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Exploring the Sea of Cortez: A Living Sea & Desert Isles

Discover One of the World's Richest Marine Realms from a Fully Equipped Expedition Ship
8 Days
From $6570
French maritime explorer Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez the world’s aquarium. These dazzling waters are so rich in aquatic life that UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site along with the scores of islands that dot its turquoise waters. Dividing the Baja Peninsula from mainland Mexico, this narrow gulf teems with nearly 900 different fish species, 39 percent of the world’s total number of marine mammal species, and one-third of all cetacean species. Few places are better for whale watching, and spring is prime time to see humpback, sperm, fin, pilot, Bryde’s and blue whales, plus large pods of dolphins. As we sail among the many uninhabited islands, explore the transparent waters with a suite of expedition tools and walk ashore among myriad seabirds. A flexible itinerary means we’re free to follow the seasonal movements of wildlife to optimize sightings.
    National Geographic Sea Lion, Baja California Sur, MexicoBaja California, MexicoLong-beaked common dolphins, Baja California, MexicoCalifornia sea lion, Gulf of California, MexicoHumpback whales, Baja California, MexicoRancho Las Cruces, Baja California, MexicoElegant tern, Gulf of California, MexicoNational Geographic Sea Bird, Baja California Sur, MexicoElegant tern, Baja California, MexicoNational Geographic Sea Bird, Baja California, MexicoBrown pelicans, Baja California, MexicoGiant barrel cactus, Baja California, Mexico

Trip Highlights

  • A Floating Base for ExplorationAboard a small expedition ship, cruise teal waters with whales, dolphins, rays and turtles, stopping at wild desert islands where thousands of seabirds nest and breed
  • Diverse Activities & AdventuresExplore caves by kayak, snorkel with acrobatic sea lions and schools of colorful fish, wander uninhabited beaches, and hike among blooming cactus with naturalist guides
  • Baja History & CultureVisit the old copper mining town of Santa Rosalia and see its historic metal church designed by Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) reflecting 19th-century French influence

Sail with the World Leader in Small-Ship Expedition 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.

  1. Sail with a Top Naturalist Expedition Team
    Gain a deep understanding of the natural history of Baja California and the Sea of Cortez as you travel with a veteran expedition team that includes an Expedition Leader and five naturalists, plus an undersea specialist, a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, and a wellness specialist. The ship's naturalists are experts in Baja marine biology, evolutionary biology, ornithology and more. The daily schedule is flexible, so you can choose activities with the naturalists whose interests mirror your own. With just 62 guests aboard this small ship, that's a ratio of approximately one guide for every 10 guests.
  2. Gain Unmatched Access to Marine Life
    The Sea of Cortez holds the world's greatest marine biodiversity, and this voyage immerses you in it—literally! A full complement of exploratory tools (see #3 below) grants you varied vantage points, above and below the surface, on whales, dolphins, rays, sea lions, sea turtles, nesting birds and huge schools of fish. You won't find a trip that offers a more in-depth opportunity to explore a broad cross-section of this globally important body of water.
  3. Explore via Excursion Craft & Specialized Equipment
    The ship’s fleet of motorized expedition landing craft and tandem and single sea kayaks facilitates intimate exploration. Watch whales rise, sea turtles glide and birds congregate on shore, all at eye-level. Full snorkel gear, including wetsuits, is at your disposal so you can swim with sea lions and reef fish. Observe the deeper underwater world via HD video shot by our undersea specialist who shares footage from each day's dives on the plasma screens in the ship's lounge. Listen to whale songs via hydrophone, and observe whales underwater in real time via a bow-mounted camera that sends a live feed to the onboard screens. And up your photography game with tips from a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor.
  4. Be a Part of Citizen Science
    Witness research conducted on board by National Geographic-supported scientists. Watch the crew lower scientific instruments that measure oxygen levels in the Sea of Cortez, with the goal of revealing changes in an ecologically important zone.
  5. Help Support 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 towns, from promoting lower-impact fishing to seabird research, marine conservation, sustainable tourism and social marketing for sustainable seafood.
  6. A Flexible Itinerary Keeps You Closer to Wildlife
    Flexibility is a hallmark of a Lindblad expedition cruise, and a nimble small ship makes it 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. Hike through forests of cacti or cruise near shore for close-up photos of plunge-diving pelicans and blue-footed boobies. The movements of wildlife are what determine our course!
  7. We’re Committed to the Planet
    Natural Habitat Adventures is a standard-setter in eco-conscious travel. We have been the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company since 2007. 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 shares our values and commitment to the planet.
  8. Natural Habitat Adventures 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! When you book your Lindblad Expeditions cruise with us, a portion of your trip fee supports WWF.
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