We have been doing business with a Paddle Board, Kite boarding and Fishing Resort in La Paz, Baja for years and never found the time to get down for a visit. The outfit is called Palapas Ventana and is situated about 30 minutes south of La Paz Baja on the Sea of Cortez facing Isle Caerralvo. It was finally time to take up Tim (The Owner of Palapas) on his invitation, and hopefully get some amazing photos in the process. After putting together a photographer, models and shipping down our fleet of standup paddle boards it was time to catch the flights from Tijuana to La Paz. A couple friends jumped on board last minute so by the morning of the departure we had a 12 deep posse ready to roll. The flight to La Paz is just a quick hop from Tijuana so after a few Tecates and bags of Doritos we touched down in about 1.5 hours. Flying into La Paz you get an amazing view of its first offshore island Espiritu Santo siting just off the coast. The island has amazing horseshoe bays with crystal clear water and fills the crew with excitement of what lies ahead. The other large island of Isla Cerralvo sits another half hour south by car. These 2 islands and have some of the best fishing and free diving in the world and were a favorite for oceanography pioneer Jacques Cousteau for their underwater sea life. Our host Tim actually held the world record for a rooster fish caught while free diving Isla Cerralvo.
As we hit the tarmac Tim was there to greet the crew and we piled into the 12 pax van like sardines. The second we hit the ground the temp rose to a steamy 98 degrees so it was time to strip of the excess gear and get on the boardies , tanks and sandals. Weather in this part of Baja stays in the high nineties to over a hundred daily so it’s hot hot hot. Tim greets the crew with cold beer and we make our way to La Paz central for our first paddle of the mangroves and the La Paz waterfront. Conditions are excellent with sheet glass and Tim has our boards ready to go. We make our way to the mangroves and cruise though beautiful patches of mangrove tress with crystal clear water. We then regroup and make our way across La Paz Bay towards the waterfront. As sunset approaches the bars and restaurants are bustling with music and people as its Thursday evening and the town is alive with action. After wrapping up the paddle Tim takes us to the local cantina for dinner. After many tequilas ,tecates and carne tacos we bunk early for the night.
As the sun rises over Palapas Ventana on day 2 we are greeted with perfect glassy conditions and clear skies. The panga boats are ready to go and our crew quickly loads up after a hearty breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Everyone is excited to get out to the Islands and explore the majestic bays and beaches. After an hours boat ride we ride up on a deserted beach and unload the boards. The water is amazingly clear with a slight offshore breeze grooming the water to perfection. The Crew gears up for a paddle along the shores and soaks it all in. After a few hours of flat water paddling we get back in the boats and head to the next spot on the northwest tip of the island.
While in transit we decide to throw a couple people in the water to give the wake a go on the paddle boards. With beer in hand we send out the first victim who puts on an impressive display of antics before splatting to the delight of the crew. Then a tandem posse hits it, actually gets up and manages a quick glide on the wake before also splatting . Some great entertainment for a midafternoon at the islands. We finally approach the next spot and again are greeted with some amazing flat water coves with large rock outcroppings jutting straight out of the water. The photog is hard at work all day and manages to capture lots of amazing photos . We finally call it a day and make our way back to the resort.
After 2 days of flat water the team is ready for some surf and the decision is made to head down around the Baja horn to the East Cape looking for waves. With the charts calling a small south swell we elect to leave early the next day.
A few tequilas go down that evening and with Cabo San Lucas just a stone’s throw away an executive decision is made to leave the peace and tranquility of the Palapas Ventana Resort , head for the east cape and continue on to Cabo San Lucas with hopes of shooting the famous arch at Lovers Beach at the tip of the Baja Peninsula.
On a trip to Cabo San Lucas prior we made great friends with Lee, co-owner of the Bahia Cabo Hotel and founder of Cabo Sup ( the only sup resort on Medano beach). Unfortunately, he would be out of town this time but would give us access to the sup club and put us up in the hotel. If you ever visit Cabo the Bahia is a must stay with amazing food and just across from central Medano Beach where all the action is. With reservations confirmed we set out early the next morning to the East Cape with Cabo our last stop.
After the dusty three hour drive to the east cape we finally come across an empty beach and notice a nice right hand point with 100 yard peeling rights and no one out. The crew is excited and we quickly make our way down the beach to the cover of shade under the palapas for a closer look. Empty and fun we get the gear ready and sup out into the lineup. We managed to score a 3 hour session of super fun shoulder to head high peelers and the posse is all smiles. With Saturday night approaching the crew piles back into the van ready for Cabo and hint of rage is in the air.
After checking in at the Bahia and loading the boards at the sup club we make plans to shoot the arch for the morning and hire a boat and crew to make it happen. As night falls the crew heads into the main centro to the world famous EL SQUID ROW, a 6 story open disco with an MC on a platform shouting over every song that looks like something out of a movie set and your worst nightmare all wrapped in neon. Red Bombers flying from the rafters, skeletons in nooses hanging on the ceiling, lobsters on the walls and a penitentiary koo koo’s next at the very top. It’s a Cabo nightlife icon and must do. After a few tequilas and jello shots the night slips away into weirdness...
The crew rises for the arch shoot the following day weary and wounded. We are greeted with clear conditions and calmer seas than the day before. The arch is open to the southern pacific and can be covered with wind and dangerous swells so it’s not the most optimum place to shoot unless the conditions are right. As we approach the arch we are able to get the crew and boards onto the beach and the shots we needed. The arch is amazing and after taking it in for a few hours its time to head back to the hotel for a few cold ones.
A relaxing afternoon poolside and its back to the USA in the morning. A great trip to an amazing part of the Baja Peninsula.