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Breaching Grey Whale, Mexico

Great Whales of Baja California

  • TAILOR-MADE

Duration

Day

Prices Start from

£2,895 ex. flights

A thrilling sailing voyage around what explorer Jacques Cousteau called “the world’s aquarium”, an exploration of Baja California and the Sea of Cortez is the archetypal adventure for whale-loving wayfarers.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Mother and calf humpback whales in Ojo de Liebre Lagoon 1

Mother & Calf Whales

Hide and seek with remarkably friendly mother and calf pairs of California grey whales.

Searcher, Baja California, Mexico ©Chris Thomas 2

Expeditionary Boats

Sail aboard small vessels with special access permits in the company of expert guides.

Snorkelling with sea lions 3

The Sea of Cortez

Snorkel with sealions, bob along on kayaks or swim in nutrient-rich and fish-dense waters.

The Arch at Sunset, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico 4

Unique Landscapes

While travelling around the peninsula’s coastline, photograph the incredible scenery.

Why we like it

Sailing in anything from a quirky 25-passenger fishing boat manned by a remarkably intuitive skipper to a fully stabilized 100-passenger vessel with the latest satellite navigation technology, these expeditionary adventures unveil one of the world’s finest marine destinations. In search of playful mother and calf whales and a plethora of colourful marine life, our small selection of hand-picked whale-watching cruises are some of the most comprehensive in the peninsula.

Don't forget, we will customise this journey to suit you.

Explore our suggested itinerary

Keys:
Boat Journey
  • Embark
    San Diego, Loreto or San Jose del Cabo
  • 7, 11 or 14 Nights Sailing
    Baja California & the Sea of Cortez
  • Disembark
    Loreto or San Jose del Cabo
Whale Fluke, Baja California, Mexico
Whale Fluke, Baja California, Mexico

Hide & Seek with Grey Whales

Every year during their migration, the great grey whales pause to give birth and nurse their calves in the lagoons off Baja California’s west coast. Exploring these lagoons presents truly remarkable opportunities for close encounters with these gentle and curious giants. The whales here seem to be friendlier than they are elsewhere, and it is not unusual for mothers and calves to approach the pangas and play a sort of hide and seek through the crystalline waters.

Whale Shark in Shallow Waters, Baja California
Whale Shark in Shallow Waters, Baja California

Unpredictable Marine Life

These waters are truly unpredictable, and previous sailings have witnessed the magnificent sight of bottle nose dolphins leaping over sperm whales and the view of hundreds of Humboldt squid illuminated in bow lights. It is also possible to see whale sharks, leaping mobula rays and handsome emerald-tailed lizards. Atop a kayak or in a panga, sail to uninhabited islands to explore their dense mangrove swamps and red coastlines and, during disembarkations, hike through cacti forests and up striking desert canyons on remote islands.

Snorkelling with sea lions
Snorkelling with sea lions

Snorkel the Sea of Cortez

Snorkel with curious sealions and king angelfish, look out for bottlenose dolphins and perhaps catch a glimpse of blue whales whilst navigating the Sea of Cortez. Look out for surgeonfish, butterfly fish, damselfish and colourful parrotfish, and perhaps spend extended time simply floating in their cloud of colour or trying to spot a giant sting ray hiding in the sand.

 

Searcher, Baja California, Mexico ©Chris Thomas
Searcher, Baja California, Mexico ©Chris Thomas

Searcher

Offering an unmatched, off-piste and in-depth marine experience, the 25-passenger Searcher operates thrilling 7 and 11-night journeys that depart from San Diego. Manoeuvred by a skipper with a supernatural sixth sense for knowing which course to set, the vessel is one of the few small boats that hold a special permit to enter the ecological reserves and national parks. One of the most in-depth whale-watching trips available, this navigation uses Searcher as a floating base from which to discover captivating species and experience exhilarating up-close whale interactions in a small, expeditionary group setting. A favourite of Steppes with a reputation for whale-whispering, this option is well-suited to those seeking to venture off the beaten track.

Dolphin, Zodiac, Baja California
Dolphin, Zodiac, Baja California

National Geographic Venture

With itineraries that range from 7 to 14 nights, the 100-passenger National Geographic Venture boasts some of the best guides in the world and the highest naturalist to passenger ratio in all of Baja California. Perhaps travelling with a professional photographer, a natural historian, a biochemist or a zoologist, move through the ocean on routes determined by the marine life being tracked on any given day. Operating a Fund for Exploration and Conservation with National Geographic that focus on minimising environmental impact, the vessel has raised nearly $10 million in the last 10 years for conservation and marine efforts.

Safari Endeavour, Baja California
Safari Endeavour, Baja California

Safari Endeavour

With a 7-night island-hopping navigation through the Sea of Cortez that combines water and land-based adventures with casual whale-watching, the 88-passenger Safari Endeavour offers a more relaxed voyage in Baja California. With a focus on escapades such as swimming with playful sealion pups, paddle boarding atop dazzling ocean, mule riding with a local ranchero and exploring secluded coves, this journey dedicates less time to the sole search for marine life and more to a fun-filled discovery of the islands.

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California

Why Cruise?

Transport networks on Baja California are limited, and long dusty drives will only take you to some key areas where there are limited accommodation options. With incomparable opportunities to interact with whales and spot other remarkable marine life, sailing allows for a comfortable and varied experience that boasts optimal and extended time with marine life at close proximity. Frequent disembarkations also allows for anything from hiking to mule riding, giving a rounded experience of the peninsula.

Let’s chat

Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

Send us an enquiry

Or send us a quick email below and start your next journey.

Call us

John is a true conversationalist and was a delight to deal with. In fact, we enjoyed hearing his stories about whale-watching in Baja California so much that we were quick to plan our trip with him and benefit from his first-hand knowledge.

Destination: Baja California
Travel Expert: John

Our trip to Baja California really surpassed all of our expectations - it was truly magical! I wouldn't hesitate to use or recommend Steppes in the future.

Destination: Baja California
Travel Expert: John

Thank you, Sue, for knowing which vessel suited our requirements for our trip to Baja California – in choosing a sailing accompanied by a National Geographic photographer, we have come home with both great photographs and great stories to tell.

Destination: Baja California
Travel Expert: Sue

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?


Why Steppes

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