Delve into a world of sparkling deserts, deep blue seas, wild islands and dazzling marine life on a holiday voyage into the Sea of Cortez. In the company of wildlife biologists, explore this UNESCO World Heritage site to the fullest on a variety of daily excursions. Hop into a motorized landing craft to encounter wildlife up close. Go kayaking and snorkeling, and follow naturalists on hikes amid giant barrel cacti.
Go snorkeling amid sea lions, brilliant blue damselfish, and schools of king angelfish.
Kayak the coast of Baja's remote islands, discovering high desert cliffs and sandy coves.
Learn from a National Geographic photographer aboard an immersive Photo Expedition on the January 4 departure.
Take a photo walk through the historic town of Loreto and venture into its 300-year-old mission.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — U.S./La Paz, Mexico
Depart the U.S. on a flight to La Paz and transfer to the harbor. Get settled aboard the ship and take to the waters of the Sea of Cortez this afternoon. National Geographic Sea Bird (D)
Days 2 through 7 — Exploring the Sea of Cortez
We’ll follow the currents and the wildlife, keeping our itinerary flexible and making the most of our time in this extraordinary wildlife sanctuary. Each day, you’ll have the opportunity to go on walks with local naturalists; swim; snorkel; and explore by kayak or motorized landing craft . (B, L, D daily)
Listed below are some of the stops we will make during our expedition:
Isla San Jose or Isla Santa Catalina
On these pristine, uninhabited islands, snorkel among colorful parrotfish and flashing schools of surgeonfish. Walk among huge cacti and observe the great diversity of birdlife, including verdins, ladder-backed woodpeckers, and Costa’s hummingbirds.
Track whales, bottlenose dolphins, sea lions and other wildlife in the rich waters around Isla Danzante and take in sweeping views of the mainland.
The archipelago of Los Islotes is home to a large colony of sea lions and sea birds. Jump in and snorkel among these playful and curious creatures.
Islas Espíritu Santo
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. Examine the island’s volcanic landscapes on a kayak excursion. Go beachcombing or hike along the rocky coast, keeping your eye out for brown pelicans, gulls, wandering tattlers, great blue herons, and boobies. Gather for a barbecue around a campfire on the beach and take in a splendid display of stars.
Loreto and the Sierra de la Giganta
Explore the seaside town of Loreto, founded in 1697 by Jesuit missionaries. Take a photo walk with our photo instructor through the historic town center. Then journey into the Sierra de la Giganta mountains to visit San Javier Mission, the second oldest mission on the Baja Peninsula.
Day 8 — La Paz/U.S.
Disembark in La Paz this morning. Examine the broad spectrum of reptiles that inhabit the Sea of Cortez on a visit to the open-air serpentarium. Take a stroll along the waterfront walkway known as the Malecón, and see a performance of local music. Transfer to the airport for flights back to the U.S. (B)
Book by August 31, 2013 for complimentary round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to La Paz on the Dec. 14th, 2013 departure, or kids under the age of 18 receive 50% off when traveling with a full-fare paying adult on the Dec. 21, 2013 departure.
National Geographic photographer and marine biologist Flip Nicklin is one of the world's leading photographers of whales. His majestic photos and amazing audio tracks of humpbacks and killer whales have appeared in numerous National Geographic publications and television specials. The North American Nature Photography Association has named him Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year. Between his frequent visits to the Sea of Cortez, Flip migrates with the humpbacks, spending summers in the Pacific Northwest and the Gulf of Alaska and winters off Maui, Hawaii.
The January 4, 2014 departure is a photo expedition.
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin in Category 1 add $2,500, and for a single cabin in Category 2 add $2,880. Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Round-trip economy airfare between Los Angeles and La Paz is $650 (subject to change).