Day 1 | Arrive La Paz
Fly into La Paz or Cabo San Lucas (shuttle service available for an extra cost) and meet at the hotel. Overnight at Hotel Catedral, a beautiful new hotel
Day 2 | La Paz to Magdalena Bay
Today you will head across the peninsula to start your exploration of this beautiful region. The guide will pick up the group at the hotel after breakfast to head across the peninsula to the Pacific (about a 3 hour drive). Arrive to beautiful Magdalena Bay and head by boat to the partner RED Travel Mexico’s stunning tent camp, where you will camp for the next three nights. This camp is the base of operations for the turtle research efforts and is staffed by fishermen who formerly caught turtles but now work to protect them. Expect fantastic meals and great service in a beautiful location.
If weather allows, you can look for gray whales on the way to the camp. Once settled in, there will be a camp orientation, followed by happy hour and a delicious dinner after sunset. (B, L, D)
Day 3 | Green Turtle Research
Today is turtle day! After breakfast, the group will head out by boat for the turtle research to study the black turtle, a sub-species of green turtles. You will be accompanied by researchers from Grupo Tortuguero, a network of residents around the region that study and protect several species of sea turtles. The efforts of this network have helped bring the black turtle back from near extinction by working with local communities, fishermen, and others to reduce poaching and entanglement in fishing gear. Under their supervision and guidance, the turtles are caught in nets and brought ashore to study.
Participants help measure their length and width, weigh them, and collect other data. Once complete, the turtle is released back into the water.
We will bring a picnic lunch and some shade and spend most of the day with the fishermen and the turtles. Afterwards, feel free to head out in a kayak to explore the Bay and look for dolphins or seabirds. After dinner, your guide will lead a star gazing lesson or make a campfire; you won’t often find a better place! (B, L, D)
Day 4 | Friendly Gray Whales
Magdalena Bay is also a great habitat for gray whales, where they come to mate and calve. Baja’s gray whales are unique in their “friendly” behavior; they will sometimes approach boats to be touched and the mothers are known to push the young calves closer, which can make for an incredible interaction between two species. Gray whales are also making a comeback in this region since the ban on commercial whaling and visitors coming to meet these amazing animals has become a key source of income for local communities.
We will take small boats known as pangas that will take us out into the channel and spend most of the day on the water watching these majestic mammals. We will have a picnic lunch on an island and head back late afternoon to relax at the camp. (B, L, D)
Day 5 | Magdalena Bay
We complete today our exploration of the greater Magdalena Bay complex and its vast, rolling sand dunes and mangrove canals teeming with birdlife. Climb up a dune for a great view of the area and to play in the sand, you may even spot a dolphin in the distance. We may also see more whales or dolphins as we explore.
We head back to La Paz early afternoon and will have some downtime before dinner to shop or explore the town. Dinner is on your own to explore the town's great offerings. (B, L)
Day 6 | Whale Shark Research & Espiritu Santo Island
Whale sharks are the true “gentle giants” of the oceans. The largest fish on the planet, these gentle beasts return yearly to feed on plankton in La Paz Bay. You'll have several opportunities to snorkel with these incredible (but not aggressive) animals and learn more about these magnificent creatures and support their protection. Our partners helped to create new guidelines to make sure that the observation limits any stress on the animals.
Afterwards you will head out to the beautiful island of Espiritu Santo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. First you will have the opportunity to snorkel with sea lions, who are incredibly graceful in the water. Afterwards, head to the island for a picnic lunch and a hike through the desert landscape to learn how the ocean and land interact in this land of contrasts. Dinner is on your own. (B, L)
Day 7 | Todos Santos
Sea turtles need to be protected both in the water and on their nesting beaches. One important nesting beach is near the town of Todos Santos, an artist community about an hour drive from La Paz, managed by Tortugueros Las Playitas. We will explore the history of this town with a walking tour and then visit a turtle hatchery (where the eggs are protected) to see if they have any hatchlings ready for release. If time allows, take a hike to a nearby pond to look for birds and other wildlife. Tonight the group will have a celebratory dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 8 | Departure
Take the morning shuttle back to Los Cabos for your flight home or explore other parts of this incredible region. You will head home knowing you helped contribute to learning about the wild animals of this incredible place and supporting efforts to protect them.
* Itinerary Note: We adhere to this schedule as closely as possible, but participants should be aware that due to occasional high winds on the water in La Paz Bay, activities at times may need to be rearranged or similar activities substituted.