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BAJA: Ocean Safari: Whales, sea lions, sharks and Mexican sardine run adventure

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Baja California is without a doubt one of the places with the most diverse marine life on this planet. Exciting expedition with striped marlins, sea lions, and whales during the second-biggest sardine run in the world along with swimming with dolphins, blue sharks and mako sharks.

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Location
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Duration
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Price

Baja California

8 days

2590 $

Available dates:

DECEMBER 11 - 18,  2024   -  4 SPOTS LEFT

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About this Trip

About this trip
  • Guests: max 6 people

  • Duration: 8 days

  • Boat: day trips on comfortable small private speed boats with shade

  • Number of full days in the water: 5 days on private speed boats (6 hours every day)

  • Food: breakfast every day + snacks during the boat days included

  • Conditions: outside temperature: 25°-30°C, water temperature: 18-24°C

  • Skill requirement: good swimming skills

  • Pick up location: SJD (San Jose del Cabo) Airport

  • Accommodation: High-standard hotels in Cabo San Lucas and Magdalena Bay. Rooms for 2 people. Single room available upon request.

Price includes:

  • Airport transfers

  • 7 nights of accommodation with breakfast

  • 5 days (6-7 hours every day) of ocean safari

  • Snacks during the boat days

  • Professional guides for the entire expedition who will share information about the animals, their behaviour and their importance for the ecosystem

  • Snorkeling equipment

  • All transfers during the expedition

  • Album of professional underwater photos of you and your interactions with the animals

Expedition Highlights

Wildlife Highlights
  • Travel to three destinations in Baja California rich in encounters with the ocean's big animals 

  • Swimming with blue sharks and mako sharks  

  • Swimming with wild dolphins

  • Snorkeling in a large colony of sea lions, meeting their curious pups 

  • Encounters with different species of whales (Humpback whales, Bryde’s whales and Fin whales)

  • Watching humpback whale mothers with their new-born calves

  • 2 days on a private boat for the second-biggest sardine run in the world: Swimming with striped marlins and sea lions feeding on huge sardine bait balls

  • Encounters with mahi-mahi, wahoo, tunas, and sailfish

  • Listening to whale songs

  • Observing a variety of bird species

  • Information about the ocean and animal behaviour from professional expedition guides

  • Driving through a desert full of huge cacti

ITINERARY:

Itinerary

Day 1:
Meeting, briefing, and accommodation
We will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel in Cabo San Lucas. In the afternoon/evening, we will go over information about the interactions that await you in the following days. The expedition will begin the following morning.

  • Accommodation: Hotel, Cabo San Lucas

Day 2

La Paz - Sea lion colony snorkeling
On this day, we will spend time on a boat with stunning scenery along the coast of Baja California. We will swim in a large colony of sea lions and play with their curious pups.  The sea lions in Los Islotes are friendly and playful, the young often come very close and ask you to play with the air bubbles and their moms come to inspect you from up close. We will enjoy lunch on a white sandy beach in a beautiful blue lagoon, and on the way back to the port, we will observe rare birds, dolphins, and other marine life in this area full life.

  • Accommodation: Hotel, Cabo San Lucas

 

Day 3 and Day 4

Cabo San Lucas - Sharks 
In the morning, we'll depart from the port, find the best spot to swim with the sharks, and start attracting them close to our boat. Sometimes, it may take 20 minutes before the sharks arrive, while other times we may need to wait longer. While waiting, we may see humpback whales and large fish such as wahoo. Once the sharks arrive, we'll jump into the water. Throughout your time in the water, two professional guides specializing in shark behavior will be with you. The most likely species we'll encounter are the mako shark and the blue shark. The mako shark is the fastest shark on our planet and can be recognized by its smooth torpedo-shaped body and very strong muscles attached to its strong tail. Blue sharks are interesting open-ocean predators with a beautiful dark blue back and bright blue sides. It's not uncommon for both of these sharks to approach the boat at the same time, and you'll be able to observe their fascinating behavior and dynamics between them.

  • Accommodation: Hotel, Cabo San Lucas

Day 5
La Paz - Balandra and transit to Magdalena Bay
After the intense experiences of the past few days, today we'll go visit Balandra Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. The Balandra Bay area is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Its shallow turquoise crystal-clear water is surrounded by dusty pink mountains and sand dunes, offering a beautiful view of the Baja California coast. Then, we will head to Magdalena Bay. On the way, we will observe the beautiful colors of the Mexican desert full of huge cacti. In the evening, you'll get a briefing about what to expect in the next two days. "Sardine run" is a spectacular natural event where huge schools of millions of migrating sardines attract striped marlins, sea lions, whales, and other large animals to the area to feed. The Mexican sardine run is the second-largest sardine run in the world and promises amazing action.
• Accommodation: Hotel, Magdalena Bay

Day 6

Magdalena Bay - Sardine run and Whales
We will spend this day on a private boat observing seabird activity and locating schools of sardines. The Mexican sardine run refers to an annual phenomenon that occurs off the coast of Baja California where large schools of sardines migrate and follow the plankton bloom in search of food and warmer temperatures. During the sardine run, millions of sardines can be seen swimming in dense schools to protect themselves against predators. The
y form a living, moving ball of fish. The marlins then push them up to the surface and attack them from below. When we find the scene of this action, we jump into the water. Marlins can grow up to 420 cm long and weigh up to 200 kg. The feast is joined by sea lions, mahi-mahis and sometimes even whales. Watching this natural phenomenon is an incredible experience. 

• Accommodation: Hotel, Magdalena Bay

 

Day 7

Magdalena Bay - Sardine run and Whales

Another day spent with the animals that the sardines attract to this bay. We can't promise anything in the wild, but we may encounter the following species: a large number of California sea lions, mahi-mahi, sailfish, striped marlin, wahoo, sharks, dolphins, Bryde's whales, humpback whales and many species of birds. This natural event is a fascinating spectacle and a testament to the delicate balance of nature. This season is also the best season to encounter humpback whales that come to these waters to mate and give birth to their young. If lucky, we will be able to encounter mothers with their newborn calves and observe the fascinating mating rituals of several males in heat, trying to "persuade" the female to mate with one of them. We will enjoy beautiful interactions with these gentle giants full of respect.

• Accommodation: Hotel, Magdalena Bay

Day 8

End of the expedition

Transfer to the airport or your next accommodation in this area.

Please don't book your flight home earlier than 3 pm on this day.

GALLERY

Gallery

 

What to look forward to?

On this expedition, we will enjoy the incredible diversity of marine life in the waters of the Gulf of California and the open Pacific on private boats for our small group. Your guides for this expedition will be professional animal behavior experts with many years of experience. All interactions with the animals are based on mutual respect and our guides will explain everything about the animals' behavior and body language. Before jumping into the water, we always make sure that the animals do not mind our close presence. 

 

We will start our expedition in La Paz, a beautiful city located on the coast of the Gulf of California from where we will take a boat trip to Espiritu Santo, about an hour's boat ride overlooking the stunning, untamed rocky coastline of Baja California. At Espiritu Santo, you'll be able to swim in the largest and friendliest sea lion colony in the Sea of Cortez and snorkel with their playful pups. 

 

Then we'll enjoy the shark encounters in Cabo San Lucas. The winter season is ideal for interactions with curious blue sharks and fast mako sharks. You'll be able to swim with these fascinating apex predators of our oceans. During this unforgettable experience, two experienced professional guides with specialized expertise and many years of experience with sharks will be in the water with you to ensure your safety and comfort in the water. The guides will also share with you valuable information and their knowledge of shark behavior and their importance to the health of our oceans.

For the second part of our expedition, we will drive to Magdalena Bay, where the second-largest sardine run in the world takes place. The Mexican sardine run refers to an annual phenomenon that occurs off the coast of Baja California where large schools of sardines migrate and follow the plankton bloom in search of food and warmer temperatures. During the sardine run, millions of sardines can be seen swimming in dense schools, forming so-called bait balls. The event is a major attraction for marine predators, including huge marlins, dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds, which all converge to feed on the abundant prey. On the bait balls, we can also encounter humpback whales, Fin whales or Bryde's whales.

 

December is the peak season for humpback whales and you can look forward to very close encounters with them. The whales come to these waters to mate and give birth to their calves and we will be able to watch the fascinating mating rituals called "heat runs" and meet the newborn calves with their mothers.

Our mission is to protect the underwater world, educate people of all generations and explore the treasures the ocean hides in its depths. Our conservation activities are our top priority and we fund them through expeditions like this, and if you join us, you will help us move our vision one step further. 

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