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“Excellent Service”

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Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
McLean, Virginia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Excellent Service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2014

This was a fun trip with our family. We participated in many of the activities that the other reviewers mentioned, including fishing, hiking, kayaking and whale-watching. The meals were delicious although my 10-year-old daughter found them a little spicy. To the credit of the kitchen staff, they offered to make quesadillas when this happened, and my daughter said they were the best quesadillas she's ever had.

The guides (Andy and Tom) were excellent. They were very focused on customer service, making sure that we were well taken care of. Tom made excellent margaritas each night before dinner, and they did a great job on the hikes and boat trips. As it was New Year's Eve during our trip, they build a nice bonfire on the beach that night to help celebrate the holiday. They were pretty knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the area, and the various animals, fish, and birds we encountered. They also make sure you have everything you need as far as supplies in your yurt. They were also the pilots that transport you back and forth from the retreat to San Diego. Great job guys!

My wife, 2 kids and I stayed in a 4-person "family" yurt (Yurt #3 out of 8 total guest yurts), which was conveniently next to the dining yurt. This yurt had solid walls, as opposed to some of the other yurts which had fabric walls. The downside to this yurt was that you had to pour water into the toilet each time you wanted to flush. A barrel of sea water was stationed outside the yurt, and a 2-gallon bucket was provided to transport water from the barrel to the toilet. Other yurts had composting toilets, which would have been much better. Another downside was that this yurt had no accommodation for the solar shower bags that the other yurts had. Instead we were given a 5-gallon bucket of fresh water and a heating element. My recommendation is that they upgrade this yurt to have the better toilet and accommodation for the solar shower bag.

My final comment is about the weather. While it was warm (low 70s F) during our trip, the wind was fairly strong, making it feel colder than it actually was. Sweatshirts and/or light-to-medium jackets were needed early and late in the day and at night. Also, at this time of year, the water temperature is in the low 60s, making it even cold with a wet suit (which they provide). The wind also makes the water in the Sea of Cortez fairly choppy by each afternoon, so I'd recommend constraining the water activities to the mornings.

Overall I'd recommend this lodge/retreat because of the great customer service and fun activities, but suggest that they upgrade the plumbing facilities in the yurts.

Room Tip: We had Yurt #3...see comments in the review
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank NOVAFiore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
adventureguy2, Guest Relations Manager at Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge, responded to this review, January 17, 2014
Happy New Year NOVAFiore;

Thanks so much for your family holiday visit and great review. What a great eco-adventure vacation you provided your kids. Way to go Dad!

We will make sure both Andy and Tom read your great review. They will be very excited to see this.

As you know Las Animas Wilderness Lodge is WAY OFF the tourist path and everything comes in by boat. Being so isolated and private is one of things that our guests love. But operationally is does add to some challenges :-)

We really appreciate your suggestions. Your suggestions are on our ongoing list of improvements and expansion of amenities. :-)

Thanks for posting photos of your family trip here and on our Facebook page. Just search for Baja AirVentures.

Many thanks, The entire Baja AirVentures & Las Animas Wilderness Lodge team :-)
PS As an alumni you are now entitled to great return discounts @ Las Animas or for our "Best of Baja" Whale watching trips, Snorkel with Whale Sharks and more. Please stay in touch.

PPS Many thanks for spreading the word to friends and associates. Referrals are the greatest thanks you can give Tom and Andy so they can run more trips :-)
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107 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Manchester, Vermont
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2013

This was one of the best trips our family has ever taken. Starting out from San Diego we were greeted by our pilot who loaded our gear and off we went, into the wild blue yonder! The flight over the Baja peninsula was breathtaking and soon we were heading down the coast of Baja with the Sea of Cortez on one side and the mountains on the other side. Upon arrival at Bahia de los Angeles we were picked up and then taken to the boats for another trip out to Las Animas, arriving in time for a nice lunch. Our accommodations were just what we expected. Beautiful yurts overlooking the bay would be our home away from home for several days. We all spent the rest of the first day just relaxing, walking the beach and exploring much of the area close to the lodge. Day 2 consisted of a leisurely breakfast made for us by their very talented cooks and then it was off to explore more of the area. One of the highlights of the trip was swimming with the sea lions. Our 2 kids had a ball! We fished every day, dug for clams filling buckets, hiked much of the area and then were cooked a delicious evening meal once again. Best clam dinner we have ever eaten too! Day 3 was more adventure, in boats and on foot. Never at a loss for activities, our kids were constantly on the go! The late afternoons were spent with other guests at the main lodge/yurt, enjoying cocktails on the beach. Dinners were fabulous too! And then, the stars at night! Absolutely beyond belief! We can't wait to visit again and will be bringing more family and friends! This was the best of the best!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Mr J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
adventureguy2, Public Relations Manager at Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge, responded to this review, November 6, 2013
So glad you and your family had a great time at Las Animas Wilderness Lodge.

One of the comments we most get is that there's something to do for everyone, even kids and parents - together and apart. You get to be as active or relaxed as you want.

We are blessed to have the sea lion rookery less then a mile from our lodge. It's amazing how curious and friendly they are. Snorkeling with them is a vacation highlight many rave about.

Thanks for sharing your photos here in tripadvisor and other social media channels. Your referrals, comments and return visit is the greatest gift you can give us.

Adventure still lives The entire Baja Airventures team
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San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2013

Ever since I learned to scuba dive 20+ years ago (and learned what a whale shark is!), it has been my goal to be in the water with a whale shark. I researched whale shark 'hot spots' all over the world, hoping to find someplace with consistent sightings rather than the usual 'hit and miss' type of deal. Places like Galapagos Islands, etc; where you just MIGHT get lucky. Amazingly, I stumbled on Kevin and Baja Airventures advertising swims with the whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez. I called and asked how often they actually saw the whale sharks. Kevin told me that because they are wild animals (duh!), there wasn't any kind of guarantee, but in quite a few years of doing this (I'm thinking 13 years?), they had never failed to see whale sharks. Good enough for me! So hubby and I signed up and off we went to San Diego from our home in N. California. Here's where Kevin and his crew really stand out above the rest... they FLY you down in small private planes. No long bus trips over Mexican roads!! Yay! The location is gorgeous and secluded and the food is great... lots of fresh seafood. And the marine life in the Sea of Cortez is something to marvel at. We went out to swim with the whale sharks every morning. (There was an ideal 'window' of time to sight them in the morning). I was hoping that we might see 1 or 2 whale sharks, but there were times when we were constantly surrounded... so cool! We would get in the water to swim with them, and then have to get back in the boat because we were simply exhausted and just watch from the boat. The water is not that clear, partly because it is full of plankton that the whale sharks are feeding on... so when you are in the water you can't see them until they are pretty close. Those in the boat can see from farther away due to the fins sticking above the water. Our naturalist explained that they were juveniles, and they stay in the Bay to feed on the plankton because it is calm and protected there. The juveniles are 'only' about 20 ft. long, whereas adults get up to 45 ft. long. in any case, it usually took all the energy we had to keep up with a juvenile whale shark cruising along feeding. This was repeated every morning we were there. The Mexican government does have restrictions on how close you can get to the sharks, and about touching them. Also there are restrictions for the boats in the small bay where we were snorkeling. However, it was sad to see that many of the whale sharks had scars from boat propellers on their dorsal fins. That said, it was such a pleasant surprise to find 'almost guaranteed' whale shark sightings right in our own backyard (relatively) from N. California... rather than flyng half-way round the world for a 'maybe I'll get lucky' type of deal. The afternoons had lots of choices... I am pretty much of a wimp, and the morning swimming wore me out (plus the afternoons were just plain hot!), so I spent most afternoons relaxing and listening to my audiobook. But my husband did lots of other things... fishing, cruising around looking at the sealife, etc. The guides even spent time teaching one guest to sail. It's pretty much "whatever you want, we'll try to make it happen'. One morning our naturalist took us on a walk and clamming... the clams showed up in appetizers that evening. Kevin and his crew took good care of us. Everything was personalized, no 'cattle car' mentality here. Now it is time for another vacation, and we've always wanted to see the gray whales (Moms & calves) on the other side of the Baja Peninsula, so I've just contacted Kevin about that, and it's in the works. Swimming with whale sharks is an experience that is highly recommended, and getting there with Baja Airventures is the way to do it!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank 44CalifGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
adventureguy2, Public Relations Manager at Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge, responded to this review, November 6, 2013
Thank you so much for your recent visit and great comments on how your whale shark snorkeling trip with us helped you fulfill a 20 year goal. And as you experienced, there's so many fun and relaxing options for all.

Yes we are blessed to me in an pristine location were nature puts on an awesome show year round.

Thanks for spreading the word about our hidden jewel.Your positive comments, referrals and return visit, is the greatest thanks you can give Kevin and the whole team. We would love it if you could posting some of your trip photos here in tripadvisor and our fan page on Facebook.

Many, many thanks from the entire Baja AirVentures team.
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Eagle Point, Oregon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2013

My husband and I traveled to Las Animas in early October and can't say enough about our experience. We love the Gulf of California, and this area is truly outstanding for the stark but rich scenic beauty, the diversity of the geology and the plant & animal life on land and sea, the stars, the sunsets and sunrises, and the range of experiences that Las Animas and Baja Airventures offers. We saw, photographed and swam with whale sharks daily, which was beyond awesome. We swam several times with a large colony of sea lions, who were very playful and endearing. We snorkeled, kayaked, fished, hiked, relaxed, walked on the beach, hunted for shells, and bird watched. Our pilot and guide, Andy, was outstanding. His knowledge, competence, friendliness and enthusiasm added a lot to the trip. The accommodations were nicer than we expected. While the camp is rustic, the yurts and common areas are well designed, roomy, clean, well cared for, and comfortable. The memory foam king bed was appreciated and we enjoyed the hot solar showers at the end of the day. The food was excellent: very tasty (the soups, chicken enchiladas, fish tacos, and flan were favorites) with plenty of fresh fruit and veggies. The cooks were very accommodating to requests. The fresh (caught that day) sashimi was a real treat each evening. All the staff was very friendly, helpful, and did their jobs very well. The boat captain Federico handled the boat really well in all conditions, and knew how to find and get us close to the whale sharks. The remoteness of the camp adds a great deal to the uniqueness of the experience - no phones, cars, few other boats or people around, just nature in all its beauty, plenty of adventure, and lots of peace and quiet. You can be as active or as quiet as you want - the staff are great in dealing with a range of physical abilities and interests. The ability to fly in and out is a huge advantage. It was hard to come back to real life after such an incredible vacation. My husband and I both highly recommend it, and look forward to returning - hopefully this winter for some whale watching! It's a unique experience, a great value for your travel dollar, and a magical way to spend a week of your life!

Room Tip: The deluxe yurts have air conditioning but we did not use it - the weather was perfect that time of...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank nancypataniabrown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
adventureguy2, Public Relations Manager at Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge, responded to this review, November 2, 2013
Wow Nancy, after reading you and your husband's whale shark snorkeling and Las Animas Wilderness Lodge adventure, I was thinking we need to have you on our marketing communications team :-)

Your ability to communicate excitement, unique experiences and the over all Baja eco-adventure magic that we strive to provide, is awesome.

WE really look forward to staying in touch, seeing some of your photos posted here in tripadvisor and our Facebook Fan Page : https://www.facebook.com/BajaAirventures

Many thanks again for sharing your great comments. See you in for grey Whale watching ( or maybe petting) Feb. - March. Remember as an alumni you are now eligible alumni discounts and more.

With gratitude, Tim Warren ( Kevin's brother)
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Encinitas, California
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2013

We went to the Las Animas Wilderness retreat in the spring and what a great adventure we had. We saw Fin Whales,Seals,Dolphins,we went on nature walks,digging for clams ect. The food was very good and the beds were much nicer than we expected. It is a beutiful area, and very quiet. The place is a bit rustic but we are into camping and this was an upgrade from staying in a tent. I would recomend this for anyone looking for a soft adventure in Baja.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank john f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
adventureguy2, Guest Relations Manager at Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge, responded to this review, October 16, 2013
Thanks Jon for visiting with your son this year. What a great way to have some quality time in the wilderness without having to haul all the equipment and gear. We have had many family get togethers and special events.

Thanks for your comments, reviews and sharing.

Las Animas Wilderness Lodge is in a rustic natural setting and we want to keep the experience pure. Although we do strive and have added many western comforts, we NEVER intend to be like a traditional beach resort or hotel you might find in Cabo or La Paz.

Our idea of a swim up bar, is you wade out into the clear ocean on our private sandy beach and we will bring you cold cervezas or margaritas. :-)

See you next time.
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San Diego, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2013

Having taken numerous vacations throughout Mexico over the years I must say our trip to Las Animas was definitely a one of a kind. For those who are looking to get off the grid and experience truly natural unspoiled beauty this is the trip for you. We traveled to Las Animas in the Fall with family and friends and enjoyed a great experience. The lodging had most of the comforts of home and the food was great. We enjoyed great weather and clear star filled nights every day and night. The nature experience was amazing Whales, Dolphins, Sea Lions, and morenIn addition to the the great fishing and clamming we did as well. Las Animas is a great place to get away from it all and spend Quality time with friends and Family.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank D B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
adventureguy2, Guest Relations Manager at Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge, responded to this review, October 16, 2013
Thanks DB for your visit and review. Having an accomplished Mexico traveler like you stay and appreciate what we have achieved with some western comforts while maintaining the pristine natural setting is appreciated. :-)

Mother nature in the Midriff Island region of the Sea of Cortez certainly put on a great show that is never dull. You never know what magic is going to show up. We go with the flow and make the best out of what is happening in the moments.

See you next time. Saludos. Baja Kevin and the entire team
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Leucadia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2013

I have traveled Baja widely, since 1973 as a surfer, fisherman, freediver, and wildlife observer. I was raised within 20 miles of the border, and know the region and people well.

I was so gratified to discover Las Animas, and to be hosted by BajaAirVentures. As a Baja veteran, and former guide for many trips among my family and friends, I can respect and understand what this unique adventure lodge has built and achieved. I've been about 5 or 6 times now, and plan to go again. I go at least every 5 years with my closest childhood friends, and I've been with my wife too, who thoroughly enjoyed it.

Baja is rugged, one of earth's most unique environments. To have a fly-in lodge, with good (and authentic) food, comfortable accommodations (sure, it gets hot some times, but most evenings are lovely... and worth it!), and plenty of equipment there (you don't have to haul yourself), is a treat for veteran Baja travelers and newbies. The wildlife is amazing, especially underwater, and the landscape is lunar and very other-worldly. It was a clean, sun bleached, ancient primordial quality that touches the soul. It is easy to fall into reverie there, spend some alone time (it's remote and no other people come in), and deeply shift perspective in short period of time.

This is not 4-Star travel, and you wouldn't want to expect that. It's priced right for what it is, and it is well-worth it in the opinion of us veterans who know the alternatives for anyone interested in seeing Baja. This place is one of the last remaining un-touristed-out, lovely places that truly represents Baja as it once was.

It's challenging to run a lodge in this area of the world, and I am impressed and appreciative of the good job the crew has done there.

I would recommend it to anyone with a bit of adventure in 'em, a flexible and open attitude, and appreciation for good-value for the money. Go for the nature and the uniqueness, enjoy the comforts provided (know they're twice as cozy as most of us ever had in Baja), feel lucky to be whisked in and out by boat and plane (feels like James Bond, instead of long hours driving on sketchy Baja roads with sketchier drivers), and soak it in.

Most of us come back. For good reason. I look forward to, and am saving my pennies for, the next adventure. Love getting on that plane and then being there in within a couple of hours. Very dreamy.

Gracias!

Room Tip: If you really really need temperature control, make that clear when booking.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jim C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
adventureguy2, Guest Relations Manager at Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge, responded to this review, October 16, 2013
Muchos gracias Jim for your great reflection on Baja travel, adventure and the unique nature of what we have created for eco-adventure travelers.

Your story and mine sounds like what our family also experienced living in San Diego, loving adventure and many trips down to Baja. Yes it's true.. The road can be sketchy. That's why we love flying people down and avoiding the curvy roads, driving time and of course the often 3 hour+ wait at the border...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on our wilderness lodge and why it's perfect for the those wanting nature, eco-adventures but not roughing it too much. And certainly having an open flexible mind during an adventure vacation yields more fun and options for all. Things and nature can be unpredictable. That's why they call it "Adventure Travel".

Thanks again for sharing your adventurous and nature loving spirit with us. We look forward to many more to come.

Saludos, Baja Kevin and Team
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Additional Information about Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge

Property: Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge
Address: 100 Highway # 1 | Boat Accessible Only :-), Bahia de Los Angeles 22980, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Norte > Ensenada Municipality > Bahia de Los Angeles
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Bahia de Los Angeles
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Since 1989 Baja Airventure's Las Animas Eco-Lodge & soft adventure Tours is the only remote boat-in lodge in the Sea of Cortez with 1000's of happy guests. All-inclusive lodging packages from San Diego include R/T air, delicious food, beverages and daily water, nature & sport activities. Look forward to total privacy and relaxation with group size averaging 12 - 14. We cater to all age groups. Come to Las Animas Wilderness Lodge for the soft eco-adventure of a lifetime! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Las Animas Wilderness Retreat Hotel Bahia De Los Angeles
Baja AirVentures Las Animas Wilderness Lodge Bahia De Los Angeles, Mexico

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