Animal interaction can create some of the most unforgettable
travel memories – especially interaction with wild animals in their natural habitat.
I urge any travelers finding themselves in La Paz for more than one day to seek
out a tour operator offering trips to Espiritu Santo Island, a UNESCO-protected
World Heritage Bio-Reserve to snorkel with sea lions.
I can’t vouch for the
quality of tour operators in La Paz, except for the one I experienced myself,
Grupo Fun Baja. They provided an excellent day out on the water, with first
rate equipment and knowledge guides. In my case the trip took the better part
of day, setting off in the morning and returning to the marina in the late
The population of 300 sea lions are clustered on rocky Los Islotes
Island. Wet suits were provided; I opted not to use one and found the water not
unbearably cold. Under the supervision of a guide, we snorkeled in a group,
careful not to get too close to the sea lions, who can be territorial if
crowded. My favorite moment was when we snorkeled into a tunnel in the rock,
and a curious baby sea lion followed us. An adult swam into the tunnel several
yards below the surface and guided the baby back to the group. I’ve heard
stories of sea lions coming close enough for a careful pet, but don’t depend on
that happening, and frankly, I don’t recommend it.
The whole experience was a
great day out on the water, with a picnic lunch on the beach and a flotilla of
dolphins following our boat for upwards of a quarter of an hour as we motored
back to the marina. The sea lion encounter is highly recommended, and worthy of
making a special trip to La Paz.
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