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Baja California and the Sea of Cortez: Among the Great Whales

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February 17 - 25, 2018 (10 Days)

Day 1 — U.S./San Jose del Cabo/La Paz, Mexico

Arrive in San Jose del Cabo and transfer to La Paz to board our ship.
National Geographic Sea Bird/Sea Lion (D)

Day 2 — Exploring the Sea of Cortez

Today is a day with the luxury of no specific plan. You may spend time on the lookout for whales, bottlenose and common dolphin, or explore some of the many uninhabited islands such as Isla San Francisco or Isla San Jose, known for its sweeping beaches and arroyos. Birdlife may be plentiful, and the nutrient-rich sea is home to an overwhelming variety of fish: king angelfish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, damselfish, and the beautiful parrotfish.

Day 3 — Los Islotes and Isla Espiritu Santo

At Los Islotes, don flippers, a mask, and snorkel (which we’ll gladly provide) and swim with curious sea lions. We’ll have a leisurely afternoon to swim, kayak, or hike at Isla Espíritu Santo. Brown pelicans, gulls, and boobies are all part of the landscape. Finish the day with a relaxing beach barbecue complete with a campfire and a star-filled sky.

Day 4 — Gorda Banks and San José del Cabo

This morning cruise past Friars Rocks at Land’s End and visit the historic town center of San José del Cabo. The afternoon is spent at the Gorda Banks seamount or La Fortuna—gathering places for humpback whales, dolphins, and other sea life.

Day 5 — At Sea

As we travel north along the Pacific coast of the Baja Peninsula, spend time on deck seeking out some of the many marine creatures that inhabit these waters, including the blue whale—the largest animal on Earth. Attend talks given by our naturalists, and learn wildlife photography tips from our photo instructor.

Days 6 & 7 — Laguna San Ignacio

The Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino is one of the main breeding and calving areas for California gray whales, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Every year, gray whales migrate here from the Arctic waters of Alaska; it is one of the longest known migrations of mammals and one of nature’s greatest spectacles. In this vast water nursery, observe these enormous yet gentle animals at water level from our Zodiacs. Our extensive experience navigating these waters, as well as the ship’s exploration tools, maximize the likelihood of up-close encounters with gray whales and their calves.
(B,L,D daily)

Day 8 — Isla Magdalena

Go ashore on Isla Magdalena, a vast sandy wilderness surrounded by mangrove channels and the protected waters of Magdalena Bay. Explore the island’s ever-shifting dunes during a walk to one of the most pristine beaches on the Pacific coast. On the mud flats, spot migrating birds at rest, including frigatebirds, pelicans, cormorants, terns, and great blue herons.

Days 9 & 10 — La Paz/San Jose del Cabo

Disembark the ship in San Carlos and transfer to La Paz, where you’ll have lunch at a local restaurant before checking in to the CostaBaja Resort & Spa. This afternoon is on your own, to relax and take advantage of the resort and spa amenities. The next day, transfer to San Jose del Cabo airport for your flight home.