At the present time EcoQuest Travel does not have a trip to Baja scheduled. The following itinerary is an example of trips we have conducted in the past and is similar to trips we intend to offer in the future. Please keep in mind that Mexico is a very diverse country and EcoQuest Travel offers many different itineraries to take advantage of this diversity – the trip listed below is just one example. If you are interested in Baja or in Mexico as a destination please contact us for further information.

BAJA CALIFORNIA

Whales and Wildlife; Desert and Seas

10 – Day Itinerary

Day 1 – Saturday, March 25: US to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico

Our adventure begins today as you arrive at your home airports no later than two hours prior to your scheduled departure time. From your home airports you will fly to our US gateway city and upon arrival please go directly to our departure gate for Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico. Your EcoQuest Travel guide will meet you at our departure gate for Cabo San Lucas. Once we arrive in Baja we will clear immigration and customs before boarding our bus for the two hour journey north to La Paz. Once in La Paz we will settle into our accommodations at the Hotel Araiza Inn Palmira, and perhaps have a late afternoon swim before dinner. Dinner will take place at a local restaurant. The Araiza Inn Palmira is located just outside the city of La Paz. The Sea of Cortez is across the street and the hotel gardens are a small oasis, surrounded by desert, which attracts many birds and reptiles. (D)

Day 2 – Sunday, March 26: Los Islotes Sea Lion Colony and Espiritu Santo Island

Today we will board our boats and travel north of La Paz to a series of small rocky islets known as Los Islotes. Along the way we should see a host of seabirds including blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigatebirds, Heermann’s gulls and elegant terns. Los Islotes is known for its colonies of California sea lions and we will have the privilege of snorkeling with these curious and playful creatures. The sea lions normally put on quite a show doing barrel rolls around snorkelers and indulging in a very one sided game of chicken where they rush right at you veering away at the last second. They may also nip your fins and blow bubbles at you – often when you are eye to eye with them. The sea life around Los Islotes is not limited to sea lions and we should also see many species of fish and marine invertebrates. After snorkeling Los Islotes we will travel south to Espiritu Santo Island to snorkel, have a picnic lunch on the beach and do a bit of hiking on the island. Espiritu Santo is known for its diversity of desert reptiles and we could see chuckwallas, desert iguanas, Baja blue rock lizards, Hunsaker’s and Baja California spiny lizards and maybe a western banded gecko. Snakes are also abundant including the endemic Espiritu Santo Island striped whipsnake, western patchnose snake and two rattlesnake species – Baja California and speckled. After spending the rest of our day on the island we will return to La Paz for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 3 – Monday, March 27: La Paz to Puerto San Carlos and the Gray Whales of Magdalena Bay

We will arise early this morning and after breakfast we will board our bus and travel northwest across the Baja Peninsula to the Pacific Coast and Puerto San Carlos. Puerto San Carlos provides the easiest access to the rich marine ecosystems of Magdalena Bay and the migrating gray whales. After checking into our hotel we will board our boats to begin our search for the gray whales. Each year the entire world’s population of gray whales migrates to Magdalena Bay and the Sea of Cortez to winter, breed and give birth. We will arrive in Baja near the end of the wintering season and Magdalena Bay is our best opportunity to see gray whales as they begin their migration north. After an afternoon of searching for whales we will return to our accommodations at the Hotel Brennan for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Tuesday, March 28: The Gray Whales of Magdalena Bay and back to La Paz

After breakfast we will once again spend the morning out on the waters of Magdalena Bay looking for gray whales. We hope that going out twice will help enhance our chances to observe and spend time with the whales. After our boat trip and lunch we will drive back to La Paz and settle back into the Araiza Inn Palmira. Dinner will be at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Wednesday, March 29: Sierra de la Laguna National Park

We will arise very early this morning and depart south for Todos Santos on the Pacific side of the Peninsula. From there we will travel inland to San Juan del Aserradero where we pick up the Canon San Dionisio trail which climbs up into Sierra de la Laguna NP. Although the trail goes all the way across the Sierra de la Laguna we will try to hike 5 miles to a large meadow and nearby waterfall. This hike will be fairly strenuous as we will be climbing up a good portion of the way to the meadow. Sierra de la Laguna is a fantastic wilderness area comprised of many different habitat types. These habitats change with the altitude from dry desert at the beginning of the trail to aspen, oak, pine and palm forests as we near the top (at around 5,000 feet). These habitat shifts also allow for a great diversity of plants and animals. We might encounter Pacific treefrogs, San Lucan alligator lizards, San Lucan robins, the endemic Xanthus hummingbird, deer, coyote and perhaps a mountain lion if we are incredibly lucky. Once at the meadow we will have a picnic lunch and have a bit of time to explore before hiking back down to our vehicle. We will travel back to Todos Santos, eat dinner at a local restaurant and stay overnight at the Hotel Santa Rosa. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Thursday, March 30: Todos Santos and back to La Paz

Today we will have an early morning hike in the desert near Todos Santos to look for birds and reptiles. Among the reptiles we could see are spiny-tailed iguana, coast horned lizard, zebra-tailed lizard, western whiptail lizard, rosy boa, Baja California rat snake, spotted leaf-nosed snake and red rattlesnake. Birds could include Harris’ hawk, greater roadrunner, elf owl, Costa’s hummingbird, gray thrasher, gila woodpecker, verdin, cactus wren and hooded oriole. After our hike we will return to La Paz and in the late afternoon we will visit the La Paz Serpentarium. The Serpentarium will provide an opportunity to see many of Baja’s unique herp species including some we probably won’t see otherwise including the endemic and unique mole lizard (Bipes biporus). After our visit to the Serpentarium we will have dinner in a local restaurant before settling in once again at the Araiza Inn Palmira. (B,L,D)

Day 7, 8 & 9 – Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 31, April 1 & 2: Sea of Cortez in Search of Blue and Fin Whales – Live Aboard Boats

Today we begin a three-day odyssey in search of the largest and second largest animals that have ever lived, the blue and fin whale. This is a very special opportunity as blue whales in particular are rare and difficult to observe. One of the best places to see them, along with fin whales, is the Sea of Cortez during a small window of time in mid-spring when they gather to feed. We are going to spend three days living aboard two boats as we search for the whales. The Sea of Cortez is an incredibly rich marine ecosystem due to its depth and currents that bring nutrient rich waters to the surface. While we search for whales we could see other marine life including giant Humboldt squid, whale sharks, manta rays, dolphin, orca and pilot whales. Each day on the water could bring new surprises. We will eat and sleep aboard the boats and will return to port the evening of April 2nd and transfer to the Araiza Inn Palmira for overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Monday, April 3: La Paz to Cabo San Lucas and Depart for the US

This morning, after breakfast, we will pack up, check out of the hotel and depart for Cabo San Lucas and the airport. We will fly to our US gateway city before transferring to our flights home. (B)

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.