Baja California & the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture)

Baja California & the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture)

From AUD $9,420


Unique, immersive style of travel
Each year California gray whales pause during their migrations to birth and nurse their calves in the Bahía Magdalena lagoons. For most travelers, the only opportunity to observe the mothers and calves is to bus across the peninsula for a day trip. Fortunately, our ship have exclusive permission to drop anchor and spend ample time inside the bay. Your ship becomes your mobile base camp, as you live for three whole days among these gentle giants, making daily Zodiac forays for up-close observations.

Special access to Baja’s gray whale lagoons
The lagoons of Bahía Magdalena are well known for being the preferred nursery for gray whale females to birth and instruct their young before making the annual migratory trek to the food-rich Arctic waters. Anchored inside the bay, we’ll enjoy three days of exclusive access. Each morning wake up and whale-watch while you sip your morning coffee on your balcony or on deck. Later, head out in Zodiacs with naturalists and local guides for an afternoon observing them at water level. Not only are we often rewarded with the close encounter of calves and watchful mothers, mere feet away, but often we’ll experience heart-touching eye contact with playful calves surfacing to interact with us. In the evening, hang out on deck under the stars, or depending on the calendar, a full moon, and listen to the whales breathing and moving around the ship. Encounters with these marvelous creatures don’t end there as we head into the Sea of Cortez where magical moments continue with possible sightings of other whale species and dolphins.

Every day is active and engaging
You’ll be able to hike through forests of towering cacti and up striking desert canyons. You’ll take expedition landing craft along the shore to see and shoot photos of plunge-diving pelicans and blue-footed boobies and to join a different naturalist as you choose: there are no assigned groups.

Travel in excellent company
Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, five veteran naturalists, including a National Geographic certified photo instructor and an undersea specialist, plus a wellness specialist. Their knowledge and passion for Baja California is the key to your once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Trip Name
Baja California & the Sea of Cortez (NG Venture)
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Passenger Capacity: 100 Built: 2017 National Geographic Venture is the perfect ship to explore Alaska’s Inside Passage and beyond.  Cabins & Suites The luxury of comfort on expedition National Geographic Venture comfortably accommodates 100 guests in 50 outside-facing cabins. Cabins are efficiently designed, with sizes range from the 136-square-foot category 1 to the 185-square-foot category 5 suite. Twenty-two of the 50 cabins will feature small balconies with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that bring in the spectacular views and ample natural light. Twelve cabins will connect via internal doorway access allowing families to combine their rooms. Plus, all category 5 suite cabins can accommodate a third person on a convertible sofa bed. Comfort & convenience in every room Every cabin has two portholes, a large window or balcony, Wi-Fi access, and temperature controls. Bathrooms are modern and stocked with botanically inspired hair products, soap, and shower gel, plus a hairdryer. Every room has outlets and USB outlets for charging your camera gear or electronics, and space for luggage storage.  Life Aboard Dining Food served aboard is fresh, local, and delicious, and sourced from suppliers who share our values of sustainable use whenever possible. Meals aboard are almost always served in the dining room, located aft of the lounge deck. When weather conditions allow, lighter fare may be served on the observation deck. There is no assigned seating and our dining room accommodates the entire expedition community in a single seating. During meals your expedition leader, naturalists, and any guest speakers aboard will join you. Public spaces National Geographic Venture was designed with 50 years of expedition heritage. The ship features a specially-designed, open bow and an observation deck for gathering to watch for wildlife or enjoy an evening cocktail with friends in the open air. An elevator access all decks, and public restrooms are available on every deck. Bridge: You’re invited to the ship’s bridge to see the calm business of navigation unfold. Ask the watch officer Ventureions about navigation. Or, help yourself to the ever-ready binoculars to scan the horizon for whale spouts. There may occasionally be times when the bridge must be restricted to shipboard personnel only. Lounge: The lounge is the heart of our expedition community, where we hold cocktail hour and Recap each evening. It’s also where you’ll gather for presentations, photography talks, and guest speaker presentations. Seating design takes advantage of the wraparound windows for an optimal view, and boasts multiple high-definition screens for slideshows and videos. Forward lounge doors provide direct access to the bow. There’s also a small reference library and board games and cards are also available. Bar: The bar is typically open from 11 a.m. until one hour after lunch begins and from 5 p.m. until closing. A variety of beverages are available for purchase including wine by the glass or bottle, cocktails, specialty drinks, and spirits. There is also a 24-hour self-service beverage station with coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer, water, ice, and snacks. The drinking age aboard the ship is 21. Sundeck: Morning stretch classes are held in the open air of the sundeck, located aft on the observation deck. After stretch class the deck is set with tables and chairs, and lounge chairs. Bow: National Geographic Venture’s specially-designed bow observation area accommodates the entire expedition community at once for a shared wildlife viewing experience. Mud room: Located aft on the main deck where you will embark and disembark expedition landing craft, the mud room has lockers that provide convenient gear and boot storage. Wellness aboard Making daily discoveries and exploring the wild world is naturally uplifting. Add to that a variety of wellness treatments available aboard, as well as outings led by your wellness specialist, and you’ll find your expedition relaxing as well as revitalizing. Massages, body treatments, natural facial treatments, and hand and foot treatments are all available in the LEXspa. You will have the opportunity to sign up for a treatment once on board. Fitness Center: Conveniently located on the lounge deck, the fitness center is outfitted with two treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical machines, exercise bands, and sets of small hand weights to use as well. The global gallery: a window on regional talent Discover the talent of local artisans in the places National Geographic Venture ventures in the ship’s global market. The global market is a collection of items made by local residents in the places we explore. It is conveniently located on the ship’s lounge deck. You may find silver jewelry crafted in Alaska, woven baskets from Panama, paintings and books by your naturalist staff, plus expedition clothing and other essentials. Every item purchased in the global market contributes to the Lindblad Artisan Fund, which supports artisans in communities around the world to develop their potential more effectively and successfully. Five percent of all National Geographic Venture’s global market sales will be earmarked for this fund, and the Lindblad-National Geographic Fund will match dollar for dollar what is raised through these earmarks. Tools for Exploration Expedition Landing Craft Key to our operation is our fleet of expedition landing craft, which we use to land in places that would otherwise be inaccessible. With 8 of these boats and two loading stations used every time we disembark, we’re able to transfer guests off the ship quickly, so you can be out on adventures, not idly waiting. The expedition landing craft we use are 19 feet long, powered by four-stroke outboard engines, and are capable of comfortably carrying 10-12 people. They are widely recognized as the safest and most versatile small boats afloat. Remotely Operated Vehicle Capable of reaching 1,000 feet, far beyond the range of any Scuba diver, the ROV allows you to literally view parts of the undersea that are as unexplored as the moon. Chances are you, like many of our guests, will be struck by how surprisingly colorful undersea life is in these unlikely places. And this glimpse may fundamentally change how you view the ocean. Kayaks National Geographic Venture is equipped with 24 two-person kayaks—a fleet large enough to ensure everyone who wants to can paddle at every opportunity. Consequently, prior kayaking experience isn’t necessary—many of our guests have their first kayaking experience in extraordinary locations. Our custom-designed floating platform lets us deploy kayaks from the ship, or any location we want—including far from shore. Kayakers are usually free to explore where they want within boundaries set by the undersea specialist and officer of the watch. Underwater camera Our undersea specialist will dive often during your expedition, even in Alaska, with cold-water gear, to shoot high-definition, Cousteau-like footage of the deep. Colorful nudibranchs, swimming, plant-like crinoids, and mysterious fish with antifreeze blood that thrive in the frigid sea will give you an entirely new appreciation of the marine environment. Video microscope Naturalists will use the video microscope to help explain all elements of the environment, including tiny organisms that are the building block of the marine ecosystem. Spellbinding live views of krill at 80x magnification fills the high-definition screens in the lounge with vivid detail, and fills every onlooker with a sense of wonder at the importance of otherwise unobservable creatures. Hydrophone This underwater microphone is deployed to listen to the vocalizations of marine mammals. Real time transmissions of their eerie, haunting sounds can be broadcast through the ship or recorded for later playback. Few experiences in nature are as captivating as watching humpback whales feed close to the ship as their vocalizations play through the ship’s PA system. Electronic charts An electronic chart showing the ship’s location, course, and speed is almost always on display in the lounge. Open bridge You’ll find our captains are engaged, knowledgeable members of your expedition who are eager to share their passion with you. Venture’s open bridge features comfortable spaces to sit, enjoy the view, drink your morning coffee, or simply chat with the officers. Snorkeling gear & wetsuits On warm weather itineraries where there will be snorkeling, you’ll select a mask, snorkel, fins, and wetsuit that remain yours for the duration of the expedition. There’s no need to pack and tote your own gear, although guests who prefer to are welcome to bring their own.


Day 1 - DAY 1: Arrive San Jose del Cabo/La Paz
Upon arrival in San Jose del Cabo, transfer to La Paz and check in to the CostaBaja Resort & Spa, located on the shore of the Sea of Cortez, just south of Espiritu Island.
Day 2 - DAY 2: La Paz/San Carlos/Embark
This morning is on your own to relax and take advantage of the resort and spa amenities. Check-out in the late morning and depart for lunch at a local restaurant in La Paz. After lunch, transfer to San Carlos and embark the National Geographic Venture.
Day 3 - DAY 3: Bahia Magdalena
Explore the ever-shifting sand dunes of Isla Magdalena, on a cross-island walk to one of the most pristine beaches in the Pacific. Bird watching here can be excellent—magnificent frigatebirds, pelicans, cormorants, terns and great blue herons, ibis, whimbrels and willets are among the species we might see. It’s not unusual to see forty species of birds in just one day along these fertile shorelines where they refuel for their destinations ahead.
Day 4 - DAY 4-5: Laguna San Ignacio
Protected since 1993 as part of UNESCO’s Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino, Laguna San Ignacio is one of the world’s most important breeding sites for California gray whales. Each winter, during their long migration, gray whales travel south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and raise their calves in these sheltered waters. Observe migrating whales from the ship and up close from local pangas and our Zodiacs. Watch for osprey, Brant geese and countless other breeding and migratory bird species, as well as bottlenose dolphins, during our explorations.
Day 5 - DAY 6: At Sea
As we travel south along the Pacific coast of the peninsula, there is a chance of seeing a wide variety of marine life, including the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale. Hear naturalist talks, and learn photography basics during a day at sea.
Day 6 - DAY 7: Los Cabos and Gorda Banks
This morning cruise past Friars Rocks at Land’s End. This morning, choose to visit the historic town center of San José del Cabo, or join a birdwatching walk along the local estero. The afternoon is spent at the Gorda Banks seamount or La Fortuna, gathering places for whales, especially humpbacks, dolphins and other sea life.
Day 7 - DAY 8: Los Islotes and Isla Espiritu Santo
At Los Islotes, don flippers, a mask and snorkel (which we’ll gladly provide) and swim with curious sea lions. We have a leisurely afternoon to swim, kayak or hike at Isla Espíritu Santo. Brown pelicans, gulls and boobies are all part of the landscape. Finish the day with a relaxing beach barbecue complete with a bonfire and a star-filled sky.
Day 8 - DAY 9: Exploring the Sea of Cortez
Our plan is flexible today, as we explore some of the Sea’s many uninhabited islands. Go ashore at Isla San Francisco, where a sweeping arc of white sand beach beckons you to try out our fleet of kayaks and standup paddleboards. Hike to the nearby ridge for unparalleled views, or explore nearby tide pools with your Naturalists. One of the larger islands in the Sea of Cortez, San Jose offers several landing possibilities depending on conditions and the whim of the moment. Photograph the ochre cliffs of the island's eastern shore, hike an "enchanted" arroyo, or visit the abandoned salt works to the west. Search for whales, dolphins and other marine life this afternoon among the islands of the southern Sea of Cortez.
Day 9 - DAY 10: La Paz/Disembark/San Jose del Cabo/Home
Disembark in La Paz after breakfast and transfer to Los Cabos airport for flights home
Day 10 - Please Note:
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

Trip Dates

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    • See California gray whales up close
    • Spend three days at Bahía Magdalena, one of the whales’ main breeding grounds
    • Hike desert islands, sculpted sand dunes and see a variety of wildlife in the Sea of Cortez
    • Snorkel with sea lions and search for marine mammals
    • Experience the Baja California undersea
    • Benefit from our 30+ years of experience and relationships in Baja California to see all you came for and more