Villa Santa Cruz

Yacht Charter in La Paz with - Beauty in our Backyard

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thanks to our friends at - a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel advice on Baja California, Mexico - we spent the day aboard a spectacular yacht in the Sea of Cortez, explored the beautiful Balandra Beach and swam with whale sharks.  While our guests at Villa Santa Cruz, Boutique Hotel on the Beach, are usually quite content enjoying the Villa and Todos Santos, this day trip to La Paz is a "must do" for any guest of Villa Santa Cruz and any traveler to Baja Sur.

The Samurai - what a beauty!

Arriving bright and early to the La Paz marina after an hour drive from Todos Santos, we were welcomed by Kenny Busick, the owner and captain of our vessel for the day, The One Baja's 56' Samurai Luxury Yacht.  Over piping hot coffee and breakfast on board, we met up with the team and other Baja "ambassadors" with whom we would spend the day.  The impressive list of locals included Tim Means, a passionate Baja conservationist and owner of the outdoor adventure company, Baja Expeditions, Roy Stock - Principal of Wide Open Baja, an off road touring company, James Curtis - Owner of the Cortez Club, the best diving and watersports center in La Paz, who regaled us with amazing tales of personal encounters with whales and dolphins in the Sea of Cortez, and Restaurateurs Miguel Ochoa (Hotel Casa Tota and La Santena Restaurant & Bar), Geoffrey Lujan (Las Tres Virgines Restaurant in La Paz) and Rafael Rodriguez (Salsipuedes Bar & Restaurant in La Paz) and more!

Once we settled in on the yacht, we were soon heading north through the La Paz Bay.  With the morning sun on our shoulders, it was a beautiful sight watching the coast from the sea.  Within minutes, the crew on the top deck spotted a friendly whale shark near our boat.  Jim Pickell, the CEO of, was the only one brave enough to jump in and get up close and personal with him.

Whale Shark Mouth

Jim with the Whale Shark

We made our way to Balandra Beach, one of the most breath taking stretches in all of Baja Sur.  With crystal clear water, powder white sand and gently lapping waves, an afternoon here is one spent in paradise.  Captain Kenny anchored the boat in the bay and let us explore.

Beautiful Balandra Beach

Kayaking around Balandra

Balandra's Famous Mushroom Rock

Docking back at the Marina, we were sad to say good-bye to all our new friends and to such a great day out on the water.  We'd like to extend a huge thank you to everyone at for such a fun day.  We look forward to sending our Villa Santa Cruz guests out for the same adventure!

General Information:

Location.  La Paz is located approximately one hour northeast of Todos Santos by car.  With a completed four-lane highway, the drive is easy and quick.  The Samurai is located here.

About the Samurai.  The Samurai is a luxury yacht for cruising, fishing and family fun.  It is a luxurious, smooth riding stable platform that offers a 20 knot cruise, great for sport fishing and perfect for multi-island exploration or long range voyages, manufactured by Ronin Shipbuilding in Puerto Rico.  She is completely self-sufficient with two generators, four air conditioners, 800 per day fresh water maker, three private staterooms, two private heads, complete chef's galley, two custom BBQ's, main dining room and underwater lights for night time fishing action.

Charter Includes.  They typical day includes full breakfast, lunch and snacks as well as beer and wine. Guests can take the dinghy to explore beaches, snorkel, kayak, dive, fish, paddleboard and more.

Cost.  The cost varies with the number of people, itinerary and menu, but is usually around $3,000 USD/day (plus 10-20% tip).  Overnight trips are quoted upon request.

Reservations.  Reservations can be made through Samurai's listing on

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Day Trip to El Triunfo: An Unexpectedly Delightful Day

Monday, June 13, 2011

Itching to get out on the open road and explore a new area of Baja Sur, we decided to take a day trip to El Triunfo, a small historical mining town about 1 hour northeast of Villa Santa Cruz and Todos Santos. Up in the mountains, the town itself is very quiet and very quaint, but with some surprisingly notable things to see. With only a few restaurants, some mining ruins, and a lovely mission, you need just a few hours to get a good look at El Triunfo.

To begin our afternoon, we first dined at the delicious Caffe El Triunfo for a casual lunch. Serving amazing homemade pizzas, pasta dishes and enormous salads, the Caffe seems to be the center of life in El Triunfo. We enjoyed lounging in the café with iced teas (a nice respite from the heat), watching a steady flow of customers, and chatting with some of the local expats who have made El Triunfo their home. The food is simple, but wonderful, and the homemade bread and sweet treats for sale at the counter are worth the trip on their own.


After lunch, we strolled behind the restaurant to see the remains of the silver and gold mines that were active in El Triunfo from the 1860s to the 1920s (these mines are the reason the town came to be). While most of the structures were crumbling and decrepit, the one beacon that remains is an impressive 35-meter-high smokestack designed by Gustav Eiffel. While it is no Eiffel Tower, it is très magnifique. During the late 1800s, Eiffel traveled throughout Latin America designing a variety of structures and made a stop in El Triunfo – what a wonderful legacy for the town.


Equally as impressive as the Eiffel smokestack, the collection of pianos on display at the El Triunfo Piano Museum is both remarkable and a bit bizarre. The Museum boasts pianos and other instruments from New York, Chicago, Germany, Austria, etc. and are from all different historic time periods. For such a small town like El Triunfo, it is quite unbelievable to see vintage pianos from around the world collected and exhibited in this unlikely location.

After wrapping up our walk through the Piano Museum and wandering through the old Mission, it was time to head home. On the drive out of the hills of El Triunfo and back to the beaches of Todos Santos, we were quite content with our day trip. With a lovely café and noteworthy historical sites, we will definitely recommend this excursion to our Villa Santa Cruz guests.