Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez a “living aquarium” with its islands designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to an impressive variety of marine mammals and birds. Discover the pure wildness of Baja California and the Sea of Cortez in the most exhilarating way possible: aboard our 62-guest expedition ship.
A Lindblad-National Geographic expedition is arguably the most exhilarating overseas adventure travel experience a person can have. Nothing else comes close to approximating its authenticity and all-five-senses engagement. We offer you the world’s ultimate, authentic expedition experience: Discover the planet’s most remarkable places accompanied by experts able to illuminate all you see, and with cool tools to use to explore up close and personally.
Spend three days at Bahia Magdalena, one of the whales’ main breeding grounds
Hike desert islands and sculpted sand dunes, and see a variety of wildlife in the Sea of Cortez
See California gray whales up close
DAY 1: La Paz/San Carlos/Embark Ship
Arrive in La Paz and drive across the Baja Peninsula to San Carlos to board the ship.
DAYS 2-4: Bahia Magdalena
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 our days in this otherworldly place, we'll have the opportunity to not only observe these enormous yet gentle animals from the ship, but also at water level from our expedition landing craft. Because of our experience and knowledge of Baja's waters, we have enjoyed success in achieving "friendly encounters" with gray mother and calf pairs. While we would never presume to predict Nature's behavior, it is likely that you will have the privilege of an up-close and personal sighting.
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 frigate-birds, pelicans, cormorants, terns and great blue herons are among the species we might see.
DAY 5: Los Cabos and Gorda Banks
Today, we cruise past the spectacular Friars Rocks at Land's End. For those who wish, we will visit the historic town center of San Jose del Cabo.
The afternoon is spent at the Gorda Banks seamount or La Fortuna, gathering places for whales, dolphins and other sea life. 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 experience. Not only do they know where best to look for wildlife, their passion and respect for the area also are infectious, whether you ask a question or two or spend entire afternoons or evenings in their company.
DAY 6: Los Islotes and Isla Espiritu Santo
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 a mask, flippers and snorkel (which we’ll gladly provide with as much guidance as you need), 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 and boobies are all part of the landscape. There are possibilities for long walks or lazy beachcombing. Finish the day with a beach barbecue complete with a bonfire and star-filled sky.
DAY 7: Exploring the Sea of Cortez
Today is a day with the luxury of no specific plan. You may spend time on the lookout for whales, bottlenose and common dolphins, or explore some of the many uninhabited islands such as Isla San Francisco or Isla San Jose, known for its sweeping beaches and arroyos. Bird life may be plentiful, and the nutrient-rich sea is home to an overwhelming variety of fish: king angelfish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, damselfish and the beautiful parrotfish.
DAY 8: La Paz/Disembark/Los Angeles
Disembark after breakfast in La Paz and drive to the airport for flights home.
Pricing starts at $6,590 per person for double occupancy (cost will vary based on date and room category selected)
Ship capacity: 62 passengers
All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
Services of a Lindblad expedition leader, naturalist and expert guides
Zodiac and kayak explorations
National Park fees
Accommodations are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee.