Your Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Mexico

kayaking in mexico

Mexico is full of magic and memories waiting to be made, and a trip to Baja has it all! 

You’ll love the stunning white sand beaches and endless opportunities for tacos, but the real adventure is on the water! 

Most of you are probably picturing snorkeling, but all the tropical watersports of your dreams can be found right here, including some of the best kayaking in Mexico!

Are you paddling into the new year ready for EPIC outdoor adventures?

Spend your precious PTO surrounded by a group of women who can’t wait to hit the waves! Join our Explorer Chick Baja Mexico Adventure Cruise! Escape the cold for some warm weather vibes and an unforgettable trip, and watch your fellow babes turn into best buds.

Why Kayak in Mexico

baja cruise
Explorer Chicks on a recent Baja adventure

Mexico is full of amazing ways to explore nature and the outdoors! Baja’s geography includes everything from ocean beaches to lush forests and dry deserts. Kayaking here means OPTIONS! So why is kayaking so awesome?

The Landscape

Baja’s geography includes everything from ocean beaches to lush forests and dry deserts. The options for kayaking in Mexico seem endless! With every type of paddling at your fingertips, anyone who kayaks Mexico is in for some serious fun in the sun!

The Wildlife

kayaking in mexico

A kayaking trip is a great way to get up close to local flora and fauna, especially on the ocean, and Mexico has a paddling adventure for everyone. Amazing wildlife along the shore include sea lions, shorebirds, and if you’re lucky, gray whales!

The Water

The stunning beaches of Baja are known for top-notch swimming, surfing, and of course kayaking! Turquoise waters welcome you with warm, gentle waves splashing in the sun. Beyond the beaches and further inland are incredible and mighty rivers for more bold paddlers. We’d definitely say Mexico has it all!

Types of Kayaking in Mexico

There are a few different ways to kayak, and some kayaks are designed differently to accommodate the adventure. It might seem easy to pick up your paddle and go, but your gear depends on where you’re headed!

Not all kayaking is for newbies either, and some adventures are best experienced with a guide. Check out our tropical adventures for trips chock full of outdoor activities!

Sea Kayaking

Sea kayaks are designed for paddling on open water, like lakes, bays, and the ocean. They’re typically lighter for better tracking and perfect for touring or longer kayak trips. 

Paddling on big water comes with risks like unpredictable currents and waves, so having prior experience is a good idea. Trying your first few adventures with a tour guide is a good idea. Why not try a guided adventure to start?

White Water Kayaking

White water kayaks are shorter and made for paddling in fast-moving rivers with different grades. They’re made to move easily and quickly for paddlers to be able to navigate rough waters. Experience is a must for this intense sport, but if you’re ready to get your heart pumping it’s so worth the adrenaline rush!

Best Places for Kayaking in Mexico

Tlapacoyan Area: White Water Kayaking Trips

Tlapacoyan is a wildly popular area for kayaking in central Mexico. World-class waterfalls and challenging routes of this protected area make it a top destination for paddling adventures, all within a half day’s drive of Mexico City.

Big Banana

One of the best places for white water kayaking in Tlapacoyan is the Big Banana section of the Alseseca, a river with more waterfalls per mile than any other in the area! It winds through narrow slow canyons and past amazing waterfalls. You’ll want to keep up your momentum to navigate the rolling drops on this one! 

Want a sneak peek of kayaking the Big Banana? YouTuber John Moore strapped a GoPro on as he paddled his way through this infamous section of the river.

Rio Oro

South of Tlapacoyan is the Rio Oro, another popular paddling destination. The river carves its way through gorges and slot canyons and has thrilling rapids around every corner. From the city of Punta Roca Partida, you’ll have to walk about an hour to find a place to put your kayak. Take advantage of local guides and accommodations!

Baja Peninsula and Sea of Cortez: Sea Kayaking Adventures

Protected by the Baja Peninsula from the greater Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Cortez is one of the BEST destinations for ocean adventures and perfect for paddling excursions. Good weather, warm water, and predictable currents are the perfect combination for kayaking.

Sea kayakers have an amazing vantage point for catching a glimpse of marine wildlife like dolphins, rays, turtles, and even whales! 

Isla Espiritu Santo National Park

kayaking in mexico
Explorer Chicks exploring Isla Espiritu Santos

Paddle your way around more than 2,000 miles of shoreline bursting with ocean life and dotted with limestone caves in Isla Espiritu Santo National Park, an uninhabited island protected from development and accessed from Baja’s capital city of La Paz.

Loreto National Park

kayaking in mexico

If you’re looking for paddling that’s a little more remote, to the north the islands of Loreto National Park are quiet and secluded, and have camping available for kayakers! Here you’ll find abundant wildlife like sea lions, turtles, eels, and native shorebirds as you paddle through the turquoise waters.

So, ready to escape those winter blues?

Our Women’s Baja Mexico Adventure Cruise is so much more than a boat ride! Your adventure includes ALL the out-to-sea excursions you crave. Plus we’ve got all the gear! We’ve tailored this trip to be your perfect women-led escape.

You’ll get to snorkel alongside tropical fish, spend days swimming and hiking around the area’s islands, work those muscles on a kayak trip, and each night be lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the boat.

Avoid the rainy season of the summer months and escape the cold this winter! January through March is the best time to see gray whales mating and migrating along the Pacific Coast. We’re ready, are you?!

Meet the Writer

April Brightman

April is an adventure lover and freelance writer based in New England, with a passion for public lands, wild places, and all things outdoors. She loves camping in any form and spends as many weekends as she can hiking New Hampshire’s highest peaks, or road-tripping with her sweet dog Marley. If not in the mountains, you can find her planning her next expedition or caring for one of her far-too-many-houseplants.

Favorite outdoor adventure: National Parks Hiking and Road Trips!

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