Expedition Details


Discover the natural wonders of the Sea of Cortez on an expedition aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird. 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

    • Experience awe-inspiring encounters with gray whales as you explore with a team of naturalists.
    • Go snorkeling among acrobatic sea lions, brilliant blue damselfish, and schools of king angelfish.
    • Kayak through thick mangroves on the lookout for a variety of bird species including magnificent frigatebirds.
    • Hike pristine, wind-sculpted sand dunes and an other-worldly forest of gigantic cacti.

Itinerary - 8 Days

Day 1 — Los Angeles/La Paz, Mexico

Arrive in La Paz and drive along the beautiful Malecón to meet our ship.
National Geographic Sea Bird (D)

Day 2 — Exploring the Sea of Cortez

We’ll follow the currents and the wildlife today, exploring pristine, uninhabited islands such as Isla San José or Isla Santa Catalina; and snorkeling among colorful parrotfish and flashing schools of surgeonfish. Search for whales among the islands of the southern Sea of Cortez, one of the best areas for spotting blue whales and bottlenose dolphins. Walk among huge cacti and observe the great diversity of birdlife, including verdins, ladder-backed woodpeckers, and Costa’s hummingbirds.

Day 3 — Los Islotes and Isla Espiritu Santo

At Los Islotes, snorkel and swim among curious sea lions. With its rugged cliffs and coves carved deeply into the coastline, Espíritu Santo is one of the most beautiful islands in the Sea of Cortez. This afternoon, examine the island’s volcanic landscapes on a kayak excursion. Go beachcombing or take a hike along the rocky coast, keeping your eye out for brown pelicans, gulls, wandering tattlers, great blue herons, and boobies. Tonight, gather for a barbecue around a campfire on the beach and take in a splendid display of stars.

Day 4 — 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. Learn about whale behavior with our on-board marine biologist, then cruise past Friars Rocks at Land’s End and dock at Los Cabos. If you choose, take an excursion to the lively town of San Jose del Cabo.

Days 5, 6, & 7 — 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 to breed and raise their calves. In this vast aquatic nursery, observe these enormous yet gentle animals from the ship and at water level from our motorized landing crafts. Venture into dense mangroves by kayak and watch for magnificent frigatebirds, pelicans, and great blue herons on the mudflats.
(B,L,D daily)

Day 8 — San Carlos/La Paz/Los Angeles

After breakfast, disembark in San Carlos and drive across the peninsula to La Paz for your return flights 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.

Birgit Buhleier

Birgit BuhleierFilmmaker, producer, and scientist Birgit Buhleier played an integral role in the evolution of National Geographic’s Crittercam, a video camera system that has provided fascinating insights into the daily lives of hundreds of species. Through her work with Crittercam, she has sidled up to seals, sea lions and whales; studied the secret lives of great white and tiger sharks; and dived with hawksbill sea turtles. She has personally deployed more than 100 Crittercams on a broad range of animals, including many that are native to Alaska, the Arctic, and Antarctica. Birgit has lived and worked in some of the world’s most remote places—from islands in the Pacific to polar camps. She brings a unique perspective on the walruses, seals, whales, and bears.

Birgit will join the following departure:

Jan 16 - 23, 2016

Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.


  • Jan 16 - 23, 2016 (waitlist only)
  • Jan 30 - Feb 06, 2016 (waitlist only)
  • Feb 06 - 13, 2016 REV (waitlist only)
  • Feb 13 - 20, 2016 (waitlist only)
  • Feb 20 - 27, 2016 REV (waitlist only)
  • Feb 27 - Mar 05, 2016 (waitlist only)
  • Mar 05 - 12, 2016 REV (waitlist only)
  • Mar 12 - 19, 2016 (waitlist only)

REV Indicates trip operates in reverse.

Expedition Cost

Category 1 $6,390
Category 2 $7,390
Category 3 $8,390

Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin in 2015, add $3,000 in Category 1 and $3,450 in Category 2. For a single cabin in 2016, add $3,050 in Category 1 and $3,700 in Category 2.

International airfare to/from La Paz is not included in the expedition cost.

View Ship/Deck Plan

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