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.
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.
CostaBaja Resort & Spa; National Geographic Venture for the remainder of the trip (Day 1: D; Day 2: B/L/D)
Go ashore on Isla Magdalena, a vast sandywilderness 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.
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.
(B, L, D)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Disembark in La Paz after breakfast, and drive to the airport for your flight home.
Accompanying each expedition is a diverse team of experts — from naturalists to regional specialists — who will share their knowledge and insights on the wildlife, landscapes, and local culture. See one of the members of our extraordinary team below.
National Geographic Fellow Greg Marshall is a marine biologist and a filmmaker. Greg invented Crittercam, a research program using animal-borne cameras to capture video to reveal the world through animals’ eyes. His work has been featured in numerous films covering more than 70 species, from emperor penguins to blue whales and house cats to grizzly bears. Greg uses media to connect audiences to wildlife with the aim of inspiring a conservation ethic and call to action.
Greg will join the following departures:
Jan 19 - 28, 2019
Jan 28 - Feb 06, 2019
This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.
REV Indicates trip operates in reverse.
For a single cabin, add $3,760 in Category 1 and $4,160 in Category 2.
Airfare to/from Los Cabos is not included in the expedition cost.
Travelers can choose between a light or moderate activity level. For a light level of activity, they should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
For a moderate level, travelers should be prepared for multiple hours of physical activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.