Baja California Land and Sea Photo Retreat

  • 3 days at the secluded Rancho Las Cruces
  • 4 days aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird

Expedition Details


Discover the wild shores and dazzling marine life of Baja California. This one-of-a-kind photo expedition includes three days at the secluded Rancho Las Cruces, a beachfront property once frequented by Hollywood legends, and four nights aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird. Two National Geographic photographers and a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor will lead workshops designed for all levels, while an editing specialist from B&H photo will teach you the latest image-processing techniques. Take your photography to the next level as you capture images of windswept desert islands, stroll white-sand beaches, and kayak and snorkel in a sea that teems with life.

Trip Highlights

    • Stay at an idyllic hotel set on five miles of beachfront property, which is exclusively ours for the expedition, and will be turned into a virtual photography camp.
    • Spend four nights at sea, exploring and photographing the natural wonders of the Sea of Cortez.
    • Hone your photography skills in workshops led by acclaimed National Geographic photographers and benefit from in-field instruction.
    • Track dolphins, snorkel with curious sea lions, and kayak and hike along remote island shores.

Itinerary - 8 Days

Day 1 — Los Angeles/La Paz/Rancho Las Cruces

Arrive in La Paz and transfer to Rancho Las Cruces, our exclusive home for the next three days. Situated on five miles of beachfront property, this classic Baja retreat was once the escape of Hollywood legends such as Bing Crosby and Desi Arnaz, and still full of the charm of their era. Take a stroll on the private white-sand beach overlooking the Sea of Cortez, and settle into your Spanish colonial-style room before gathering for a welcome dinner tonight.

Days 2 & 3 — Rancho Las Cruces

During our stay at Rancho Las Cruces, join our National Geographic photographers for sunrise photo shoots, followed by workshops designed for what you’ll encounter on our voyage—composition, light, editing, and more. In the evenings, practice long exposures and “painting” cacti with light to create unique shots. Demonstrations of image-processing techniques using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software will show you how to maximize your photo content. In addition to daily photo workshops, choose from a variety of activities: Kayak turquoise waters, discover endemic flora on a naturalist-led hikes, or go horseback riding. Learn about regional art and artifacts from a local expert. With special permission, we’ll also tour the homes of Bing Crosby and Desi Arnaz, with its guitar-shaped pool, and the property’s chapel. We will also enjoy a farewell dinner and performances by a local jazz trio and dance troupe.

Day 4 — Rancho Las Cruces/La Paz

Begin the day with a workshop to prepare you for photographing and editing in the field. Then drive to the harbor of La Paz, and settle into your cabin aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird. Take to the sparkling waters of the Sea of Cortez this afternoon, and go hiking or kayaking at a nearby island.
National Geographic Sea Bird (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Isla Santa Catalina

This morning, explore the wildlife-rich waters south of Isla Carmen, one of the best areas for spotting blue whales and bottlenose and common dolphins. Then put your photo skills to the test at Isla Santa Catalina, famous for its barrel cacti and cardon forest. Zoom in on huge cacti tilting toward the sun and diverse birdlife, including verdins, ladder-backed woodpeckers, and Costa’s hummingbirds. This afternoon, our ship remains anchored in the island’s protected bay, with time for swimming and snorkeling.
National Geographic Sea Bird (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Exploring the Sea of Cortez

With nature as our guide and cameras on hand, we’ll take advantage of incredible photo opportunities as we explore pristine, uninhabited islands such as Isla San Jose. Search for whales among the islands of the southern Sea of Cortez, hop in a motorized landing craft or kayak to capture images of wind-sculpted cliffs, and snorkel among colorful parrotfish and shimmering schools of surgeonfish. This evening, unwind with a beach barbeque beneath a starry sky.
National Geographic Sea Bird (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Los Islotes and Isla Espíritu Santo

The archipelago of Los Islotes is home to a large colony of sea lions. Photograph these playful creatures as they sunbathe on rocks amid myriad seabirds, and hop in the water to swim with them up close. With its dramatic cliffs and coves carved into the coastline, Espíritu Santo is one of the most beautiful islands in the Sea of Cortez. Explore the island at your leisure this afternoon. Examine its volcanic landscapes on a kayak excursion, go beach-combing or snorkeling, or relax on deck aboard our ship.
National Geographic Sea Bird (B,L,D)

Day 8 — La Paz/Los Angeles

After breakfast, disembark in La Paz and transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
National Geographic Sea Bird (B)

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Special Offer

Complimentary Airfare

Book by August 31, 2013 for complimentary round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to La Paz.

Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.


This expedition is not currently being offered.

Activity Level

Click here for a description of all activity levels.