ourney 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 from the decks of the National Geographic Sea Bird or National Geographic Sea Lion in 2018 or the National Geographic Venture in 2019, 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.
Start the day searching for marine life 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, visit one of the islands of Bahía Loreto Marine Park, and enjoy ample time for kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding and possibly hiking.
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
Kirsten Luce is a photojournalist who began her career working for a small newspaper along the United States-Mexico border. She has worked for National Geographic in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil, and her favorite story so far was “How Fireflies are Keeping this Tiny Mexican Town Alive" in Tlaxcala, Mexico, which was published in the August 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. Her photos have also appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, Bloomberg Businessweek, TIME, Newsweek, Der Spiegel, GEO, and Le Monde, among other outlets. Kirsten’s work has been exhibited in Italy, Germany, Trinidad, and the U.S., and was recognized by the Creative Arts Annual as well as American Photography, awarded a Getty Grant for Editorial Photography, and nominated for a National Magazine Award. She has taught introductory photojournalism at Columbia University in New York and at Foundry Photojournalism Workshops around the world. Baja California Sur has some of Kirsten’s favorite landscapes on the planet.
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.