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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.
Spring in the Sea of Cortez is the best time to see large pods of dolphins and various species of
whales—blue, sperm, pilot, fin, humpback and Bryde’s—all in the same week.
Explore water-level caves by kayak, hike uninhabited beaches, snorkel among fish and acrobatic sea lions, and see colorful cactus blossoms.
Visit the old mining town of Santa Rosalia, with its wooden homes and historic steel church,
designed by Gustave Eiffel.
Experience a voyage of pure discovery in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a flexible itinerary
and sites chosen by the region’s most knowledgeable staff, based on conditions and to maximize wildlife sightings.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — Los Angeles/La Paz, Mexico
Fly into La Paz, then embark the ship and 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
This morning after breakfast we disembark in
La Paz and transfer to the airport for
flights home. (B)
Award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and instructor Rich Reid has specialized in environmental and adventure photography for more than two decades. He explored Alaska's Inside Passage by bike and ferry for National Geographic Adventure and is represented by National Geographic Stock. Recently, the North America Nature Photography Association presented Rich with a Fellows Award for his professional contribution to nature photography. His award-winning short documentary highlighting watershed conservation on the California coast has motivated him to continue to create multimedia projects using time-lapse photography to benefit our oceans, open spaces, and wildlife. Rich has shared his photography passion for most of his career operating photo tours in Alaska, teaching Visual Journalism at Brooks Institute in California, and guiding guests on National Geographic Expeditions throughout the globe.