- National Geographic
Sea Lion/Sea Bird
- Expedition Ship
- 62 Capacity
- 8 Days
- Price from
Summary : Each winter, gray whales migrate from Alaska to Baja California, where they breed, give birth and nurture their young. Seeing them close at hand is one of the most thrilling wildlife experiences in the world, and this expedition to Baja California's whale lagoons and Sea of Cortez gives you the chance to be among them. Baja is one of the most exciting, unspoiled and untraveled parts of our world. During your adventure, you will walk on uninhabited islands, seek out rare desert flowers and cacti, snorkel with colorful fish, kayak in pristine waters, and enjoy breathtaking mountain vistas—all in one extraordinary journey! All departures will have a certified photo instructor onboard.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling
Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
Free Subscription: Complimentary 1-year subscription to National Geographic Magazine (one per booking).
$5,990 to $7,730
Fly to La Paz. Upon arrival, transfer across the Baja Peninsula to San Carlos and board your ship.
Bahia Magdalena is one of the main breeding and calving areas for the California gray whale. Each winter, the whales make the longest migration of any mammal — south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and raise their calves in these sheltered waters. During your days in this otherworldly place, you'll have the opportunity to not only observe these enormous yet gentle animals from the ship, but also at water level from your Zodiacs. Because of your guide's experience and knowledge of Baja's waters, they have enjoyed consistent success in achieving "friendly encounters" with gray mother and calf pairs. While they would never presume to predict Nature's behavior, it is highly likely that you will have the privilege of an up-close and personal sighting.
In kayaks and Zodiacs you’ll explore the canals of the mangrove swamps. Bird watching here can be excellent — magnificent frigate birds, pelicans, cormorants, terns and great blue herons, are among the species you might see.
Today, you cruise past the spectacular Friars Rocks at Land's End. For those who wish, you can arrange a visit to the historic town center of San Jose del Cabo.
The afternoon is spent at the Gorda Banks sea mount, a gathering place for whales and dolphins. Humpback whales are often sighted here at this time of the year. See tail lobbing, flipper slapping and breaching. Marine biologists and Naturalists are always available to inform and enlighten you with their knowledge and their experience. Not only do they know where best to look for wildlife, their passion and respect for the area is infectious — whether you ask a question or two or spend entire afternoons or evenings in their company.
With deeply indented shorelines and dramatically eroded cliff faces, Los Islotes and Isla Espiritu Santo are two of the most beautiful islands in the Sea of Cortez. Swim and snorkel here. Don mask, flippers and snorkel and experience the thrill of swimming with the curious sea lions. Observe the impressive geological past of these islands from a kayak: see tons of compacted volcanic ash covered with solidified lava floods just yards from the shore. Brown pelicans, gulls, wandering tattlers, great blue herons and boobies are all part of the landscape. It is also home to the endemic black jack rabbit — with any luck, you may spot one. There are possibilities for long walks or lazy beachcombing. Finish the day with a beach barbecue complete with campfire and a star-filled sky.
Today is a day with the luxury of no specific plan. You may spend the morning whale watching in the waters around Isla Danzante, an area that has proven to be one of the best for finding blue whales, bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins. Rich in nutrients, the Sea of Cortez is home to a huge variety of fish: king angelfish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, damselfish and the beautifully colored parrotfish. Explore one of the many lovely, uninhabited islands such as Isla San Jose or Isla Santa Catalina, famous for the 12-foot wavy barrel cactus. Whether walking, kayaking or watching from the Bridge, you’ll observe the great diversity of bird life — ladder-backed woodpeckers, Costa’s hummingbirds, Gila woodpeckers and verdin.
Disembark after breakfast in La Paz and drive to the airport for your flights home.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Some departures travel in reverse, from La Paz to San Carlos, making all the same stops.
1/17/2015, 1/31/2015, 2/14/2015, 2/28/2015, 3/14/2015
Certified Photo Instructor:
Every expedition aboard the Sea Lion/Sea Bird will offer a certified photo instructor. Guests of any interest or skill level can rely on assistance with their camera model, instruction on elements of composition and more, plus useful shooting tips—in the field, where it counts!
National Geographic Photographer: (Select Departures)
Joining the expedition team will be a National Geographic photographer.
All accommodations aboard ship or in hotels per itinerary or similar; all meals and non-alcoholic beverages aboard the ship; meals on land as indicated; transfers to and from group flights; shore excursions; sightseeing and entrance fees; special access permits; use of sea kayaks; tips (except to ship's crew), taxes and service charges; services of ship's physician on most voyages; services of expedition staff.
Air transportation; extensions; passport, visa, immigration fees; meals not indicated; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, email and laundry; gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Ralph Lee Hopkins, © Michael S Nolan