Great Whales & Sea Turtle Conservation, Baja

Feb 22 – March 2, 2018

Ever get high-fived by a sea lion? Well, this is your chance to get wet ‘Into the Deep’ on our new extraordinary AFS eco-adventure! Our last group loved it and we added even more for you to get intensely close-up.

Imagine the chance to see a gray whale giving birth – or swimming with gentle whale sharks and playful sea lion pups – or tagging huge sea turtles for a world-renowned conservation project. These are just appetizers of our thrills as we sail along the seascapes of Baja, stunning Magdalena Bay and the aquatic wonderland of Espiritu Island in the iridescent Blue Sea of Cortez! It’s as educational as it is fun.

First, our Large Fun under the Baja sun. These waters harbor a staggering array of marine bird life. Feb/Mar is high season for ‘breeding and calving’ when grey whale mothers birth their young. See these and Humpbacks breaching in Magdalena, “Jewel of the Pacific”. Whales came so close to our panga boats, we reached out to pet them! Also glimpse leaping bottlenose dolphins, and manta rays along our currents. Snorkel among schools of tropical fish in brilliant neon colors as magnificent frigate birds and cormorants soar above.

I love the whale sharks (up to 40’ long) who only eat krill. It’s a surreal experience for you to swim with these gentle giants at Balandra Beach, voted Mexico’s most beautiful beach! On UNESCO Espiritu Island, nothing can compare to the sheer joy of snorkeling in a wild sea lion colony. Playful sea lion pups called “puppies of the sea” swirl around begging you to splash with them!

#adventuresforsingles #singlestours

Learn – find your inner conservationist and save the sea turtles! RED (meaning net) research camp gives us the opportunity to work with conservationists and fisherman on projects to help restore the endangered sea turtle population. Help them catch, monitor, tag and release. Your booking gives back to aid the community conservation efforts here!

With our expert naturalists, you’ll be educated on the flora, fauna and science of sea life here – particularly whale shark research.

See landscapes change from verdant valleys to sand dunes, rugged cliffs, cactus forest and mangrove canals. You’ll love a few nights dune camping at the research base under a star-studded sky – more like glamping with total comfort. Our private chef presents gourmet meals from the freshest catch (and world’s best guacamole with breakfast). 4 nights are spent in a charming hotel in the colonial town of La Paz with the friendliest locals and great shopping.

As we cruise breathtaking bays and calm crystal lagoons, it’s all about discovery with adventure. You’ll witness the longest migration on earth as whales’ swim here from the Arctic Sea. Expedition cruises run $6890 for a week to the same places we visit. This is so affordable but only limited to 19 lucky AFS travel lovers. If you love unique marine life, scenic nature (and turtles), this vacay is for you!
Don’t miss the boat. Totally wild, totally unforgettable!
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#singlestourcabosanlucas
Land – Price based on a minimum number of trip participants, as well as local currency exchange rates which can fluctuate. We write our Itineraries a year in advance. Though unlikely, we reserve the right to modify schedules, tours and hotels if necessary. All hotel rooms are “run of house.”
Group air – Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and the group is ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until the group air is set or we advise – though unlikely, airlines, times and dates can change! 

Our Glorious AFS Itinerary

Feb 22 – Arrive Cabo San Lucas

Trip starts next day at noon but we’d like you to go a day early to relax and explore Cabo San Lucas if possible. The Hilton (fun resort activities), Hyatt, Marriott are great but also good budget ones like Fairfield & Hampton Inn, etc. Hotels.com shows 120 hotels. (I’d like us to choose 2 hotels so vans can easily collect us on 23rd as they prefer 1 or 2 transfers only. Details later in Trip Tips). You’ll love playing in Cabo. The nightlife is Alive!

Overnight – Your hotel on own

Feb 23 – Let the Adventure Begin!

Land trip starts today at noon. Two pick-up points will be made for our staff to drive you north to La Paz. Enjoy the views of sparsely populated and scenic Baja California peninsula before arriving in this charming tourist town. After a trip briefing, afternoon free to explore downtown and seafront. Great shops and market to bargain in, trendy cafes with the best lobster tacos. Relax in our 4-Star Hotel Catedral.

…This evening, take a float in the infinity pool or have a designer cocktail in the rooftop bar as you relish in the natural beauty of the sunset. Delight your palate with Chef’s tasting in the hotel restaurant, sample small plates in the Atrium bar or explore La Paz to enjoy local cuisines and take in the nightlife. Hotel has free WiFi, rooftop terrace, pool, fitness center and is within a 5-minute walk of La Paz’s highlights!

Overnight – Hotel Catedral (B, L)

Feb 24 – Whale Sharks research at Balandra Beach!

After breakfast, check out of hotel to go to pier and board our boats. You’ll be briefed on research protocols and learn about whale sharks as well as other marine life. Lunch break on Balandra, voted best beach in Mexico.

Balandra Bay is a natural protected area of pristine beaches, mangroves and stunning scenery. Explore the nature trails and then snorkel in the crystal clear waters where whale sharks come to feed on krill and plankton – not AFSers! Not really whales, but more shark, these mammals are the largest fish in the world. The gentle giants can grow 40 feet long, weigh 15 tons and live 100 years. They aren’t hunters but filter feeders so no worries– in 2016 these fish were classified as endangered.

We’ll split the group into 2 groups and observe safety rules – no chemicals, perfumes, sunscreen which burns their eyes, stay 3 feet away from head and 10 feet from their stunning tails! It’s a thrilling privilege. Time later to relax and head back to La Paz.

Overnight – Hotel Catedral (B, L, D)

Feb 25 – La Paz to Magdalena Bay “Jewel of the Pacific”

Magnificent Magdalena is home to a staggering number of marine birds (pelicans, boobies, herons, cormorants), sea turtles and the migratory Grey Whales. Early departure, but we’ll stop for breakfast at a traditional Mexican Ranch and head across the desert to the breathtaking bay.

Our turtle research camp has been all set up with necessary amenities. (I recall when a coyote nearly stole my tennis shoe). Get settled in for 3 days then enjoy Happy Hour on the beach followed by a delicious dinner from our chef. Full briefings are given each night on the region and sea life.

You’ll sleep well. It’s magic under the stars by the sea!

Overnight – RED Research Camp (B, L, D)

Feb 26 – Sea Turtle Monitoring!

Wake up early with coffee and meet our team of fisher-conservationists and help them prepare the huge nets. At breakfast, learn about the biology, monitoring and tagging protocol for our data collection.

Every 2 hours, you’ll have the chance to accompany the monitoring team in our panga boats to check the nets for big turtles.

Overnight – RED Research Camp (B, L, D)

Feb 27 – Whale Expedition Day!

We’ll head down to the beach to finish measuring and weighing our sea turtles before recording data and releasing them back into the sea. At breakfast, we’ll have a lecture about the grey whales, their incredible migration and the importance for breeding and calving in the waters of this Bay. Then we’ll board our pangas and head out in search of the whales. Grey whales often approach our boat and the mothers are known to push their young calf’s closer. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to touch one of these magnificent creatures. It’s an incredible interaction between two species.

On this observation sailing, you’ll learn so much. There are no guarantees in nature, but we hope you’ll witness “the greatest show on earth”. Who knows what other creatures will surface like wild dolphin, rays and a plethora of cool fish. The majestic grey whales will take center stage, some at 40 tons. We’ll get up close and personal with them for your best photos ever!

Later enjoy a picnic lunch on a secluded barrier island before heading back to our boats for more whale watching. I love Magdalena Bay because the waters are calm compared to dozens of other countries I’ve visited for this experience.

Back at camp, you ‘budding chefs’ can head to the kitchen for a Regional Cuisine Cooking Class. The rest can head to the beach to learn artisanal fishing techniques.

Overnight – RED Research Camp (B, L, D)

Feb 28 – More Whales & Back to La Paz or Enjoy Dinner

Today we bid farewell to our crew and camp staff before heading out again on a sailing to search for more whales. The Sea of Cortez has Orcas, Sperm, Blue, and Humpback whales as well as giant manta rays and 600 species of fish.

Enjoy a ceviche picnic lunch along the dunes and then we head back to La Paz.

Overnight – Hotel Catedral (B, L)

March 1 – Espiritu Santo Island Adventure!

We save the Best for last. Espiritu, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is turquoise water with multitudes of fish species. Only an hour from La Paz, this natural paradise will amaze you with its beauty. It is famous for the resident sea lion colonies. As we head out to sea, we’ll don some light wet suits and jump in to snorkel with the sea lions and tropical fish. See lion pups somersault, twirl, glide and flip around you just begging you to play. Bring your water camera for these true kodak moments.

After a tasty lunch, our excellent nature guides will interpret the natural & cultural history of this place and then lead you through some stunning nature trails into the heart of the island. An unforgettable day.

Overnight – Hotel Catedral (B, L)

March 2 – Depart for home

After breakfast, transfer by vans (approx. 3 1/2 hours) back to Cabo San Lucas for your flight back to USA. 


Fitness Level Two –  I have no trouble walking and if necessary, can walk for 3+ miles.  Uneven surfaces are not a problem.  I do not need a cane or walking device.

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A $500 deposit secures your reservation.  Limited to ONLY 19 participants. Detailed Trip Tips provided later to registrants.

Land Price:  $2275 (per person/twin share)

Includes all stated above in itinerary, first class accommodation, meals as stated, daily guided tours with entrance fees stated, licensed English-speaking guides, private coach, AFS GTL.

Not Included: $70 gratuities, visa (if necessary)

Air: No group air due to small group size.

Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS.
Land – Price based on a minimum number of trip participants, as well as local currency exchange rates which can fluctuate. We write our Itineraries a year in advance. Though unlikely, we reserve the right to modify schedules, tours and hotels if necessary. All hotel rooms are “run of house.”
Group air – Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and the group is ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until the group air is set or we advise – though unlikely, airlines, times and dates can change!

BOOK NOW
No group air due to small group size.  Details on suggested arrival times are in the Trip Tips. 

Want to swim with whale sharks? Here are 10 things you should know…

This is one adventure you should research beforehand
Whale shark tourism has exploded over the past few years, but even though snorkeling with them is surreal, you should do your homework before booking a tour. Here are 10 things to consider before taking the plunge.

1. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world

Read on… Swim with whale sharks

Top 8 Marine Animal Encounters in Baja California Sur

Whale Watching in Los Cabos Mexico – The rich waters of Baja offer some of the most remarkable animal encounters in the world, including viewing migrating whales.

    1. The Ultimate: Blue Whale – The largest animal that is known to have existed on the planet, the blue whale reach lengths of up to 90 feet. This magnificent giant comes with “a heart is the size of small car, and a tongue that weighs as much as an elephant,” says Oscar. A baleen whale that lunge feeds for krill, this largest animal feeds on some of the smallest in the sea.
    2. The Divers: Sperm whales – The second largest whales, sperm whales have the amazing adaptation as the deepest diving marine mammal. Diving to depths of 4,000-9,000 feet, these behemoths feed on an equally imposing prey: giant squid. Many times the blocky heads of these animals show a thick web of scars, from fights with other whales or with giant squid.
    3. The Crooners: Humpback Whales: Listening to the songs of these mammals can really touch your soul.  Humpback whales winter in warm Baja waters, and are frequently seen by visitors on whale watching tours in season. The complex songs of male humpbacks are among the most beautiful sounds in nature. Theories propose that the songs serve as a form of communication between males, or perhaps play a role in mating. Oscar’s team at Cabo Expeditions has been able to capture recordings of these elaborate songs during their whale watching tours.
    4. The Big Fish: Whale sharks – The largest fish species, whale sharks are slow-moving gentle giants that filter feed mainly on plankton. Although huge in size (they can reach lengths over 40 ft.), these fish are known for their docility, and are a favorite of divers in the Sea of Cortez.
    5. The Big Babies: Baby Gray Whales – Every winter, gray whales make an epic trek from their summer homes in the Arctic to the birthing grounds of the Sea of Cortez in Baja. Here, they give birth to the next generation in the warm waters. In the San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California Sur, visitors can get up close with the adorably giant babies. The curious mothers and their babies are known to surface within touching distance of visitors aboard whale watching boats led by experienced guides.
    6. The Elegant Titans: Giant Mantas: Baja California is one of the best places in the world to interact with these glamorous giants. Reaching widths of 23 feet or more, these enormous rays glide with remarkable grace through the sea, appearing to fly with their huge “wings”– and are a favorite of Baja divers. Giant Mantas feed on plankton, crustaceans and small fish.
    7. The Apex Predator: Orcas: The Sea of Cortez is home to a thriving ecosystem, with amazing creatures big and small. Part of any healthy ecosystem are the top-level predators, and Baja is home to some of the world’s most impressive. Orcas are also known as “killer whales,” but are part of the dolphin family. Sometimes called the “wolves of the sea,” these striking black and white marine mammals are known to hunt in pack-like groups, feeding on anything from fish to other marine mammals.

Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS.
Land – Price based on a minimum number of trip participants, as well as local currency exchange rates which can fluctuate. We write our Itineraries a year in advance. Though unlikely, we reserve the right to modify schedules, tours and hotels if necessary. All hotel rooms are “run of house.”
Group air – Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and the group is ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until the group air is set or we advise – though unlikely, airlines, times and dates can change!

Singles tour Baha Whales & Sealions
#adventuresforsingles #singlestours
#adventuresforsingles #singlestours
#adventuresforsingles #singlestours