animals at one time. Mucho planning involved!
So there are four things that are not included in the price of the charter that you need to RSVP and pay in advance to participate.
- Welcome to La Paz Dinner 4/5 – price $16
- Swim with the sea lions at Los Islotes – price $42
- Dinner at San Evaristo – price $16
- Farewell dinner at La Costa in La Paz – price $16
If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
See you soon!