Fly from Los Angeles to La Paz. Upon arrival, check in to the CostaBaja Resort and Spa. Enjoy the following morning on your own, with time to relax and take advantage of the resort and spa amenities. Later, depart for lunch at a local restaurant in La Paz. Then transfer to the fishing community of San Carlos, where we’ll board the ship.
National Geographic Sea Bird/Sea Lion (Day 1: D; Day 2: B,L,D)
Bahía Magdalena—a vast wilderness of sand dunes, mangrove channels, and protected waters—is one of the main breeding and calving areas for California gray whales. Every year, gray whales migrate here from the Arctic waters of Alaska; it is believed to be the longest migration known for any mammal and one of nature's greatest spectacles. In this vast water nursery, observe these enormous yet gentle animals from the ship and at water level from our Zodiacs. Walk along sand dunes of incomparable beauty, and discover dense mangroves by kayak. On the mud flats, spot migrating birds at rest.
The morning is spent at the Gorda Banks seamount, a gathering place for whales, especially humpbacks, as well as dolphins and other sea life. Then cruise past Friars Rocks at Land's End and dock at San Jose del Cabo. Here, you can choose to explore the Historic town or visit a nearby estuary for a unique birding opportunity.
At Los Islotes, snorkel and swim among curious sea lions. With its deeply indented bays, Espíritu Santo is one of the most beautiful islands in the Sea of Cortez. This afternoon, swim, kayak, or hike, keeping your eye out for brown pelicans, gulls, wandering tattlers, great blue herons, and boobies. Later, enjoy a barbecue on the beach.
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.
Disembark after breakfast in La Paz and drive to the airport for our flight to Los Angeles.