Our Baja Adventure begins with your arrival into the Loreto Airport. You will catch a short taxi ride into Loreto and to the Hotel Oasis, a waterfront hotel in the quaint and historical town of Loreto. Our group will gather for an orientation and happy hour followed by dinner as the sun sets across the Sea of Cortez (double occupancy rooms and all meals included throughout the itinerary).
During our time in Loreto, we hope to spend two full days on the water and another full day learning about the history and culture of Baja. If weather and sea conditions permit, we will head out today in search of whales, dolphins, sea birds and other wildlife sightings. As an alternative to the sea, we will offer a guided interpretation of the historic San Javier Mission nestled in the dramatic Sierra de la Giganta Mountain range above Loreto. Our day would include learning about the indigenous cultures of the region and their medicinal use of the desert flora. We will return to the Oasis in the afternoon then offer a naturalist-led beach walk before dinner.
Whale watching in Puerto Chale with renown Baja Naturalist, Carlos Gajon Bermudez, his family and a very friendly California Gray Whale!
We will get an early start today as we drive across the rugged peninsula of Baja to Puerto Chale in the southern region of Magdalena Bay. During our scenic 3 1/2 hour drive, towering cacti, huge boulders and brilliantly colored flowers dot the desert landscape. We will look for the iconic Road Runner (Beep Beep!) and the majestic Crested Caracara, an impressive member of the falcon family that behaves and appears more like a vulture.
After a quick lunch, we will travel by ponga boat into the sheltered lagoons of Puerto Chale in search of California Gray Whales. Traveling over 5000 miles from their feeding grounds in Alaska, these remarkable mammals are known to mate and give birth in the Baja lagoons. Puerto Chale is a an emerging destination for whale watching, although for much of the year it is a quiet fishing port. Tonight we will overnight in Ciudad Constitucion which is conveniently located near our next Gray Whale Lagoon Destination, Lopez Mateos.
Today we have planned a full day on the water in the biologically rich lagoon adjacent to the town of Lopez Mateos.
As we scan the lagoon for signs of California Gray Whales and their offspring, we will travel by an intricate labyrinth of mangroves that edge Magdalena Bay. Mangrove forests provide critical habitat for an array of species including white pelicans, magnificent frigate birds, little blue herons and cryptically colored invertebrates clinging to the submerged roots. Both birding and whale watching is superb in this dynamic biome on Baja’s Pacific side. We will return to our accommodations in Ciudad Constitucion where we will sample some traditional Mexican cuisine.
After breakfast, we will return to Lopez Mateos for a final interaction with the Gray Whales of Baja. Later in the day, we will travel back to the colorful town of Loreto, north of La Paz with a population of only 23,000 people. In contrast, the population of La Paz is approaching a quarter of a million. We will overnight again at the waterfront Hotel Oasis.
This morning, we will offer an early bird watching session in the river bed and estuary near our hotel. White ibis, snowy egrets, black bellied plover and whimbrels may be observed feeding in the shallows. Loreto National Marine Park is one of the very best places in the world to observe the endangered Blue Whale at close range. Weather permitting we will travel by ponga boat searching for a variety of sea birds and Cetaceans, an order of mammals that include the whales and dolphins.
Blue Whales, the largest species to ever exist on earth can reach a length of 100 feet and weigh 300,000 pounds. Our hope is to locate blues, humpbacks and fin whales that give birth and feed in the protected bays around Loreto. Large endangered mega fauna can be difficult to predict from day to day, but out expert captains will be communicating with the local fisherman each morning improving our chances of whale sightings. We may also visit a secluded beach for lunch with an opportunity to snorkel. As an alternative to whale watching, we have several naturalist-led cultural hikes to offer if sea conditions suggest that a land activity is more favorable. The spectacular Sierra de la Giganta Mountains support a rich cultural heritage which our local guides are eager to share.
For the next several days, we will return to the comforts of our waterfront hotel, The Oasis and enjoy dinners together.
We will offer a final naturalist-led beach walk and birding session before breakfast. Sunrises across the Sea of Cortez are spectacular, not to be missed while visiting the Oasis Hotel in Loreto. We will offer a group airport transfer as we say farewell to Baja.