Baja Camp

Isla Espiritu Santo, Baja California, Mexico Book from

Reviewed by Philip Worman
Small, luxurious tented camp on a remote white sand beach on Isla Espíritu Santo, an unspoilt island in Mexico's Sea of Cortez
An hour's boat ride from La Paz takes you past spectacular sheer red cliffs and delivers you to Baja Camp, located on a secluded beach on Isla Espíritu Santo. The island is a nature reserve with no hotels or marinas and the desert landscape is distinctly Martian. As you approach the bay, you can spot sea hawks nesting on the rocks and pelicans skimming the turquoise sea rich with marine life. The isolation gives you a real sense of being in the wilderness, but sleeping under canvas here is a far cry from usual camping. You get large luxury tents with proper beds, warm showers, chilled cocktails and delicious seafood prepared by Italian host, Andrea Tamagnini.

There are opportunities to kayak, trek across the island, go wreck diving and snorkel with the nearby colony of sea lions. But there's no particular routine to the day - just get up when you want, swim in the warm crystal-clear waters, sunbathe, eat the freshest fish, consume margaritas, repeat...


  • Stunning red sunsets are accompanied by perfect margaritas
  • Activities include swimming among sea lions, spotting schools of pilot whales and dolphins, and kayaking in serene aquamarine waters
  • This is camping in comfort in a pristine natural environment
  • You sleep under stunning star-filled Mexican skies, waking occasionally for cooling midnight dips
  • Your host personally dives for your fish supper


  • Expect all the minor irritations of sleeping so close to nature; watch out for mosquitoes and ants (although the tents are well supplied with repellents and nets)
  • Some might find the bathroom arrangements rudimentary
  • You might receive the occasional visit from Babisuris, harmless ring-tailed cats who scavenge for food
  • It goes without saying that stereos and satellite TVs aren't part of the landscape here
  • It's only open for a few months each year (normally June-September) and in August it's always fully booked

Best time to go

The camp is normally open from the end of May to mid September. Baja California Sur has a desert climate and July and August are extremely hot, with daytime temperatures nudging 40C/95F. When we visited in June, the weather was perfect. In September there can be some rain, but usually only for a few hours a day, and there's a small chance of a hurricane (should this occur the camp receives prior warning and you'll be taken to a hotel on the mainland).

Our top tips

This is a dream destination for lovers of the sea, nature and the general outdoors. It's most suitable for couples, groups of friends and families with older kids. You'll need at least 3-4 days here to get the most out of the various activities on offer.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Tents
  • 5
  • All meals included
  • Over 7s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Kayaks
  • Watersports equipment


As your boat nears the bay, Baja Camp's tents look like simple dots of green along the beach. When you step inside them, it’s a different story. They're spacious and luxurious, combining the joys of open-air camping with a safari level of comfort. All have double beds (or twins if you prefer), with fresh linen, towels and a big old-fashioned wooden chest with extra blankets. An electric lantern stands by each side of the bed. The tents are constructed from sturdy canvas, custom-made in Kenya where owner Andrea used to live. There are never more than 5 guest tents set up in the camp (a few are folded down in low season), catering for up to 10 people in total.

At the rear of each tent is a bucket shower which can be filled with hot water from a solar tank, and an eco-toilet in a curtained-off cubicle. These basic bathroom facilities may take some getting used to... but hey, you are camping!

When night fell, we loved padding back down the beach with a torch to our canvas house. The mosquito nets do a pretty good job of keeping out the predators, but we advise using the spray provided to finish them off. Sleeping without air conditioning can be uncomfortable, but it's easy to cool off - the sea is only 15ft away at high tide. The tents are spaced out enough to allow plenty of privacy, and the moon will always turn a blind eye to skinny dippers.

Features include:

  • Extra beds
  • Mosquito net


The food at Baja Camp is simple yet exceptional and if you're a seafood fanatic, you’ll be in nirvana. Andrea will cook whatever he finds on one of his dives. On the way back from an afternoon of swimming with sea lions, we watched as he plunged into the water armed with a spear gun... minutes later he resurfaced with a gleaming red snapper. Local villagers also sell their catch. We stopped at a fishing village on a narrow isthmus to buy some octopus for a delicious salad. Another sold us almejas, ‘chocolate clams’ with dark brown shells. Eaten raw, with freshly squeezed lime and onion, these were the plumpest, juiciest clams we had ever tasted. Pure heaven...

You sup with the other guests in the dining tent after cocktails at sunset. Andrea keeps a fully stocked bar, including reasonably priced wines, beers and spirits of all kinds, but the cracking margaritas are the camp speciality. Fish is served barbecue-style or as a ceviche (raw, with lime, peppers and onions). Andrea and his staff also prepare delicious Italian dishes, and we ate freshly baked foccacia, pasta and some excellent salads.

Breakfast includes coffee, eggs, rolls, fresh juice, fruit and cereal, with the added bonus of being served whenever you feel like it.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar


  • Go diving among manta rays, hammer heads and whale sharks. There are also several wrecks close to the island which you can explore, including a Chinese ship sunk in the last few years - this is arranged with a local divemaster

  • Snorkel at numerous sites around the island and in the bay itself. All the gear is provided by the camp, and the Sea of Cortez is one of Mexico's richest repositories of marine life, containing 500 species of fish

  • Watch sea lions - a nearby island is home to several colonies. Although it can be dangerous to approach them (sea lions have a vicious bite), it's possible to swim alongside them further out to sea and it's an unforgettable experience. We spent 2-3 hours swimming around Andrea’s boat, watching these huge animals cruise by and then dive into the dark water

  • Spot dolphins and pilot whales - one of the highlights of the trip for us. The Sea of Cortez is home to one third of the world's whale and dolphin species

  • Go kayaking - Baja Camp has several kayaks available for guests’ use, and paddling around the bay at sunset is highly recommended

  • Head off hiking through the rugged and remote volcanic terrain. Climb up the canyons behind the camp to get a fabulous view and along the way you might spot rare cacti, plants and wildlife (including the black-tailed jackrabbit and ground squirrel that are found nowhere else in the world)

  • Look out for birdlife. The area provides nesting sites and migratory habitat for over 200 bird species (both terrestrial and marine)

  • Try water-skiing (all gear is provided)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Trekking
  • Whalewatching


The island is a real paradise for adventurous children over 7 years old, and kids will love snorkelling, kayaking and spotting whales, dolphins and sea lions. Extra beds are available for children aged 7-12 sharing their parents' tent.

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

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