Baja California is best known for its incredible surf with hundreds of surfers flocking to the pristine white beaches for warm water and perfect waves, but right below the surface awaits a diversity of life that has been called 'the world's aquarium' by Jacques Cousteau and remains a treasure trove of life today. We will explore the Eastern Cape of the Baja Peninsula which boasts the northernmost reef in the Eastern Pacific. We will split our time between an award-winning glamping site on Espiritu Santo Island outside of La Paz and a traditional Mexican beach Hacienda closer to the Cabo Pulmo reserve. This part of the East Cape was set aside for conservation in 1995 after community leaders convinced the Mexican government to protect the unique reef ecosystem. After more than twenty successful years of protection this ecosystem abounds with life, home to over 6000 species, most notably massive schools of jackfish fill the ocean in schools of up to twenty meters deep and a hundred meters long. Further north, around Espiritu Santo Island we will encounter large congregations of gentle whale sharks as well as playful sea lions. Enjoy freediving into 'the world's aquarium' - still beautiful today in its diversity and a true place of hope for conservation.
We chose this destination, because: supporting the responsible local ecotourism operators who will guide us to whale sharks (recently listed as Endangered on the IUCN RedList) makes these animals worth more alive than dead, incentivising protection rather than consumption through simple economics.
WHALE SHARKS are the largest cartilagenous fish in the sea. They are gentle filter-feeders, feeding on tiny plankton while migrating around the great oceans, sadly they are listed as endangered globally. There are several places in the world where one can swim with whale sharks and we have picked La Paz not only for its proximity to Espiritu Santo Island, but also because we support the work of the local operators with regards to sustainable interactions with these precious and threatened animals.
November is a great month for experiencing Cabo Pulmo’s massive SCHOOLS OF JACK FISH with pristine visibility. There are very few places in the world where one can still have the opportunity to experience vast schools of fish as they have quite simply been fished out. This is an experience to inspire your understanding of the human-animal interdependency and lose yourself in a great swirling biomass of silver fish.
SEA LIONS are super playful and fun. We will have a blast spending time watching, interacting, swimming and diving with these intelligent creatures, getting inspired by their agility and entertained by their antics.
With an average water temperature of approximately 80°F (27 °C), you will be able to spend plenty of time in and underwater.
Our team will welcome you at Los Cabos International Airport and take you straight up to La Paz (~ 2h 15min drive) where we will get picked up by our boat that will take us to Camp Cecil on Espiritu Santo Island. Upon arrival we will settle into our beautiful private tents, learn about the camp, the eco amenities and the wildlife. Our first day will also be our first dive, testing our equipment and wetting our gills in the beautiful clear water of our own private bay.
In the afternoon you will get a theoretical introduction to the art of freediving followed by our first sundown yoga session, practicing breathing techniques combined with relaxation and calming down… We will then all gather for a delicious and healthy dinner prepared by our private chef and you will receive more detailed information on what to expect for the next few days.
Wake up on our very own private beach to morning yoga and a delicious breakfast. Our first morning will be spent practicing breathing and breath-holds, learning about our bodies underwater and understanding freediving. Our first freediving depth session will include the absolute basics for beginners, as well as more challenging training for experienced freedivers. Weather permitting after our morning dive, we will have a snorkel with the playful resident sea lions before retiring to our campsite to enjoy a long relaxing lunch. Today, the remaining afternoon is all yours: explore the cove and surrounding waters on a stand up paddle board or kayak, go for another snorkel, a hike or just relax in the hammock with a book.
The sunset yoga session will be held on our private beach and fterwards we will enjoy a sundowner before getting together for our oceanfront dinner.
This morning we will launch our boat early to spend as much time as possible swimming besides the majestic whale sharks resident to the Bay of La Paz, we will do our freediving training in the blue water on the way. These intimate encounters and your personal interactions with these gentle giants will leave you speechless and will undoubtedly become one of your once-in-a-lifetime experiences! We will bring lunch packages to have a quick and casual chance to relax and replenish on a beautiful beach close-by without losing too much ocean time. In the afternoon we will travel back to our camp for a relaxing evening and sunset yin yoga.
After our last breakfast at Camp Cecil we will travel back to La Paz and then take the scenic mountainous road down to the rugged Cabo Pulmo region. Here we will settle into our wonderful Hacienda with a huge ocean facing pool and comfortable rooms. As glam as glamping can be, you can enjoy some creature comforts at this wonderful private villa.
In the afternoon we will travel to a beautifully protected cove for a sunset hike and snorkel, followed by dinner at the Hacienda.
After an early light breakfast we will head down to the famous Cabo Pulmo marine reserve to see what over 25 years of protection looks like. We will have an early start to watch the sun rise over the water and get to experience the magnitude of the giant schools of jack fish. After our jack fish time we will have more opportunities for depth training on the rope, as well as the chance to see sea lions and other marine life.
After another relaxing afternoon at the hacienda, yoga and dinner we will get an early night to prepare for one more day in the marine reserve.
With several days of deep freediving done, we will once again get to experience the giant schools of jack fish and use our new freediving skills to disappear into the swirling silver of millions of fish. Again you will get the chance to do a final depth session, working on more skills, greater depth and freediving safety exercises.
Returning back to the hacienda in the afternoon, we will finish off our week together with a lovely beach dinner together.
We will have one final morning yoga session before breakfast - and then the chance for more snorkels, beach walks or just relax until we take you to the airport to catch your return flight or continue your vacation.
Please note: All of our days follow a rhythm conducive to optimal freediving, yoga and relaxation experiences. However, we will have a weather dependent schedule as the wind and swell will be decisive for which of our dives we do every day as your safety and wellbeing is our top priority.
Moreover all our actions are guided by the highest standards of responsible marine megafauna interaction. The animals’ wellbeing is our top priority at any time. Should we or our expert guides get the impression that our presence (in and out of water) stresses or disturbs the animal (s), we will distance ourselves instantly even if this might limit our interactions.
Freediving is an age-old practice of exploring the ocean on one breath. With its roots in subsistence living off the sea, freediving has become a competitive sport with disciplines, competitions and records and moreover, one of the biggest expanding water-sports in the world.
In contrast to scuba, freediving is the most natural way of being underwater, enabling you to get much closer to the animals – particularly the bigger ones – while having the least ecosystem impact. Furthermore, it is more athletic than scuba and allows you to move faster and more freely (in all directions). Learning from a good instructor, the art of freediving is simple and is a tool to explore your body’s (aquatic) ability, the physiology of the human body underwater with the impressive mammalian dive response we share with whales, dolphins and seals.
At I AM WATER Ocean Travel, we teach a conservative slow progression approach where you will explore your limitations and capabilities under the expert eye of top certified freediving instructors. Each day will start or end with a yoga session to prepare your lungs and body for deep breaths and time underwater, learning to control your breathing and to slow your heart-rate. You will be offered breath-hold training on land, in water as well as deep diving sessions along a rope to prepare you for meeting the animals. As world-class freedivers we will inspire you to explore your own depths!
At the end of your vacation, we will have covered all the theory and training needed for the Pure Apnea Level 1 Freediving Certification. If you are interested in becoming certified and have met all practical requirements during training, we conclude with an exam on the last night.
Joining us on one of our Signature Trips does not require more than a general interest in the ocean and its creatures, basic swimming abilities and good health. It is open to all ages and fitness levels (medical questionnaires will be required).
For further information please check our Freediving FAQ's.
Our first three nights will be spent at the exquisite Camp Cecil on Espiritu Santo Island. Owned and run by unwavering nature lovers, this real-deal eco site has won numerous awards and stands out as a true sustainable 'barefoot luxury' experience. We are very lucky to have the whole campsite to ourselves, offering a unique opportunity to be immersed in nature, the ocean and be wonderfully secluded. You will have your very own luxury tent, complete with a real bed, comfortable finishings and of course the ocean right on your 'doorstep'. Camp Cecil has a wonderful team that will service the camp daily, cook healthy and sustainable meals and their resident naturalist will tell us all we wish to know about this remarkable island and it's fauna and flora, above and below. Camp Cecil is a seasonal leave no trace camp, so all ablutions are nature friendly - from solar warmed showers to compost toilets - thanks to the team on hand everything is spotlessly clean and comfortable even though it is simple.
Our last three days will be spent at our gorgeous hacienda with secluded beach access, swimming pool and roof deck. At I AM WATER Ocean Travel we always select private estates that offer the tranquility, proximity to nature and comfort needed for the ultimate ocean adventure holiday. The private beach is wonderfully swimmable with gentle surf and miles of sand.
There are three different suite categories available: Ocean View, Ocean Front and Poolside. All of them are air conditioned and have ensuite bathrooms. They come with a queen- or king-size bed (twin option available) and are uniquely decorated in local and authentic Mexican style.
Our private chef specially prepares a menu of high quality nutrient rich food, delicious and nourishing with a focus on innovative vegetarian meals. Not only is this in line with our planet friendly ethos, but also ideal for freediving.