Thursday, January 17, 2013

Isla Espiritu Santo y Isla Partida

Just off the coast of La Paz, you'll find Isla Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit Island). This spectacular nature preserve is sort-of connected to Isla Partida (translates to 'Starting Island', which makes sense if you are coming from the north?), another island directly north of it. There is a small channel separating the islands, though they look like they are connected, they actually aren't! These islands are home to superb, unspoiled beaches and are touted on the list of top 10 beaches/beach destination in the world. Truly beautiful.

We headed out for the week, last week, but due to strong northerly winds, we we didn't spend too much time on Espiritu Santo, most of the anchorages were flooded with wind, no coverage and we had to cut our trip short by a day due to a windstorm that came in. Our guide book talked about how spectacular the hiking was from many of the anchorages on Isla Partida, so we b-lined it up there, and hiked our butts off and explored the pristine beaches! It was so beautiful and we finally got a taste of adventure and what this trip is supposed to be about! Less wave bashing and more fun!

We arrived to Calida Partida anchorage first. This is the small area where both islands meet. Calita Partida is actually the crater of an old, extinct volcano, that's right, many years ago, this anchorage was a volcano and we were anchored in it's crater and hiking around it, very cool!

Where we hiked to, as shown by T in the picture.
We started out at the bottom of the canyon,
and 1hr 50 mins later, we were at the top
 looking over the other side
A view of the 'crater' / anchorage from the
start/bottom (of the hike)
We ran into a slithery friend on our way... must beware of the
snakes, especially the rattlesnakes!
Me, on a stack of rocks
T, looking at our rocky trail and the crater/anchorage
Hiking up a 'dry waterfall', it reminded us of
Rivendell from Lord of the Rings or something,
the rocks were beautiful and we were able to walk up
the natural staircase
Take that!
Just kidding, I was goofing off.
A cool tree growing out of the
 "natural waterfall"

At the top! A view of the other side of the island
Another view of the mountains to our north
An agave plant, at the top of the hike,
where tequila and other yummy things come from
A view of where we had come from, and where we were going,
to head back down

After the hike, we explored the beautiful beaches in the anchorage. One of the beaches was a coral beach, something we had never seen before, very very cool.

Us, on the coral beach, check out those mountains behind us! Beauties!
A view of where the two islands  (Espiritu Santo & Partida) meet
from the rocky part of coral beach 
Another closer view of the two islands and the inlet
A close up view of the water as we got closer to the beach, crystal clear!

Next, we headed to Ensenada Grande (Big Cove), not the best choice for northerly wind protection, we rocked and rolled all night long (and not in a good way!) however the hiking was super fun, like Calita Partida, and we were able to explore caves on the mountains! We also saw tons of giant oyster shells. Apparently, La Paz was once know for it's beautiful pearl industry.

Ensenada Grande has 3 lobes/anchorages, we opted for the first lobe.
Here is our view from the boat.
As we pulled in to the anchorage, we saw that the rock formations
make this mountain look like the top of a lemon meringue pie!
More cool rock formations. T thinks these look like those heads
that beauticians use in beauty school - lol!
More beauty heads. Amazing rocks!

The caves next to our boat
A quick hike up the mountain from the beach to explore caves,
can you see T? Where's Waldo?
And our view from the beach. 
T, hiking. We are on 'the trail', though it just looks like piles and
piles of rocks!
A view of Rhythm from the hike
More natural dry-waterfalls to hike up, so cool!
We're higher up, but this one is zoomed in of Rhythm.
The top! Spectacular view of the ocean and cliffs 

Our cairn. There wasn't one at the top, so we made some. Check out
the cairn at that link! Wow!
T heading back down.
One of our cairns.
T, goofing off :) 
A giant oyster shell, so thick, tons and tons of layers, very old.
Tons of giant oyster shells, the picture doesn't do them justice
Finally, we headed to Ensenada El Cardonal (Cardonal Cove) anchorage. We hiked again, but a shorter, easier hike, enjoyed the beaches, tons of beautiful oyster shells and other cool items on the beach. We found a really cool whale bone, probably a whale vertebrae, and no, we didn't take it, though I contemplated it...but it wasn't ours to take since it belonged to the nature preserve. We also tried to see a Blue-Footed Booby rookery, but no luck, no boobies to be seen. lol.

In our anchorage, there were old aquaculture ruins
A view of the ruins from the beach
Other side of the anchorage, crystal water, white sandy beach
Starting our short, but easy hike from the beach
Token cactus, tons all over the place!
View of the other side from the top 
Random green ground cover and mangroves in
 the middle of what seemed like the desert
Turkey vultures, the kind that probably pick at you if you were tied up 
Rhythm in the anchorage

While in El Cardonal anchorage, s/v Destiny invited us and another boat aboard for a "Puget Sound Party",which was hilarious because it just so happened that all 3 boats in the anchorage were from Seattle! Destiny is a huge 85 ft schooner (if I remember the length correctly) that was previously owned by Howard Hughes of all people. See link above for the history. Mike and Dawn restored her over several years and are now on their world tour aboard her; cool story! Here is a picture that Tim took of Destiny in our anchorage, before we went over and had burgers and fantastic pina coladas! Thanks Mike & Dawn for a fun night!

s/v Destiny at sunset
Before heading back into La Paz, we went up Los Islotes (The Islets) north, which is a sea lion rookery. The sea lion pups are friendly and you can swim with them, if you can get over how cold the water is! There were a small group of people in the water, with wetsuits on, who promptly got out of the water 15 mins after they got in we're guessing because it was cold! The rookery is just north of the El Cardonal anchorage.

Los Islotes, sea lion haven
Sea lions napping
Large bull male sea lion taking a nap
We headed back to our fantastic marina, Costa Baja Resort & Marina, where we proceeded to settle back in until the weather clears up, in time for us to head over to Mazatlan!  It's supposed to be 10 degrees warmer, air and water, thankfully, because it's freakin' cold here in La Paz right now! So, upon arrival, we both went to the spa at the resort, yep, you guessed it - h.e.a.v.e.n. Here is a pic of where we are now...the beach club is amazing....

More on La Paz shortly...but heading to Mazatlan tomorrow, woo hoo!
~K & T


  1. Looks Fantastic, K & T! I love how isolated it seems. Thanks for posting these pics and sharing your travel tales.


  2. Loving reading about your adventures! We spent a week or so at Costa Baja Resort (renting a place from VRBO) in 2007 just before moving up to Seattle... what a beautiful spot. Loved La Paz and the areas to the south. I've wanted to go back there... Enjoy!

  3. Wow. Amazing pictures. Looks like a total blast. Miss you! xox - MATT