Expedition Details


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.

Trip Highlights

  • 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.

Itinerary - 10 Days

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.
CostaBaja Resort & Spa; National Geographic Venture for the remainder of the trip (Day 1: D; Day 2: B/L/D)

Day 3 — Bahia Magdalena

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.

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.
(B, L, D)

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.

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.

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.

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.

Day 10 — La Paz

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

Related Trips

Expedition Team

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.

Greg Marshall

Greg  MarshallNational 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

Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.


  • Jan 12 - 21, 2019 REV
  • Jan 19 - 28, 2019
  • Jan 28 - Feb 06, 2019 REV
  • Feb 04 - 13, 2019
  • Feb 13 - 22, 2019 REV
  • Feb 20 - Mar 01, 2019
  • Mar 01 - 10, 2019 REV
  • Mar 08 - 17, 2019

REV Indicates trip operates in reverse.

Expedition Cost

Category 1 $7,530
Category 2 $8,330
Category 3 $8,900
Category 4 $9,930
Category 5 $10,960

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.

View Ship/Deck Plan

Featured Expedition Moment

Activity Level

Light or Moderate

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.