Whale Watching & Turtle Research
Get up close with Baja's gray whales and green turtles
Pricing From: $1,550 USD per person
Duration: 5 days
Operator: RED Sustainable Travel
Join RED Sustainable Travel on a unique whale watching and turtle research excursion to Magdalena Bay. You will get up close and personal with gray whales and learn about their annual migration all the way from Alaska. Your group will also have the unique opportunity to participate in hands-on green sea turtle research with local conservationists.
Day 1 - ARRIVE IN LA PAZ
Spend some time exploring the colorful city of La Paz, with its charming boardwalk and many fine restaurants and shops. Dinner is on your own this evening. Please note that the hotel for La Paz is not included in the trip cost. RED Sustainable Travel can arrange hotel ($90/room) and airport pickup ($15 pp each way) if needed.
Day 2 - LA PAZ TO MAGDALENA BAY
Departing by van early morning from your hotel in La Paz with your trip guide, you will cross the desert to arrive at Magdalena Bay, on the Pacific Coast of the Baja California peninsula, home to some of Mexico´s most breathtaking land and seascapes.
Arriving in the fishing village of Puerto San Carlos, you will be greeted by the staff of Magdalena Baykeeper, the local conservation group working to preserve the bay´s precious natural resources. Head out in small craft to Conchalito Island - the campsite and sea turtle monitoring base for the next 5 days, where you will meet the rest of your guides.
Step off the boat, and feel your feet sink into the shells. The welcoming smiles of your fishermen hosts greet you, and you will soon discover that their hospitality is surpassed only by their prowess in the kitchen as they treat you to a delicious lunch before settling into camp.
An orientation to the in-water sea turtle monitoring follows, along with happy hour. Discussion and Q&A continues, and dinner is served after sunset, blending local cuisine with gourmet flair. You’ve never experienced seafood so fresh, and delicious. After dinner your guide will lead a session of constellation and star identification.
Day 3 - TURTLE MONITORING
Rise shortly after the sun comes up, grab a cup of coffee, and climb aboard the panga to help your fishermen guides set nets in the channel, initiating the sea turtle monitoring. If you’ve ever dreamed about leading a life devoted to conservation, now is your chance. Put on your sea turtle biologist cap, and take part in a black sea turtle monitoring project recognized around the world as a model for community based conservation. The not-so-early risers can enjoy a relaxed breakfast, and watch the birds, marine mammals and other natural wonders that surround the island before heading out on the water.
Throughout the day, you´ll become versed in the biology of sea turtles, their important ecological function, and the threats that confront these majestic creatures, as well as the critical role your fisher guides play in preserving the sea turtles and their habitat by combining tourism and conservation. Boats will head out for monitoring every two hours. Captured turtles are weighed, measured and released.
You can take a break from the sea turtle activity in the afternoon to relax and read, or identify local birds with your guide. The sea turtle discussions will continue during dinner, and you will have plenty to talk about tonight. Monitoring goes on throughout the night, and snacks, coffee and hot chocolate are always available.
Day 4 - GRAY WHALES
After breakfast, grab a clipboard and camera and head down to the beach to finish measuring and weighing sea turtles before releasing them back to the wild, concluding the sea turtle monitoring. During lunch you'll receive an orientation on gray whales, their magnificent migration, and the importance of Magdalena Bay for the whales to breed and calve.
After a siesta, you’ll head out in pangas to search for whales. Your guide will narrate the experience with a naturalist's perspective, explaining the whales' behavior. Back at camp, swap stories from the day during happy hour. After dinner, join your guide for a nocturnal hike through a magical sand dune landscape. Or rest up before another exciting day of whale watching.
Day 5 - GRAY WHALES & ISLAND EXPLORATION
After breakfast, head out again to search for whales. Today you will enjoy a picnic lunch before crossing by foot to the Pacific Ocean (you’ve never seen sand dollars so large and beautiful). Before getting on the water for your afternoon whale watching session, head out in the pangas to visit with local fishermen to see what they are catching and learn about local fishing techniques. Back at camp, you can choose to relax or take a leisurely kayak paddle through the mangrove canals.
After dinner tonight, sit around the campfire with your guide, hosts, and fellow travelers and take in the stars and the night sounds, as you reminisce about your magical week in Magdalena Bay.
Day 6 - RETURN TO LA PAZ
Enjoy a relaxed morning at camp before packing up to head back to the mainland. Bid farewell to your hosts before heading back to La Paz. The photographs, stories, and memories you keep will tell the tale of the nature and wildlife adventure of a lifetime.
Day 7 - TO HOME
Depart to your home city with incredible memories, reflecting on your incredible opportunity to work directly with the turtles.
Prices & Dates
Dates: 2014 Dates: Feb 5-9 & 23-27 Feb 27 - March 3 March 7-11
Duration: 5 days
Pricing From: $1,550 USD per person
Price Notes: Single supplement of $150. Children under age 11 receive a discount of 30% with a paid adult.
Included: Includes all in-country transportation, most meals, camping in Magdalena Bay, activities, guides, and a donation to turtle conservation.
Excluded: Airfare to La Paz, hotel in La Paz, airport pickup cost, personal items, guide tips, and travel insurance. RED can arrange for a hotel in La Paz ($90/night double occupancy) and airport transfer ($15) at cost.
RED Sustainable Travel - Combining ecotourism with conservation activities to create stewardship of natural resources while strengthening local communities and their economies in Northwestern Mexico.
By booking this trip through SEEtheWILD, we will donate at least 5% of the trip cost ($70 per person) to RED's conservation fund for their turtle conservation efforts.
Featured Animals: Green Turtle, Gray Whale
Call us at 800-854-4204
Mon - Fri
9am to 5pm
All of our trips & volunteer expeditions:
- Directly support wildlife conservation
- Educate travelers about wildlife
- Support local communities
- Reduce environmental impact