Our Baja Adventure begins with the arrival of our group into La Paz, Baja California Sur. Our group will gather for dinner at 7:00pm with a more formal orientation in the morning (double occupancy rooms and dinner included).
After breakfast, you may rent any gear (wetsuits, snorkeling equipment, etc) that you may need for this chapter of our adventure. A motorboat will then transfer us to our dramatically scenic island camp in the beautiful Sea of Cortez.
Our first camp is located on a large protected bay that is ideal for kayaking, beachcombing, snorkeling and swimming. Join a naturalist in the afternoon as we search the rocky shore for octopus, brittle sea stars, sea cucumbers and other invertebrates that the Sea of Cortez is well known for. Declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2005 and a National Park in 2007, Espiritu Santo Island is part of a biologically rich archipelago of volcanic origin with a fascinating history of indigenous occupation.
We will be camping in comfort with roomy tents, cots, sun showers and a camp toilet system with a privacy tent. Our plan is to spend the next two nights at our first island campsite (accommodations and all meals included throughout trip).
Today you will have several options from exploring outer islands by sea kayak to viewing the underwater world using a mask and snorkel. Snorkeling is quite good with various species of damselfish, puffers and colorful angelfishes finding refuge in the rocky reef crevices. As we snorkel and later while pouring over nature guides, will discuss the sometimes strange and always unique behaviors of reef fish. Expect another spectacular sunset across the Sea of Cortez.
After breaking camp and traveling to our next campsite, our support boat will take us to Los Islotes, a sea lion rookery where we can snorkel with these graceful animals, members of the pinniped (feathered foot) sub order of mammals.
Using a mask and snorkel, observe the sea lions seemingly fly underwater using their strong front flippers to propel themselves. Other activities available at Espiritu Santo Island include fishing, naturalist-led hikes to explore the rocky inter tidal, hiking the rugged canyons, night paddling and solo time along the shores of our enchanted island.
Expect another incredible day exploring Espiritu Santo Island by land and sea. Today we hope to include a hike into one of the island’s scenic trails learning about the unique adaptations of both flora and fauna found in the dry desert biome. Cave, rock shelters and shell middens indicate a history of cultural occupation surrounded by a sea rich in marine resources. We hope to kayak through turquoise hued shallow bays searching for marine life such as nesting magnificent frigate birds, blue footed boobies and foraging brown pelicans.
After brunch, we will say our farewells to the Sea of Cortez and travel by motorboat back to La Paz where a hot shower awaits us in our comfortable hotel. Your afternoon will be free to shop and explore La Paz before joining the group for dinner (double occupancy rooms and all meals included).
After breakfast, we’ll transfer by van across the rugged Baja Peninsula to Puerto Lopez Mateos in the northern section of Magdalena Bay where we’ll take a short skiff ride to our whale camp, home for the next 3 nights.
During our scenic 4 hour drive, towering cacti, huge boulders and brilliantly colored flowers dot the desert landscape. As we travel the short distance to camp, we may see whales, dolphin, sea birds and other wildlife.
We are very excited for a return to our Baja Whale Camp on Santo Domingo Island near Puerto Lopez Mateos. This northern region of Magdalena Bay is where a higher percentage of Gray Whales are born.
These sheltered lagoons are referred to as nursery areas for Gray whales and their offspring. It is also an area well known for “friendly interactions” a behavior in which gray whales initiate close encounters with the “two legged ones” aboard whale watching boats. Though entirely up to the whale and never guaranteed, Lopez Mateos is well known for these truly outstanding and intimate wildlife encounters.
By basing our camp at Lopez Mateos our chances of viewing mother and calf pairs are greatly improved. Our accommodations are cozy cabin-style tents with cots, sun showers and camp toilet system with a privacy tent.
A sunrise hike will be offered before breakfast. Our hope is to see Gray Whales in the morning light near our campsite, surface diving and perhaps even spy hopping
After breakfast we will have a guided motorboat trip into the sheltered water near whale camp to see California Gray Whales, Traveling over 5000 miles from their feeding grounds in Alaska, these remarkable animals will both mate and give birth in the Baja lagoons.
In the afternoon, we will hike out towards Boca Soledad to view a magnificent sunset across the grand Pacific Ocean.
Our morning will begin with a pre breakfast hike with your trip naturalist to explore the pristine Pacific coastline. Beach combing in Baja is extraordinary and we may find whales, sea turtles, strange sea creatures and an array of sea shells washed ashore, each with a unique story.
In the afternoon, you may join a naturalist as we kayak through the intricate labyrinth of mangroves that edge Magdalena Bay. Mangroves 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. Another option is to stay back at base camp and relax with a book or work on your Spanish with our local cooks.
Our day will include a trip out to view the gray whales and other wildlife that utilizes the biologically rich lagoon. You can anticipate another delicious meal, happy hour and evening under a sky full of stars.
After breakfast, we will have a final Gray whale watching opportunity and early morning naturalist-led hike. For those who are joining us on our Loreto Extension, we will travel onward to Loreto. Others will travel back to La Paz. A hot shower, cozy hotel accommodations and dinner awaits both of our destinations.
After breakfast, you will begin your journey back home form either La Paz or San Jose del Cabo Airport
Photo by Kim Powell, Loreto National Marine Park
For those joining our extension, we will head out two mornings in search of whales, dolphins, sea birds and other wildlife sightings. As always, our plan is weather permitting. 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.
Plan A is to travel by ponga boat into Loreto National Marine Park, one of the very best places in the world to observe the endangered Blue Whale at close range. Our hope is to find a variety of 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. 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.
We may also visit a secluded beach for a final opportunity to snorkel among colorful reef fish and invertebrates on one of our last two days in Mexico.
Loreto is a very quaint historical town north of La Paz with a population of only 23,000 people. In contrast, the population of La Paz is close to a quarter of a million. Afternoons may be spent exploring the town of Loreto, time well spent.
(Our Loreto Extension includes 3 nights double occupancy rooms, 3 dinners, 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and scheduled airport transfers)
After breakfast, we will provide transfer to the Loreto Airport for your flight home.
Sunrise from our Hotel in Loreto