Sea Kayaking Baja: Books & Resources for Your Vacation in Mexico

Baja Mexico Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking Mexico: Books & Resources for Your Kayak Vacation in Baja

We’ve put together a collection or books and other resources for folks who are going sea kayaking in Baja with us. We think that these resources will enhance your kayak vacation in Mexico.

A Baja Kayaking Naturalist’s Book Shelf

Behrens, David. 1991. Pacific Coast Nudibranchs. Sea Challengers. (Fascinating pictorial of the bizarre seaslugs.)

Brusca, Richard. 1980. Common Intertidal Invertebrates of the Gulf of California. 2nd ed. Univ. of Arizona Press. (Quite large, but a must for serious naturalists; has most of the species seen tidepooling or snorkeling.)

Carey, Robin. 1989. Baja Journey: Reveries of a Sea-Kayaker. Texas A&M Univ. (The experiences of a novice paddler in prose.)

Fons, Valerie. 1986. Keep it Moving: Baja by Canoe. The Mountaineers. (A marathon paddle around Baja.)

Franz, Carl. 1981. The People’s Guide to Backpacking, Boating & Camping in Mexico. John Muir Pub. (Down-to-earth advice and fun reading. Great to have if you’ll be in Mexico for extended periods.)

Gotshall, Daniel. 1988. Marine Animals of Baja California: A Guide to the Common Fishes and Invertebrates. 2nd ed. Sea Challengers. (Slim, handy reference with color photos and little text; a must for snorkelers.)

Janovy, John. 1992. Vermilion Sea: a Naturalist’s Journey in Baja California. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Critically acclaimed; the contemporary answer to Steinbeck’s classic.)

Johnson, William W. 1972. Baja California. Time-Life Books. (Nice pictorial but getting rather dated.)

Keen, Myra. 1971. Sea shells of tropical west America; marine mollusks from Baja California to Peru. 2nd ed. Stanford Univ. Press. (Voluminous and detailed scholarly work–for serious shell collectors and biologists.)

Kerstitch, Alex. 1989. Sea of Cortez marine invertebrates. Sea Challengers. (Slim but excellent photo-identification guide; a most useful companion to Gotshall’s book.)

Krutch, Joseph. 1986. The forgotten peninsula: a naturalist in Baja California. Univ. of Arizona Press. (Interesting essay on the natural history of the region.)

Krutch, Joseph. 1969. Baja California and the geography of hope. Sierra Club Books. (Stunning photography by Eliot Porter; large format.)

MacMahon, James. 1985. Audubon Nature Guides: The desert. Alfred A. Knopf. (Good for desert ecology.)

Peterson, Walt. 1987. The Baja adventure book. Wilderness Press. (Basic traveler’s guide; a must if you drive.)

Roberts, Norman. 1989. Baja California plant guide. Natural History Pub. Co. (A very nice field guide; covers most species encountered.)

Stebbins, Robert. 1985. Field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Best for the topic.)

Steinbeck, John. 1941. The log from the Sea of Cortez. Viking Press. (Somewhat slow reading at times but usually interesting from an historical standpoint; considered to be a classic natural history essay.)

Thomson, Donald. 1976. Gulf of California fishwatcher’s guide. Golden Puffer Press. (Line drawings only; the best guide for snorkelers with a more intense interest in fishes.)

Wayne, Scott. 1991. A travel survival kit: Baja California. Lonely Planet Pub. (Handy guide for long-term travel.)

Wiggins, Ira. 1980. Flora of Baja California. Stanford Univ. Press. (The botanist’s bible – a scholarly work for serious naturalists.)

Wilbur, Sanford. 1987. Birds of Baja California. Univ. of Cal. Press. (Another scholarly compilation.)

Zwinger, Ann. 1983. A desert country near the sea: a natural history of the Cape Region of Baja California. Univ. of Arizona Press. (Very interesting and well-written but mainly concerns area south of Loreto.)

Charts for Baja and the Sea of Cortez

These are obtainable from various map or nautical shops and online resources. Ask for US Defense Mapping Agency charts 21120, 21081, 21011, 21125, or 21014, depending on the area you will be exploring; or NOAA chart #21141. The British Admiralty and Mexico Carta Nautica have also published charts of the region.

If you are interested in seeing larger versions of the Baja kayak route maps we show on our detailed Mexico itinerary pages, you can visit our map collection page. Just click the tab labeled “maps” at the top of this page. The larger pdf versions can also be printed.

An All-purpose Sea Kayaking Library

Arnold, D. 1986. Tides and currents. Fernhurst Books.

Bascom, W. 1964. Waves and beaches. Anchor.

Brower, K. 1973. The Starship and the Canoe. (Fascinating story of George Dyson’s epic kayaking journeys in the Pacific Northwest. Its a great adventure biography that reads like a novel and has inspired more people to try sea kayaking than any other book.)

Dowd, J. 1988. Sea kayaking: a long distance touring manual. 3rd edition. (Best guide to kayak cruising – slanted towards major expedition travel.)

Dyson, G. Baidarka. 1986. (An historical, cultural, and artistic view of the evolution of sea kayaks. Awesome. Author is subject of Brower’s book listed above!)

Joel Rogers. 1992. The Hidden Coast. Alaska Northwest Books. (Coffee table book by a photographer/writer who has spent many years kayaking all over the west coast.)

Tawrell, P. 2006. Camping and Wilderness Survival. Campingbook.com. (Encyclopedic!)

Resources for Whales and Conservation in Baja Mexico

Here are a couple of research and educational groups that we have given support to over the years that you might find interesting:

  • The Nature Conservancy is a private non-profit conservation organization committed to preserving plants, animals and natural communities by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
  • The World Wildlife Fund is a leader in endangered species conservation and habitat preservation around the world.
  • Mingan Island Cetacean Study invites you to participate in their ecological studies of great whales in Baja’s Sea of Cortez. Their main focus is blue whales and they have an Adopt-a-Blue Whale program to help fund their work. You can adopt a blue whale you’ve actually seen on one of our kayaking trips in Baja and the Sea of Cortez.