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Baja California and the Sea of Cortez: Among the Great Whales

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274
10 Days
Availability : Jan, Feb, Mar, 2019
San Jose del Cabo - Mexico
La Paz - Mexico
National Geographic Expeditions

EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Aboard the National Geographic Venture, voyage to Laguna San Ignacio to observe gray whales and their calves with our naturalists.
  • Go snorkeling amid sea lions, king angelfish, and brilliant blue damselfish.
  • Glimpse the marine world through underwater video footage, and listen in on the haunting songs of whales.
  • Explore diverse landscapes with our naturalists, discovering sand dunes, a cactus forest, and deserted islands.

 
EXPEDITION TEAM

Accompanying each expedition is a diverse team of experts – from naturalists to regional specialists – who will share their knowledge and insights the wildlife, landscape and local culture. Select a member of the expedition team below to see their bio and dates.

Greg Marshall
Marine Biologist, Filmmaker
 
ITINERARY

Discover the natural wonders of the Sea of Cortez on an expedition aboard the National Geographic Venture. In the company of marine biologists, experience up-close encounters with gray whale mothers and their calves after they have migrated to the inlets of Bahía Magdalena. Hop into a motorized landing craft to encounter wildlife up close, from whales to bottlenose dolphins. Follow naturalists on hikes amid barrel cacti, and snorkel among playful sea lions.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.

 
DAYS 1-2: SAN JOSÉ DEL CABO, MEXICO/LA PAZ

Arrive in San José del Cabo, then transfer to La Paz and enjoy time to relax at our waterfront resort. The next day, travel overland to the fishing community of San Carlos, where we’ll board our ship.

Meals Included:Day 1 (Dinner) / Day 2 (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Accommodations:CostaBaja Resort & Spa
 
DAY 3: BAHIA MAGDALENA

Go ashore on Isla Magdalena, a vast sandy wilderness surrounded by mangrove channels and the protected waters of Bahia Magdalena. Explore the island’s ever shifting dunes during a walk to one of the most pristine beaches on the Pacific coast. On the mud flats, spot migrating birds at rest, including frigatebirds, pelicans, cormorants, terns, and great blue herons.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAYS 4-5: LAGUNA SAN IGNACIO

The Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino in Laguna San Ignacio is one of the main breeding and calving areas for California gray whales, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Every year, gray whales migrate here from the Arctic waters of Alaska; it is one of the longest known migrations of mammals and one of nature’s greatest spectacles. In this vast water nursery, observe these enormous yet gentle animals at water level from our Zodiacs. Our extensive experience navigating these waters, as well as the ship’s exploration tools, maximize the likelihood of up-close encounters with gray whales and their calves.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
 
DAY 6: AT SEA

As we travel south along the Pacific coast of the Baja Peninsula, spend time on deck seeking out some of the many marine life that inhabit these waters, including the blue whale—the largest animal on Earth. Attend talks given by our naturalists, and learn wildlife-photography tips from our photo instructor.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAY 7: GORDA BANKS AND LOS CABOS

This morning, we cruise past Friars Rock at Land’s End and dock at San José del Cabo to explore its historic town center. The afternoon is spent at the Gorda Banks seamount or La Fortuna, gathering places for whales, dolphins, and other sea life. Humpbacks are often active here at this time of year, and we may witness them tail-lobbing, flipper-slapping, and breaching. Our onboard marine biologists and naturalists will be available to interpret the behaviors of these majestic animals.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAY 8: LOS ISLOTES AND ISLA ESPÍRITU SANTO

In the waters off Los Islotes, we’ll have the opportunity to snorkel and swim among curious sea lions. After lunch, examine the intriguing geological layers of Espíritu Santo from the water during a kayaking excursion, and go ashore to see compacted volcanic ash blanketed by solidified lava flows. Enjoy time to go beachcombing, or opt for a walk along rocky cliffs to spot brown pelicans, gulls, wandering tattlers, and boobies. Cap off the day with a beach barbecue, gather around a bonfire to share stories from the day’s adventures, and take in a stunning display of stars.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAY 9: EXPLORING THE SEA OF CORTEZ

Today we enjoy the luxury of having no specific plan. You may spend time on the lookout for whales, as well as bottlenose and common dolphins; or explore some of the many uninhabited islands in the Sea of Cortez, such as Isla San Francisco or Isla San José, known for its sweeping beaches and arroyos. Birdlife may be plentiful, and the nutrient-rich sea is home to an incredible variety of fish, including angelfish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, damselfish, and the beautiful parrotfish.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 
DAY 10: LA PAZ

Disembark in La Paz after breakfast, and drive to the airport for your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast
 
WHAT TO EXPECT

Your expedition experience can be tailored to the activity level you choose, whether it’s light or moderate or a little of both. Travelers should be in good health, comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time, and able to get in and out of expedition landing craft. Daily activities may include Zodiac cruises, easy hikes, walking tours, and visits to cultural or historic sites, with options each day for more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, or biking.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert or photographer joins the expedition team on select departures.

 
SHIPS & DECK PLANS

Traveling aboard the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet, you’ll enjoy the daily thrill of discovery without sacrificing comfort. Each of our ships provides an inviting home base with superior amenities, personalized service, and a vibrant yet casual onboard atmosphere. Step aboard and you’ll find comfortable cabins, a well-stocked library, and dining rooms serving regionally inspired cuisine with fresh, local ingredients. Expansive decks provide an exceptional vantage point for spotting and photographing wildlife.

National Geographic Venture – Capacity 100 Guests

The National Geographic Venture traces the coast of North America, bringing travelers to Alaska and British Columbia in the summer, and heading south in the winter to navigate Baja California and the Sea of Cortez as well as Costa Rica and Panama. The ship is designed to navigate narrow inlets and wildlife-rich passageways inaccessible to larger ships.

 
 
WHAT’S INCLUDED
  • Transfers upon arrival/departure for guests booked on recommended group flights
  • Accommodation aboard the world-class expedition ships of the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet or a luxury chartered ship
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities
Via Travel & Cruising
Via Travel & Cruising
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