Midriff Islands Offer Wildlife Encounters
Comparable to Darwin’s
By Sara Widness



A world apart and hundreds of miles from Mexico City, Baja AirVentures is conducting business as usual to Mexico’s Galapagos, a pristine region of islands and coastline in the Sea of Cortez that offers experiences many liken to the natural wonders of the Galapagos.

“We offer a comparable but uniquely different experience for folks who have already been to the Galapagos and know they love getting up close and personal with our natural world,” says Kevin Warren, owner of Baja AirVentures, the company that operates Las Animas Wilderness Retreat, home base for natural explorations in and around the Sea of Cortez.

Twice weekly Baja AirVentures transports guests by private air carriage from San Diego to the off-the-grid Las Animas Wilderness Retreat (http://www.bajaairventures.com/retreat.htm)‚ Midriff Island region. Separated from the worries of civilization, there are no uninvited guests because there are no roads leading there.

Guests at Las Animas arrive by air after departing San Diego and clearing customs in the lazy resort town of San Felipe. The two-hour scenic flight lands in the remote fishing village of Bahia de los Angeles where guests then board a boat for a 45-minute cruise south along the Sea of Cortez coast to the retreat.

“Quality of experience, savings and value are on everyone’s mind,” says Warren. “And it’s a little-known fact that summer can be one of the best times to visit the Midriff Islands region. The water is ideal for snorkeling, the fishing is superb and wildlife opportunities abound.”

Lodging at Las Animas for up to 20 guests is offered in eight romantic beachside yurts. Each features its own private bathroom, solar shower, twin and king-size beds with comforters and high thread-count linens, and covered patios. Lodging is built around a large centrally-located palapa with attached patio that serves as kitchen, central dining area, cantina bar, communal lounging and game area.

Las Animas is located in Baja’s Midriff Island region (http://www.bajaairventures.com/aboutbaja.htm) in the Sea of Cortez, biologically the richest body of water on the planet supporting more than 900 species of marine vertebrates and more than 2,000 unique species of invertebrates.

Guided small boat excursions to isolated islands and coves reveal up to 12 species of annual whales; including Fin, Orca and Blue Whales (the largest animal that inhabits the planet). Bottlenose and Common Dolphins, California Sea Lions and Elephant Seals are all found here in large numbers.

It is not at all uncommon to find large pods of friendly dolphins hundreds of yards wide. California Sea Lions are perhaps most common to the Midriff’s with a large rookery just two miles from the retreat.

Three orders of marine birds — arctic, temperate, and tropical can be spotted here. The islands are inhabited by more than 50 species including Blue Footed Boobies, Brown Pelicans, Royal Terns, Frigate Birds, Cormorants, Turkey Vultures and Osprey. Over 95% of the world’s population of Heermans Gulls and Elegant Terns breed on nearby Rasa Island; a national bird sanctuary, found a short 15 miles from Las Animas by boat.

The stunning Sonoran Desert also offers truly unique plant life as well. More than 20 cactus species thrive here, 70% of which are indigenous to Baja. In the desert along the coast, you will also find Boojum and Elephant trees, Giant Cardon Cactus (more than 60 ft. tall) and Ironwood, all growing with forest-like density near the retreat.

For information on packages offered year-round by Baja AirVentures, call (800) 221-9283 or visit:  www.bajaairventures.com

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