Meet Gentle Gray Whales Up Close and Explore the Marine & Desert Ecosystems of Baja
Each winter, gray whales migrate from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed and birth their young in the sheltered lagoons of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, making it one of the world's premier whale-watching destinations. The annual journey is the longest mammal migration on Earth, covering more than 10,000 miles. In the protected waters of Magdalena Bay, we cruise among the whales in motorized Expedition Landing Crafts, offering the rare privilege of a close-up, water-level perspective. We're positioned perfectly for the heartwarming encounters we frequently have with these friendly mammals, which sometimes approach our boats directly. We also enjoy naturalist-guided walks on uninhabited islands, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking in the Sea of Cortez. Whales, dolphins, sea lions, blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds, huge cardon cacti, mangroves and sand dunes are among the natural attractions Baja is famous for.
- Experience magical encounters with Pacific gray whales—one of the world's largest and most captivating mammals—and witness the start of the whale calves' life journey
- Accompanied by expert naturalists, swim, snorkel and hike in the islands of the Sea of Cortez as we look for blue whales, bottlenose dolphins and endemic black jackrabbits
- Discover the varied ecosystems of Baja, exploring desert, dunes and mangroves rich with birdlife, including frigatebirds, pelicans, cormorants and great blue herons
Sail with the World Leader in Conservation-Focused Small Ship Cruising
We’re proud to offer a worldwide slate of Adventure Cruises through our partner Lindblad Expeditions. Nat Hab joined forces with Lindblad in 2016 to expand our mutual collection of nature adventures. Founded in 1958 by Lars-Eric Lindblad, the company pioneered eco-conscious expeditions for “citizen explorers" and today is the world leader in conservation-focused small-ship cruises. Our Adventure Specialists are intimately familiar with the ships and itineraries and are on call to answer any questions you might have.
- Immerse Yourself in Diverse Naturalists’ Expertise
Gain a deep understanding and appreciation for Baja California. Each expedition sails with a six-person team, including a veteran Expedition Leader and five naturalists, plus an undersea specialist, a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor and a wellness specialist. Our Baja naturalists represent a diversity of specialties, including marine biology, evolutionary biology, ornithology and more. As you choose your daily activities, absolute flexibility lets you gravitate to the naturalists whose interests mirror your own. With just 62 guests on this small ship expedition, that's about one expert naturalist for every 10 guests.
- Gain Unmatched Access to Whales
Enjoy the rare privilege of entering the California gray whale birthing lagoons in Magdalena Bay in search of up-close encounters with these gentle giants. Lindblad is the only nonlocal company allowed to bring our own expedition landing craft into the gray whale birthing lagoons. Plus, ours is the only ship that explores both the lagoons in the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez in the same voyage, offering more chances for whale sightings. While California gray whales are most commonly associated with Baja California and offer the most consistent up-close encounters, the Sea of Cortez is home to a great variety of whales and dolphins—pods of thousands of common dolphins and hundreds of bottlenose dolphins, blue whales, fin whales, Bryde’s whales, humpbacks, sperm whales, orcas, false killer whales, pilot whales and many more. The Sea of Cortez and the Pacific birthing lagoons are the best, most consistent place in the world to see a wide variety of marine mammals in great abundance.
- Explore Shorelines and the Undersea
The ship’s fleet of tandem and single kayaks allows for personal, water-level exploration of scenic coastlines and nesting birds. Complete snorkel gear, including wetsuits, is at your disposal so you can swim with sea lions and watch over schools of baitfish and colorful reef fish. Even if you don’t snorkel, visit the underwater Sea of Cortez via HD video shot by our diving undersea specialist. Each day, the underwater footage is shared on the lounge’s plasma screens. Listen to whale communications via our hydrophone, and observe the whales under water in real time via our bow-mounted camera that sends a live feed to our onboard screens. Expedition landing craft let you explore this UNESCO World Heritage site with the narration of a naturalist—and the small, surface-level boats make a perfect platform for photography while exploring along side our Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor.
- Be a Part of Citizen Science
Witness research on board our ship, led by Dr. William Gilly, chief scientist at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University and supported by National Geographic. Watch our crew lower scientific instruments that measure oxygen levels in the Sea of Cortez, with the goal of revealing changes in an ecologically-important zone.
- We’re Supporting Local Communities
In 2004, Lindblad founded the Gulf of California Conservation Fund in partnership with the Mexican Nature Conservation Fund to raise funds for conservation projects. Lindblad’s contributions support a range of programs in Baja's local towns, from promoting lower-impact fishing to seabird research, marine conservation, sustainable tourism and social marketing for sustainable seafood.
- Flexibility Keeps You Closer to Wildlife
Flexibility is a hallmark of our expeditions in Baja California, and our small ship is what makes that possible. Expedition landing craft are dropped to get close to whales, and the captain will change course to keep the ship among a pod of dolphins. Choose to hike through forests of towering cacti or take an expedition landing craft along the shore to see and shoot photos of plunge-diving pelicans and blue-footed boobies.
- We’re Committed to the Planet
Natural Habitat Adventure is a standard-setter in eco-conscious travel. We were the world’s first 100-percent carbon-neutral travel company. And we continue to break innovative ground in adopting practices that help to protect our global environment. Because of our concern for the environment, we are pleased to partner with Lindblad Expeditions for our Adventure Cruises, a company that share our values and commitment to the planet.
- NHA is WWF’s Travel Partner
Because of our environmental commitment and the outstanding quality of our adventures, World Wildlife Fund has chosen Natural Habitat Adventures as its worldwide travel partner, a designation we’re very proud of!
The Great Gray Whales of Baja
Come within arm's length of amiable Pacific gray whales and their calves, as these gentle giants birth and nurture their young in warm Pacific lagoons.
6 Days / Feb - Mar, From $3095
The Great Gray Whales of Baja
Swimming with Mexico's Whale Sharks
A genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience! Snorkel off the Yucatan Peninsula with the largest fish on the planet—gentle, friendly, 15-ton, 40-foot-long whale sharks!
6 Days / Jul & Aug, From $4095
Swimming with Mexico's Whale Sharks