FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – ECO CAMP MAGDALENA BAY

 

The safety of our guests is our first priority. It is important to remember that these trips take place in a wilderness environment, far from hospital services. Involvement in activities like wildlife viewing from the pangas, hiking and exploring in natural environments contains inherent risks. If at any time you have concerns about your own safety, please advise the expedition leader. Participation in all activities is voluntary.

What should I bring?

Along with the usual things you might travel with, here is a list of additional items:
– wool hat/ball cap  
– long underwear
– Ziploc bag for camera
– T-shirts
– base layer clothing
– water bottle
– shorts
– bathing suit
– sun block / lip balm
– fleece jacket
– bath / beach towel
– hand sanitizer
– wind breaker jacket
– waterproof shoes
– sm. pack of Kleenex
– light adventure pants
– daypack
– small flashlight
– light hiking shoes / boots
– sunglasses
– hand towel
– lightweight synthetic or down jacket

* We recommend a closed toe water/aqua shoe (NOT sandals, flip flops, crocks or Keens) for use while accessing and walking on the beach. These are an important item for beach combing or light hiking to prevent cactus or porcupine fish spines getting trapped between your foot and your sandals.

How remote is the area we will be exploring?

Magdalena Bay, from the shores of Adolfo Lopez Mateos, is a 3.5 hour drive from La Paz and a 50 minute drive to the closest town of Constitucion. Once out on the water, it might take up to an hour to return back to the camp or shore. Medical services could be at least four hours away. In the event of an emergency we do have a satellite phone.

How do we address seasickness?

We do not anticipate anyone experiencing seasickness while visiting the whale lagoons.
However, if you suffer with motion sickness, at times you may experience symptoms while in the pangas on the lagoon. We recommend bringing Sea Bands or a non-drowsy form of Gravol. Gravol has a ginger based pill that works very effectively without making you drowsy. Please check with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Do I need to be in great shape for the trip?

Our trips are designed for everyone; we accommodate all levels of experience and abilities. Most of our participants have limited experience snorkeling and boating. Our expeditions are not considered strenuous or physically demanding, and a high level of fitness is not required. You can, however, anticipate a few hours of exercise each day. All we ask is that you embrace the adventure with an open mind and are able to have fun with it during the trip.

What level of hiking are we to expect?

The hiking you can anticipate is of a novice level. There may be a hill or two but that’s as difficult as it gets. Because the rock formations are dry and brittle, the areas that may look challenging are off limits due to safety reasons. The second factor to keep in mind is the intensity of the sun during most of the day – we keep the hiking short (2 hrs) and effective. The areas we will be hiking are across the sand dunes, along the island trails and beachcombing.

Gray Whales of Magdalena Bay

On Day 2 of the expedition anticipate a 6:00 am departure. The drive to Lopez Mateos in Magdalena Bay is approx. 3.5 hours from La Paz. Upon arrival we will begin the first of three days of whale watching and exploring the flora and fauna of the lagoon. Anticipate 4 sessions of gray whale watching, as well as hiking, exploring the sand dunes and beachcombing. For the duration of the camp stay we will be living in the company of the gray whales experiencing their life in the lagoons.

Mag Bay is located on the Pacific side of the Baja and is therefore subject to the winds off the Pacific Ocean. It can get very cool, even though we are in Mexico, and therefore we recommend layering your clothing. What to wear? A wind-breaker jacket, fleece, base layer, t-shirt and long pants or pants you can convert into shorts. Hat and sunglasses are a must for any day on the water. Keep in mind you will be in the whale lagoon without access to land for up to three hours. Our thought is that it is better to have extra layers of clothing and peel them off than to not have enough clothing and be cold for the duration of the time in the lagoon.

We recommend bringing a small backpack with extra waterproof clothing, hand towel and Ziploc bag to protect your camera from the light salt water spray from the movement of the panga and the blow of the whales. Salt water can be very damaging to cameras.

Eco Camp – The camp accommodations are rustic, charming and simple in design. It accommodates 16 guests in 8 tents, dbl. occ. with 2 single cot beds. Bedding, linens and blankets are supplied. The camp has been designed with minimal impact on the environment but keeps in mind the need for creature comforts. There is a main tent that the group will meet for meals, drinks, and social time.

The cook creates fresh local dishes including seafood from the bay, and fresh meats, fruits and vegetables from the local farmers. Beverages include water, pop, juice, wine, tequila and beer. If you would like any alcohol beverages outside of the above please let us know at least one week in advance.

Composting toilets and overhead showers (solar showers) ensure that you’ll feel appropriately Baja without harm to the environment. Due to the scarcity of freshwater, the solar showers are saltwater. Freshwater is available for quick towel body washing.

The pangas (boats) used for whale encounters are 28’ with a max. capacity of 6 passengers. Pangas are equipped with VHF or handheld radio and lifejackets, required safety equipment.

Camp Gratuity

While at the camp the cook and co-naturalist work very hard to ensure everyone is happy, healthy and safe for the duration of the trip. In appreciation for their services, it is customary for clients to leave a crew gratuity. The suggested gratuity amount is 10 – 15% of the trip cost. Portion of the gratuity will be kept and paid out to crew of the add-on day trips.

7 Crown Hotel (Malecon)
The expedition includes a two night stay at the 7Crown Hotel Malecon in La Paz. First and last night of the trip.

2. If Your Trip Includes the Add-On Package

– Seven Crown Hotel (Malecon) – Additional 2 night stay offering non-smoking, double occupancy rooms.
plus
– Espiritu Santo Island Tour – 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
The island of Espiritu Santos is one of the most beautiful islands in the Sea of Cortez. Its crystal blue waters allows for some amazing snorkeling with an abundance of marine life. Tour and snorkel with California sea lions at their volcanic habitat, stop at one of the white sandy beaches with crystal blue waters to snorkel in or simply enjoy the sun and scenery. Onboard features include restroom, shower, shade and music.
Tour Includes:  Guide, catamaran tour, snorkel gear and wetsuit, boxed lunch, fresh fruit and non-alcohol beverages
Duration: 6 hours – departs the dock at 10:00 am
plus
– Snorkeling with Whale Sharks – 11:00 am – 1:30 pm
Outside of the Bay of La Paz and area is one of the most important feeding areas in the world for juvenile whale sharks. As the largest fish in the world they can be found feeding on the surface allowing snorkelers to approach and swim alongside. They are docile, harmless and beautiful, offering an amazing up close and personal experience. Our professional guide will instruct and be in the water alongside you to ensure you have a safe and memorable experience. Good swimming skills are required. Onboard features include restroom, shower, shade and music.
Tour Includes:  Guide, catamaran tour, snorkel gear, wetsuit and non-alcohol beverages.
Duration: 2.5 hours – departs the dock at 11:00 am

In Closing… No warranties, representations, terms or conditions apply to any program unless expressly stated in the Expedition Brochure, Participant Information Form, and the www.panterra.com website.

Panterra reserves the right to increase the program fee equal to and in the event of a US/Canadian/Pesos currency change of more than 10%. Panterra does not take responsibility for any events beyond its’ control. If you have any questions concerning the program or do not understand any of the written information please contact our office at 1-800-665-6639.

If you have a question we have not answered, kindly contact us at info@panterra.com or 1-800-665-6639, Canada or the US.

If you would like a unique vacation experience that is fun and rewarding, our all inclusive adventure travel expeditions are exactly what you are looking for.

Our Sea of Cortez expeditions leave from La Paz, Baja California Sur Mexico.  La Paz is a few hours north of the famous Cabo San Lucas and south of scenic Loreto.