Sometimes called the Galapagos Islands of the north, Baja California, Mexico is home to a dizzying array of wildlife including both sea and land animals. Perhaps most famous are the gray whales who come to this region between December and April sometimes traveling up to 12,000 miles and over several months to reach these warm waters which serve as their breeding and calving grounds.
Magdalena Bay, located on the Pacific coast, is one of the primary areas where gray whales give birth and nurse their calves during these winter months. Several hundred whales use this secluded bay as their calving ground and expedition ships like the National Geographic Venture plan trips during January and February that travel a safe distance from this special location to view these mamas and babies.
Past travelers have described getting close to mother gray whales and their babies as somehow “spiritual.” The mothers actually seem proud of their offspring and often nudge the babies closer to the zodiacs, small rubberized craft filled with passengers. The whales don’t seem to fear the humans at all and everyone comes away from the encounter elated–seemingly the whales also!
Yet gray whales are not the only astonishing animals in the region. Five species of sea turtles visit the beaches of Baja California to lay their eggs December to June. The Olive Ridley and the Leatherback are the two most common species. If you’re like me and swoon over sea turtles and whales, you’ve got to add Baja California to your bucket list!
And it doesn’t stop there. The Baja Peninsula separates two areas of ocean and the one protected by the isthmus of land is the Sea of Cortez. Also known as the Gulf of California, the Sea of Cortez is nutrient-rich and supports a diverse population of sea life such as whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and countless species of fish and invertebrates like sea anemones, mollusks, and snails. This diverse ecosystem even includes species that are found nowhere else on earth!
A trip to Baja California is an ocean lover’s delight so get ready to snorkel among brightly colored fish, to look beautiful and powerful whale mothers and their babies in the eye, to cavort with dolphins as they jump into the air, to swim alongside sea turtles at a peaceful pace, and just to have a fantastically exciting time on this very special voyage.
Availability on the National Geographic Venture is very limited so ping us right away for available dates. We also have access to an array of programs not on our website, including land programs so contact us so we can help you plan your Baja adventure today!