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Journey to Baja California in the spring, a season that welcomes multiple species of whales—including blue, sperm, pilot, fin, humpback, and Bryde’s—to the Sea of Cortez. Search for these majestic creatures onboard the National Geographic Sea Bird or National Geographic Sea Lion, and at water level from nimble Zodiacs. Don snorkeling gear and plunge below the surface to swim with frolicking sea lions, and explore pristine islands inhabited by myriad bird species on kayaking and hiking excursions.
Aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird or National Geographic Sea
Lion, cruise the Sea of Cortez in the springtime—the best season for
spotting multiple whale species and large pods of dolphins.
Our itinerary is flexible and determined by the area wildlife activity,
allowing us to maximize opportunities for sightings.
Explore sea caves by kayak or expedition landing craft, hike
uninhabited beaches, and snorkel among fish and acrobatic sea lions.
Meet researchers on Isla Rasa and witness the nesting of thousands
of Heermann’s gulls, as well as elegant and royal terns.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — Los Cabos, Mexico/La Paz, Mexico
Fly into Los Cabos and transfer to La Paz to set
sail on the Sea of Cortez. (D)
Days 2 through 7 — Exploring the Sea of Cortez
Our routing is designed with flexibility in mind to maximize opportunities for wildlife sightings. It will most likely include the islands and activities listed below, although the order may vary (B,L,D daily)
ISLAS SAN ESTEBAN AND SAN PEDRO
Walk up a desert wash to search for desert birds
and the endemic pinto chuckwalla—a harmless
desert lizard. Later visit Isla San Pedro Mártir, a
1,000-foot-high guano-covered island that is
home to thousands of seabirds. Blue-footed
boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, pelicans and
frigate birds are all found here.
In the spring one of the great wildlife spectacles
of the Sea of Cortez is in full swing at Isla Rasa
—the nesting of thousands of Heermann’s gulls
and elegant and royal terns. We will go ashore to
meet researchers and observe the
behavior of these three species.
ISLA SAN MARCOS:
At Isla San Marcos there is a beautiful cove for
swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. In the
afternoon we are again in rich whale waters near
the mouth of Bahía Concepcion where we stand
a good chance of sighting several species of
whales, particularly fin or sperm.
ISLA SANTA CATALINA:
This morning we’ll search for whales in the
waters south of Isla Carmen, an area that has
proven to be one of the best for finding blue
whales, and often bottlenose and common
dolphins. In the afternoon we visit Isla Santa
Catalina, famous for its giant barrel cactus and
lovely cardon cactus forest. The protected bay of
our anchorage is also an excellent site for
snorkeling. With a full afternoon here, there is
time for swimming, snorkeling, hiking and
LOS ISLOTES AND ISLA ESPÍRITU SANTO:
At Isla Los Islotes, snorkelers have one of life’s
great opportunities—swimming with graceful and
curious sea lions. With a deeply indented
shoreline and dramatically eroded cliff faces, Isla
Espíritu Santo is perhaps the most beautiful
island in the Sea of Cortez. We have a leisurely
afternoon for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking,
and in the evening, a beach barbecue under the
Day 8 — La Paz, Mexico/Los Angeles
After breakfast, disembark in La Paz and transfer
to the airport in Los Cabos for your flight
During his eight years on the National Geographic staff, photographer Jonathan Irish launched and directed the National Geographic Adventures program. He specializes in documenting adventure lifestyles, landscapes, and cultures abroad. Jonathan has photographed on all seven continents, and has shot a variety of assignments in Antarctica, Patagonia, and beyond. His photography has appeared in National Geographic and The New York Times, on BBC, CNN, and elsewhere. For the 2016 centennial of the U.S. National Park Service, Jonathan took a year-long road trip with an Airstream visiting and photographing all 59 of America’s national parks.