small ship cruise travelers in a zodiac skiff taking pictures of a young grey whale on a sunny day in magdalena bay, baja california
Man wearing neutal colored safari clothing stnads on shore in Baja taking photos of the surrounding cactus plants.
Zodiac with Baja travelers cruises alongside porpoising dolphins beside arid mountains during a small ship cruise.
Blond girl reaches out towards a gray whale in Magdalena Bay as another Zodiac with Baja travelers looks on.
View from an inflatable yellow kayak, watching stand-up paddlers move in calm water towards sandy rock outcrops in Baja.
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North America Baja California Cruise

The Whales of Magdalena Bay

Spend several extraordinary days in the company of majestic gray whales in Mexico’s Bahía Magdalena, one of the best places in the world to witness interactions between gray whale mothers and their curious calves. On this 6-day wild Baja escape, navigate the length of the bay aboard the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Bird expedition ship. Set out by Zodiac for this thrilling, up-close whale-watching Magdalena Bay cruise to see California gray whale mothers and calves in their winter breeding grounds.

In addition to whale watching, guests can kayak or paddleboard through mangrove forests teeming with wildlife and hike desert islands with naturalists, from windswept sand dunes to cactus groves, to learn about desert ecosystems, seabird migrations and whale behavior. Watch pelicans and ospreys soar overhead while soaking up the sun on some of the Pacific’s most pristine beaches. Grab a fat-tire bike from the onboard fleet and ride over desert terrain.

Travel aboard the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Bird, a purpose built small ship ideal for exploring Baja’s famed Magdalena Bay. Onboard expedition technology enhances the expedition, with a hydrophone, splash-cam, underwater video camera and video microscope. Aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird, guests are in the most excellent company. Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader and veteran naturalists, including a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, plus a wellness specialist.

Sail through Baja with experts in marine and terrestrial biology, botany, geology and more and benefit from their passion to share the wonder of this incredible region. These Baja expedition guides are highly engaging and fun to share a drink or dinner with in addition to being ideal hiking companions. This Baja whale-watching cruise begins and ends in Loreto, Baja California, with a cruise-provided transfer to San Carlos to embark the ship.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Baja cruises and Baja vacations.



Itinerary

Wild Baja Escape: The Whales of Magdalena Bay Itinerary

On this 6-day wild Baja escape, navigate the length of Magdalena Bay, embarking and disembarking from San Carlos and flying in and out of Loreto.

Whales of Magdalena Bay cruise route map.
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Day 1
Fly to Loreto & Embark San Carlos

Arrive in Loreto and transfer to the port town of San Carlos to embark the ship. Tonight, unwind under a star-studded sky as the ship anchors in calm waters off the coast of Isla Santa Margarita.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Bird

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Bahia Almejas, Rehusa Channel & Isla Magdalena

Awake in Bahía Almejas, the southernmost part of the Bay. Make a special stop to view a large frigatebird colony on Isla Santa Margarita before heading out on your first whale-watching trip of the voyage. The whales in Bahía Almejas tend to be very active, seemingly oblivious to your presence. As you explore this bay and the Rehusa Channel via local panga, the ship’s expedition team works hard to provide you with memorable, meaningful and educational experiences. During lunch, sail toward Isla Magdalena to explore the ever-shifting sand dunes on a cross-island walk to one of the most pristine beaches in the Pacific. Take a dip or tally the treasure found on what guides here affectionately call “sand dollar beach.”

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Bird

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Transit the Hull Canal & Boca de Soledad

Spend the morning transiting the scenic winding Hull Canal. Within its narrow channels, bordered by mangroves and sand dunes, and filled with abundant wildlife, hang out on deck with the ship’s keen-eyed naturalists to spot species and hear expert commentary. Weather permitting, explore the vast mangrove system via kayak and expedition landing craft. Birdwatching here can be excellent. Among the species you might see are diving pelicans, wheeling cormorants, terns, great blue herons, ibis, whimbrels and willets. It’s not unusual to see forty species of birds in just one day along these fertile shorelines. This afternoon, head out to explore the breeding grounds of Boca de Soledad.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Bird

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 4 - 5
Boca de Soledad Gray Whale Watching

Each winter, during their long migration, gray whales travel south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and give birth to their calves in these sheltered waters. “Grand Central” for California gray whales, spend two full days observing, and with luck, interacting with these majestic creatures. Together with savvy local fishermen, venture out in expedition landing craft to view the numerous mother-calf pairs that thrive in this region. You’ll also have an opportunity to explore the beaches, and if you’re feeling up to it, grab one of the fat-tire bikes to roam the seemingly endless beaches.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Bird

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Disembark Lopez Mateos & Return to Loreto

After breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to Loreto’s city center. Choose to visit the first mission in Baja California, as well as the nearby museum to learn more about what makes this town so special. Enjoy free time to explore the quaint shops and vibrant side streets. After lunch, transfer to the Loreto Airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations aboard vessel; all meals as indicated in itinerary; non-alcoholic beverages aboard ship, including cappuccinos, lattes, filtered water, and 24-hour coffee, tea and soda on demand; shore excursions; sightseeing; entrance fees and special access permits; round-trip transfers for guests using group flights; use of kayaks, bicycles and stand-up paddleboards; services of the ship’s physician, expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; all port charges and service taxes; gratuities to local guides and drivers.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $750 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – $350 in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate
119 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 25% of total trip cost
59 to 45 days – 50% of total trip cost
44 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The Whales of Magdalena Bay cruise begins and ends in Loreto, Baja California, Mexico (LTO), with ship embarkation in San Carlos and disembarkation in Lopez Mateos, Baja.  Two group transfers are provided, a roughly 2.5-hour drive, from Loreto to San Carlos on day 1 and from Lopez Mateos to Loreto on day 6. Embarkation time may vary based upon arrival of group flights from Los Angeles, California. Plan to depart Loreto in the afternoon on day 8 of the itinerary. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography exist on and off the ship. Off-vessel activities can be tailored to most activity levels and may include hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, fat-tire biking and Zodiac excursions.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Travelers under the age of 18 at time of travel save $500, at double occupancy. Skilled staff members are trained in organizing activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change. Please contact AdventureSmith for the most up-to-date pricing.

Jan 15 - Jan 20, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $3920USD
Per Person
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Jan 25 - Jan 30, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $3920USD
Per Person
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Jan 30 - Feb 04, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $3920USD
Per Person
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Feb 04 - Feb 09, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $3920USD
Per Person
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Feb 09 - Feb 14, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $4080USD
Per Person
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Feb 14 - Feb 19, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $4080USD
Per Person
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Feb 19 - Feb 24, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $4080USD
Per Person
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Feb 24 - Mar 01, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $4080USD
Per Person
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Mar 01 - Mar 06, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $4080USD
Per Person
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Mar 06 - Mar 11, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $3890USD
Per Person
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Mar 11 - Mar 16, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $3890USD
Per Person
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Mar 16 - Mar 21, 2023
National Geographic Sea Bird • 6 days
From $3920USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Sea Bird

National Geographic Sea Bird accommodates 62 guests with special features including a hydrophone and Splash-Cam. Onboard experts from National Geographic make this ship and its twin sister, the Sea Lion, an extra special experience.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires October 31st, 2022
10% Group Savings On Select 2022 & 2023 National Geographic Expeditions

Save 10% when traveling as a group of 6 or more on select National Geographic expeditions in this special deal. Take advantage of these great savings while enjoying traveling with your friends and family.

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Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Groups Save 5% On National Geographic Expeditions

Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more on National Geographic expeditions in this special deal.

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Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Save 10% On Two Consecutive National Geographic Expeditions

Save 10% when you book two consecutive cruises aboard a National Geographic expedition ship.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

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6 Day Land Tour
Baja Intimate Insider

Travel like a local on this customizable Baja Insider active adventure. Mingle with owners, artists, rancheros and chefs amidst a small group of likeminded travelers. With our hand-picked local guides and connections, you will quickly become an "insider" in Baja California!

From $3000USD
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Experience the best of glamping Baja California Sur, from a secluded seaside camp on a quiet island, to bright casitas in an artistic town and a tented mountainside retreat. Meet excellent naturalist guides, hospitable rancheros, local chefs and more along the way.

From $2945USD
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The Whales of Magdalena Bay

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