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Baja California: Whales & Wildness

Olivia Zimmerman

Expedition Ship
National Geographic
Sea Lion / Sea Bird

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Baja California: Whales & Wildness

Olivia Zimmerman

Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula features a stunning landscape with juxtapositions at every turn. Sea shells scatter around seven-foot cacti, prickly pear grow feet from colorful crabs, vultures soar above turquoise waters. The desert meets the sea in this endlessly fascinating wilderness.

Uninhabited islands hug the coastline of the Sea of Cortez, offering a welcome reprieve from the bustle of Cabo San Lucas. It’s easy to feel at peace here among the gentle breeze and warming sun, as you hear the distant call of a cormorant. Marine life thrives below the surface of jewel hued waters, from schools of vibrant triggerfish to breaching humpback whales.

The National Geographic Sea Bird was our home for our eight-day expedition, allowing us intimate access to remote beaches and hidden coves.

Our days were spent exploring the diverse island terrain, and engaging with the charismatic marine life. I will never forget swimming with 40-foot whale sharks - a gentle giant, breathtaking in size and beauty - or playing with curious sea lion pups in Los Islotes. Baja is truly a wildlife lover’s paradise.

Experienced guides ensured we didn't miss a moment this majestic region has to offer, from rerouting to cruise at a safe distance alongside a mother humpback and her baby, to waking us up to watch dozens of dolphins playing in the sunrise. We knew we were in expert hands! These magical moments in the Sea of Cortez were a wonderful surprise reacquainting us with the child-like fascinination of our youth.

As I said farewell to our maritime home, I rejoiced that there are still such wild places in this world. Reconnecting with nature was incredibly restorative, and I promised myself I would someday return to this quiet treasure, such a short flight from home.

Baja may just be North America’s best kept secret!

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Photo Credit: Olivia Zimmerman (Cacti and Bay, Ship, Sunset); Hernando Vallenas (Fish, Whale)