On Safari In Baja California With John Spence
Baja California is the second longest peninsula in the world, home to cacti strewn desert landscapes, extinct volcanoes and fascinating wildlife. Flanked by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sea of Cortez on the other (which was described as “the world’s aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau) the region is renowned for amazing snorkeling, beautiful white-sand beaches and whale watching. Join Scott Dunn USA President, John Spence, and National Geographic guide and professional naturalist, Pahoran on an exciting expedition to Baja California Sur. This 9 day safari includes snorkeling with captivating marine life, exploring the varied flora and fauna of the gorgeous landscape, cultural tours of the magical towns the dot the peninsula and, of course, a tequila tasting.
At a Glance
February 5th-13th, 2018
Spend your downtime at three lovely, luxurious hotels, the Posada de las Flores Loreto Boutique Hotel, the Posada de las Flores La Paz & Hotel Guaycura.
Spot a myriad of electrifying marine life including whales, tropical fish, manta rays, dolphins, sea lions, sharks and turtles.
Take in the charm and culture of the region with tours of colonial churches, historical towns and authentic shops and restaurants.
Live like a local, learning the generations-old techniques of making the perfect handmade tortilla.
Marvel at the diverse flora and fauna, from the stark desert landscape to the bright, blooming Baja fairy duster.
Become an aficionado by sipping on spirits at a lively mezcal and tequila tasting.
Relax on the sun-drenched beaches that surround picture-perfect azure waters.
$5,200 per person (in double occupancy rooms)
First Come, First Serve
This program has a maximum of 16 paying participants.
To register your interest in this trip or to find out more, please email our Latin America Expert Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 858 345 1763
John Spence - President, Scott Dunn USA
Having run a successful safari company (Aardvark) for nearly 20 years, John Spence is an expert at designing one-of-a-kind trips for guests all over the world. He joined the Scott Dunn management team in 2016 as President of our USA office in California. He’s lived and worked in Africa and explored the continent on various madcap adventures. John and his wife Emma were lucky enough to go on a one day tour of Baja with Pahoran, and it was one of the best guiding experiences he’s ever had. So good in fact that he later returned on a multi-generational vacation and saw some fascinating wildlife. He met blue-footed boobies, snorkelled with whale sharks, swam with endless pods of dolphins and viewed whales breaching the ocean waters.
Pahoran Gurrola Mendivil - National Geographic Naturalist Guide
Pahoran Gurrola Mendivil knows Mexico like the back of his hand. He was born in San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, and studied Alternative Tourism in Mexico City and Baja. In 2007 he became a certified guide (SECTUR) and a dive master PADI in 2008. Pahoran is the ultimate expert on all things Baja. At the age of 20 he started to work on a DMC in Los Cabos as a Reservation manager, then, after 8 years he decided to branch out and start his own tour company. During that time he got in touch with Lindblad Expeditions from National Geographic, which developed into a partnership where Pahoran became the Nat Geo ground operator in Baja California. He has been guiding expeditions all over the Baja California peninsula, Chihuahua (Cooper Canyon) and the Sonoran desert for the last 10 years.
Day 1 - February 5th
This morning you start your adventure in Loreto (LTO), where your expedition begins! Arrive midday and enjoy a charming seaside lunch at an authentic local restaurant. Next, enjoy an afternoon visit to the oasis town of San Javier, see the colonial mission church and visit the local school if you’d like. The Mission of San Javier is breathtaking in its remote location surrounded by olive groves and fruit trees planted by Jesuit missionaries. Today a small community still lives and works here, and it makes for a fascinating visit. Visit the school and learn about contemporary life, hear all about the area’s history or simply stroll around to soak in its magical atmosphere.
Day 2-3 - February 6th & 7th
Spend two spectacular full days exploring the Loreto Marine Park in the Sea of Cortez. Head out from Loreto Harbor each day towards the beautiful Coronado Islands, in search of the largest living mammal on earth, the blue whale. You will also have the opportunity to visit Isla Coronado to snorkel with sea lions, and to stop by Isla Catalina for a short hike where giant barrel cacti can be seen. On the evening of February 7, you can participate in a Mezcal and Tequila tasting. You’ll learn about the production techniques of these two similar, yet unique liquors and get to know the subtle differences in taste that is typically only observed by true aficionados.
Day 4 - February 8th
Depart Loreto early this morning and drive south to the Bay of Magdalena. Located on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula, you are in for another unforgettable encounter, this time with gray whales and their adolescent calves as well as dolphins. Also included is a short hike on Isla Magdalena, where you’ll marvel at the stark landscape made up of alien like enormous rolling sand dunes. On the island, the birdlife is as diverse as the nearby marine life! Learn about both the migratory and endemic species and explore the area with your guide, spotting a variety of herons, egrets, cormorants, godwits, ibis, spoonbills, terns and more. After a morning spent with the grey whales, enjoy an included lunch near the Bay before driving south to La Paz.
Day 5 - February 9th
Set out early this morning for a full day on the water in the Sea of Cortez. Begin the day in La Paz Harbor and head out in search of whale sharks this morning, including a thrilling opportunity to snorkel with them first hand. Next, visit stunning Isla Espiritu Santo by boat where it’s possible to snorkel with a sea lion colony and enjoy or gorgeous picnic lunch on the idyllic white sand beaches of Isla Espiritu Santo. Spend your afternoon in search for massive humpback whales. This area is considered one of the best spots in the world for Humpback Whale sightings. You can also try to spot magnificent migratory birds like the infamous blue-footed booby.
Day 6 - February 10th
Set out early from La Paz this morning to Cabo Pulmo National Park. Experience striking desert landscapes on your way to one of the most important marine parks in the Sea of Cortez, where you’ll snorkel on coral reefs and kayak in the crystal clear bay. Relax on the beach in the calm cove of Cabo Pulmo, before enjoying lunch at a local seafood restaurant in the town. Later this afternoon, return to La Paz for some time at leisure before an included group dinner.
Day 7 - February 11th
From La Paz, journey south to experience the magical town of Todos Santos like a local. Your guide will introduce you to the history of this celebrated town, rich in art, music and delicious Baja cuisine including local specialties. En route to Todos Santos, the group will stop off at Estancia San Dionisio, an authentic local ranch where you’ll participate in a Tortilla making class. You’ll sample the delicious tortillas for yourself and can also take one with you to-go! Enjoy a delicious included lunch at an authentic local restaurant before having some time at leisure in the afternoon to relax or explore. Tonight, a group dinner in town is included.
Day 8 - February 12th
Rise early this morning for your last whale expedition. Set out from Todos Santos and head south to the Cabo San Lucas Marina for a spectacular day of searching for humpback whales. Experience an action-packed Zodiac whale-watching tour, and in addition to Humpbacks you might spot grey whales or even Orcas. Late this afternoon, participate in a cooking class that will highlight the local specialties of the Todos Santos area. Work with a local chef to select fresh organic ingredients from nearby farms and learn step-by-step the simple, yet time-tested techniques used to make mouth-watering, authentic Bajan cuisine.
Day 9 - February 13th
Depart your hotel this morning and transfer to the San José del Cabo airport (SJD) where you will bid farewell to your local naturalist guides. Here, board your outbound departure flight to San Diego (SAN). Alternatively, you can fly from San José del Cabo (SJD) to Tijuana (TIJ) and then cross back into the United States and San Diego using the border bridge.