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Isla Espiritu Santo in the Sea of Cortez and the Sierra La Laguna Biosphere Reserve are two of Baja California Sur’s most beautiful and biodiverse locations — a "mini-Galapagos" much closer to home. Here, we explore safari-style, allowing us to experience Baja’s wilderness while enjoying the simple luxuries of real beds, soft linens, chef-prepared meals, and sundowners in idyllic settings — a true connection to nature.
The mountains of the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve form the spine of the peninsula and offer scenic hiking in a beautiful but little explored area. A variety of animals and plants thrive here, including mountain lions, mule deer, gophers and badgers, and a wonderful array of birdlife, including the endemic cape pygmy owl, Xantus hummingbird, and Belding´s yellowthroat.
We then venture offshore, to Isla Espiritu Santo, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The surrounding national marine park covers an area of 48,000 hectares and is home to blue-footed boobies, playful sea lions, and the enigmatic whale shark. Here, we enjoy a variety of water-based wildlife explorations and plenty of time to enjoy our idyllic surroundings.
Our safari is bookended by overnights in Todos Santos, a coastal artist’s enclave where we enjoy traditional Mexican cuisine and views over the Pacific from our perfectly located boutique hotel.
Arrival in Baja
Upon arrival at the airport in San Jose del Cabo, our guide transfers you to Todos Santos (90 minutes). There is time to settle in at the hotel before our group welcome dinner of gourmet tacos at Iker's Colibris Cafe. Over dinner, our guide briefs us on the trip, outlining the adventures to come.
Los Colibris CasitasTodos Santos, Mexico
Los Colibris Casitas was made for nature lovers seeking beauty and tranquility. With the services and amenities of a boutique hotel, combined with the privacy and comfort of a vacation rental. Each casa has magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by incredible beauty. Guests can enjoy the pool and hot tub, incredible stargazing, and the pristine beach. In-room amenities include A/C, WiFi, and a private deck.
Into the Sierras
After breakfast, we drive into the mountains that form the spine of the narrow Baja Peninsula. Our destination is Camp Cecil de la Sierra, situated on private property in a mango and grapefruit grove within the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve. The property is owned by a local ranching family, an integral part of the experience. They provide local meat, cheese and tortillas for our stay and guide guests through the reserve. The camp's location allows us to experience both the cultural and natural heritage of the Sierras, and we enjoy a fresh ranch lunch when we arrive, followed by a little siesta.
Later, we embark on a hike through the mountains, taking in the stunning vistas stretching to the sea. Back at camp — in true safari fashion — we enjoy sundowners (the safari happy hour), dinner, and a bonfire under the stars.
Camp Cecil de la SierraSierra de la Laguna, Mexico
Camp Cecil de la Sierra is a luxury tented camp located in the Sierra de La Laguna Biosphere Reserve and perfectly situated to take advantage of the hiking opportunities and nature in the area. Four spacious tents offer plush beds, lovely linens, rugs, locally handmade furniture, and a covered patio, each with its own compost toilet cabana attached. There is a library/reading area, a yoga space, and a comfortable stargazing area where visitors can comfortably recline under the mountain skies. Guests enjoy meals made in a traditional, wood-fired stove, including homemade tortillas.
Sierra la Laguna Biosphere Reserve
Early morning is a glorious time for birds in the Sierras, and any birders in the group are invited to rise early today to see how many of Baja's six endemic bird species (and many others) we can spot. We then enjoy a big ranch breakfast before heading out for a beautiful day of hiking. Along the way, sparkling waterfalls entice us to swim, and we enjoy a picnic lunch. Upon our return, we enjoy happy hour in the huerta (the garden) followed by a chef-prepared dinner.
If you're awake late enough, we enjoy stargazing in the clear mountain air to wind down our magnificent day.
Transfer to Isla Espiritu Santo
This morning, we descend from the Sierras to La Paz (about two hours) on the coast of the Sea of Cortez. We are outfitted with the gear we need for our time on the island before boarding our private boat to Isla Espiritu Santo. Centered in a national marine park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island is one of the best marine life viewing destinations in the world.
During the coming days, we have the opportunity to view several of the marine park's residents, including whales, dolphins, whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, plenty of beautiful tropical fish, and a terrific range of bird species — blue-footed boobies, reddish egrets, great blue herons and yellow-footed gulls.
The island itself is incredible, with magnificent towering cliffs, spectacular sandy bays, amazing lava rock formations, and rock art left by the now-extinct Guaycura and Pericu Indians. There's even an endemic ring-tailed cat, the babisuri. It's a remarkable place to explore, and we spend the days doing exactly what pleases us: kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, swimming with sea lions, stand-up paddleboarding, bird watching, and exploring hidden lagoons and desert beaches. Relaxing in the balmy breeze, reading beach novels, and sipping margaritas is also highly encouraged.
Our home for the next three days is Camp Cecil de la Isla, and upon arrival, we settle in to our beautiful tents before enjoying the first of many wonderful island meals. In the afternoon, we take out the kayaks and paddleboards to explore the beautiful inlets and bays around camp, enjoying gorgeous island scenery along the way. If we're lucky, we may spot some of the sea turtles that love to munch on the vegetation on the sea floor!
Back at camp, we wind down with sundowners as the sun sets and watch the vast array of coastal birds diving into the waters hunting for their dinner. Our own chef-prepared dinner follows shortly after.
Camp Cecil de la IslaIsla Espiritu Santo, Mexico
Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Espiritu Santo National Park, award-winning Camp Cecil Base Camp is on one of the island´s most beautiful beaches and features large tents with plush beds, lovely linens, and other comforts of a more traditional accommodation, including daily housekeeping. There are two sun showers and two compost toilet cabanas. An on-site chef creates wonderful meals, and guests enjoy a daily happy hour.
Swimming with Sea Lions
In the morning, we board the boat for the permanent sea lion colony of Los Islotes for one of life's most joyful experiences — swimming with sea lion pups! Staying on the island allows us to arrive early and have the area all to ourselves. These playful marine mammals are curious and interact readily with humans. And like all children, they are disappointed that we can't match their endurance for a game of tag. Once we're exhausted, we return to camp for a hot, delicious brunch and round out the morning snorkeling along the nearby fish-rich reef.
After lunch and a siesta, we take the boat to San Gabriel Bay for an encounter with the magnificent frigatebird colony in an exposed stretch of mangroves. Males strutting with their enlarged red gular sacs, downy chicks huddling with their mothers, and the wild cacophony of colony life surround us. We disembark for a hike at the bay, learning about the geography and natural history of the island as we go.
We return to camp in time for sundowners, followed by another remarkable meal. Before turning in for the night, cast a shell into the water to test if the bioluminescence will put on a show!
Exploring Espiritu Santo
After breakfast, we board the boat to tour the amazing and colorful rock formations on the island's eastern side. We motor through a narrow channel separating Isla Espiritu Santo from Isla Partida that is only passable at high tide. Arriving at Candelero Beach back on the western side, we enjoy a beautiful hike to the highest point for some truly spectacular views.
We pick up our kayaks back down at the beach and paddle about two hours to return to camp, checking out the beautiful bays and beaches along the way. After lunch and siesta, we head out for one last great snorkeling trip at Isla Gallo, just about 15 minutes away.
Sundowners and another wonderful dinner await our return to camp.
Whale Shark Experience
Today, we say farewell to Camp Cecil but hello to two unmatched wildlife experiences. Our first stop is the blue-footed booby rookery at La Gaviota where, hopefully, we can observe dozens of these photogenic, blue-footed birds enjoying life on their rock in the Sea of Cortez. Many people think you have to go all the way to the Galapagos Islands to see these incredible birds, but sizeable colonies exist here.
We continue to the Bay of La Paz, for an unforgettable opportunity to swim with the largest fish in the world — the whale shark! Of course, you may be asking yourself: is it a whale or is it a shark? It is indeed a shark, but these gentle giants feed on plankton like some species of whale (so there is no danger to humans).
We enjoy lunch at a lovely seaside spot before our afternoon return to Todos Santos, where we have the afternoon free to explore the town.
Tonight, we have a farewell cooking class with chef Iker Algorri, author of Cooking Adventures in Baja California Sur and chef-in-residence at Los Colibris. In his lively "Mexican Survival Cooking Class" the emphasis is on fun, learning to make the perfect margarita, and gaining a few skills to make some memorable Mexican dishes following his cooking philosophy: the "Magnificence of Simplicity." With some great Latin music as a backdrop, dancing often follows!
We say adios at the end of our Baja adventure. Transfers to the airport in San Jose del Cabo are provided.
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.
Apr 12-19, 2021
Nov 7-14, 2021
Dec 5-12, 2021
From $4,695 Per Person
First one per departure:$0
See single supplement policy below.
6+ Guests: $4,695 per person
5 or Fewer: from $5,995 per person
Make it Private price is based on Land Cost only, and a guarantee of the specified number of guests in double occupancy. For groups smaller than the numbers shown, or those requiring single occupancy, we reserve the right to adjust the per person price. Additionally, some trips have minimum group sizes. Please call 1-800-941-8010 for details.
Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!
*This may not apply to certain trips with unique accommodation arrangements. Please see specific trip information for more details.
Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. This trip is rated 2, easy to moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). No prior kayaking or paddleboarding experience is necessary for this trip. Our guides will provide basic instruction for anyone who needs it, as well as more advanced tips for guests who already have some prior experience. The hiking, sea kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling, while not technically difficult, will have you active for good portions of each day. Daily activity duration is likely to be 4-5 hours, possibly broken between morning and afternoon sessions on some days.
San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
The weather from November through April is generally perfect for exploring outdoors, with highs during the day in the mid to upper 70s and lows at night in the upper 50s to mid-60s. There may be windy days that can have an impact on certain adventures, and there is the occasional rainy day in those months, as well. May and June are a bit warmer during the day but still delightful, and the truly warm weather starts in mid-July. Hurricane season is the same as in the eastern United States and officially runs June to November. However, most storms occur from August to mid-October. Learn more at www.weatherbase.com.
Given Baja California Sur's consistent weather patterns during the winter months, Boundless Journeys has chosen dates to maximize the potential for the best weather and wildlife viewing. No matter what the weather brings, the kayaking routes we follow are well-protected and there are many options for snorkeling. August and September can be hot and buggy, and July and October can be quite warm.
October through June are when sea lion pups are most active, and October through May is when the whale sharks are out and about. Humpback whales roam from October to March. Turtles hatch from August through December. Other marine life, such as blue-footed boobies, manta rays, and dolphins are seen year around.
The cuisine of the peninsula is equally at home with gourmet fusion dishes as it is with delicious street food. You'll find typical Mexican flavors along with Mediterranean influences, as well as lots of fresh seafood. Fish tacos, the caesar salad, and margaritas were all purportedly invented in Baja.
Some dishes you may encounter include machaca - dried, salted, and rehydrated shredded beef that's roasted and often served with breakfast, gallo pinto - a beef stew with rice, potatoes, and other vegetables, and chimangos - fritters topped with honey.
Equipped with a degree in Biology from Mexico’s most prestigious university, UNAM, Bernardo first came to Baja California in 1999 to conduct a survey of geese in Magdalena Bay for a Mexican NGO. He immediately fell in love with the area and continued his career as a biologist with Pronatura Noroestre and CONABIO, the National Commission for Biodiversity in Mexico.
While he enjoyed his work (analyzing data from bird monitoring to assess ecosystem health to inform conservation programs in southern Mexico), Bernardo realized that he wanted to further immerse himself in nature for more of the time. He switched to guiding and quickly became one of the most respected guides in the state and is a joy to have on the trail. When not guiding, Bernardo spends most of his free time mountain biking or running.
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
Hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding 2-6 hours per day
This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.
By: Katya d'Angelo
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