Imagine lounging with family or friends on the trampoline of a big roomy cruising catamaran—the only boat anchored in a bay surrounded by arid hills, with the towering Sierra de la Giganta mountains to the west and nothing around but sparkling blue waters sprinkled with islands, deserted beaches, and cozy coves to explore.
Welcome to the Sea of Cortez, and welcome to sailing vacations that begin and end at Marina Puerto Escondido, a well-sheltered harbor that’s been used by sailors for centuries, and that’s been home to West Coast Multihull’s Baja charter fleet since 2017.
The marina is located roughly 10 miles south of Loreto, Mexico, known as Loreto Pueblo Magico or “Magic Village” due to its vast cultural heritage as the site of one of the first missions settled in “Old California” Flights to and from the US are easily booked, which means this stretch of the Baja coast is quite accessible to American sailors from up north.
Marina Puerto Escondido offers a full-service marina, boatyard, market, store and restaurant, making it a perfect hopping-off point to visit the 10 nearby islands and dozens of uncrowded anchorages, each offering its own unique taste of Mexican cruising at its best. Keep an eye out for dolphins, fish, mobula rays and whales during the day. At night, soak in the dark night’s star-filled sky and enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature at these protected and uninhabited islands within the National Marine Park.
The islands are pristine, the personal watercraft and noise typically found around large resorts are nonexistent, and the chill factor is guaranteed.
A One-Way Option
Or perhaps you’d like to roam farther and explore the stunning 150 miles of coastline that stretch south from Loreto to La Paz. On a one-way trip such as this, each day brings new sights and adventures, and at the end, you simply drop off the boat and fly home without ever having to retrace your wake.
West Coast Multihulls founder and owner Kurt Jerman has sailed this stretch of the Baja Peninsula several times and ticks off some of his favorite islands along the way—Isla Monserrat, Isla San Jose, Isla San Francisco and Espiritu Santo (a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site and national park)—before landing in La Paz.
The high seasons for chartering in the Sea of Cortez are October through mid-January and April through the end of June. During winter months, strong northerly winds can blow through, which attracts sailors who prefer more-challenging conditions and/or want to experience blue, gray and humpback whale migrations. For sailors looking for tranquil passages, summer is the best time to visit.
Winds tend to be light and water temperatures are warm, so you can swim, snorkel and scuba dive in one of the world’s most biodiverse marine ecosystems. “Around Loreto, the islands are pretty protected at all times of the year,” says Jerman, who describes the area as being the BVI of Mexico.
Bareboat and crewed charters are available on 44- to 50-foot catamarans, as well as ASA Sailing Classes ranging from Beginner to Advanced Sailing Courses with award-winning instructors who are passionate about sailing and sharing the cruising lifestyle with others.
In terms of variety, WCM’s original charter base in San Diego has a little bit of something for anyone interested in a catamaran adventure. The list is long and includes afternoon and sunset sails, day trips, whale-watching, and seven-day and longer charters to destinations such as the winemaking region around Ensenada, Mexico, or coastal hops north to Oceanside, Dana Point, and an offshore crossing to Catalina Island to visit the famed ports of Avalon and Two Harbors before sailing home. Along the way, you’ll get to anchor or pick up moorings in some of Southern California’s most iconic cruising grounds. As is the case with the Mexico charter base in San Diego; you can charter the boat and sail off by yourself or go with captain and crew to ensure that your vacation is a breeze.
For monohull sailors curious to investigate the multihull lifestyle, WCM’s San Diego fleet offers an excellent variety from which to choose, with boats from builders such as Bali, Excess, Fountaine-Pajot, Leopard and Seawind. Sizes range from 36 to 44 feet.
American Sailing Association’s bareboat and catamaran certifications, as well as other sailing instruction, are also available. With a friendly crew ready to send you off and welcome you home, WCM’s San Diego charter base offers you a lot of vacation options and memories, all made right here in the USA.