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.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$7,530 to $10,960
Upon arrival in San Jose del Cabo, transfer to La Paz and check in to the CostaBaja Resort & Spa, located on the shore of the Sea of Cortez, just south of Espiritu Island.
This morning is on your own to relax and take advantage of the resort and spa amenities. Check-out is in the late morning and then depart for lunch at a local restaurant in La Paz. After lunch, transfer to San Carlos and embark the National Geographic Venture.
Explore the ever-shifting sand dunes of Isla Magdalena, on a cross-island walk to one of the most pristine beaches in the Pacific. Bird watching here can be excellent—magnificent frigatebirds, pelicans, cormorants, terns and great blue herons, ibis, whimbrels and willets are among the species you might see. It’s not unusual to see forty species of birds in just one day along these fertile shorelines where they refuel for their destinations ahead.
Protected since 1993 as part of UNESCO’s Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino, Laguna San Ignacio is one of the world’s most important breeding sites for California gray whales. Each winter, during their long migration, gray whales travel south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and raise their calves in these sheltered waters. Observe migrating whales from the ship and up close from local pangas and the Zodiacs. Watch for osprey, Brant geese and countless other breeding and migratory bird species, as well as bottlenose dolphins, during your explorations.
As you travel south along the Pacific 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 during a day at sea.
This morning cruise past Friars Rocks at Land’s End. This morning, choose to visit the historic town center of San José del Cabo, or join a birdwatching walk along the local estero. The afternoon is spent at the Gorda Banks seamount or La Fortuna, gathering places for whales, especially humpbacks, dolphins, and other sea life.
At Los Islotes, don flippers, a mask and snorkel (provided) and swim with curious sea lions. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon to swim, kayak or hike at Isla Espíritu Santo. Brown pelicans, gulls and boobies are all part of the landscape. Finish the day with a relaxing beach barbecue complete with a bonfire and a star-filled sky.
The plan is flexible today, as you explore some of the Sea’s many uninhabited islands. Go ashore at Isla San Francisco, where a sweeping arc of white sand beach beckons you kayaks and standup paddleboard. Hike to the nearby ridge for unparalleled views, or explore nearby tide pools with your Naturalists. One of the larger islands in the Sea of Cortez, San Jose offers several landing possibilities depending on conditions and the whim of the moment. Photograph the ochre cliffs of the island's eastern shore, hike an "enchanted" arroyo, or visit the abandoned salt works to the west. Search for whales, dolphins and other marine life this afternoon among the islands of the southern Sea of Cortez.
Disembark in La Paz after breakfast and transfer to Los Cabos airport for flights home or on to your next adventure.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary (La Paz to San Carlos): 1/12/2019, 1/28/2019, 2/13/2019, 3/1/2019
NOTE: This ship is NEW for this season! As with any new vessel, we strongly suggest selecting a departure date at least six weeks after launch. Please ask for details.
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.
Transfers between airport and ship if booked on group flights; one hotel night in La Paz (pre- or post- depending on when voyage departs); accommodations and meals as indicated per the itinerary; excursions as per itinerary; kayaking, use of snorkeling equipment and wetsuits; entrance fees; port charges and service taxes. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport; visa; immigration fees; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, Internet, etc.; gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos: © Sven-Olaf Lindblad (Dolphin and Zodiac); Ralph Lee Hopkins (Sunset, Photographer, Cactus, Zodiac); Michael S. Nolan (Gray Whale and Calf, Whale and Zodiac, Sea Lion): Jack Swenson (Kayaking)