Baja Turtles & Whales-8 nts
Pace: Active, swimming, camping, hiking, kayaking, snorkeling
9 days/8 nights
Dates: Feb 7-15, 2014
Price: $2450 per person in double
Nature lovers would have to work really hard to not have a trip of a lifetime in Baja. We’re not talking in hard partying Cabo, just the rest of Baja! What could be better than finding yourself eye to eye with a curious and friendly gray whale, who is will let you reach in and feel their warm, slick skin? Even if you aren’t lucky enough for the whales to approach your boat (they are highly protected, the tour operators know how hard it is on them to be approached, let alone chased!) you’ll be in a nursery bay, with too many spouts to count! How about working side by side with sea turtle hunters turned protectors and researchers, including making a night run to check the carefully designed, hand-tied nets, with phosphorescent plankton lighting your way back? Any sea turtles caught in the net are brought back to the camp on the beach, set up specifically for the group, where you can get hands-on, measuring, weighing, recording data, or just feeling the difference between the leathery flippers and head and the carapace. Not hands on? Stay at camp and enjoy the total ‘glamping’ experience. Be lulled to sleep by the whooshing of the dolphin pods swimming by, more stars than you’ve remembered seeing will light your way, coyotes may lick water off your tent, you can just follow all the tracks made in the sand, or spend hours beach-combing or exploring mangroves with your naturalist. The food, freshly and expertly prepared is so good, fresh and plentiful if you aren’t careful, you’ll just be sleeping it all off! With the great mattresses and attention to keeping the sand out of tents the staff provides, it’s always a great sleep! And that is just part of the trip, albeit the heart of the tour!
The researchers you’ll work with are part of a ground-breaking sea turtle conservation program. You’ll see how careful the guys are with recording the information, because they know this information will be reported, shared and used to further protect the turtles. What is even more meaningful is realizing that you are part of something that was a project first, with tourism added later to provide more jobs for people who would otherwise turn to the resource of their ancestors, sea turtles, for food and although illegal, income.
This adventure is based in La Paz, a small city with a dual personality, bustling capital and commercial central mixed with the ‘malecon’ the miles and miles of beach, lined with museums, theatres, sculptures, restaurants and shops, all of which can be explored on foot! We’ll arrange day trips to continue the up close nature experience. The mostly uninhabited islands visible from La Paz are one of the reasons Jacques Cousteau called this “America’s Aquarium”. Day trips to fill a wildlife lovers dreams can take you snorkeling (or SCUBA diving) with the sea lions (with a guide to keep you out of harm’s way with the bull males, and show you how to play with the young pups. These are rocky shores, with colorful and plentiful fish (I floated happily just watching a huge school of sardines shimmering like fireworks as they pulsed through the water) and birds diving and swimming all around trying to catch them. Not as easy to find, but well worth the effort are whale sharks. Gentle giants the size of school busses tolerate snorkelers nearby, with their sensitive skin, they are protected and off-limits from a hands-on experience.
We’ve found great inns with gorgeous gardens, comfortable rooms and interesting people, restaurants that appeal to those of us who feel eating locally is part of the adventure, without sacrificing your healthy eating habits! You can shop with street vendors, gallery shops, high-end clothing stores, or wander into the old downtown and find the market (Mercado). If adventuring is to your liking, you can rent bicycles, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and more, either on your own or with a guide to take you to remotely beautiful locations.
Accommodations: Comfortable inn in La Paz; 'glamping' - safari-style tent camping on the beach
Included: All ground transportation from pick up to drop off at Cabo airport, 8 nights accommodations, daily breakfast, full board while 'glamping', day trips to snorkel Espiritu Santo and whale watching.
Not included: International airfare, gratuities, lunches and dinners in La Paz.
Bring: Detailed list will be given on booking