Educational Expeditions & Tours
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Women’s Trips: Gray Whales & Island Adventure (March 2015)

  • Destination: Mexico – La Paz, Baja California
  • Duration: 8 days
  • Departs: 03/11/2015
  • Price: $2295

Tour Type : Women Only

**** HURRY! Only 6 spaces remain!
Do you love the ocean? Have you always been curious about the sea and the animals that live in it, but were unsure of how to explore it safely? Are you seeking a group adventure with the right amount of R&R and structured activities? If you answered yes to these questions, then you have to join us on this unforgettable experience. Our guides and naturalists will introduce you to snorkeling, kayaking, and desert hiking so that you can safely explore and interact with some of the most amazing and seemingly other-worldly creatures on the planet both above and below the waterline.

Register after 11/15/2014 +$100 to trip price.
Click on “Request More Information” to sign up on our email list. We’d love to stay in touch with you!

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Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival Day and Transfer to La Paz

Flights arrive to San Jose del Cabo which is the airport that services Cabo San Lucas. Participants are transported via 15-passenger air conditioned vans to La Paz. Trip duration is about 3 hours with a stop halfway in San Bartolo for a light lunch and bathroom break. We check into hotel in La Paz followed by dinner and socializing.

Day 2

Transfer to Lopez Mateos for Whale Watching at Magdalena Bay

We will depart the hotel in La Paz at 6 a.m., stopping for a bathroom break about 1.5 hours into the trip and then  again for breakfast in the town of Constitucion. The transfer is 3 hours from La Paz to Puerto Lopez Mateos. The group will go whale watching in the morning and again after lunch. Our overnight stay is in eco-bungalows in Puerto Lopez Mateos with a seafood dinner feast that evening.

Day 3

Transfer to Island Camp

We depart from Puerto Lopez Mateos after breakfast and return to La Paz. We will stop at the grocery store for participants to pick up personal supplies followed by a  lunch of fish tacos downtown on the boardwalk. There will be a stop at the marina to load our gear onto the boats. The trip from Costa Baja Marina to our camp on Isla Partida (adjacent to Espiritu Santo) is 26 miles by boat. We will arrive at the beach camp before sunset. The crew will already have camp set up for us. Dinner will be served and we will settle into our home for the next few nights.

Day 4

Introduction to Snorkeling at Ensenada Grande Beach & Sea Kayaking at the Sea Lion Colony

In the morning we will have an introduction to snorkeling and visit the Ensenada Grande Reef. That afternoon, participants take a kayaking trip at Los Islotes to observe the sea lion rookery. Evening: Reef Fish ID Presentations

Day 5

Hiking and Snorkeling

A morning hike at El Cardonel is followed by an afternoon of snorkeling the coral reef at El Corralito Learn about, and sample, tequila at the evening program.

Day 6

Snorkeling with Sea Lions & Optional SCUBA Diving

We will travel to the Los Islotes Sea Lion Colony for snorkeling after breakfast. The afternoon activity will be determined by the participants’ interests. There are dozens of other snorkeling sites and other places to hike. Those who choose to SCUBA will do so this afternoon. In the evening we will have a presentation by a local artist.

Day 7

Depart Island for La Paz. Overnight in La Paz at the Hotel Marina

Participants will shop for souvenirs and explore the La Paz with dinner in town.

Day 8

Group Transfer to the Airport.

After a delicious breakfast buffet at the hotel, we will load the vans to start our journey to the airport in San Jose del Cabo. ,

Please note:

The above itinerary can be modified without prior notice as practical considerations arise to protect the safety of the participants or as weather and tides dictate.

NOTE : The above itinerary can be modified without prior notice as practical considerations arise to protect the safety of the participants or as weather and tides dictate.

About Destination :

Who said you have to go across the world to have one of the best trips of your life? Come to La Paz in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The capital city of the state of Baja Sur is not only considered a safe place in Mexico, but is ranked as one of the safest cities in North America. From here, travel with us by boat to Espiritu Santo Island, a World Heritage Site. You’ll get off the grid, onto the beach, into the water and experience one of the most biologically diverse marine systems in the world, the Sea of Cortez.

About Camp :

Let’s re-define camping. This is not roughing it. Not even close. Think of it as a tent resort or “glamping.” Our island camp is located on Ensenada Grande beach,  of which The Travel Magazine has dubbed as “absurdly beautiful” and swimming in its water is like “swimming in a bottle of Curacao.” The beach is located on Isla Partida in the Sea of Cortez. Espiritu Santo and Partida islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a world class natural park. Each tent accommodates two people, has an amazing view of the turquoise bay, and is equipped with two cots, two sleeping bags; linens, bath towels, and a night stand. The tents are large enough for average height people to stand up in. Other camp creature comforts include manual flushing toilets and solar showers in private bamboo stalls, beach lounge chairs with umbrellas, covered dining and classroom area, purified fresh water, soda, coffee, tea and an honor bar for alcoholic beverages, a refrigeration system and generator powered electricity. A chef and 3-person crew will prepare delicious meals and tend to camp while you are away exploring during the day.

Here you will experience all that nature has to offer 24 hours a day. The island is uninhabited and the beach camp is available by permit only. This is truly an exclusive experience. Enjoy soaking up the heat on the beach chairs or comb the waters edge as the sand sinks between your toes. Cruise around the bay in a kayak or on a paddle board while spotting for marine life in the crystal clear water. Watch Brown Pelicans and Great Blue Herons feed on the water’s edge. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. The night sky, unhindered by light pollution, is clear and filled with the unfiltered brilliance of the stars and planets.

Snorkeling in the Sea of Cortez :

Learn to snorkel in one of the most biologically diverse marine systems in the world led by local, expert, and patient guides. There are over 900 species of fish to see here as well as marine mammals and diving birds. You will explore a variety of habitats from shallow turquoise bays, to rocky shorelines and shallow coral reefs. During this program we’ll help you become comfortable with snorkeling through personalized instruction, proper gear fitting and education about the surrounding environment. Those who are already experienced with snorkeling can try free-diving. We will give you a weight belt and teach you the proper form to maximize your dive on a single breath, allowing you to get gill-to-snorkel with fish and other marine creatures. Witness unique behaviors to get that perfect underwater photo. There are dozens of snorkeling sites to choose for all skill levels.

About Gray Whale Watching Experience:

This is a whale watching trip like no other! Here, the gray whales come from Alaska to give birth and to mate in the shallow waters of Magdalena Bay. Our guides will take us into the lagoon in a 20ft panga (traditional fishing boat). You will learn about and see gray whales displaying a variety of behaviors in their natural habitat such as spy hopping, breaching and tail lobbing. The whales are accustomed to human visitors and are as curious as you are. They often come so close to the boat you can reach out and touch them. It is not uncommon for a 45ft mother whale to let her 15ft calf swim up to the boat to interact with cheerful tourists who are splashing the water for its attention. Your friends will not believe your pictures. If you are lucky, you may be able to get close enough to kiss a whale. It is important to note that each venture on the boat is different. These are wild animals and we do not chase or harass them to get close enough to touch. The probability is high that you will be able to interact with them, but can’t be guaranteed.

Gallery :

Videos :

Skills:

While you do not need prior snorkeling experience, you must know how to swim and be comfortable in the water.

Physical Demands:

The activities range from easy to moderate and will be modified to the participants’ interests and skill levels. This is an active vacation. All activities are optional, but you should expect to get wet, sweaty, and dive into adventures!

Accommodations:

All accommodations are double occupancy The hotel room and bungalows may be triple occupancy depending on the number of participants. Each participant will have her own bed. Requests for single rooms are accepted on a space-available basis and for an additional fee.

2 nights at the Hotel Marina

1 night in eco-bungalows in Puerto Lopez Mateos

4 nights tent camping on Espiritu Santo Island (A World Heritage Site and marine preserve).

Program Cost:$2295

Register after 11/29/2014 Program Cost Increases to $2395

Includes ground group transport from Los Cabos Airport (SJD), group meals from lunch on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, all activities and lodging. Not included: airfare from your departure city to San Jose del Cabo Airport (SJD) which runs approximately $650-950+, alcoholic beverages, personal spending money, and gratuity ($130), travel related costs or delays, and optional travel insurance.

Payments:

$600 due upon registration with 50% of the balance on Jan. 15th and final payment on Feb. 15th. Contact us if you need a smaller deposit amount with the holidays around the corner. We will adjust your payment plan.

To check for availability, to register, or if you have questions please call or email.

1.888.622.4911

info@greenedventures.com

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Travel Agent Information:

Book your travel independently or with our favorite travel agent. Travel parameters will be provided to you when the group has been formed. We recommend you use Ridgebrook to book your flight to ensure accurate travel arrangements.

Travel Agent Gayle Pesola

Ridgebrook Travel Ltd 111 S. Pfingsten Rd. – Suite 111 Deerfield, Il 60015

847-480-2100 x244

gpesola@ridgebrooktravel. com

Travel PDF & Document Links :

Spring Packing List

Travel Documents

Suggested Reading:

Log from Sea of Cortez, by John Steinbeck

Suggested Shopping Sites:

Sierra Trading Post

REI

Destination & Travel Info :

Facebook Group

La Paz Tourism

Espiritu Santo Island 

Weather

Passports 

CDC Info

US State Department  (Reference Baja California Sur (South))

” I had a blast on this trip! I was terrified to step out of my comfort zone and do something totally new and so unlike me. You did an awesome job trying to cater to everyone’s needs and the whole experience was amazing! I am so happy I put my fears aside and did this trip. Thank you so much for the whole experience, guidance and support!” Erin, WI.

“I will NOT hesitate to do it again…Super accomodation/activities, professional/attentive guides, sumptuous meals,unbeatable “uncrowded” island to yourselves….” Corazon, WI.

“I have been sharing my pictures with friends and telling them about our incredible week in Mexico – they all tell me the same thing – they tried tours, they were misrepresented, over priced and not worth it – plus the instructors lacked passion/enthusiasm for the event. Not so with Green Edventures. They can’t believe all we did and how flexible and patient the staff was.” Chris, MA.

“Ladies…whoever you are and where ever your are… if you are looking for the adventure of a LIFETIME with a wonderful group of new friends, sign up now and start your eco adventure. You’ll be amazed at the new inner strengths that you will find within yourself.” Vicki, NY

“I have to add that Tara was the most enthusiastic, supportive and patient trip leader I have ever met in any circumstance. She suffused the group with a genuine positive energy that was exhilarating. She also showed a great willingness to accommodate all our diverse needs.” – Sue, NY

“It was beyond what I had hoped for.” — Geraldine, MT

“Touching lives through adventure….you are awesome at what you do Tara!! ♥” — Sally, AL

“I still can’t believe I did this trip. It almost seems like I dreamt the whole thing. If it weren’t for the pictures and the sand I’m still finding all over the place, I don’t think I’d believe I did it.” – Erin, WI

“The guides were really fun, had great senses of humor, and made me feel safe and relaxed.” – Monica, CA

“A trip well worth taking. To be in such close proximity to the gray whales and the sea lions was a true adventure! Highly recommended. Very organized trip, but not overly restricting. Loads of fun!!” – Sandy, LA.

Who should I contact for more information?
If you have more questions please call or email the Director Tara Short 1-888-622-4911 or tara@greenedventures.com.
What is included?
All inclusive from Los Cabos Airport, Baja California Sur Mexico with most meals (lunch on arrival day to breakfast on departure day), double occupancy lodging, transportation, evening programs, equipment (snorkeling gear and wetsuit rental), and professional guide service.
What is not included?
The program cost does not include roundtrip airfare to Los Cabos Airport, travel insurance, spending money, gratuity, alcoholic beverages or optional SCUBA for certified divers or Discover SCUBA for non-certified divers who want try SCUBA.
How do I get there?
After you book your trip, we will provide you with travel parameters. You can book your flight on your own or use Ridgebrook Travel Agency in Deerfield, IL. See “Plan it.” Tab above for the travel agent’s contact information.
Where will I stay?
Lopez Mateos Bungalows (1 night)

Participants will stay double occupancy in bungalows on near whale watching activities. The bungalows have flushing toilets and showers.

Isla Partida Island Camp (4 nights)

Forget “roughing it” as this camp is remote without the feeling of being limited. You know how when you hike for a week you only eat what you carry in? Not during this adventure! Supplies are brought in daily. There is refrigeration and cold storage and a chef to prepare your meals. There is even a blender for margaritas and a generator to charge your camera batteries! You will arrive to tents already set up.

Participants will stay four nights at Camp Sea Quest on Isla Partida, located on the northern portion of Espiritu Santo Island. The beach camp can accommodate up to 25 participants. Tents have two cots, two sleeping bags, two sets of sheets and pillows and a bath towel for each participant. There is a full kitchen and cooking staff. There are two flush toilets with privacy walls, T.P and hand sanitizer. There are two enclosed single solar showers for bathing.

Hotel Marina, La Paz ( 2 nights)

Participants wills stay in this 3-star hotel on day 1 as a half-way point to whale watching activities in Puerto Lopez Mateos, then again day 7 for transport day 8 to the airport.

Are there insect issues to worry about?
Biting insects such as mosquitos are not a problem. A small bottle of travel-size insect repellant will suffice. There are bees on Espiritu Santo Island. They tend to congregate around fresh water. They are non-aggressive but if you are allergic you need to notify us and bring two epipens prescribed to you.
Will there be showers and toilets while we are camping?
Yes of course! This type of camp is low impact but includes the creature comforts you desire. There are private stalls with manual flush toilets and private stalls with solar showers.
What is your cancellation and refund policy?
If a participant cancels for any reason, the participant forfeits all monies paid. We do however, accept substitutions until 30 days of the start of the trip. Green Edventures reserves the right to deny substitutions. Contact us for details. Because we work with small, locally owned guiding companies, this adventure requires year-long planning and early financial commitments with our contractors to ensure they can work with us during their busiest time of year.
Do I need travel insurance?
It is highly recommended. Purchase when you buy your airline tickets through the travel agent or book through a carrier on your own. It is a good idea to purchase your insurance within 15 days of your deposit to receive the maximum benefits. Purchase a package that covers: trip cancellation, missed connections, travel interruption, travel delay, emergency medical treatment and emergency medical evacuation. Once your airline tickets are confirmed you can call the insurance provider to update your information.
What type of food will I eat and will there be bottled water?
You will eat chef-prepared delicious authentic food with a touch of Americana. Meals will be a mix of local fare such as beans, rice, chicken, pork, and fish with a vegetable. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided as well as snacks, fruit, coffee, tea and juice. There are vegetarian and gluten-free options and fish substitutes if you do not eat fish. Please contact us in advance if you have special dietary needs. Purified ice water in five gallon jugs are available to refill your reusable water bottles.
How many participants will there be per week?
Group size will be limited to 10-20 participants.
What type of activities do we do?
This is a multi-sport adventure with a primary emphasis on snorkeling and free-diving. All skills are taught at the beginner level. You will see and do what most people dream about. Any one in good health and who can swim can attend this program. Although some people have snorkeled before, some of the women who participate on this trip have not had an open water experience. Everyone learns the basics in shallow water to allow them to get comfortable with their gear. Then we progress to deeper dives where people can learn free-diving to depths of 10 to 20ft and beyond if they are comfortable. Each site will provide beautiful fish-filled landscapes that everyone can enjoy floating on the surface or at 20ft!

The program is tailored around the group’s interest and skill levels. All activities are optional. Activities will have participants hiking through desert canyons and mountainous terrain, exploring rocky beaches, swimming with wild sea lions and other mega fauna, riding in boats, traversing the countryside by van, and interacting with native people. Be advised caution is required on all activities. Rough, steep, uneven, slippery footing and unpredictable environmental conditions are the rule rather than the exception.

What are the physical requirements to participant?
All women ages 18 and beyond are welcome but the age range is typically 40-70. Because the program is designed around the participants, we can accommodate a wide range of skill levels, physical abilities and personal interests. We help each other, too. There will be times when you will need to walk on uneven terrain, or step into a dingy from a boat. For many women, balance loss is an issue. If you are open to being helped, our guides and the group will assist you. Just tell us what you need, or give us a call to discuss. You must be in excellent physical and mental heath with the ability to swim, and follow visual, and verbal instructions. Contact us if you have a concern.
What should I pack?
Keep it simple. A packing list will be provided. Lightweight clothing and footwear is the norm but it does get cool at night an in the mornings. You will need a warm fleece jacket for cool periods in the day and warm sleep wear for the night time. Don’t forget sun protection including sunglasses, sun block and hat. While snorkeling you will need a rash guard top to protect you from sea jellies, rock scrapes, and other abrasions. Please don’t over pack.
What type of currency will I need?
Mexican currency is the Peso ($1 US dollar is equal to about 12 Mexican Pesos). US Currency is accepted here so don’t worry about exchanging your money. Bring $150 USD for gratuity and about $50 in small denominations of $1, $5, $10 and $20s. Credit cards are accepted at most stores.
What travel documentation will I need?
You will need a passport. Apply at your local post office. Don’t wait until the last minute as processing does take some time. Passports cost $80-100 not including the cost of two head shots which must be submitted with the application.
Are vaccinations required?
Vaccinations are not required, but check with your physician to be sure you are up to date on your shots. Tetanus, Hepatitis, and Typhoid are all recommended. Check the Center for Disease Control’s web site for updates and recommendations.
Will I be able to call home?
There will be a company cell phone that you may use to call home to let loved ones know you made it to Mexico. Telephone and cell phone communication is not possible while we are out in the field. Some cell phone services like T-mobile, Sprint, and AT&T may get service at the airport or on the highway.
Tell me about the weather. Will it be hot?
The days are typically in the high 80′s. During the day you will be in a t-shirt and shorts taking advantage of the intense sun not yet felt in the northern latitudes. At night and through dawn you will be surprised how quickly the desert cools down. It can feel cold with the wind, so make sure you bring the warm items listed on your packing list. Nighttime temps can be in the low 60′s but can feel like the 50′s if you are not prepared.
Is there medical care nearby?
Should a medical emergency arise, the participant will be transported to La Paz via boat to meet with EMS at the marina for transport to a hospital. La Paz does have an international airport should an air evacuation be needed. Due to the remoteness of the activities, medical care can be significantly delayed. AmeriMed hospital is in Cabo San Lucas and a clinic is in Los Barriles.

General Hospital de Zona con Medicinea Familiar #1.

Telephone 011-52 (612) 122-7377

5 de Febrero y H. de Independencia, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Cabo San Lucas (Los Cabos) (AmeriMed) Hospital

Telephone 011-52-624-105-8500

Los Barriles (AmeriMed) Clinic International Calls

011-52-624-141-0797

How safe is this adventure?
Green Edventures has been leading student, college and adult groups to La Paz since the summer of 2009. We have never encountered any problems with violence in La Paz or threats of violence. La Paz is one of the most peaceful cities in Mexico and has a lower crime rate than many U.S. cities including Chicago, Detroit, and New Orleans. Most of the violence is occurring in border towns nearly 1,000 miles away from La Paz and Espiritu Santo. To minimize risk during adventure activities, Green Edventures has partnered with expert, well-established and reputable businesses in La Paz.

Green Edventures works with partners and vendors to minimize risk through planning and hiring experience guides. Guides for technical activities are Rescue SCUBA Diver Certified and/or SCUBA Dive Masters and for all non-technical activities guides are First Aid/CPR certified. While on the island, we have 24-hour access to a boat and captain and VHF radio.

Are personal belongings safe left at the base camp or do things like passport, money, etc.. need to be carried with you at all times?
The island we stay on is Isla Partida but better known as Espiritu Santo Island, a World Heritage Site (aka world national park). It is the size of Manhattan, totally uninhabited and about 26 miles by boat away from La Paz. Our camp is a full service camp with a crew of at least five including a chef, two assistants, a boat captain, and local guide. Every detail is taken care of for you. Leaving your stuff at camp it is totally fine and you should! Theft has never been an issue.
About Baja California Sur
Baja California Sur is one of the most peaceful and pristine states in Mexico. It is considered a portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the state of Baja California, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, and to the east by the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez.
Do you have past participants that would be willing to talk with me?

Yes! Contact us for more information.

Join the Facebook Group here.

“Like” the Facebook Page here.

More Questions?
If you have more questions please call or email the Director Tara Short 1-888-622-4911 ortara@greenedventures.com.

Ensenada Grande

Ensenda is the bay right off of the beach at camp. It is the perfect place to learn snorkeling skills and then free-diving techniques or for experienced divers to get a refresher course. The habitat is shallow reefs along the rocky walls with hard corals and many juvenile reef fish. There are large crown-o-thorn sea stars, hard corals, and small schools of Cortez Rainbow Wrasse and mullets. Large Guineafowl Pufferfish can be found hiding under rocks and pairs of butterflyfish hover close to the rocky reef. On the sandflats and in the water column see chubs, damselfish, stingrays, grunts, goatfish, snappers, and yellowtail surgeonfish.

Las Cuevas

Explore the cracks and small caves at Las Cuevas and then try your free-diving skills to see hundreds of Cortez Garden Eels in the sandy bottom at 25ft. This is the perfect second “dive” because it allows those who need more time to get used to snorkeling a chance to float on the surface and see a lot with very little effort, and is deep enough to allow others to work on their free-diving and breath-holding skills they learned in the morning. From the surface see schools of Sergeant Majors, blennies, angelfish, and Yellowtail Surgeonfish. Participants who dive just 10ft will see rivers of schooling fish like Mexican Goatfish, hogfish, and snappers. Free-dive to 15ft, and you will be surrounded by rivers of fish and possibly see groupers and pufferfish.

El Candelero

This tiny island get serves as a small rookery for cormorants, gulls, and pelicans. Below waterline, you will find a rocky reef that tapers from 3ft to 30ft. Like Las Cuevas there is something for every type of participant. In the shallows sneak up to the shoreline to get upclose photos of birds and maybe have a comical experience of one paddling around your head. There are soft and hard corals in the shallow, well lit water. Take your time let your eyes adjust to see the rocks come to life. Tiny invertebrates like crabs, nudibranchs, gobies, and tube worms are well camouflaged. That “thing” that looks like a rock is probably an animal! Hold your breath and dive a little deeper. There are large schools of beautiful fish hanging out around the reef. Grunts, yellowtail surgeonfish, king angelfish, triggerfish, scissortails, and parrofishes are just some of the fish we see here..

El Corralito

This entire bay is filled with a carpet of hard corals! With very little effort, anyone can have an amazing experience. This shallow oasis is home to eels, sea stars, urchins, tubeworms, rainbow wrasse, morish idols, parrotfish, cornetfish, triggerfish, hogfish, stingrays and the list goes on and on. The depth and clarity of the water allows for divers to observe interesting fish behaviors such as cleaning stations, spawning, and feeding.

Isla Islotes

Just north of Isla Partida is a tiny island that is surrounded by a marine preserve. Here you can snorkel (or SCUBA dive) with 400 wild and playful sea lions. These underwater “dogs” are like curious puppies. They dart past you, nibble on your fins, and get whisker-to-dive mask with you for great photos and videos. Habitats include rocky reef, hard corals, soft corals, pelagic and sandy bottom. Fish species include: large schools of Pacific Creole fish, Humphead Parrotfish, Mexican Hogfish, triggerfish, wrasses, hawkfishes, snappers, groupers, Mexican Barracudas, Mobula Rays, Blue Spotted Jawfishes, to name a few.

We often come back to this location several times to explore the different habitats. On the North side of the island is a shallow reef of hard and soft corals. The water is so clear that the sunlight brings out the natural colors of the corals and fishes. It is so easy to take photos here with even the most basic of cameras. Another site is the arch where juvenile sea lions congregate. The water depth goes to 30ft with large boulders the size of cars are piled on the bottom forming habitat for very large groupers. Amarillo Snappers cling together in schools under the rock ledges of the arch. Bright Orange Cup corals, barnacles, tube worms, and other sessile inverts cling to the rocks. This site will be your favorite for the week, if not your favorite for life!!!

Kayaking:

Our kayaks are recreational, sit-on-top kayaks. They are meant for relatively short excursions that allow you to get up close to birds and the rocky inter tidal zone, under magnificent natural arches, and into cool sea caves. Lucky paddlers will see jumping rays, sea lions and possibly dolphins or whales. Kayaks are available for participants to take out on their own for sunset paddle in the bay, and if time allows, a longer guided trip is led by one of the staff.

Swimming with Whale Sharks:

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world. They can reach up to 45ft in length. These gentle giants eat plankton, the smallest members of the marine food chain. We’ll spend half of one day searching for whale sharks in the Bay of La Paz where they are typically found in the plankton-rich waters. Since these are wild animals we can’t guarantee that participants will get to swim with a whale shark but we will definitely try. Watch a video of some of our students swimming with a whale shark on YouTube.

Whales and Dolphin Encounters:

The Sea of Cortez is abundant with food and the perfect temperature for whales and dolphins. Some evenings, before sunset we go out looking for action, marine mammals that is! Each season we encounter a mega pod (100′s) of dolphins such as common dolphins, bottlenose, and even white-sided dolphins. They are typically feeding or playing in the bow wake of the boat. Their acrobatics are fun to watch and we are usually the only boat in the area which makes the interaction that much more special. Each time they jump, spin, flip, or get close enough to touch we roar with enthusiasm and shrill with delight. Dolphins are so much fun, but their larger cousins are also exciting to watch. We have seen humpback whales breaching (jumps that land in a huge splash), tail slapping and sounding (deep dives that reveal the tail just before the whale completely submerges). There have been awesome encounters with Blue Whales, Fin Whales and Bryde’s Whales, too. Lucky participants may be able to snorkeling with a pod of wild dolphins.

Hikes:

Cross Island Hike:

The Cross Island Hike is a 2.5 to 3 hour round trip hike which is relatively flat with a few boulders to scramble up or slide down. It terminates at the opposite side of Isla Partida and reveals stunning views of the eastern side of the island. The trail is lush green with desert vegetation and follows a natural path through a red canyon. Along the way your guide will identify cacti such as jumping cholla, cardon, and sweet pityhaya and describe some of their adaptations and human uses.

Cactus Hill:

Cactus Hill is steep and more physically demanding but only climbs to about 500ft in elevation. People who love a challenge, love this activity. The view at the top offers a panoramic island scene and amazing photo opportunities. The terrain is rocky and the path is loose. A sturdy pair of tennis shoes is required as cacti and sharp rocks could slice a toe right open. You will follow your guide along a rocky trail which conforms to the contours of the mountain. There will be plenty of water breaks and rest stops. At these points your guide will take time to share natural history information of the area.

El Cardonel

This hike offers the biggest bang for the least amount of effort. The trail head starts on a pristine beach with mangrove forests and passes through a wide valley with a small forest of Cardon Cacti and then ends on the eastern side of the island in a short ¼ of a mile hike. Photographers, birders, lizard enthusiasts, and naturalists will love the opportunity to stroll at their own pace in this peaceful and serene desert paradise. Your guide will teach you about the importance of mangrove habitats and about the various other plants and animals you will find on the trail.

San Gabriel Bay Archeological Site:

This site is a 30 minute boat ride south of camp. The winds tend to be strong and from the south in the morning so the waves make the trip a really fun ride. Expect to laugh a lot and get really wet! Our destination is the historic ruins of the world’s first commercial pearl farm. Your guide will tell you the story of Gastón Vivés’ and point out interesting features of the pearl farm. Next, just a short hike from there you’ll discover the remnants of the dwellings left by the Seri Indians who once inhabited the island.