Baja California & Sea of Cortez Expedition

Baja California & Sea of Cortez Expedition

From AUD $9,195


The Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, was once famously dubbed the ‘aquarium of the world.’ The rugged islands, coastal desert and the surrounding turquoise waters are of striking natural beauty. The islands and protected areas of the Gulf of California is one of Dr Sylvia Earle’s designated Hope Spots and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. It is one of the most productive ocean regions in the world – home to over 900 species of fish, including sharks – 90 of them endemic – more than 2,000 invertebrate species and a variety of whales, dolphins, rays, sea turtles and sea lions. Hike among coastal cactus forests, enjoying splendid views of crescent-shaped bays and be spoiled by some of the best snorkelling and diving experiences offered anywhere on earth. Zodiac cruises will bring birders close to enormous bird colonies where you might spot blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds and Heermann’s gulls. Sunsets over the Sea of Cortez are among the most spectacular you will find anywhere in the world.

Trip Name
Baja California & Sea of Cortez Expedition
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Length: 104 meters Passenger Capacity: 126 Built / Refurbished: 2020/2021 Due to sail in October 2021 our new ship honours the highly accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer, Sylvia Earle. As the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998 – this vessel pays tribute to Sylvia’s long standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife. Sylvia Earle will be actively involved in the development of her namesake. Designed for rugged, remote areas Crossing the notorious Drake Passage or the Denmark Strait, our expeditions face some of the most intense conditions nature can throw at us. The Sylvia Earle is at the cutting edge of nautical technology: robust, powerful and up to the task. Ulstein X-BOW® & Lounge The streamlined Ulstein X-BOW® cuts through the swell so you feel fewer vibrations and disturbances*, and makes quicker transits through waves. It also helps reduce our fuel consumption by up to 60%^. Experience the Glass Atrium Lounge inside the bow, featuring huge windows and superb views to the front of the ship. Swimming pool & wellness centre In between landings, enjoy the heated saltwater open air swimming pool and jacuzzis on board the Sylvia Earle and watch the world go by, or experience our gym, sauna or enjoy a massage (additional cost) in the Wellness centre. Safety features The Sylvia Earle will feature industry-leading safety technology that exceeds the requirements for a ship of this size with a world class return-to-port equipment, which duplicates the propulsion system, enabling the ship to maintain operating systems and comfort in the event of engine failure. The ship will also feature a fully-stocked medical clinic designed for use in remote areas. Responsible travel features We believe that preserving and protecting the environment is of the utmost importance and this is reflected in several features of the Sylvia Earle. The Sylvia Earle will boast one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world due to low energy consumption, high fuel-efficiency and a streamlined design to deliver an 80% reduction in emissions. The ship can also utilise virtual anchoring to hold its position using a combination of GPS, steering technology, propellers and thrusters. This protects the sea floor and minimises the damage caused by conventional anchors. Zodiac launching platforms Our ships carry many Zodiacs, which you can board via four dedicated, sea-level launching platforms. These platforms make boarding the Zodiacs as quick, efficient and safe as possible, minimising wait times and getting you closer to the action for longer. Whether you’re Zodiac cruising through awe-inspiring fjords in search of wildlife or making a quick transit from ship to a shore landing site, these sturdy crafts will play an integral role in your expedition experience. Activity preparation area We offer a range of add-on adventure activities from kayaking and diving to climbing and ski touring, and your ship is designed to support these activities, making the transition from ship to sea or shore as smooth as possible. We built the spacious activity preparation areas and loading platforms in consultation with our expert activity guides. You will also have access to lockers and rapid drying areas for dry suits and wet suits, to give your gear the best chance to dry between excursions.


Day 1 - Day 1 San José del Cabo
Arrive in San José del Cabo and transfer to our group hotel. Upon check-in, reception staff will provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number to allow us to deliver your luggage to your cabin. Enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners at our voyage briefing this evening.
Day 2 - Day 2 Embark in Pichilinque
Birders can enjoy an early morning visit to the nearby bird sanctuary where several endemic species are seen. Check out and explore the historic quarter of San Jose on a guided tour before transferring to Pichilinque for embarkation. After boarding, there’s time to settle into your cabin before learning important safety briefings. This evening meet your expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Day 3 - Days 3–8 Gulf Islands & Protected areas of the Sea of Cortez
Over the next six days, our flexible itinerary allows for spontaneity where we hope to experience the many spectacular wildlife encounters offered in the Sea of Cortez, including the amazing spectacle of tens of thousands of mobula rays congregating, where they exhibit their unique behaviour of literally flying out of the water, allegedly to attract a mate. We plan to explore a few of the 244 islands, islets and colourful coastal sandstone formations that make up the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California.Isla DanzanteThis small island near Loreto is surrounded by turquoise waters teeming with marine life, including sea lions, dolphins and an abundant variety of fish. It is also home to a variety of waterfowl, including the famous blue-footed booby. Hikers can explore one of the many short trails that lead to magnificent scenic lookouts.Isla del CarmenPrivately-owned Isla del Carmen is Loreto National Marine Park’s largest island and features marine fossils, colourful cliffs, bighorn sheep and diverse beaches ranging from smooth cobbles to red pebbles to white sand. The island’s west coast offers kayaking, snorkelling and easy walks along the shoreline. On the remote and wild east coast is Arroyo Blanco, where divers can explore the underwater caves.Isla MonserratIn the heart of the marine reserve, Isla Montserrat is the idyllic location for aquatic activities, especially kayaking. An abundance of marine life makes the waters perfect for snorkelling and diving. Blue whales and bottlenose and common dolphins are often found in the waters surrounding Isla Monserrat, Isla Danzante and Isla del Carmen.Bahia Agua VerdeBahía Agua Verde offers excellent land-based birdwatching, a unique experience in Baja where most birdwatching takes place at sea. Species that you may spot include the endemic Costa’s hummingbird, vermilion flycatcher, grey thrasher and northern mockingbird. In Zodiacs, there is a great chance to spot blue-footed boobies, brown boobies and perhaps even osprey.Puerto GatoCharacterised by its bright-red rocks, Puerto Gato offers great snorkelling, kayaking, and excellent exploratory hikes where at elevation you can be rewarded with terrific views. After some rain, the arid desert is awash with colourful blooms.Isla San JoséOne of the larger islands in the Sea of Cortez, you can photograph San José’s ochre cliffs, hike an enchanting arroyo or gully at Punta Colorada, or snorkel in the clear waters that attract bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, mobula rays and pilot whales.Isla San FranciscoWith pink sea cliffs and a stunning crescent-shaped bay, Isla San Francisco is one of the most beautiful islands in the Sea of Cortez. Enjoy a day hiking along the ridge, with sweeping views of the bay below where you might glimpse whales. You can also snorkel among colourful marine life and later, enjoy a barbecue under the desert stars.Isla del Espiritu Santo & Isla PartidaJointly known as Espiritu Santo, these islands are a two of Baja’s gems. Venture into a secluded cove surrounded by fingers of red rock and golden beach. Spend the day exploring the beach on foot, where large numbers of roosterfish are known to appear, or venture further on a guided hike. The deep bays are ideal for kayaking. Several wrecks, wall dives and vast undersea canyons support a rich ecosystem where whales, sharks and manta rays roam, making the island a must for any diver.Loreto In the quiet seaside town of Loreto, choose one of the following excursions:Loreto City Walking Tour (2 hours)From Loreto pier, we explore on foot the serene town of Loreto. Loreto was Spain's first permanent settlement in the Californias and served as California's capital from 1697 until 1777. From Loreto, Spanish rule slowly expanded south to Cabo San Lucas before spreading north towards San Diego. During the walk, visit the museum and the City Hall. San Javier Mission Tour (4.5 hours)From Loreto pier, drive approximately one hour through vibrant desert landscape to San Javier Mission, located 420 metres above sea level. On foot explore the mission, where the church still stands in its original form since it the mission was founded by Jesuits in 1699. Visit the museum and stroll around the charming countryside surrounding the mission.
Day 4 - Day 9 Pichilinque
Disembark in Pichilinque, where you farewell the expedition team and crew before transferring back to San José del Cabo to continue your journey.
Day 5 - Important note:
In the genuine spirit of expedition travel, we encourage exploration and adventure offering flexibility in challenging environments. This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to weather, sea and other conditions beyond our control. Local regulations of the marine parks and reserves in Baja California can change with little or no notice. Under such circumstances, Aurora Expeditions reserves the right to amend the proposed itinerary accordingly.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
04-05-202212-05-2022AUD $9,195Aurora Stateroom Superior
04-05-202212-05-2022AUD $9,395Balcony Stateroom Category C
04-05-202212-05-2022AUD $9,895Balcony Stateroom Category B
04-05-202212-05-2022AUD $10,695Balcony Stateroom Category A
04-05-202212-05-2022AUD $11,695Balcony Stateroom Superior
04-05-202212-05-2022AUD $14,595Junior Suite
04-05-202212-05-2022AUD $17,395Captain’s Suite


    • Spend six days exploring immersed in the wonders of the Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California—a UNESCO World Heritage site
    • Delight in the region’s exceptional biodiversity, and keep watch for the spectacular sight of the mass migration of flying mobula rays
    • Hike across coastal desert plains and ascend a ridge overlooking Isla San Francisco Bay, which offers sublime views of the iridescent sea below
    • Savour fresh local produce and experience Mexico’s world-famous cuisine