Baja Mexico – Kayaking, Whales & Wonders

Visit Baja Mexico

Overview

Length: 9 Days

Dates: Feb 01 – 09, 2016
Level: Easy to Moderate.
Hike, kayak, snorkel.
Price: From $1,495

Day 1: La Paz, Baja
Day 2-4: Kayaking Espititu Santo
followed by camping.
Day 5: Snorkel with sea lions.
Return to La Paz.
Day 6: La Paz & visit
to Centro Mujeres.
Days 7-8: Whale watching
Days 9: Return home

Summary

Join us for a whale-of-a-time in Baja, Mexico! Spend 4 days sea-kayaking and snorkeling in the shimmering Sea of Cortez, camping out on Espiritu Santo Island. Embark on 2 days of whale watching the tranquil lagoons in Magdalena Bay on the Pacific Coast. At the beginning, middle and end, enjoy the enchanting seaside town of La Paz with its beautiful board walk, sensational dining and our welcoming hotel.

Responsible Travel – Make it Meaningful

A portion of trip cost helps support Centro Mujeres (women’s center). They promote positive social change in Baja and work to empower the region’s most vulnerable populations, including women, youth and seasonal migrant workers.

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Itinerary

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Day 1 Saturday, Arrive La Paz
Arrive anytime during the day. Transfer to our hotel. We’ll meet for happy hour and to get acquainted. After dinner, there will be a trip-briefing by the guides.
D

Day 2 Sunday, to Espiritu Santo, Kayaking
Transfer to Espiritu Santo Island in our high speed motor boat. Guides give a safety talk and discuss the basics of sea-kayaking, paddle strokes and correct use of gear. In the afternoon we embark on our first paddle adventure beneath spectacular volcanic cliffs and arrive at the first of many beautiful beaches to set up camp.
B, L, D

Day 3 Monday, Kayaking
Continue in our kayaks exploring a new section of coastline with small offshore islands where numerous sea birds nest. Camp on a new beach.
B, L, D

Day 4 Tuesday, Kayaking
Continue voyage to the end of the island to our final camping beach. Afternoon hike to the other side of the island.
B, L, D

Day 5 Wednesday, Snorkeling w Sea Lions
Today we take a fast motor boat ride to a beautiful off-shore island which is home to a large sea lion colony. Experience the amazing thrill of swimming with sea lion pups and snorkeling among thousands of tropical fish. Return to our hotel in La Paz.
B, L, D

Day 6 Thursday, Make it Meaningful
Enjoy free time in the morning. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around picturesque seaside LaPaz. Browse in many Mexican arts and crafts shops. Visit the whale museum and learn about the gentle giants we’ll be soon meeting. We will also visit our woman’s cooperative. Some of the proceeds of our trip help support these women’s programs. You’re on your own for dinner, but there’s a good chance it may just start with a margarita at sunset on the famous sea promenade – a La Paz tradition!
B, L

Day 7 Friday, Whale-Watching
Every year the Gray Whale makes its annual migration from Alaska to Magdelena Bay, Mexico, a round trip of some 12,400 miles making it the longest migration by any mammal. During the Gray’s winter visit, they calve and nurse in the shallow lagoons. These amazing Gray Whale nursing grounds are protected by strict Mexican environmental and ecological legislation. We are careful to observe these regulations by exclusively working with licensed cooperatives that have trained boat drivers. This in turn helps support local fishermen and their families.

Transfer 3.5 hours in our air conditioned private van to the shores of the Pacific Lagoons at Lopez Mateos – considered to be one of the finest whale-watching areas in Baja. Typically within minutes of clambering aboard our motor skiffs we are out in the bay surrounded by whales. The spectacle is quite amazing and close up encounters are common. Returning to the shore it is then just a two minute stroll to our accommodation (rustic cabins). Relax and then freshen up before dining in our Palapa Restaurant with a fresh sea food meal. Overnight in basic, shared-styled bungalows or with local families.

Day 8 Saturday, Whale-Watching
Arise to a Mexican cooked breakfast before our second whale-watching trip. We will venture out into the bay for a second opportunity to immerse ourselves among the whales. The experience of having a whale swim alongside your boat, make eye contact with you, and quite possibly even be close enough to reach out and touch may just be one of your most memorable and special nature and wildlife moments of your lifetime.

We will return to Lopez Mateos for a delicious lunch and then transfer back to La Paz arriving at around 4.00 pm. After a final happy hour and group dinner we’ll say fond goodbyes to our guides, but not before perhaps shaking it up a bit on the salsa dance floor!

Day 9 Sunday
Transfers back to the airport after breakfast.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Trip Details

Departure: February 01 – 09, 2016
Group Size: 6 – 12 persons
Minimum Age: 18 (see below)

Trip Cost:
$1,495 (4 – 12 persons)

International airfare is not included

Rates are per person, Double occupancy
Single Room Request $295.
Only for 4 hotel nights in La Paz

What’s Included

  • Airport transfers on first and last day
  • Certified, bi-lingual naturalist guides
  • Single and/or double kayaks
  • All kayaking and camping gear (Guests are responsible for bringing their own sleeping bags. Snorkel sets and wetsuits may be rented.)
  • Accommodations: 4 nights hotel, 1 night rustic cabin, 3 nights camping
  • Meals as noted in itinerary
  • Ground transportation
  • In-country support team
  • Contributions to our women’s program, Centro Mujeres.
  • Contribution to Global Giving. (MeaningfulTrip is proud to partner with nonprofit, Global Giving, specifically to support hunger and poverty needs in the USA.)

What’s Not Included

  • International airfare
  • Any hotel costs while en route prior to Day 1
  • Meals not noted on itinerary
  • Insurance
  • Tip for your guide (optional)
  • Excess baggage charges; airport taxes
  • Cost of medical immunizations
  • Cost of obtaining a passport
  • Items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Air Travel

International airfare is not included. Please always check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to verify your arrival and departure schedule and to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate. Contact your local travel agent, airline, or preferred on-line booking service for airfare needs.

Tier Pricing

Meaningful travel works best with a small group of people and some trips have tier pricing. We initially invoice you at the highest tier level price (the smallest group size we can operate). If the price drops due to an increase in group size, your final invoice will reflect the lower price. Note: trips are priced according to the number of full-price passengers on the trip. (MeaningfulTrip staff, travel writers and other discounted travelers are excluded from the count for this purpose.)

Single Travelers

If you specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted above. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a same-gender roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee which is half of the full single supplement. There are only a limited number of single rooms available on most departures.

Single supplement is ONLY for 4 hotel nights in La Paz. There are no requested single accommodations while camping, or in the rustic cabin.

Customized Private Groups

Family reunions, corporate groups, wedding parties, student groups, church groups, and any groups interested in a customized departure are welcome to contact us.

Private Group Discounts

For private groups with ten full-paying passengers, each person gets $100 off. (international airfare not included).

Payment & Cancellation Policy

Deposit
Deposit of $500 due at time of reservation.
Final balance due 90 days prior to trip departure.

Cancellation
If you cancel prior to departure (we need written notice), cancellation fees are:

– 91 or more days… $0
– 61 to 90 days… $500
– 31 to 60 days… 50% of Trip Cost
– 0 to 30 days… 100% of Trip Cost

Insurance

Meaningful Trip strongly recommends travel insurance. Our preferred travel insurance provider is World Nomads.  Their ‘Standard’ policy starts at $69 and covers Medical, Trip Cancellation, Baggage, and Emergency Evacuation.   Links can be found on our Deposit, Sign-up, and ‘Travel Resources’ pages.

 

Trip Level and Qualifications

Easy to Moderate
All welcome. Travel at a relaxed pace. Will include driving of three hours on 2 days. Activity: kayaking 2–3 hours daily (beginners absolutely welcome), light hiking, and snorkeling (which is optional)

Minimum Age: 18
This trip appeals to adult singles and adult couples. Minimum age on this trip is 18. years old (unless on a specifically-designated ‘Family Trips’ or ‘Private Trips’).

Ages 18 – 20, must be accompanied by an adult.

Weather

Winter is the ideal time to visit the southern part of the Baja Peninsula “Baja Sur”. Average winter temperatures are around 75-degrees daytime, and cools down to 50’s at night. Water temperature is typically around 65 – 70 degrees. In February, a wetsuit is recommended for swimming with the sea lions; these can be rented. The coast of the Sea of Cortez generally has warmer temperatures than the Pacific coast.

Lodging

This trip offers a mix of lodging. We tent camp for 3 nights. Its “Meaningful Camping”… think happy hours, beach front views, and starry skies. For the overnight during our 2-day whale-watching, we stay in very basic, shared bungalows. At the beginning, end and for 2 days in the middle, we enjoy 4 nights stay at a hotel in lovely La Paz.

Food

While kayaking, camping and whale-watching, the guides prepare bountiful, fresh and healthy meals. We’re sure to have fresh-caught seafood on a couple of nights. We bring potable water with us from town. Our happy hour snacks accompanied by pina coladas and margaritas are a crowd favorite. La Paz offers us a whole range of seafood and other dining choices.

Signing up is easy!

A no risk $500 deposit reserves your spot and is 100% fully refundable if you change your mind for any reason at all, more than 90-days out!  Call or click today. Reserve your spot. Then leave the rest to us. Call: 1–360–269–8747 or sign up now.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the Meaningful Trips Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully. Additional pre-departure information including a Packing List, Medical Form and Liability Release Form is emailed upon sign-up.

Your meaningful trip awaits. Space is limited. Call or click to reserve today.

Sign-up

Women’s rights, reproductive health, and anti-violence

Baja Centro Mujeres & Little Ones

A small portion of your trip cost is donated to Centro Mujeres (Women’s Center). They promote positive social change in Baja and work to empower the region’s most vulnerable populations, including women, youth and seasonal migrant workers. Some specific programs include:

Centro Mujeres promotes reproductive health, an end to violence against women, and the exercise of women’s rights. The center is a safe haven for abused and disempowered women, many of whom do not formally recognize their right to live free of emotional and physical violence. They offer basic health services, counseling, advocacy, and one of the area’s only peer-education programs, PROMESA.

Baja Centro Mujeres against sexual ViolenceLittle Ones is Centro Mujeres’ sexual abuse prevention project with children ages 4 – 6. The program teaches essential skills to children and parents in order to help save them from dangerous situations. Little Ones supports teachers and parents to facilitate conversations with children around sensitive issues.

The Teen Clinic offers information on family planning, reproductive health and STI prevention, in addition to providing basic clinical services, such as pregnancy testing, emergency contraception and pap smears. Free condoms are also available.

What We Believe

At our core, we believe that meaningful and responsible tourism is a conduit for peace and global understanding. Way beyond tourism… we gain insight, discover new perspectives, develop lifelong memories, we become change agents for creating a better world.

Our Pledge

Making Travel Meaningful
All our tours support environmental, economic and social endeavors in the areas we visit. We hire locally. We choose hotels based on their efforts toward sustainability. We promote women’s employment, education and empowerment with all our partners. We support local livelihoods on every element of our tours.

Meaningful Trip’s Triple Give

In addition to all of the above, we:

  • Make contributions to selected global projects, NGO’s, or causes in countries we visit.
  • Make a contribution to Global Giving, a non-profit that connects donors with grassroots projects around the world. MeaningfulTrips is proud to partner with Global Giving and we will specifically target projects that support hunger and poverty needs in the USA.
  • Pledge 1% of our end-of-year net profits to a MeaningfulTrip Trust.

Lodging & Amenities

This trip offers a mix of lodging. We tent camp for 3 nights. Its “Meaningful Camping”… think happy hours, beach front views, and starry skies. For the overnight during our 2-day whale-watching, we stay in very basic, shared bungalows. At the beginning, end and for 2 days in the middle, we enjoy 4 nights stay at a hotel in lovely La Paz.

Baja Camping, Beach & Hotel

Camping, whale watching, and staying in Baja

Embassies

US embassies abroad

Foreign embassies located in USA

Passports

US State Department (passports) – Everything you need to know about passports.

Visas Link

US State Department (visas) – Visa and entry & exit requirements

Visa Services

Zierer Visa Services – ZVS has offices in San Francisco, New York, Houston, Miami, Washington DC, and Florida

Destination Information

Geographia – This site contains concise profiles of major countries in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America. Provides information on: geography, climate, culture, people, history.

World Time

TheTimeNow.com – Find out what time it is, anywhere in the world.

Money Matters

Currency Converter

Health Information

Information on vaccines and advice on how to stay healthy while traveling.

Center for Disease Control – Travel health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Includes reference material and recommendations by geographic region.

High Altitude Issues

ISMM, International Society for Mountain Medicine – Comprehensive information on Acclimatization and Acute Mountain Sickness, including prevention, recognition, and treatment of altitude illness.

Weather

Intellicast Weather Site – This site gives current weather all over the world, as well as historic average temperatures and rainfall, and sunrise/sunset, moonrise/moonset, and the phases of the moon.

Clothing & Gear

Meaningful Trip’s recommended outdoor retailers specializing in adventure and responsible travel.

Altrec – The number one source for all your favorite outdoor adventure brands including Mountain Hardwear, Arc’Teryx, Mountainsmith, Oakley, Marmot and many more! A true leader in online shopping.

Columbia Sportswear – “Trying stuff takes us to places we never imagined”

Dana Design – At Dana Design, we seek comfort for those who travel far. It’s why serious trekkers aren’t just partial to Dana Design. They’re devoted.

EagleCreek – Eagle Creek offers the most comprehensive selection of packs, wheeled luggage, duffels, packing, and travel accessories.

ExOfficio – Ex Officio’s adventure travel and urban travel clothing collections are designed to play an active role in your comfort when traveling. The perfect blend of function, low maintenance and multi-climate comfort for everything from hiking, rafting, safaris and cultural tours.

Kelty – Manufacturer of quality outdoor apparel, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, travel gear and child carriers.

The NorthFace – The North Face provides an extensive line of performance clothing, equipment and footwear.

Patagonia – Patagonia is world famous for its quality clothing and gear. MeaningfulTrip loves Patagonia for their environmentalism and their 1% for the planet program.

Salomon – Find out why their boots are the best in the business.

Teva Footwear – Teva Footwear. Buy your Tevas direct from Teva.com. Select from over 100 models.

Books & Maps

Lonely Planet – With content sections labeled The Thorn Tree, World Guide, On the Road, and The Scoop, you know Lonely Planet’s site is much more than just their terrific guidebooks.

Maps – An online World Atlas which covers 7 continents, 12 regions, 190 countries, and 50 US States.

Activity Levels and Qualifications

Activity Levels

Easy

All welcome. Travel at a relaxed pace. May include driving of 3 – 4 hours on some days. Activity: easy walking and light hiking, 1 – 3 hours, at low elevation. May include less demanding, half-day trips that may include: bicycling, sea kayaking, or rafting (Class I-II rapids), and these activities are optional. Minimum Age: 16* (see note below).

Moderate

Recommended for fit travelers with a spirit of adventure. Travel at a moderate pace. Activity: moderate walking and hiking, 3 – 4 hours daily, at elevations which may range from 5,000 – 10,000 feet. May include less demanding half-day or day-trips that may include: bicycling, sea kayaking, or rafting (Class I-II rapids), and these activities are optional. May include driving of 3 – 4 hours on some days.

Minimum Age: 16* (see below).

Vigorous

Recommended for fit travelers. Moderate hiking experience and conditioning are required. Activity: 5 – 8 hours trekking daily at high elevation, while carrying your own small daypack (water, essentials and warm layers). Surfaces: mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents and uneven trails. Elevations: will range from 6,000 – 14,000 feet. It is important that you read our information about Altitude Mountain Sickness. A doctor’s release is required for persons age 60 or older. Minimum Age: 16 (see below).

Strenuous

Designed for very fit travelers. Typically, for extended high-altitude trekking or mountaineering. Activity: 8+ hours/day. Distances: Trek 10 – 12 miles most days. Elevation change: up to 4,000 ft/day. Altitude: may exceed 15,000 ft. Surfaces: remote, mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents, uneven trails with loose features. Experience and conditioning required. A doctor’s release is required for all participants. Minimum age: 18.

Minimum Age

As most of our travelers are adults, our minimum age on all trips is 16 years old (unless on a specifically-designated ‘Private Group Departure’ or ‘Family Departure’). Ages 16 – 20, must be accompanied by an adult.

Map of Baja Mexico