Baja: Birthplace of the Grey Whale

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8 days
Availability : February, 2022
Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
La Paz, Baja California, Mexico

2022. End of winter. Mexico. Baja California. Close your eyes and imagine.


Baja is the wild, the rugged, the abandoned and open.  The desolate and the beautiful.  It is the land that calls to you and reminds you that adventure is still completely possible in this very regimented, very busy world and life we lead.  In Baja, the dreamy is absolutely possible.  You come here to learn about tenacity, to see who has the determination to survive in a world of salt and sand and sun and wind.  Come and join us on a pursuit of the wild and fierce and beautiful.  We’ll drive through hot deserts with the windows rolled down, music playing on the stereo, and dreams and hopes percolating in our minds.  We’ll camp on the beach where we are awakened by the sound of the water spout of the whales…can you hear their music?  These magical creatures are drawn to us.  We don’t know why.  Come and visit them while a mama whale pushes her baby up to the side of your boat and invites you to give it a kiss.  Hike among giant cactuses, boulders and boojum trees.  Float on your back in the middle of the night in a blue and biolumenscent sea under a blanket of stars arcing overhead.  Learn about the people who live here and what they believe.  Learn the spiritual secrets of the curandera and choose the charm and candle that will help you on your journey.  Learn about the oases that open up like a great sigh in the middle of the desert and imagine how many have sought shelter here over the years.  Join us to share in the magic that is Baja and be ready for true adventure!


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Tour Details

The Gray Whales give birth in February-March.  Join us in February/March of 2022 for a small group cultural immersion trip to explore Baja.

Departure & Return Location

Loreto, Baja Sur

The trip will begin and end at this location.  Direct flights from Los Angeles are available.

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What to Expect

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Day 1 Arrive in Tijuana, Baja

We’ll meet at the airport and then drive to Ensenada

Hotel: Quintas Papagayo, a small, charming hotel in the center of Ensenada, right at the edge of the ocean front walkway.

Highlights: Ensenada is a cruise ship stop with all the accouterments of a cruise ship economy.  However, there are some redeeming qualities, namely the beach, the seafood market (Mercado de Mariscos) a nice stop to see the seafood and eat fish tacos, and La Bufadora, a natural ocean blow hole that impresses at the right tide level when it shoots water 30 meters into the air.

Day 2Drive south to Cataviña, Baja

Hotel: Hotel Mision Santa Maria

Camping: Rancho Santa Ynez- Cataviña

Highlights: Heading south from El Rosario, we leave the barren lands and rugged beaches for the true desert landscape of the Baja in your imagination, giant rounded boulders, branching cactus, the bulbous boojum trees thrive (although you imagine them struggling to live) in the natural protected area of the central desert.  Along this stretch, it is possible to drive for hours without seeing another person or pass another car.  After driving and seeing nothing, the small, dusty town of Cataviña is a welcome sight.  Besides the picturesque landscape, there are cave paintings that can be accessed with a 10 minute hike up the hill along a well-marked trail.

Day 3Drive south to Guerrero Negro

Explore the top 3 hotel choices; Late lunch at Malarimo and then head out to set up camp

Camping:  Ojo de Liebre Lagoon with camping palaces for $10

Highlights: World’s largest saltworks offers tours (9% of the world’s salt);  Every year late January through March, the Gray Whales come to the lagoon to breed and give birth.  They are known for their extremely friendly behavior and they actually seek out human contact. Mother whales push their babies up to the boats.  They approach the boats and people pet and kiss them.  There is also a bird sanctuary where you can walk around for free.

Day 4Morning out with whales; Afternoon Salt Flats and playing

Camping: Ojo de Liebre Lagoon

Supporting Material: Article about why gray whales appear to be curious about tourists in boats: appear-curious-whale-watchers/

Day 5Drive to Laguna San Ignacio (3,25hrs)

Stop to explore the colonial town of San Ignacio, nestled into a date palm oasis.  Peek in at Misión Nuestra Señor San Ignacio de Kadakaamán, a beautiful mission founded in 1728.  If time allows, stop at oyster farm for tour in the afternoon.  Stop at Tortilleria La Mision to buy fresh tortillas.

Camping:  Ecoturism Kuyimá ($8/person; Kids half off); toilets, bucket showers, restaurant and gift shop on site – make arrangements in advance on the plaza in San Ignacio

Highlights: Oyster Farm nearby where you can take a tour and buy oysters for 50 pesos (evaluate for interest level and group feasability);

Grupo Tortuguero Californias with programs where tourists can help in monitoring and/or releases – mostly operate in La Paz, but recently started in the area;

Laguna San Ignacio Ecosystem Science Program has an outreach program where they hold educational talks and workshops, mostly to teach professionals, but it sounds like sometimes they also put on programs for tourists.

Day 6 Morning with the whales; Afternoon drive Bahia Concepcion (4.25 hours)

When driving through Santa Rosalia, notice the church designed in 1884 by Gustave Eiffel

Camping: Playa El Coyote features waterfront campsites lining a picturesque lagoon where whale sharks, dolphins, and other marine life are frequently spotted.  $10/night and you will find yourself with the most spectacular beachfront view you could ever imagine! This is a great spot for tent campers since many sites include a palapa (small hut for shade).

Highlights: Laguna San Ignacio is said to be the best place in the world to have whale experiences, as the whales are friendly and encounters are more likely.  After going out for the morning, we’ll drive to the Sea of Cortez.  We’ll stop in Mulegé to see the mission and oasis

Day 7Kayak and Snorkel

Camping:  Playa El Coyote

Highlights: “While whale sharks swimming in Bahía Concepción happen on occasion, one thing that’s usually there every evening is the bioluminescence. We had no idea this was even a thing! After dark, the bay glows bright blue when the plankton in the water get slightly agitated.” –

Bahia Concepcion is known for world-class kayaking, snorkeling, fishing and whale-watching.  Kayaking provides access to the small islands, secluded beaches and remote areas that can’t be reached by the road. Launch at Playa Santispac.

Hot springs are at the south end of the beach just up from the shore

Day 8Explore the cave paintings

Camping: Playa El Coyote

Highlights: San Borjitas and La Trinidad Cave Paintings are some of the best cave paintings in the area and can be reached on an easy day trip.  Saturday at 6:30 there is a pig roast at Hotel Serenidad (call for reservation) – all you can eat pork, ribs, tamales, beans, salad, tortillas, and dessert.

Day 9Morning drive to picturesque Loreto (2 hours)

Explore the town/mission, see where the airport is;  Inspect hotels for group suitability.

Hotel: Posada del Cortes (2 nights), 8 rooms near the malécon and walking distance to the plaza and restaurants.

Highlights:  Best mission on the peninsula is here (1697) – starting point of El Camino Real!!!   Parque Marítimo Nacional Bahía de Loreto, Mexico’s largest marine preserve, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.  The islands here are one of the most popular kayaking areas in all of Baja – can rent kayaks in town.  You may see dolphins, whales, sea lions, sea turtles and manta rays.  Visibility varies 15-30 meters.  There is a lot of great hiking around Loreto but trails aren’t well marked.  Hire knowledgeable guide, Said Orozco

Day 10Snorkeling & Kayaking in Loreto OR move on to La Paz for more time

Hotel: Posada del Cortes

Day 11Drive to La Paz (4 hours)

Camping:  Campestre Maranatha – excellent facilities, showers, restaurant, pool, huge place $25/night

Highlights: La Paz is the Capital of the state and it offers culture, history, beaches, and islands.  It is centered on a beautiful malécon that wraps around the bay and is lined by hotels, restaurants and shops. The main draw however are the beaches and islands.  Take a boat tour to Isla Espiritu Santo to snorkel with sea lions, swim with whale sharks and enjoy deserted islands.    In town is Museo de la Ballena, a fun marine focused stop and a Serpentario and a large public market offering fresh produce, meat and seafood.  El Nopal includes cultural activities like market visits, cooking classes and outdoor sports.

Day 12Snorkeling with the Whale Sharks

Camping:  Campestre Maranatha

Day 14Fly to Mexico City; City Tour OR Volcano


Day 15Teotihuacan

Flight back to Paris at 23:00


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