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Snorkeling among the coral reef system

Exploring the Gulf of California: A Living Sea & Desert Isles

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Venture
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Designated by UNESCO as a marine world heritage site and dubbed “the world’s aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau, the waters and islands of the Sea of Cortez are places of legendary biodiversity. This is an expedition of pure discovery, sailing to islands that lie in close proximity to the peninsula but have a palpable feel of rugged isolation. This geographic isolation is the major contributing factor to the long list of endemic plants and animals. And the seas, roiling with productivity, beckon whales—this is, arguably, the best time and place in the world to see a vast variety of whale species plus massive pods of dolphins, leaping Mobula rays, and seabirds.
Gray Whale up closeColorful souvenirs in the marketColorful buildings of CampecheEye-to-eye with a whale sharkSnorkeling among the coral reef system
Highlights
  • Explore water-level caves by kayak and hike uninhabited beaches
  • Search for large pods of dolphins and various species of whales
  • Snorkel among fish and acrobatic sea lions and see colorful cactus blossoms
  • Visit the old mining town of Santa Rosalia
  • Experience a voyage of pure discovery in a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Visit Isla Rasa to see Heermann’s gulls and the elegant tern comes to breed
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Loreto | Embark

Arrive into Loreto and transfer to National Geographic Venture to set sail on the Sea of Cortez.

Day 2-7: Exploring the Sea of Cortez

  • Ship
  • 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Our routing is designed with flexibility in mind, to maximize opportunities for wildlife sightings. It will most likely include the islands and activities listed below, although the order may vary.

Islas San Esteban and San Pedro Martir: Walk up a desert wash, to search for desert birds and the endemic pinto chuckwalla — a harmless desert lizard. Later visit Isla San Pedro Martir, a 1,000-foot-high guano-covered island that is home to thousands of seabirds. Blue-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, pelicans and frigatebirds are all found here. 

Isla San Marcos: Explore via kayak, walks, swimming and opportunities to snorkel. 

Isla San Jose 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.  

Bahía Loreto Marine Park: This morning we’ll search for the waters south of Isla Carmen, an area offering the possibility of encountering fin whales, which researchers have recently concluded may be part of a resident population.

Los Islotes and Isla San Francisco: 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 San Francisco. Look skyward for yellow-footed gulls, brown pelicans, and blue-footed boobies.

Day 8: Loreto | Disermbark

Disembark in La Paz and transfer to the airport in Los Cabos for flights home

Ship/Hotel

National Geographic Venture

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$6,990
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Category 1
Located on the main deck. Approximately 136 sq. ft. Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk and two portholes. Each cabin has individual climate controls. Botanically-inspired toiletries and hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
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Category 2
Located on the main deck. Approximately 136 sq. ft. Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk and two portholes. Each cabin has individual climate controls. Botanically-inspired toiletries and hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
Select a Date
Category 3
Located on the upper deck. Approximately 151 sq. ft. Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk and a large view window. Each cabin has individual climate controls. Botanically-inspired toiletries and hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
Select a Date
Category 4
Located on the upper deck. Approximately 151 sq. ft. Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, sliding glass door and small, private balcony. Each cabin has individual climate controls. Botanically-inspired toiletries and hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
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Category 5
Located on the observation deck. Approximately 185 sq. ft. Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, large view windows, an expanded bathroom, writing desk, ample storage space, and a convertible sofa bed to accommodate a third person. Each cabin has individual climate controls. Botanically-inspired toiletries and hair dryers are also available in each cabin.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • The Guidance and Company of the Expedition Staff
  • Hotels Ashore as Indicated in the Itinerary
  • Sightseeing & Entrance Fees
  • Special Access Permits, Park Fees, Port Taxes
  • Snorkeling, Including Wetsuits, Masks, Fins & Snorkel Where Relevant
  • Presentations and Guest Speakers in the Lounge
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Scuba Diving
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Alcoholic and non specified beverages
  • Private Transfers
     
  • Expedition Extensions 
  • Laundry 
  • Internet & Phone Charges
  • Rubber Boots: Please bring your own. 
  • Regional charter flight fees not included, pricing varies by departure

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