You’ve haven’t fully experienced La Paz until you take a boat ride to its barrier islands Espiritu Santo and Partida.
Closest to the Pichilingue Peninsula, Isla Espiritu stretches 19 km (11 miles) long and 5 km (3 miles) wide. It boasts dozens of lovely bays, rich marine life and land-based reptiles, birds, and amphibians.
This 23,800-acre desert is one of the most unspoiled ecosystems in Baja. It boasts five species of mammals and reptiles, including a ring-tailed cat, black jackrabbit and a ground squirrel that are unique to the island.
Archeologists have found evidence that humans stepped upon this island as long as 40,000 years ago.
Isla Espiritu Santo is a marvel of natural conservation and evolution. The only creatures claiming this land as home are sea lions, manta rays, dolphins, turtles, and, in season, gray whales and gray sharks.
Campers come to bask in the solitude. More adventurous types can swim with the sea lions, kayak, fish, snorkel, scuba dive, hike desert trails or simply sit in a boat and enjoy the show put on by leaping dolphins.
Protected under UNESCO as a biosphere, the island was “sold” to the Mexican government in 2003 through the cooperative efforts of several non-profit organizations that raised 3.3 million dollars to compensate the communal landowners for their land.
Now the island is managed by Mexico’s Commission of Natural Protected Areas, which also is working with nonprofit groups to protect ten other private islands in the gulf.