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.
Camp Cecil is a multi award winning ‘glamping’ site on beautiful Espiritu Santo Island - where giant cactus meet blue water. Every day we will explore the fantastic Sea of Cortez; by boat, stand up paddle board or kayak. Anything is possible at Camp Cecil! Two of our days we will spend with the Whale Shark Mexico team, swimming with these gentle giants while Deni and Maritza gather valuable information about the whale sharks, influencing conservation efforts in the region. The other days the fantastic team at Camp Cecil will show us around the sea lion rocks to meet the playful pups, see the silvery females and marvel at the vast array of marine life that flourishes in this marine protected area. Our partners at Todos Santos Eco Adventures who run Camp Cecil wrote this wonderful piece that explains the story of Espiritu Santo Island. On this trip the accommodation and island is as much of an experience as the freediving!
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 as well as support true eco-tourist at Camp Cecil.
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.
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.
Our team will meet you in San Jose del Cabo 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.
We will spend the day exploring the coves and waters around Camp Cecil. Stand up paddleboards and kayaks can be used to get to lesser known areas and of course just enjoying the turtles and fish in the shallows around the camp.
We will have an early start to watch the sun rise over the water and spend more time with the sea lions. This will be followed by further freediving training along the rope.
After another relaxing afternoon at the Camp, yoga and dinner we will get an early night to prepare for one more day in the water.
With several days of deep freediving done, we will once again get to experience the whale sharks in La Paz bay, returning back to the Camp in the afternoon, we will finish off our week together with a lovely beach dinner together.
We will have one last breakfast together and the chance for more snorkels, beach walks or just time to relax until we take the boat back to the mainland and down to San Jose del Cabo.
Although our trip dates are 8-14 November, guests will need to spend the night before our trip starts in Baja (and possibly after depending on flights). We can recommend wodnerful places in San Jose del Cabo, or if you want to explore Todos Santos or any of the other wonderful Baja towns. Our transport will leave San Jose del Cabo at 8am on the 8th and return late afternoon on the 14th. Please consider these times when looking at flights.
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.
We will spend our whole week at 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, 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 fantastic 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.
Read founder Bryan’s article on how this inspiring island became the place it is today: Saving Espiritu Santo Island.