Baja California: Among the Great Whales cruise is an unforgettable voyage with up-close views of gigantic gray whales. Each winter gray whales migrate south from their arctic feeding grounds to breed and rear their young in Baja California's sheltered lagoons, making it one of North America's premier whale watching sites. The sheer number of gray whales makes Baja one of the largest migrations of any mammal, covering 10,000 miles.
|Category 1 Solo|
|Category 2 Solo|
*Prices per person based on double occupancy
Jan 18 - Jan 25, 2014 *
Jan 25 - Feb 01, 2014 †
Feb 01 - Feb 08, 2014 * †
Feb 08 - Feb 15, 2014
Feb 15 - Feb 22, 2014 *
Feb 22 - Mar 01, 2014
Mar 01 - Mar 08, 2014 *
Mar 08 - Mar 15, 2014
Mar 15 - Mar 22, 2014 ** †
Sea of Cortez
Seeing the whales in their natural habitat is one of the great delights of this voyage. During your days in the breeding lagoons of Bahia Magdalena, venture among them in zodiac landing craft. This gives a water-level perspective for whale watching that is a rare privilege in the natural world. And it positions you perfectly for the increasingly common friendly encounters with these mammals.
The 62-guest Sea Lion/Sea Bird offers the best in active small ship cruise exploration of the Sea of Cortez. This Baja cruise also offers naturalist-guided walks on uninhabited desert islands, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking excursions. The itinerary remains flexible to make the most of wildlife sightings. The entire experience will be illuminated by an expert expedition team including a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor and an undersea specialist.
Whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds such as blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds, huge cardon cacti, mangroves and sand dunes are among the wonders you'll experience on the Among the Great Whales Baja cruise.
Day 1 - Arrive La Paz & Embark San Carlos
Arrive in La Paz, Mexico where you are met by our local representative for transfer to the ship across the Baja Peninsula in San Carlos. Begin your Baja small ship cruise!Accommodations: Sea Bird/Sea LionIncluded Meals:
Days 2-4 - Bahia Magdalena
Bahia Magdalena is one of the main breeding and calving areas for the California gray whale. Each winter, the whales make the longest migration of any mammal, south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and raise their calves in these sheltered waters. During your days in this otherworldly place, you'll have the opportunity to not only observe these enormous yet gentle animals from the ship, but also at water level from zodiacs. Because of the National Geographic/Lindblad crew's experience and knowledge of Baja's waters, they have enjoyed consistent success in achieving "friendly encounters" with gray mother and calf pairs. While one can never presume to predict Nature's behavior, it is highly likely to have the privilege of an up-close and personal sighting.
This whale watching takes place in an exceptional context: Bahia Magdalena is on the Pacific side of Baja, a vast wilderness of sculpted sand dunes, mangrove channels and protected waters. On its western side lies Isla Magdalena or Magdalena Island, a narrow, 60-mile long island comprised of enormous dunes. The particular way these sweeping desert sands meet the shoreline is unforgettable.
Dense mangrove swamps are another, enticing environment. Take kayaks and zodiacs through the winding canals to discover the riches within. Bird watching in the mangroves can be excellent; magnificent frigate birds, pelicans, cormorants, terns and blue herons, ibis, whimbrels and willets are among the species you might see. The ship's practiced and observant naturalists will make sure you won't miss any of these world travelers, who can cover up to 8,000 miles of coastline during their migrations. It's not unusual to see forty species of birds in just one day along these fertile shorelines where they refuel for their destinations ahead.Accommodations: Sea Bird/Sea LionIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 5 - Cabo San Lucas & Gorda Banks
Today, cruise past the spectacular Friars Rocks at Land's End. For those who wish, a visit to the historic town center of San Jose del Cabo can be arranged. Since Mexico declared this area a tourist development zone in 1973, the sleepy fishing village has become a major tourist destination with all the facilities needed to service thousands of visitors every year. It is doubtful that John Steinbeck, who visited the area in 1940, writing so eloquently in The Log from the Sea of Cortez, would even recognize the town today.
The afternoon is spent at the Gorda Banks sea mount, a gathering place for whales and dolphins. Humpback whales are often sighted here at this time of the year. Their variety of behaviors is of great interest as we watch them tail lobbing, flipper slapping and breaching. Marine biologists are always available to inform and enlighten you with their knowledge and their experience. Not only do they know where best to look for wildlife, their passion and respect for the area is infectious - whether you ask a question or two or spend entire afternoons or evenings in their company.Accommodations: Sea Bird/Sea LionIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 6 - Isla Los Islotes & Espiritu Santo
With deeply indented shorelines and dramatically eroded cliff faces, Los Islotes and Isla Espiritu Santo are two of the most beautiful islands in the Sea of Cortez. Swim and snorkel here. Don mask, flippers and snorkel (provided with as much guidance as you need) and experience the thrill of swimming with the curious sea lions. Observe the impressive geological past of these islands from a kayak: see tons of compacted volcanic ash covered with solidified lava floods just yards from the shore. Brown pelicans, gulls, wandering tattlers, great blue herons and boobies are all part of the landscape. It is also home to the endemic black jack rabbit — with any luck, you may spot one. There are possibilities for long walks or lazy beachcombing. Finish the day with a beach barbecue complete with campfire and a star-filled sky.Accommodations: Sea Bird/Sea LionIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 7 - Exploring the Sea of Cortez
Today is a day with the luxury of no specific plan. You may spend the morning whale watching in the waters around Isla Danzante, an area that has proven to be one of the best for finding blue whales, bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins. Rich in nutrients, the Sea of Cortez is home to a huge variety of fish: king angelfish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, damselfish and the beautifully colored parrotfish. Explore one of the many lovely, uninhabited islands such as Isla San Jose or Isla Santa Catalina, famous for the 12-foot wavy barrel cactus. Whether walking, kayaking or watching from the Bridge, you’ll observe the great diversity of bird life — ladder-backed woodpeckers, Costa’s hummingbirds, Gila woodpeckers and verdin. At night, the constellations in the clear sky are entertainment enough.Accommodations: Sea Bird/Sea LionIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 8 - Disembark La Paz
Conclude your Baja small ship cruise in La Paz. Disembark after breakfast and drive to the airport for your flight home.Accommodations:
Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the captain's discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.
Ship-board accommodations, all meals indicated, shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage; leadership by experienced expedition staff; presentations by noted naturalists and other experts; zodiac cruising and transfers to and from the ship for shore excursions; use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment; comprehensive pre-departure information kit.
Airfare (sample roundtrip airfare Los Angeles/La Paz, from $850 economy); passport and visa expenses; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar and alcoholic beverage charges and telecommunication charges; SCUBA diving; and gratuities.
We will make arrangements for roommate shares for solo travelers at the double occupancy rate in Category 2 only, matching you with a cabin mate(s) of the same gender. Even if unable to find a cabin mate for you, no single supplement will be charged.
Families & Children:
Travelers aged 17 years old and under save $500 off the double occupancy price. Specially skilled staff who are trained in organizing activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. These staff members have gone through a course designed by travel experts with years of experience in childhood and environmental education. This course has also been created in conjunction with the National Geographic Education department and NG Kids Magazine.
For any party of 8 or more, each person receives 5% off the expedition. A 10% deposit is due at time of reservation, and an additional 25% is required 120 days in advance.
Arrival & Departure:
The Among the Great Whales Cruise begins and ends in La Paz, Mexico. Embarkation time may vary as it is based upon arrival of group flights from Los Angeles, California. Disembarkation is after breakfast on day 8 of the outlined itinerary.
Payment & Cancellation:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $550 is required at the time of booking. A Reservation Form
, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Cancellations are subject to the following fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 91 days - 50% of deposit
90 to 31 days - 50% of total trip cost
30 to 0 days - 100% of total trip cost
Terms & Conditions:
This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions
. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information is sent upon confirmation.
We highly recommend our travelers protect their investment with travel insurance. Please note that you must purchase your travel insurance policy within 14 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions. Click the link below for a selection of policies from our partners at Travelex.
This trip will be enjoyed by anyone who is in good health and leads an active life. Daily excursions from the boat will be made in Zodiacs. Trip members will take excursions to specific areas for wildlife observation. Hiking time for most landings will be a couple of hours roundtrip with lots of time to stop to study, photograph and enjoy the flora and fauna. Some landings are dry but many are "wet", requiring cautious footing on slippery rocks. The boat staff will be on hand to assist.
While all departures have a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor onboard to provide help to beginner and intermediate photo enthusiasts, special Photo Expeditions feature award-winning photographers that have graced National Geographic pages. These special Photo Expeditions are designed expressly to move at a photographer's pace so that you can take advantage of some of the most photogenic places on the planet. Join award-winning marine mammal photographer Flip Nicklin on the Jan. 25 or Feb. 1 Photo Expedition departures of the Baja California: Among the Great Whales cruise.