The first time we met was in the Philippines in 2015. Back then Annie was backpacking alone and Mikey was backpacking with his cousin Sophie. It only felt right we should force her hand to come and visit us! We had great plans for the sand, sea and sun.
Mikey went to pick up Sophie from the tiny airport in La Paz and we both welcomed her with some bubbles and breakfast. Then we let her settle in for a nap after her long flight and would head to the beach that afternoon. Before heading to the beach we grabbed the local delicacy – £1 tacos! They were delicious – unfortunately however the unpredictable tropical weather had other plans in store for our afternoon! The rain poured and poured, worse than anything we’d seen since we left England!
So ultimately we resigned our first day to enjoying the fact our apartment had Netflix and watching some Friends. It probably wasn’t the worst thing in the world anyway as after the weather cleared up we went for a gorgeous Italian for dinner, and between us had duck, lamb and lobster – again something we would never be able to afford in the USA or England for that matter.
On our second day we thought we could show Sophie the beautiful beaches of Mexico! The Sea of Cortez on the east side of Baja has some of the best waters we’ve seen, comparable to those of the Philippines. Unfortunately, once again, the heavens opened for us – so we headed shopping in the morning and then in the afternoon found a lovely bagel restaurant to relax in. As we ate the rain started to clear so we wandered down to the sea front when we instantly regretted our choice and got absolutely drenched. This wasn’t the start of the trip we had planned for Sophie…
Day three and finally a dry day! Off to Balandra beach we headed – one of the best beaches about 25 minutes out of La Paz. Finally the weather came through and Sophie – being a beach bum at heart – could enjoy her time in Mexico. We waded into the clear as day water shuffling our feet to avoid upsetting any stingrays!
On Friday we had a brilliant day planned. Swimming with Sea Lions! The tour was due to start at 9am but on Baja Time we started promptly at 10. No worries though – the other group of people failed to show up so we almost bagged a private tour, however our guide (and owner of the business) picked up two extra passengers at another stunning beach. From there we headed on our tour.
We first did a spot of birdwatching and saw some Blue Footed Boobies… a bird famous from the Galapagos but had made their way to one of the islands in the Gulf for new nesting grounds. We had a fantastic demonstration of their mating dance of stomping their feet and swinging their arms around and around – one which we later attempted but that’s never being published! Then we met the Frigate bird, locally known as a pirate bird. They gained this name from the fact that they can’t actually swim, they would drown if they got too wet, so they actually steal food from other birds who catch fish!
Then we had our time to swim with the sea lions – and apologies now for the overload of photos but it was one of the most fantastic experiences we’ve had! As long as we avoided the rocks they live on they’re generally playful and more than happy to interact with humans – no one is permitted to bring food so we weren’t disturbing their natural environment. There were so many under the water, and they’re fantastic swimmers! We even got to touch one who was inquisitive about our presence from where he was relaxing.
Alongside the sea lions we enjoyed some glorious snorkelling along a coral reef. The terrifying part of that was the number of tiny little jelly fish (a phobia of Mikeys) but luckily they don’t sting. They’re named Medusas in Spanish as well which adds to the terrifying nature of them!
After the snorkelling we went to what was effectively a private beach for some absolutely gorgeous Ceviche – and definitely the most beautiful surroundings yet. The beach was protected so we’re only allowed on a small portion of it, but the water is almost not there it’s so beautiful we could stare at it for hours. When it came time to leave we were gutted!
Then our time in La Paz was over, and we headed to Cabo San Lucas the next day (woo woo spring break anyone?). On our way we stopped off at Todos Santos, a quaint and pretty artists town where we did a spot of shopping. We were hoping to visit some of the galleries but they all seemed to be closed, we’re still in the hangover of the off-season. Then we headed to a famous surf beach but the waves weren’t too generous and the riptide was huge, making the whole experience tiring and daunting! Finally, after an hour drive and half an hour in the wrong neighbourhood we settled into our AirBnb for the night and enjoyed some more traditionally Mexican food of Sushi. Ok maybe not traditional but at least it tasted great! That meal would come back to haunt us though…