zodiac near grey whale on whales of magdalena bay cruise in baja
man photographing cactus in baja
water spraying from whale's blowhole in magdalena bay baja small ship cruise
four pelicans skimming the water near whales of magdalena bay cruise in baja
full zodiac passing rock covered in sea birds in megdalena bay in baja
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North America Baja California Cruise

The Whales of Magdalena Bay

Spend several extraordinary days in the company of majestic gray whales in Mexico’s Bahía Magdalena, one of the best places in the world to witness interactions between gray whale mothers and their curious calves. On this 6-day wild Baja escape, navigate the length of the bay aboard the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion expedition ship. Set out by Zodiac for this thrilling, up-close whale-watching Magdalena Bay cruise to see California gray whale mothers and calves in their winter breeding grounds.

In addition to whale watching, guests can kayak or paddleboard through mangrove forests teeming with wildlife and hike desert islands with naturalists, from windswept sand dunes to cactus groves, to learn about desert ecosystems, seabird migrations and whale behavior. Watch pelicans and ospreys soar overhead while soaking up the sun on some of the Pacific’s most pristine beaches. Grab a fat-tire bike from the onboard fleet and ride over desert terrain.

Travel aboard the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion, a purpose built small ship ideal for exploring Baja’s famed Magdalena Bay. Onboard expedition technology enhances the expedition, with a hydrophone, splash-cam, underwater video camera and video microscope. Aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion, guests are in the most excellent company. Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader and veteran naturalists, including a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, plus a wellness specialist.

Sail through Baja with experts in marine and terrestrial biology, botany, geology and more and benefit from their passion to share the wonder of this incredible region. These Baja expedition guides are highly engaging and fun to share a drink or dinner with in addition to being ideal hiking companions. This Baja whale-watching cruise begins and ends in Loreto, Baja California, with a cruise-provided transfer to San Carlos to embark the ship.

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



Itinerary

The Whales of Magdalena Bay Itinerary

On this 6-day wild Baja escape, navigate the length of Magdalena Bay embarking and disembarking from San Carlos and flying in and out of Loreto.

Whales of Magdalena Bay cruise route map.
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Day 1
Fly to Loreto & Embark San Carlos

Arrive in Loreto and transfer to the port town of San Carlos to embark the ship. Tonight, unwind under a star-studded sky as the ship anchors in calm waters off the coast of Isla Santa Margarita.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Bahia Almejas, Rehusa Channel & Isla Magdalena

Awake in Bahía Almejas, the southernmost part of the Bay. Make a special stop to view a large frigatebird colony on Isla Santa Margarita before heading out on your first whale-watching trip of the voyage. The whales in Bahía Almejas tend to be very active, seemingly oblivious to your presence. As you explore this bay and the Rehusa Channel via local panga, the ship’s expedition team works hard to provide you with memorable, meaningful and educational experiences. During lunch, sail toward Isla Magdalena to explore the ever-shifting sand dunes on a cross-island walk to one of the most pristine beaches in the Pacific. Take a dip or tally the treasure found on what guides here affectionately call “sand dollar beach.”

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Transit the Hull Canal & Boca de Soledad

Spend the morning transiting the scenic winding Hull Canal. Within its narrow channels, bordered by mangroves and sand dunes, and filled with abundant wildlife, hang out on deck with the ship’s keen-eyed naturalists to spot species and hear expert commentary. Weather permitting, explore the vast mangrove system via kayak and expedition landing craft. Birdwatching here can be excellent. Among the species you might see are diving pelicans, wheeling cormorants, terns, great blue herons, ibis, whimbrels and willets. It’s not unusual to see forty species of birds in just one day along these fertile shorelines. This afternoon, head out to explore the breeding grounds of Boca de Soledad.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 4 - 5
Boca de Soledad Gray Whale Watching

Each winter, during their long migration, gray whales travel south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and give birth to their calves in these sheltered waters. “Grand Central” for California gray whales, spend two full days observing, and with luck, interacting with these majestic creatures. Together with savvy local fishermen the National Geographic crew has known for years, venture out in expedition landing craft to view the numerous mother-calf pairs that thrive in this region. You’ll also have an opportunity to explore the beaches, and if you’re feeling up
to it, grab one a fat-tire bike to roam the seemingly endless beaches.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Disembark Lopez Mateos & Return to Loreto

After breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to Loreto’s city center. 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 the Loreto Airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations aboard vessel; all meals as indicated in itinerary; non-alcoholic beverages aboard ship, including cappuccinos, lattes, filtered water, and 24-hour coffee, tea and soda on demand; shore excursions; sightseeing; entrance fees and special access permits; round-trip transfers for guests using group flights; use of kayaks, bicycles and stand-up paddleboards; services of the ship’s physician, expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; all port charges and service taxes; gratuities to local guides and drivers.

Exclusions

Air transportation; extensions; passport, visa and immigration fees; meals not indicated in itinerary; travel protection plan and insurance of any kind; gift shop items and any other items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, internet and phone access, voyage DVD, laundry, etc; gratuities to the naturalist staff and ship’s crew.

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 fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – $350 in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate
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.

Arrival & Departure

The Whales of Magdalena Bay cruise begins and ends in Loreto, Baja California, Mexico (LTO), with ship embarkation in San Carlos and disembarkation in Lopez Mateos, Baja.  Two group transfers are provided, a roughly 2.5-hour drive, from Loreto to San Carlos on day 1 and from Lopez Mateos to Loreto on day 6. 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

Opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography exist on and off the ship. Off-vessel activities can be tailored to most activity levels and may include hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, fat-tire biking and Zodiac excursions.

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. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; 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

See Deals section for details on flexible booking policies.

Jan 14 - Jan 19, 2021
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $3740USD
Per Person
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Jan 19 - Jan 24, 2021
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $3740USD
Per Person
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Jan 24 - Jan 29, 2021
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $3740USD
Per Person
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Jan 29 - Feb 03, 2021
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $3740USD
Per Person
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Feb 08 - Feb 13, 2021
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $3740USD
Per Person
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Feb 13 - Feb 18, 2021
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $3740USD
Per Person
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Feb 28 - Mar 05, 2021
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $3740USD
Per Person
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Mar 05 - Mar 10, 2021
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $3740USD
Per Person
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Mar 10 - Mar 15, 2021
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $3740USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Sea Lion

National Geographic Sea Lion is a tried and true educational-based 62-guest expedition ship. Onboard experts from National Geographic make this ship, and its twin the National Geographic Sea Bird, unique.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires December 31st, 2020
10% Group Savings On 2020 & 2021 The Whales of Magdalena Bay Cruises

Book your Whales of Magdalena Bay cruise with 6 or more people and save up to 10% in this special group booking deal.

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Offer expires November 30th, 2020
Kids Save 25% On 2021 The Whales of Magdalena Bay Cruises

Book your 2021 Baja cruise for two full-fare adults and save up to 25% per child in this special deal.

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Offer expires December 31st, 2020
Flexible Cancellation Available Close To Departure on 2020 & 2021 National Geographic Expeditions

Book or re-book 2020 & 2021 travel aboard the National Geographic fleet of ships with confidence using these risk-free, flexible policy details.

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.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

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7 Day Land Tour
Baja Intimate Insider

Travel like a local on this customizable Baja Insider active adventure. Mingle with owners, artists, rancheros and chefs amidst a small group of likeminded travelers. With our hand-picked local guides and connections, you will quickly become an "insider" in Baja California!

From $2525USD
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Oct Nov Dec
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3 Day Land Tour
Camp Cecil Adventure

Indulge your desert island experience in the best way possible, on the 3-day Camp Cecil Adventure with excellent naturalist guides and incredible adventure options to explore an entire island via kayak, hike and snorkel.

From $750USD
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The Whales of Magdalena Bay

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