A large gray whale breaches the teal ocean surface jumping into the air as a zodiac boat full of excited Baja travelers watch
two humpback whales underwater near baja among the great whales cruise
aerial of kayaker in turquoise waters beside large cliff in baja
full zodiac behind jumping dolphin on baja among the great whales small ship cruise
beach at sunset on baja among the great whales small ship cruise
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North America Baja California Cruise

Baja California & The Sea of Cortez: Among the Great Whales

Each year California gray whales pause during their migrations to birth and nurse their calves in the Bahia Magdalena lagoons. For most travelers, the only opportunity to observe the mothers and calves is to take a bus across the Baja peninsula for a day trip. Fortunately, this 8-day Baja California & The Sea of Cortez: Among the Great Whales cruise explores both coastlines of the Baja Peninsula and offers ample on-water time inside key bays, enhancing every passenger’s experience among the great whales.

Spend time with these gentle giants in Bahia Almejas and Boca de Soledad, making Zodiac forays for up-close observations. Ply the warm Baja water on kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, Zodiacs and local pangas. Desert island hikes complement time spent on the water, offering a true variety of wildlife spotting in the Sea of Cortez. Snorkel with sea lions and search for marine mammals, all while benefiting from professional naturalist guides with more than 30 years’ experience.

The 100-guest National Geographic Venture offer the best in active small ship cruising. Each expedition is crafted for the most in-depth experience of Baja California possible and to maximize time spent in the company of California gray whales. Flexibility is paramount to take advantage of a sighting of blue or sperm whales. Be prepared to linger in expedition landing crafts to watch blue-footed boobies plunge dive into a massive school of bait fish. With captain and crew focused on seeking the best opportunities and an expert expedition team including a National Geographic-certified photo instructor and an undersea specialist enhancing the experience, this Baja California & The Sea of Cortez: Among the Great Whales cruise is truly a trip of a lifetime.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Baja cruises and Baja trips.



Itinerary

Baja California & The Sea of Cortez: Among the Great Whales Itinerary

The 8-day Baja California & The Sea of Cortez: Among the Great Whales Cruise begins in Loreto, Baja, with an overland transit to San Carlos, where guests embark and cruise counterclockwise around the tip of the Baja Peninsula back to Loreto.

Baja California: Among the Great Whales cruise route map, operating round-trip from Loreto with visits to San Carlos, Magdalena Bay, Cabo Pulmo, La Paz & Los Islotes.
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Day 1
Arrive Loreto to San Carlos & Embark

Arrive in Loreto and be transferred to San Carlos to embark the ship. Tonight, the ship will anchor off the coast of Isla Santa Margarita.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Bahia Almejas, Rehusa Channel & Isla Magdalena

Awake anchored in Bahia Almejas, the southernmost part of the Bay. The ship will stop at a large frigatebird colony enroute to the spectacular whale grounds of Bahía Almejas. Whales in this part of the bay tend to be very active so settle in for some great experiences. During lunch, the ship will reposition to Isla Magdalena for a shore excursion to explore the ever-shifting sand dunes, on a cross-island walk to one of the most pristine beaches in the Pacific. Bird watching can be excellent here with abundant seabirds in action and shorebirds patrolling the beaches as they fatten up and prepare for long journeys to Arctic breeding grounds.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Boca de Soledad

Each winter, during their long migration, gray whales travel south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and give birth and raise their calves in these sheltered waters. We’ll transfer to López Mateos and spend the full day observing these majestic creatures. Together with savvy local Mexican fishermen, venture out in Zodiacs to view the numerous mother-calf pairs that thrive in this sheltering region. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before heading back to the ship in late afternoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Magdalena Bay & Cruising South

Kickstart the morning with stretching hosted by the onboard wellness specialist on the sun deck. After breakfast, if conditions permit, explore the bay’s vast mangrove system via kayak, stand-up paddleboard and Zodiac, and learn how these massive ecosystems support their surroundings. This afternoon, the ship sails out through “La Entrada,” leaving Magdalena Bay behind. Traveling south along the coast of the peninsula, there is a chance of seeing a wide variety of marine life, including the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale. Hear naturalist talks and learn photography basics.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Gorda Banks & Cabo Pulmo

Start off the day with a majestic sunrise over the iconic Friars Rocks at Land’s End. Spend the rest of the morning searching the seas of Gorda Banks seamount, a renowned gathering place for whales, especially humpbacks, dolphins and other sea life. Following lunch, set out to snorkel the pristine reefs of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, one of the most successful national marine parks in the world, and chat with locals about their advocacy to protect this unique place.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Los Islotes & La Paz

Awake this morning off the rocky island of Los Islotes. Don your provided flippers, mask and snorkel, and swim with curious sea lions. The ship then repositions to the colorful city of La Paz where you can garner insight into the culture of Mexico, soak in the vibrant street art and stroll the lively Malecon on a guided walking tour. Dinner will be an unforgettable cultural experience, complete with local cuisine, dancing and folklore.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Exploring the Sea of Cortez

Today is flexible to explore some uninhabited islands. The captain and expedition leader will choose the perfect combination of activities for the day. You may go ashore at Isla San Francisco, where a sweeping arc of white sand beach beckons you to kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Or, hike with the naturalist to the nearby ridge for unparalleled views over Isla Danzante. There may also be an opportunity to visit the abandoned salt works on Isla Carmen. Enjoy the chance to see the great diversity offered in the Sea of Cortez, and with some luck, spot the amazing wildlife

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Disembark Loreto, Baja

Disembark in Loreto after breakfast and transfer to the city center. Here you can choose to visit the first mission in Baja California, as well as the nearby museum to learn more about what makes this town so special. Enjoy free time to explore the quaint shops and vibrant side streets. After lunch, transfer to Loreto Airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of snorkeling equipment and kayaks; all port taxes and service charges.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $750 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – $350 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
119 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 25% of total trip cost
59 to 45 days – 50% of total trip cost
44 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 Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot), including a booster shot for those eligible. There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The Baja California: Among the Great Whales cruise begins and ends in Loreto, Baja, Mexico (LTO) with a group transfer to embarkation in San Carlos on day 1 (a roughly 2.5-hour transfer). Embarkation time may vary based upon arrival of group flights from Los Angeles, California. Plan to depart Loreto in the afternoon on day 8 of the itinerary. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography, whale watching and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Travelers under the age of 18 at time of travel save $500, at double occupancy. Skilled staff members are trained in organizing activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

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.

Reverse Baja California & The Sea of Cortez: Among the Great Whales Itinerary

The 8-day Reverse Baja California & The Sea of Cortez: Among the Great Whales Cruise embarks in Loreto, Baja, cruises clockwise around the tip of the Baja Peninsula and ends in San Carlos with an overland transit back to Loreto.

Baja California: Among the Great Whales cruise route map, operating round-trip from Loreto with visits to San Carlos, Magdalena Bay, Cabo Pulmo, La Paz & Los Islotes.
Read More
Day 1
Embark Loreto, Baja

Upon arrival in Loreto, embark National Geographic Venture. Savor the sunset and set sail.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

dinner

Read More
Day 2
Exploring the Sea of Cortez

The plan is flexible and involves exploring some of the Sea’s many uninhabited islands. The captain and expedition leader choose the perfect combination of activities for the day. Perhaps go ashore at Isla San Francisco, where a sweeping arc of white sand beach beckons you to kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Hike to the nearby ridge for unparalleled views over Isla Danzante with the naturalist. Or visit the abandoned salt works on Isla Carmen. Get a chance to see the great diversity offered in the Sea of Cortez, and with some luck, spot the amazing wildlife.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Los Islotes & La Paz

Awake this morning off the rocky island of Los Islotes. Don flippers, a mask, and snorkel (provided) and swim with curious sea lions. Then reposition to the colorful city of La Paz to garner insight into the culture of Mexico, soak in the vibrant street art and stroll the lively “Malecon” on a guided walking tour. Dinner will be an unforgettable cultural experience, complete with local cuisine, dancing and folklore.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
Gorda Banks & Cabo Pulmo

Kickstart the day snorkeling the pristine reefs of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, one of the most successful national marine parks in the world and chat with locals about their advocacy to protect this unique place. Spend the afternoon searching the seas of Gorda Banks seamount, a renowned gathering place for whales, especially humpbacks, dolphins and other sea life, capping off the day with a majestic sunset over the iconic Friars Rocks at Land’s End.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Magdalena Bay & Cruising

Begin the morning with stretches hosted by the onboard wellness specialist on the sun deck, enjoy a lecture or join the naturalists onboard as the ship cruises north along the coast of the peninsula. There is a chance of seeing a wide variety of marine life, including the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale. Midday, arrive into Magdalena Bay and anchor in the Hull Canal to explore the vast mangrove system via kayak, stand-up paddleboard and Zodiac, and learn how these massive ecosystems support their surroundings.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Boca de Soledad

Each winter, during their long migration, gray whales travel south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and give birth and raise their calves in these sheltered waters. Transfer to López Mateos and spend the full day observing, and with luck, interacting with these majestic creatures. Together with savvy local Mexican fishermen the crew has known for years, venture out in Zodiacs to view the numerous mother-calf pairs that thrive in this sheltering region. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before heading back to the ship in late afternoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Bahia Almejas, Rehusa Channel & Isla Magdalena

Awake anchored in Bahia Almejas, the southernmost part of the Bay. Stop at a large frigatebird colony enroute to the spectacular whale grounds of Bahía Almejas. Whales in this part of the bay tend to be very active, seemingly oblivious to your presence so settle in for some great experiences. During lunch, the ship repositions to Isla Magdalena for a chance to head ashore to explore the ever-shifting sand dunes or a cross-island walk to one of the most pristine beaches in the Pacific. Bird watching can be excellent here with abundant seabirds in action and shorebirds patrolling the beaches as they fatten up and prepare for long journeys to Arctic breeding grounds.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Disembark San Carlos to Loreto, Baja

Disembark in San Carlos after breakfast and transfer overland to Loreto. Choose to visit the first mission in Baja California, as well as the nearby museum to learn more about what makes this town so special. Enjoy free time to explore the quaint shops and vibrant side streets. After lunch, transfer to Loreto Airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of snorkeling equipment and kayaks; all port taxes and service charges.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $750 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – $350 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
119 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 25% of total trip cost
59 to 45 days – 50% of total trip cost
44 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 Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot), including a booster shot for those eligible. There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The Reverse Baja California: Among the Great Whales cruise begins and ends in Loreto, Baja, Mexico (LTO) with a group transfer from disembarkation in San Carlos on day 8 (a roughly 2.5-hour transfer). Embarkation time may vary based upon arrival of group flights from Los Angeles, California. Plan to depart Loreto in the afternoon on day 8 of the itinerary. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography, whale watching and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Travelers under the age of 18 at time of travel save $500, at double occupancy. Skilled staff members are trained in organizing activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

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.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change. Please contact AdventureSmith for the most up-to-date pricing.

Jan 07 - Jan 14, 2023
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
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From $6720USD
Per Person
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Jan 14 - Jan 21, 2023
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $6720USD
Per Person
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Jan 21 - Jan 28, 2023
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
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From $6720USD
Per Person
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Jan 28 - Feb 04, 2023
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $6590USD
Per Person
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Feb 04 - Feb 11, 2024
National Geographic Venture • 373 days
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From $6720USD
Per Person
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Feb 11 - Feb 18, 2023
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $6720USD
Per Person
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Feb 18 - Feb 25, 2023
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
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From $6590USD
Per Person
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Feb 25 - Mar 04, 2023
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $6590USD
Per Person
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Mar 04 - Mar 11, 2023
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
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From $6590USD
Per Person
Read More
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Venture

The 100-guest National Geographic Venture is a state-of-the-art, purpose-built expedition vessel made for exploring coastal waters, shallow coves and fast-moving channels while sailing with the luxury of supreme comfort.

Deal

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires May 31st, 2022
$350 Air Credit On 2023 Baja California: Among the Great Whales Cruises

Book your Baja cruise and receive a $350 air credit in this special deal.

Testimonials

Hear It from Travelers Who Have Explored with Us

"Exactly As Advertised"

We were absolutely delighted with this trip and would not hesitate to book another expedition in the future.

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"A Truly Magical Time"

We had a truly magical time in Baja...Mom and I will never forget the experience for the rest of of our lives.

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Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

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Baja California & The Sea of Cortez: Among the Great Whales

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