Summary : Experience the splendid and surprising diversity of the Pacific coast as you explore from Los Angeles to La Paz, Mexico. Discover the region’s world-renowned food and wine, including a private lunch at a boutique vineyard in the world-renowned Valle de Guadalupe. Meet the residents of Isla Natividad, an incredibly successful coop within the Vizcaino Biosphere, and learn the inspiring story of their sustainable fishing practices. Hang out with expedition naturalist as they scour the horizon for migrating whales and nesting birds to share with you. Make images with your certified photo instructor. Enjoy daily morning stretch classes on deck and wellness treatments in the sublime spa. And count on an extraordinary experience—your entire expedition team is committed to doing whatever it takes.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
NEW – National Geographic Global Explorers kids and teen program.
Receive a FREE DVD chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$9,390 to $16,070
Arrive in Los Angeles, where you’ll embark the ship.
Wake to the gentle motion of the ship at anchor off the rocky coasts of the Channel Islands. Stretch your legs and hike on the many trails, looking for some of the bountiful flora and fauna. This area is home to more than 600 plant species, 140 birds, including large colonies of nesting seabirds, and 11 land mammal species, including pinnipeds so there is plenty to see! The island’s isolation has led to adaptation—there are 60 endemic species found nowhere else in the world. In the afternoon, launch the zodiacs and with a little luck spot majestic grey whales as they migrate south.
This morning anchor off Catalina Island. After breakfast, enjoy a session with a Catalina Conservancy member to learn about their work on the island, and join them for a guided walk featuring spectacular views of the coastline and the Catalina backcountry. As you hike, scan the landscape for the impressive sight of the island’s largest, and definitely not endemic mammals—bison. The current herd descends from fourteen bison brought to the island in 1929 for the filming of the Western movie, The Vanishing American. Unfortunately, the bisons’ scene didn’t make the final cut, and due to cost overruns, the film company decided to leave the bison on the island instead of bringing them back to the mainland. Today the herd size is maintained at 150 animals.
After lunch the ship arrives in Avalon Harbor, for a free-range afternoon on your own. Grab a bike and explore downtown Avalon, the island’s only incorporated city, population a little under 5,000. Take the 30-minute (mostly uphill) stroll up Avalon Canyon to visit the Wrigley Monument and The Botanic Garden. In the evening, enjoy a cocktail reception and a behind the scenes visit to an architectural gem: the famous Catalina Casino, built by William Wrigley, Jr. in 1929.
Today, vineyards and culinary marvels await as you explore one of the world’s emerging wine regions, the Valle de Guadalupe. See what the hype is all about and visit a small, family owned vineyard for a private tour, tasting and leisurely lunch. Make a few stops along the way on this full-day tour of this scenic region.
Quintin and the surrounding wetlands—home to more than 400 species, including 23 species of sea birds. Your naturalists will greatly enhance your experience of the avian wonders of the region. And you’ll experience an entirely different habitat on nearby Isla San Martin—with its small lagoon, coastal sand dunes, and salt marshes.
A small volcanic island three miles offshore, Isla San Martino is home to maritime scrub vegetation dominated by drought-resistant shrubs and cacti, including a fascinating endemic, the large Dudleya anthonyi, a.k.a the live-forever plant, an emblem of this region where the desert meets the sea.
In the morning tour the world’s largest salt works, producing nearly seven million tons of salt each year! Learn more about this communities’ efforts as it works to balance this booming industry with the fragile environment that surrounds. After lunch, explore the Ojo de Liebre lagoon via local panga boat. Over 200 species of birds have been identified in the lagoon, including white pelicans, red tailed falcon, white and red egrets, whimbrels and osprey. Enjoy some free-time to explore the town before setting sail for tomorrow’s activities.
Awake in the morning to the beauty of the Islas San Benito. This small group of islands are home to thousands of breeding elephant seals. Explore the colonies via zodiac and learn more about these magnificent creatures. Enjoy lunch while you sail to Isla Natividad for a culturally rewarding afternoon. The community of Isla Natividad serves as a model for sustainability; their exemplary protection of the land and surrounding Vizcaino Biosphere is admired and imitated by other communities seeking sustainability. Explore their local processing plant and see how the fish you enjoy on-board are sustainably harvested.
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 tips and tricks during this day at sea.
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; the species spotted might include magnificent frigate birds, pelicans, cormorants, terns, great blue herons, ibis, whimbrels and willets. Birders take note—it’s not unusual to see as many as forty species of birds in a single day along these fertile shorelines where many species refuel for the long migration ahead.
This morning cruise past Friars Rocks at Land’s End, a stunning photo op. Later in the morning, you’ll have the option to visit the historic town center of San Jose del Cabo, or join a birding walk along the local estero. The afternoon is spent aboard ship in the environs of Gorda Banks seamount or La Fortuna, gathering places for whales, especially humpbacks, plus dolphins and other marine life.
Learn the inspiring story of Cabo Pulmo National Park conservation and snorkel the reef among red fan corals and large schools of fish. Meet some of the locals that understood the benefits of protecting the reef and became active users and advocates of this unique place. Spend the afternoon searching for wildlife in the Sea of Cortez and enjoy a spectacular sunrise.
At Los Islotes, swim with curious sea lions. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon swim, kayak or hike at Isla Espiritu Santo, a gorgeous uninhabited island. Brown pelicans, gulls and boobies are all part of the landscape. Finish the day with a relaxing beach barbecue, complete with a bonfire and star-filled sky.
Disembark in La Paz after breakfast and transfer to Los Cabos airport for flights home. Transportation is provided to Los Cabos Airport for those departing Baja.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
National Geographic Global Explorers:
Developed in conjunction with National Geographic Education, this unique program will offer kids and teens the opportunity to choose cool activities—from earning a Zodiac “driver’s license” to recording wildlife sightings in their Field Notebook—all designed to help them develop what National Geographic Education defines as the attitudes, skills, and knowledge of an explorer. They’ll take part in all kinds of cool activities—like learning about glaciers by making ice cream sundaes, or using glacial ice to paint water colors. They will be encouraged to use their creativity—with photos, videos, music, writing, drawing and more, to tell stories about all they’ll see and do.
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.
Accommodations and meals aboard ship; use of kayaking and snorkeling equipment; park entrance fees; port charges; group transfers from the ship to the Baja airport if booked on the group flights; service taxes. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; individual transfers not mentioned as included; 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 ©: Lindblad Expeditions, Jack Swenson (Kayaking), Sven-Olaf Lindblad (Dolphin and Zodiac), Ralph Lee Hopkins (Sunset Cactus)