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.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: La Paz to Magdalena Bay

La Paz to Magdalena Bay
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Arrival & Introduction
  • Accommodation: Baja Camping - Magdalena Bay
  • Meals: L, D

Arrival & Introduction

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. Stop for breakfast en route at one of our favorite local ranchos (not included). 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: Magdalena Bay

Magdalena Bay
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Sea Turtle Monitoring
  • Accommodation: Baja Camping - Magdalena Bay
  • Meals: B, L, D

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: Magdalena Bay

Magdalena Bay
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Mangrove Exploration
  • Accommodation: Baja Camping - Magdalena Bay
  • Meals: B, L, D

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 bird life. 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: Magdalena Bay - Sea of Cortez

Magdalena Bay - Sea of Cortez
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Gray Whales & Sea of Cortez
  • Accommodation: Baja Camping - Magdalena Bay
  • Meals: B, L, D

Gray Whales & Sea of Cortez

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 - La Paz

Espíritu Santo Island - La Paz
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Espiritu Santo Exploration
  • Accommodation: El Angel Azul Hacienda
  • Meals: B, L, D

Espiritu Santo Exploration

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 for dinner and your overnight stay.

Day 6: La Paz - Cabo Pulmo National Park

La Paz - Cabo Pulmo National Park
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Cabo Pulmo National Park
  • Accommodation: Cabo Pulmo Cabana
  • Meals: B, L, D

Cabo Pulmo National Park

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

Sierra de la Laguna
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Sierra de La Laguna Exploration
  • Accommodation: Sierra de la Laguna Cabana
  • Meals: B, L, D

Sierra de La Laguna Exploration

Up into the looming hills, just one hour from Cabo Pulmo National Park, 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: Sierra de la Laguna - Los Cabos

Sierra de la Laguna - Los Cabos
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Meals: B, L

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.

Accommodation

Baja Camping - Magdalena Bay

Baja Camping - Magdalena Bay

Camping along the remote shorelines of Magdalena Bay may not involve 300-thread-count sheets, marble floors, or even plumbing. But it is highly luxurious by back country standards, and it is a spectacular experience for anyone enthusiastic about the outdoors. When you arrive, the roomy two-person tents are already set up, your bed is made, and on your pillow are two welcome gifts: a personalized card and a small trinket. Each guest gets a twin-sized, slightly firm but delightfully thick mattress with clean sheets, blankets, and a soft pillow. Between the mattresses is a broad aisle, and a small wood slatted nightstand, perfect for stashing an alarm clock (battery or solar-powered) and headlamp, and anything else you want handy during the night. The tents have zippered vents to provide air circulation during the heat of the day and a rain fly to keep out the wind and dew at night (the desert can get chilly after sundown). A bamboo mat serves as the “front porch,” a convenient place to remove and stash shoes. A small brush is provided for each tent to manage the sand that will inevitably get tracked inside. There are two large kitchen tents – out of which come healthy, delicious meals with local flair. The large, long dining tent is next door, and contains three wooden tables, plenty of plastic deck chairs, a cooler with purified water, and a bookshelf featuring tomes on plant, bird and animal identification, Spanish language, and other useful topics. The walls of the dining tent can be tied back to catch a breeze during the day, or closed to block the wind at night. There are also two outhouses, camp sinks and a tall, 3-walled enclosure which houses the camp “shower.” Sun-warmed water awaits in metal containers and a rubberized mat with drainage holes prevents sand accumulation on your wet feet as you wash off.

El Angel Azul Hacienda

A serene hotel just 10 minutes walk from the La Paz seafront with a beautifully designed garden enclosed within a peaceful courtyard. Step off the plane at La Paz airport and you are in the hot heart of a dusty Western... the surrounding landscape is desert, the sun beats down mercilessly on the cowering buildings, and in summer the streets of the town are deserted. But just off the Avenida Independencia is a heavenly haven from this scorching setting: El Angel Azul Hacienda ("The Blue Angel"). Discernible only by a blue sign and door set in bleached white walls, this stylish hotel was a former courthouse that had lain empty for 20 years. Scrupulously restored by the current owner, Swiss-born Esther Ammann, it has a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere, with rooms facing the cacti-filled courtyard under shaded colonnades. With shrines, sculptures, paintings, even an ensenada (clay ‘day of the dead’ skeleton) dotted about the garden, it feels more like staying in the villa of an arty friend. Esther has turned a shell into a local landmark and is definitely a cool host who knows how to stay cool in a hot town.

Cabo Pulmo Cabana

Cabo Pulmo Cabana

Community owned and operated these comfortable cabanas include private bathrooms. RED Sustainable Travel camps are well-organized in order to provide a comfortable experience for guests, maximize efficiency, and minimize ecological impact.

Sierra de la Laguna Cabana

Sierra de la Laguna Cabana

Community owned and operated these comfortable cabanas include private bathrooms. RED Sustainable Travel camps are well-organized in order to provide a comfortable experience for guests, maximize efficiency, and minimize ecological impact.

Pricing and Details

Price: On Request

*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.

Price Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

Price Excludes

  • International & domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

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