Our playground includes the southern Sea of Cortez and the gray whale birthing lagoon of Magdalena Bay.
Sea of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez is located between the Baja Peninsula and mainland Mexico and is one of the youngest and most fertile seas on earth. The peninsula was formed approximately five million years ago when part of the Earth’s crust separated along the San Andreas Fault drifting in a northwesterly direction away from mainland Mexico. After colliding with southern California, an ocean basin was formed. This basin is known today as the Gulf of California or more commonly referred to as the Sea of Cortez.
Left in the wake of the collision was an explosion of natural geological wonders; a group of desert islands. The area has remained uninhabited, spellbinding and timeless. This amazing Galapagos type setting plays host to some of the rarest and most beautiful marine life on earth and offers an amazing environment for rare wildlife encounters, swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and hiking.
On July 15, 2005 the islands of the Sea of Cortez were declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. It is home to thousands of species of marine animals and is the reason why Jacques Cousteau called this sea “The Aquarium of the World”.
Our Journey to the Sea of Cortez is onboard Panterra’s 110 ft. live aboard ship, the “MV Adventure“, custom designed and built for comfortable, quiet, intimate cruising. The ship is professionally crewed with passenger certification under the “Nacional de Seguridad Maritima” laws. The Captain and crew bring many years of mariner experience in the Sea of Cortez and offer the warmth and kindness that reflects the beauty and hospitality of the people of Baja, Mexico.
On the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula lies the famous Magdalena Bay. The lagoon is one of only three nurseries and breeding grounds in the world of the Pacific Gray Whales. Each year the gray whales make their annual migration to breed and give birth. At the shallowest parts of the lagoon, the calves are born, take their first breaths, nurse and learn to use their awkward tails. In the deepest parts of the lagoon, males and females congregate to mate and new mothers swim with their calves, preparing them for the long journey north to the summer feeding grounds in the arctic. It is world renowned for gray whale interactions with humans.
Our “Eco Camp” at the lagoon is beautifully situated on the shores of San Domingo Island in the bay. You will have an up close and personal experience while living in the company of the great whales. Embark on the mysterious journey into the life of the gray whales. A once in a lifetime experience!
Our expeditions offer the opportunity to explore, discover and learn. Rich in natural history, unspoiled in beauty and unrivaled in marine life, the Sea of Cortez and Baja Peninsula is a world of a different time, place and rhythm. We look forward to having you join us on one of our many exciting expeditions!
Seasons in the Sun
MIDWINTER – FEBRUARY & MARCH
– Cool ocean currents with nutrient-rich waters create a food chain bloom that attracts migratory whales, other marine animals and birdlife to Baja and the Sea of Cortez.
• Lots of time spent hiking and wildlife viewing. Wetsuit is recommended for snorkeling.
• Whales begin to arrive in December remaining through April
• Peak season for migratory gray whales, humpback whales, nesting sea turtles, juvenile whale sharks
• Air and water temperatures are in the 70s.
• Journey of the Gray Whale
• Gray Whales, Sea Turtles and Whale Sharks
• Whales, Wine and Culinary
SPRING – APRIL, MAY & JUNE
– Offers perfect weather and a respite from the high-season crowds.
• Equal time snorkeling, hiking and wildlife viewing.
• Humpback whale season is ending, pregnant female whale sharks and blue whales arrive to feed
• Birders will enjoy opportunities to view several species of recently hatched chicks.
• Air temps. in the high 80s. Water temps. in the upper 70s, getting warmer as spring turns to summer.
• Whales and Birds of the Baja
• Whale Shark Research
SUMMER – JULY, AUGUST & SEPTEMBER
– Summer months are the hottest, and in Baja it can be extreme.
• Lots of time spent snorkeling and wildlife viewing. Less time spent hiking.
• Peak season for diving.
• Blue and fin whales are in the area feeding.
• Air temperatures in the 90s. Water temperatures in the 80s.
• Family Summer Cruise
• Summer Cruise for Educators and Travel Agents
October, November and December
– Fall in Baja and the Sea of Cortez marks a return to pleasant warm temperatures.
• Peak season for diving.
• There are some chances to see blue, fin and sperm whales with sightings decreasing as the season progresses.
• Sea turtles and whale sharks become active.
• Air temperatures in the 80s. Water temperatures are in the mid 70s.
• Yoga Retreat and Nature Cruise
• Dive Expeditions
• Whale Shark Research
– Baja is home to abundant wildlife year-round and the following animals can be seen at any time of year.
• California sea lions, blue-footed booby birds, brown pelicans, magnificent frigatebirds, dolphins, orca and pilot whales, Finback whales
Our *all-inclusive adventure travel expeditions on the Sea of Cortez leave from the city of La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. La Paz is a beautiful 2.5 hour drive from the famous Cabo San Lucas. Our expeditions begin with our drivers picking you up, and at trips end, dropping you off at the Cabo International Airport.
* with the exception of the hotel portion of the expeditions.