Gray Whales, Sea Turtles and National Parks of Baja California Sur (8D/7N)

Baja-marine-life

Experience the wonder of the gray whales and sea turtles on the Pacific coast, the splendor of marine parks in the Sea of Cortez, and the heart of Baja California Sur in the rugged Sierra de la Laguna.
Take part in the world-renowned Grupo Tortuguero sea turtle conservation project accompanied by the fisher-conservationists working to save these endangered species. Magdalena Bay, jewel of the Pacific on the Baja California peninsula is also where you will see the magnificent gray whales that come to breed and calve before returning north towards the Bering Sea.
Continue your adventure with a stay at a coastal Eco Retreat and a trip out to Espíritu Santo Island. Rest up in La Paz before heading south to Cabo Pulmo National Park and then up into the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve where vernal pools, waterfalls and an incredible contrast of vegetation and microclimates await. Regional cuisine with gourmet flair, stargazing, mangroves and towering sand dunes round out the experience.

Highlights:
Gray whales, sea turtles, Espiritu Santo Island, Eco-retreat, Cabo Pulmo National Park, Sierra La Laguna, whale watching, sea turtle monitoring, mangrove exploration, dune hiking, cultural interaction, bird watching, star gazing, gourmet cuisine.

Perfect for:
Nature lovers, families, adventure travelers, academic or corporate retreats.
Ask for our custom and private departures for groups.

Departure City:
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Departure from Los Cabos or Loreto available upon request.

Season:
January to March

Duration:
8 days / 7 nights

Day 1 – La Paz to Magdalena Bay
Depart from La Paz early in the morning en route to Magdalena Bay, jewel of the Pacific and home to a staggering number of migratory and marine birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals including the migratory gray whales. Breakfast will be provided en route at one of our favorite local ranchos. Settle into our secluded island camp and after happy hour, learn about the important sea turtle restoration project which will be the focus of tomorrow’s activities. Get a good night’s rest, tomorrow we search for turtles.

Day 2 – Sea Turtle Monitoring
Wake up early and grab a cup of coffee and watch the fisher-conservationists prepare the nets used in the sea turtle monitoring, or stay in bed and catch a few extra z’s. During breakfast we will learn about the monitoring protocol and how we can participate in the data collection. Every two hours you will have the chance to accompany the monitoring team in pangas to check the nets for turtles. Captured sea turtles will be transported to camp where we will help take measurements and other important data before releasing them back into the wild. Throughout the day you’ll have the chance to get all your questions about sea turtles. After dinner, take in the stars in a night sky that never disappoints.

Day 3 – Whale watching and mangrove exploration
Head down to the beach to finish measuring and weighing sea turtles before releasing them back into the wild, concluding the sea turtle monitoring portion of the trip. Today we explore the magic of the greater Magdalena Bay complex, it’s vast, rolling sand dunes and winding mangrove canals teeming with birdlife. Back at camp, budding chefs can head to the kitchen for regional cuisine cooking class. The rest of the group can head to the beach to learn artisanal fishing techniques, or relax and get lost in a book. Tonight we will learn about the gray whales, their incredible migration, and the importance of Magdalena Bay for breeding and calving to these magnificent creatures. Sit by the fire tonight and swap stories with your fisher guides and learn about the crucial role they play in conserving the natural resources of Magdalena Bay by combining tourism with conservation.

Day 4 – Gray Whales to Eco-retreat
Bid farewell to your hosts and head out early to search for gray whales. Friendly whales often approach the boats, and the mothers are known to push the young calves closer, which can make for an incredible interaction between two species. We will enjoy a picnic lunch on a secluded barrier island before heading back out to see whales. Afterwards, we will head south to an Eco Retreat on the Sea of Cortez. Here we will learn how to prepare traditional Mexican dishes, from handmade tortillas to tamales. Sit on the dunes above the water and take in the stars.

Day 5 Espíritu Santo Island
Today we head out in panga to Espiritu Santo, UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to clear turquoise water, multitudes of fish species, and resident sea lions. After an orientation from your naturalist guide, you’ll have the chance to put a snorkel and mask on and see for yourself the marine wonderland. We’ll picnic out at the island and take a hike up into the arroyos to learn about the island’s history and the important story of conservation that lead to their protection. We return to La Paz before dinner and the trip concludes.

Day 6 Cabo Pulmo
Today we drive south from La Paz and down into the East Cape. No visit to Baja California Sur is complete without experiencing the magic of Cabo Pulmo National Park. Home to the northernmost coral reef in the Eastern Pacific, Cabo Pulmo is recognized as a model for successful marine resource management. While you may see more impressive coral in other places, visitors to Cabo Pulmo are continually amazed by the quantity and diversity of marine life. Try SCUBA or snorkeling, and spend the rest of your time lazing on the beach with a book or hiking the coastal trail.

Day 7 Sierra de la Laguna
Up into the looming hills, just one hour from Cabo Pulmo, the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range will hit you with a change of scenery and climate that will shift your entire perspective of the Baja California peninsula. Hike the numerous nature trails up to vernal pools and waterfalls, and see the vegetation change from desert to pine-oak forests that are home to numerous endemic species. Stay in comfortable cabañas and enjoy meals of tasty local fare.

Day 8 Departure to Los Cabos
After a relaxing breakfast you can take a last dip in the pools before we board the van and drive to San José del Cabo to catch the flight home.

Comments
Departures upon request. Contact us for more information.

Price: $2800 US per person based on 6 or more people | Kid’s discounts available. Contact us for more information.

Includes
2 gray whale watching expeditions, sea turtle monitoring, ground transportation from La Paz to Magdalena Bay and back, regional gourmet cuisine (including wine and beer), upgraded camping accommodations with mattresses and linens, Espiritu Santo Island daytour, 1 night at Cabo Pulmo National Park, snorkeling tour, 1 night in Sierra La Laguna Biosphere reserve

Excludes
Breakfast on day 1 and dinner on day 5, hotels or transportation prior or after the trip, tips (usually 10-15% of the trip fee)

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