Sea of Cortez

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Veteran Member
Nov 21, 2013
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Vessel Make
Cheer Men 38' PT Performance Europa
Considering traveling to Rocky Point pulling a 26' pocket trawler and cruising the Sea Of Cortez. Concerned about safety mainly. Anyone have recent experiences? Would you recommend travel within the Sea of Cortez?
We have a couple of Trawler Forum members that are currently cruising the Sea of Cortez. I have not heard anyone have a bad experience. Like visiting any foreign country; blend in and follow their rules!
It is warming up down there. If you have good range, a water maker, AC, good Spanish for weather reports and a trusted fuel filtering system you could have some fun. By water, Rocky Point is a long way from La Paz and to me the much better cruising grounds. Our family is in Rocky Point a lot. Parties, concerts, beach, good food, no language hassles. Easy drive from Phoenix area.

Lake Powell is a great alternative. Good weather up until mid June. Fun not only for the water but the side trips on land. Oh, did I say safer?
Sunchaser, been gong to Lake Powell for over 40 years. Most likely headed their spring break to nail the crappie and walleye in the bass boat.
Depending upon weather conditions may make the trip to Catalina Island spring break again where wife desires to go. Winds may prevent. We prefer to stay on the west side of the island. Winds appear to be west/northwest and don't expect that to change for quite a while.

Attempting to do preplanning for a trip in the future to the Sea of Cortez if safe but I'm not finding a lot online. The fishing seems very good. I have a friend that went down there every chance he had with his fifth wheel and never had issues. I have been told in the populated areas your are safe but don't know about isolated areas. Only looking at going 100 miles south of Rocky Point at this point. Perhaps the cruiser forum may have something. Glad you responded. I was going to send you a private message to see if you had any experiences in the Sea of Cortez.

I did find a cruising guide I will purchase.

Lake Powell is a great alternative. Good weather up until mid June. Fun not only for the water but the side trips on land. Oh, did I say safer?[/QUOTE]
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My Sea of Cortez boating has been much further South than RP. As I mentioned, RP is a party scene for our family. Like you, I've hit Lake Powell, for 50 years in fact. After weighing the entire US Coastal areas and retirement loomed, we decided on PNW for water and AZ for winter.

Have you pulled your vessel to WA, BC or AK? If not, contact Richard Cook on TF. He is a great source of hands on experience for trailer boating in the PNW waters.
Hi Sunchaser,

Perry and I have already been cruising SE AK together - looking forward to doing more.

Hi Perry,

If you're not familiar with them, you might want to get in touch with the Mexico-oriented travel club called Vagabundos del Mar.

They guided us through our first truck/trailer trip down to Cabo. They know the ins and outs of the border crossing rigamarole, Mexican insurance (US insurance won't work), where to camp safely, where to buy gas (and how to avoid getting ripped off), fishing regs and licenses, and many other details that made the trip more do-able. And they keep current on changes. Good resource for land trips and boat trips.
I winter about halfway down on the baja side at Bay of Conception for long time.

Regarding safety, the first thing that comes to my mind is strong winds can blow south down the SOC for days, big chop that would be no fun taking on the stern. Likewise returning north. The winds here can keep the locals off the water for extended periods.

Second is learning where safe and protected anchorages are. I assume you intend to cruise the baja side. "The guide to Baja Sea Kayaking" has lots of detail on big and little hidey holes, resupply.

Third is learning where resupply/fuel is. You may need to shuttle fuel/water in cans depending where you are.

Tides up north can be large swings, watch for that.

It is an amazing place on water or land, just be aware you can be a long ways from help down here.

Also licensing/visas. If you are traveling as a tourist your "tourist visa" that you get at the border should suffice. I know nothing of the requirements for large trailer boats, expect to show title/registration and boat ID numbers crossing in.
They want to see plates on trailers now too.

Regular gas is just over $3.00/gal USD equivalent at land Pemex, no idea what it costs at marinas.

Have fun!
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In my experience, Mexico is as safe of safer than the US. Use a good guide book (, don't enter anchorages in the dark, beware the winds and go. You will LOVE it down there. I have not been as far North as RP, but I can certainly vouch for the southern SOC as a paradise.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Cheers, Bill
Hello Richard! Feeling a lot better about traveling the Sea of Cortez. I will certainly go to the website provided. Sunchaser, I know Richard well as he stated and he is a wealth of information. He actually snapped the photo for my Avatar with Mendenthall Glacier in the background. Will be going to PNW for the first couple of weeks this summer with a friend and possibly meeting my wife and son in Port Hardy to head north but unsure how far because of time constraints. I'm thinking the Sea of Cortez would be nice warm alternative during Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. Not sure yet, fishing seems to be considerably better during the hot summer months.

Viewed the Vagabundos website and they have a buddy calendar to travel together. Thanks for all the advise!
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We spent several months every year over a 5 year period in Sea. We only got as far north as the northern part Isla Ángel de la Guarda. The area is pretty amazing. You have to watch your tides the further north you go. Fishing can be good year round but more difficult in the winter as the northerlies can blow for days at a time.

The Sea is one of our favorites of all times.

Here are a couple of sites for general MX info.

Baja Ha-Ha Cruisers Rally: Sailing from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas

Club Cruceros
My wife and I cruised Mexico for over 10 years and absolutely fell in love with the Sea of Cortez. The only issues I would be concerned about with a smaller boat is some of the winds that have a tendency to come up out of nowhere, mostly at night so make sure your anchor is well set.

In so far as safety is concerned we never, in the 10 years cruising, every had any situation we considered threatening or even out of the ordinary. We cruised as far south as Zihuatanejo and as far north a Santa Rosalia in the Sea. As far as most cruisers in the area are concerned, the U.S. Media blows the situation in Mexico far, far out of proportion. Far less crime to boaters than in the Carribbean although we did hear of a couple of stolen dinghys. We did get hit by a pickpocket once at a Wal Mart store in Puerto Vallarta but also had times when people chased us down the street to return a forgotten credit card or dropped some money on the ground.

Some rudimentary Spanish is helpful as little English is spoken in some of the little villages you are likely to anchor at but the people are helpful and genuine and with a lot of pointing and showing of "things" you can get by quite nicely. Bring some T shirts and hats to give away or trade for items like a nice fish for dinner and possibly some school supplies for the local children (many of these villages are 25 - 30 or more miles from the nearest paved road).

The sea is a beautiful cruising venue and you will truly enjoy it. You will need a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for you boat as well as one for you car. The boat TIP lets you keep the boat in Mexico for 10 years, and the Car permit for 6 months. The boat TIP is about $50 USD and no refundable. The Car TIP is based on the age of you car and is refundable (got my last refund back 4 days after returning to the U.S.. You can get both via e-mail before
you cross the border.
Thank you all for your informative and helpful advise. Now next on the agenda, talking wife into making the trip.
Will be going to PNW for the first couple of weeks this summer with a friend and possibly meeting my wife and son in Port Hardy to head north but unsure how far because of time constraints.

Hey Perry!

When do you expect to be on the water in the PNW? Where are you launching?

Dream Catcher plans to leave La Conner to head north in the first week of May.
Richard, likely around June 3rd. Will be launching out of Blaine, WA. They are very nice and parking is free. Very close to border. Looks like we will miss you this year. Next year however let's plan on getting together. I want to hit Sitka and Pelican next year.

RJ Williams is right on with his post. It is a beautiful cruising area. Don't be afraid to get away from civilization. The people in the small villages are warm and friendly. Crime is not an issue. Do take small gifts for the children. We took reading glasses for older people, T-shirts, pencils and paper. Things we take for granted may be in short supply in the remote areas.

Unfortunately the extreme crime in the mainland resorts on the Pacific side is working its way to Cabo and San Jose. Drugs seem the reason. Six found murdered in these two areas during the past few days.
As of a couple of days ago, it was warm at the entrance of SofC, but on the western shores of Baja California, it was quite cool. Leastwise that was my experience the last week on a cruise. Cabo was nice (weather-wise), but Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, and Mazatlan were quite warm and humid (yuck, so stayed within the air-conditioned ship).

Seas were gentle after passing beyond San Francisco's bars outside the Gate.
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Unfortunately the extreme crime in the mainland resorts on the Pacific side is working its way to Cabo and San Jose. Drugs seem the reason. Six found murdered in these two areas during the past few days.

The last two cruises to the Mexican western coasts, I've remained on the ship. Previously been there, done that land-tour thing, and seen enough churches and cultural stuff to appreciate the culture.
Still in the Sea of Cortez and loving it, more crime almost any where in the states compared to to here. Currently in LaPaz went up toe Sea last year to San Carlos and BLA with no problems at all. Currently have friends in PV And Barra experiencing no problems there either. I guess like any where if you are in the wrong part of town at the wrong time **** happens. So far for us we have meet nothing but great locals and cruisers from all over the world. Cut the lines head south and enjoy the fun.
Just returned from 10 marvelous days in the Sea of Cortez. Had several encounters with the police and the drug enforcement army. Could not have been more pleased. As soon as they found out we were from the U.S.A. they treated us very well. It was somewhat tedious getting a visa and boat permit but just the way Mexico works. The Mexican people were wonderful and most helpful. Fishing was phenomenal. The Americans living in Kino Bay were most helpful to these gringos. I will return someday and perhaps venture further south. There were 1000 empty RV sites and it appears the Mexican government is doing what it can to ensure American safety. No police tried to bribe us. A very pleasant trip and never felt unsafe. Thanks to all those who convinced me to travel in Mexico.
Ufish2 Glad you had a good time during your trip, we are currently in Vallarta heading to Barra and still enjoying the people and places daily.

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