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Discover the natural wonders of the Sea of
Cortez on an expedition aboard the National
Geographic Sea Bird/Sea Lion. 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.
Get an up-close view of gigantic gray whales and their calves in the breeding grounds of Bahía Magdalena.
Go snorkeling amid sea lions, brilliant blue damselfish, and schools of king angelfish.
Kayak clear, blue waters on the lookout for a variety of bird species such as magnificent frigate birds.
Explore diverse landscapes, including sand dunes, a cactus forest, and deserted islands.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — Los Angeles/La Paz, Mexico/San Carlos
Arrive in La Paz from Los Angeles and drive across the Baja Peninsula to San Carlos and board our ship. National Geographic Sea Bird/Sea Lion (D)
Days 2, 3, & 4 — Bahía Magdalena
Bahía Magdalena—a vast wilderness of sand dunes, mangrove channels, and protected waters—is one of the main breeding and calving areas for California gray whales. Every year, gray whales migrate here from the Arctic waters of Alaska; it is believed to be the longest migration known for any mammal and one of nature's greatest spectacles. In this vast water nursery, observe these enormous yet gentle animals from the ship and at water level from our Zodiacs. Walk along sand dunes of incomparable beauty, and discover dense mangroves by kayak. On the mud flats, spot migrating birds at rest. (B,L,D daily)
Day 5 — Gorda Banks and Los Cabos
The morning is spent at the Gorda Banks seamount, a gathering place for whales, especially humpbacks, as well as dolphins and other sea life. Then cruise past Friars Rocks at Land's End and dock at San Jose del Cabo. Here, you can choose to explore the Historic town or visit a nearby estuary for a unique birding opportunity. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Islas Los Islotes and Espíritu Santo
At Los Islotes, snorkel and swim among curious sea lions. With its deeply indented bays, Espíritu Santo is one of the most beautiful islands in the Sea of Cortez. This afternoon, swim, kayak, or hike, keeping your eye out for brown pelicans, gulls, wandering tattlers, great blue herons, and boobies. Later, enjoy a barbecue on the beach. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Exploring the Sea of Cortez
Today is a day with the luxury of no specific plan. You may spend time on the lookout for whales, bottlenose and common dolphin, or explore some of the many uninhabited islands such as Isla San Francisco or Isla San Jose, known for its sweeping beaches and arroyos. Birdlife may be plentiful, and the nutrient-rich sea is home to an overwhelming variety of fish: king angelfish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, damselfish, and the beautiful parrotfish. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — La Paz/Los Angeles,
Disembark after breakfast in La Paz and drive to the airport for our flight to Los Angeles. (B)
Please note: A State Department travel warning for Mexico is currently in effect (http://travel.state.gov). The area of concern noted in the warning is not near the region we visit on this itinerary. We expect to operate this trip as planned, but will continue to closely monitor events in the country.
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.