Stocked with supplies and a bountiful sense of adventure, follow Steinbeck’s path into the protected waters of Cousteau’s “world’s aquarium.” Active exploration and a menagerie of wildlife await you!
The Sea of Cortés, also known as the Gulf of California, is thought to be one of the most diverse seas on our planet. Geologic evidence indicates that around 5.3 million years ago, tectonic forces separated the Baja Peninsula from the mainland creating the sea between them. In 2005 the islands and protected areas of the gulf were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for their natural beauty, diversity of terrestrial and marine life, and by ranking higher than any other marine and insular World Heritage site for the unique examples of “bridge islands” within a very short distance.
Tiny Isla San Francisco boasts one of the most stunning crescent shaped bays with a long sandy beach lining its shore. Rocky cliffs on the island give shelter to birds and offer perches for pelicans to sit along the water’s edge to keep watch of kayakers going by, most importantly for small tropical fish swimming under the water’s surface. Striking, long-armed cacti dot the desert landscape and bloom into bright crimson during the season. Along the island’s rocky coastline, octopus, eels, rays, and unique fish linger and find protection.
Find abundant life including dolphins, sea turtles, sea lions, osprey, boobies, and many different fish on untouched, ruggedly beautiful Isla Coronado and in its surrounding clear, crystal blue water. Ancient fossils litter the rock cliffs from a time long ago when the Sea of Cortés was formed. Empty river beds give refuge for trees and cactus to grow and soft sandy paths for guests to follow.
Bahia de La Paz
Nestled between Baja California Sur, Isla Espiritu Santo, and the city of La Paz, gorgeous, deep blue Bahía de La Paz is the gathering place for many marine and bird species, including the impressive, gentle giant whale sharks. The largest extant fish species, these white-spotted filter feeders can measure over 40 feet in length!
Sheltered from the Pacific Ocean by two long slivers of land, Isla Magdalena and Isla Santa Margarita, Bahía Magdalena is a 31-mile long circular cove full of wonderful biodiversity. On the western coast of Baja California Sur, the bay is at an unusual confluence of currents where the cool California current system that originates in Alaska and the warmer South American current meet. These special circumstances have created a rich marine landscape that supports a phenomenal, diverse variety of sea life. Some of Magdalena’s most celebrated itinerants, California Gray Whales, come to this protected bay from Alaska to spend the winter calving each year.
FARES INCLUDE: Onboard meals; premium spirits, wine, beer; non-alcoholic beverages; transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark days; entry fees to national parks/preserves; all from-the-ship adventure activities and equipment.