Summary : Each year California gray whales pause during their migrations to birth and nurse their calves in the birthing lagoons on the Pacific side of Baja California. Your ship becomes your mobile basecamp and you’re immersed in the life-cycle of these gentle giants, making daily Zodiac forays for up-close observations, before heading out on an itinerary that features these opportunities:
- See California gray whales up close
- Hike desert islands, sculpted sand dunes, and see a variety of wildlife in the Sea of Cortez
- Snorkel with sea lions and search for marine mammals
- Experience the Baja California undersea
- Benefit from this tour operator's 30+ years of experience and relationships in Baja California to see all you came for and more
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
Receive a FREE DVD chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$5,990 to $9,990
Upon arrival in Loreto, transfer to San Carlos and embark National Geographic Venture. Tonight, anchor off the coast of Isla Santa Margarita.
Awake anchored in Bahia Almejas, the southernmost part of the Bay. Stop at a large frigatebird colony enroute to the spectacular whale grounds of Bahía Almejas. Whales in this part of the bay tend to be very active, seemingly oblivious to our presence so settle in for some great experiences. During lunch, the ship will reposition to Isla Magdalena where you’ll head to shore to explore the ever-shifting sand dunes, on a cross-island walk to one of the most pristine beaches in the Pacific. Bird watching here can be excellent, it’s not unusual to see forty species of birds in just one day along these fertile shorelines.
Each winter, during their long migration, gray whales travel south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and give birth and raise their calves in these sheltered waters. Transfer to López Mateos and spend the full day observing, and with luck, interacting with these majestic creatures. Together with savvy local fishermen, venture out in Zodiacs to view the numerous mother-calf pairs that thrive in this sheltering region. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before heading back to the ship in late afternoon.
Kickstart your morning with stretching hosted by your onboard wellness specialist on the sun deck. After breakfast, explore the vast mangrove system via kayak, stand up paddleboard, and Zodiac, and learn how these massive ecosystems support their surroundings. This afternoon, sail out through “La Entrada” as you leave Magdalena Bay behind. Traveling south along the coast of the peninsula, there is a chance of seeing a wide variety of marine life, including the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale. Hear naturalist talks and learn photography basics.
Ease into the day with a majestic sunrise over the iconic Friars Rocks at Land’s End. Spend the rest of the morning searching the seas of Gorda Banks seamount, a renowned gathering place for whales, especially humpbacks, dolphins, and other sea life. Following lunch, set out to snorkel the pristine reefs of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, one of the most successful national marine parks in the world, and chat with locals about their advocacy to protect this unique place.
Awake this morning off the rocky island of Los Islotes, where you’ll don flippers, a mask, and snorkel and swim with curious sea lions. Then reposition to the colorful city of La Paz to garner insight into the culture of Mexico, soak in the vibrant street art, and stroll the lively “Malecon” on a guided walking tour. Dinner will be an unforgettable cultural experience, complete with local cuisine, dancing, and folklore.
The plan is flexible to explore some of the Sea’s many uninhabited islands. Your Captain and Expedition Leader will choose the perfect combination of activities for the day. You may go ashore at Isla San Francisco, where a sweeping arc of white sand beach beckons you to kayak or stand up paddleboard. Or, hike to the nearby ridge for unparalleled views over Isla Danzante with your naturalist. You may also visit the abandoned salt works on Isla Carmen. You’ll get a chance to see the great diversity offered in the Sea of Cortez, and with some luck, spot the amazing wildlife.
Disembark in Loreto after breakfast and transfer to the city center. Here you can choose to visit the first mission in Baja California, as well as the nearby museum to learn more about what makes this town so special. Enjoy free time to explore the quaint shops and vibrant side streets. After lunch, transfer to Loreto Airport for flights home.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary (Loreto/San Carlos): 1/11/2020, 1/25/2020, 2/8/2020, 2/22/2020, 3/7/2020
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Optional Post-voyage Extension: Blue and Fin Whales
The extension will include an excursion into the waters of the Sea of Cortez and Bahia Loreto National Park with the possibility of encountering blue or fin whales, the two largest animals in the world. In addition, you will visit the Jesuit-founded Misión San Francisco Javier de Viggé-Biaundó and learn about the rich history of the mission and the surrounding area. 3 days from $1,190 double occupancy; $1,460 single occupancy.
Transfers between airport and ship if booked on group flights; shipboard accommodations; kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding; video chronicle of your trip; gear on loan (snorkeling gear and wetsuit); all meals onboard ship; soft drinks onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport; visa; extension; immigration fees; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, Internet, spa, etc.; gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: Jay Dickman (Whale Eye); Ralph Lee Hopkins (Sunset, Photographer, Cactus, Zodiac); Sven-Olaf Lindblad (Dolphin and Zodiac); Michael S. Nolan (Gray Whale and Calf, Whale and Zodiac, Sea Lion); Jack Swenson (Kayaking)