Mexico’s Sea of Cortes offers unique yachting experience

Baja Mexico’s Sea of Cortes, also known as the Gulf of California, is a secluded and protected UNESCO World Heritage biosphere reserve formed where Baja California broke away from the Mexican mainland about 20 million years ago. One of the most diverse seas and isolated peninsulas in the world it is also a favorite yachting destination.

Mexico’s Sea of Cortés lies adjacent to the more glitzy and better-known ports of Acapulco, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, which comprise the Mexican Riviera — and let’s just say: It’s a whole other world” says

American Safari Cruises has a little 22-guest yacht, the Safari Quest, that sails week-long adventure cruises from La Paz. The ship’s smaller size lets it explore many of the hundreds of islands and islets big cruise ships can’t get to. American Safari’s flexible and unhurried cruising philosophy promises time to seek out wildlife including multiple species of whales, dolphins and sea lions all prevalent in the wildlife-rich waters.”The Sea of Cortés is not as well-known as other destinations, but it’s a gem” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

The inclusive cruise itinerary includes exploration of Isla Partida, Isla San Jose, Isla San Francisco and Isla Espíritu Santo. A visit to Bahia Agua Verde includes a mule ride into the arroyos of the peninsula guided by a local ranchero. At Isla Coyote, guests meet the Cuevas fishing family and tour the village and whale bone yard. Snorkeling with playful sea lions at Los Islotes is often a highlight of the trip.

Anchoring in quiet coves, the crew brings water toys out to play. The yacht transforms into a waterborne adventure platform for kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, sailing, skiff rides, snorkeling, swimming, swinging off the rope swing and tubing. Expert naturalists lead kayaking and hiking excursions to explore the beauty of the sea, the coastline and into the desert landscape to see giant Cardón cacti, red rock cliffs and white sand dunes.

The 22-guest Safari Quest features a hot tub, Tempur-pedic mattresses, heated tile floors in all bathrooms and upper category balconies. An all-American crew has a low guest-crew ratio of 2 to 1. The inclusive cruise includes all from-the-yacht activities and equipment; transfers; exquisite meals; fine wine, premium spirits and microbrews; and all port charges, taxes and feesYachts can be booked as a private charter or by individual stateroom.

Now through September 30, 2011, American Safari Cruises is offering a $200 per person travel credit for new bookings made on 13 select departures.

Flickr photo by Lime Salt Chile

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