The more time one spends along Baja's coastline the more it becomes evident that the ocean tides play an important role in the various aspects of daily Baja life. It's nice to understand a little bit about tides before heading to Baja, and just a little knowledge can make any Baja adventure more fun.

      For starters lets go with the big picture. The cycles of high and low tides are mostly caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon against the earth's surface. And it is the specific location of the sun and the moon throughout each day that causes the ongoing variations in those tidal hieghts.

      Usually there are two high tides and two low tides each day. They follow each other in roughly 6 hour cycles...high tide, then low tide, then high tide, then low get the drift (pardon the pun). So you can pretty much count on two high tides and two low tides every day.

      The height to which these tides rise and fall to differs every day. Some days the tides run somewhat average, and some days (depending upon the alignment of the sun and the moon) they can be extremely high or low. How high or low the tides are can affect various vacation related issues in Baja.

      As an example, in some places in Baja the surf breaks better at low tide (Costa Azul), and in some cases it breaks even better at v-e-r-y low tides (Scorpion Bay). And there are places in Baja where the sand is too shallow at low tide where the waves break best at medium or high tide (Punta Conejo).

      Another example is Baja boat ramps. Some of the boat ramps, such as the boat ramp at the harbor in Loreto, are marginally usable at extremely low tides.

      Thinking about motoring up the Mulege River in a boat or inflatable to take some pictures? At low tide you have a good chance of getting stuck, so plan your adventure at medium to high tide.

      Clamming in Baja is a ton of fun, but clamming at high tide can be frustrating and non-productive. Low and very low tides work best for good clamming. Low tide also makes it easier to dive for clams that are located offshore.

      Even something as simple as walking along the beach can be more enjoyable with the proper tide planning. At high tide the ocean tends to gobble up most of the hard flat sand down by the water that is easiest to walk on, leaving the less convenient sloping sand to trek on. Still fun, but a bit more work.

      Snorkeling in Baja is also best at certain tides. At low tide some of Baja's best snorkeling areas are too shallow to float in, so waiting for the tide to rise is sometimes best (such as Punta Pescador). Also, visibility tends to increase as the tides run from low to high.

      Kayakers usually do best with higher tides, giving them a few more inches of clearance between the bottom of the kayak and the top of nearby reefs and rocks. Bahia Concepcion is an example of a great kayak location that benefits from a higher tide.

      Even pilots need to keep an eye on the tides in Baja. Ask any pilot who has tried to land on the airstrip behind Alfonsina's at Gonzaga Bay during a very high tide. This runway can be under 2 feet of water at times!

      On Carlos Fiesta's 2,000 mile SOLO BAJA CIRCUMNAVIGATION the tides played an important part in how far offshore he anchored his boat each night before going to sleep. Waking up in the morning with your boat stranded on the sand can be a bit embarrasing.

      It's easy to make tide planning a part of your next trip to Baja. Most coastal Boat and Marine stores give away pocket-size annual tide charts to customers as gifts. These puppies fit in your pocket or wallet, and are very easy to reference when you plan your next coastal adventure.

      For a quick review of Baja's tides visit the web site below. Enjoy!








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