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Espiritu Santo Island: A Magical Escape

Espiritu Santo Island: A Magical Escape

Situated off the coast of La Paz and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005 (and a National Park since 2007), Espiritu Santo, the Island of the Holy Spirit, is a place apart. Holy Spirit is a fitting name for a place that leaves visitors feeling exalted and renewed by the island’s magical mix of solitude, sun, sand and saltwater. 

A natural protected area, the island is the 12th largest in Mexico. Espiritu Santo offers a striking contrast between desert and sea, its volcanic rock formations outlining numerous virgin beaches. The crystal clear waters are emerald blue. A poster child for biodiversity, there’s a vast quantity and variety of flora and fauna on the island, which is why Espiritu Santo has a permitted capacity of 40%. 

For example, the island boasts 32 registered species of reptiles and 98 species of birds, several species of marine mammals (notably sea lions), and 16 endemic species of flora and fauna. Moving inland, explorers can discover the archaeological remains of the Pericu indigenous group.

This biosphere reserve is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Activities include sea kayaking, sport fishing, standup paddle boarding (SUP), and hiking along a network of marked trails that trace high ridges and low valleys. The underwater portion of the national park has more than 10 access points for snorkeling or scuba diving among vibrant natural reefs or sunken wrecks around the island. Sea turtles, schools of subtropical fish and large pelagic species, including manta rays, inhabit these locales.

While a great day trip for early risers, Espiritu Santo Island also offers the opportunity to spend the night in one of its “glamping” camps. With no artificial lighting, a stargazing experience here is magical, the inky black sky paved with stars in the Milky Way. Overnight visits can be scheduled with one of the island’s certified operators.

How to get to this treasured hideaway? Boats, from small pangas (a 22-foot Baja skiff) to world-class yachts, depart from the marinas of La Paz or from the pier at the Malecon. Travel time is approximately 45 minutes.

Sun Rider Tours, a reputable outfitter in business for over 25 years with offices in Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, offers a range of tours centered around Espiritu Santo Island and its environs. Participants can spend the day exploring tiny pristine islets, snorkeling at a sea lion colony, and visiting secluded bays along the East Cape’s rugged Baja coast. https://www.sunridertours.com/