The Wildlife Encounters in Baja California Sur explores the protected lagoons of the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez, allowing for magnificent encounters with marine wildlife.
This trip is somewhat similar to our “Sea Turtles and Whale Watching” itinerary but includes a more cultural interaction by taking travelers off the beaten path, into places visited by few outsiders. The trip focuses on interaction with the wildlife of the region in the heart of the Sea of Cortez- What Jacque Costeau named “the world’s aquarium”. Blue whale watching, mule trekking, sea-turtle monitoring, gray whale watching, swimming with sea lions, snorkeling with tropical fish and dolphins, whale shark spotting, and migratory bird sightings make up much of the activities. These activities are complemented by a close interaction with the people and traditional culture of the region.
Espiritu Santo Island – Visit the perfect spot to snorkel with thousands of beautiful reef fish, kayak around the turquoise waters to find dolphins, and explore a underwater wonderland
Magdalena Bay – Encounter magnificent gray whales and sea turtles
RED Research Camp – Participate in Sea Turtle Monitoring program at a base camp in Magdalena Bay.
Day 1: Arrival to Los Cabos
Arrive to Los Cabos on the Baja California peninsula, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific and jumping off point for your adventure. Our drivers will greet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel. After settling in you will head to dinner to meet the rest of your group and your guide, who will give a brief orientation and answer any questions you have. Make sure to charge your batteries and get plenty of sleep – the adventure begins tomorrow morning. Overnight: TBD/ D
Day 2: Humpback Whale Watching and Scenic Loreto Flight
Today we board zodiacs early in the morning and travel through the Cabo San Lucas Flora and Fauna Protected Area to spot the humpback whales just off the coast. The humpbacks are famous for their ability to communicate through “songs,” and will amaze you with their acrobatic breaches. Back on land – but not for long – we’ll enjoy lunch before climbing aboard a Cessna Caravan that will take us up into the air for a spectacular view of the Baja California peninsula, crossing from the Pacific up over the rugged sierras and into the town of Loreto.
Relax in your hotel or take a walk through the historic center to the cathedral then down to the waterfront to stroll along the malecón. Tonight at dinner your guide will give an overview of the next few days, as well as the cultural and historical context of the indigenous tribes, the Jesuit influence and the ranchero culture that makes this place so special. Rest up, today was unforgettable and tomorrow brings more adventure.
Day 3: Blue Whale Watching in Loreto Bay National Marine Park
Head out in panga to Loreto Bay National Marine Park to search for the magnificent blue whales that frequent these waters from February to April. Your naturalist guide will provide you with detailed information on the mating and migration habits of these amazing creatures, the largest living species on the planet. You will see a host of sea life as you head through the park and down the coast, from dolphins to migratory birds, and if you are lucky, you might also see fin whales or humpbacks.
The spectacular views of the rugged mountains plunging dramatically down into the Sea of Cortez will surely pique your curiosity. How did the peninsula form? Do people live here? Your guide will answer all these questions and more, as you arrive from your whale watching adventure to a protected inlet along the coast. Stretch your legs and take a dip in the water. If the tide is right you may find a natural hot spring rising out of the ocean floor. We will be greeted by a local ranchero who will take us to our campsite, where a hot dinner awaits beneath the stars.
Day 4: Mule Trekking in Sierra La Giganta
Saddle up with local rancheros for an adventure that will take you back through time and into the breathtaking Sierra la Giganta mountain range in a place visited by few travelers. Since the arrival of the Jesuits to the Baja California peninsula in the 1600s, mules have proven their worth and skill at exploring uncharted territory. Atop these noble beasts and with your trusty guide, you will explore a region untouched by roads and the passage of time.
The Sierra la Giganta range looms high above, a breathtaking juxtaposition of sea and rugged mountain landscapes. No previous riding experience is necessary as the nimble mules never miss a step. We will arrive at San Cosme in the afternoon and leave the mules behind as we climb aboard the van and head up through a pass in the sierras and cross over to the Pacific, arriving at RED’s turtle research camp in the Magdalena Bay complex, jewel of the Pacific and home to a staggering number of migratory and marine birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals including the migratory gray whales. After a tasty dinner and a brief orientation, you can stay up and take in the night’s sky before heading to bed.
Day 5: Sea Turtles in Magdalena Bay
Wake up early and grab a cup of coffee and watch the fisher-conservationists prepare the nets used in the sea turtle monitoring. During breakfast we will learn about the monitoring protocol and how we can participate in the data collection. Every two hours we will have the chance to accompany the monitoring team in the boats to check the nets for turtles. Captured sea turtles will be returned to camp where we will help take important measurements and other data before releasing them back into the wild. Continue participating in the monitoring, or pop your head into the kitchen for a cooking class with the local chef, or head down to the beach and learn how to use a traditional throw-net for fishing. After dinner, we will discuss the monitoring program and its important role as a tool for fostering community stewardship. Spend the evening chatting with the local staff around the campfire and taking in the night’s sky.
Day 6: Gray Whales Magdalena Bay to Eco-Retreat
After breakfast and a detailed orientation on the gray whales, we will head out with local guides to see the gray whales that have come to Magdalena Bay. These incredible creatures travel south from the Bering Sea to mate and calve in the calm, protected bays of the Baja California peninsula. Make sure your camera is charged, as this experience is a photographer’s dream. In the afternoon we will explore the wonders of Magdalena Bay and its dense mangrove canals.
In the afternoon we will head south, stopping along the way to take in a bit of ranchero culture, before arriving at our destination, a secluded eco-retreat just north of La Paz. Shower off, tour the grounds, or take a dip in the calm waters of the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, dubbed by Jacques Cousteau as “the world’s aquarium”. Tonight we will relax and learn to make traditional Mexican fare including handmade tortillas and tamales.
Overnight: La Duna
Day 7: Isla Espiritu Santo
Today we will head out in panga with our guide to Isla Espíritu Santo, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and treasure trove of wildlife. Here you can swim with sea lions and explore the breathtaking island scenery. Snorkel the waters off the island to spot shipwrecks and tropical fish. On the trip back into La Paz, you may even spot a whale shark.
Day 8: Departure from La Paz
Enjoy a calmed morning in La Paz downtown. Transportation we’ll pick us up at the hotel to take us to the airport to fly back home.
Group Departures: Check back for 2017 dates
This trip can be customized for a private journey in the months of February and March.
Price per passenger starting from: $2,995 USD (double occupancy/adult) for group departures
or our custom-tailored journeys start from $800 USD per day for two travelers. Contact us today to discuss your travel desires and design a personalized proposal with exact pricing.
Please note, our pricing guideline is a starting from price and is not necessarily applicable to the suggested hotels contained within the suggested itineraries on this web site. Itineraries are customized prior to final pricing.