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Baja Whale Watching and Sea Kayaking
2017 Tour Dates: Jan 23-26 (4 days), Jan 26-29 (4 days), Jan 29-Feb 1 (4 days), Feb 1-4 (4 days), Feb 4-7 (4 days), Feb 7-9 (3 days), Feb 9-12 (4 days), Feb 12-15 (4 days), Feb 15-18 (4 days), Feb 21-23 (3 days), Feb 26-Mar 1 (4 days), Mar 4-7 (4 days), Mar 7-9 (3 days), Mar 9-12 (4 days)

Get ready for the best winter get-away and most exciting natural history adventure of your life on our Baja Whale Watching and Sea Kayaking adventure! This tour combines the fun of sea kayaking in the estuary with the excitement of encountering some of the largest mammals on Earth, the Pacific Gray whales, in Magdalena Bay on the Pacific Ocean side of the Baja Peninsula.

2017 Price:$695 pp for 3 days, $795 pp for 4 days

Price Includes:
  • Deluxe base camps & all inclusive scrumptious meals
  • Expert naturalist guide & kayak instruction provided
  • Motor skiffs take us to the whales for comfortable whale watching
  • Purified drinking water & evening cocktails at camp
Price Does Not Include:

Airfare, airport-hotel transfers, hotel accommodations, beer or soft drinks (there will be an option to purchase these and we provide coolers with ice for storing them at camp), sleeping bags (available for rent in La Paz) and guide gratuities.

* No previous kayaking experience is necessary, as we will be teaching all of the skills needed to paddle in this area. Our base camp is gorgeous and sunset watching will be a lifetime memory!

“I could not have asked for a better trip. I have been grinning for days since my return. Thank you for a great memory.” ~ Jackie T.

Tour Difficulty

  • Rating: Easy. We provide instruction in both double and single kayaks throughout the trip.
  • Approximate paddling distance per day: 2 miles

Tour Highlights

  • Multi-activity emphasis
  • Whale & Bird Watching
  • Kayaking in Mangrove Estuaries
  • Dune Hiking
  • Great for families!

Tour Overview

For centuries, hundreds of Pacific Gray whales have returned to the warm water of Magdalena Bay to court, breed and give birth to their young. From motorized skiffs, operated by experienced boatmen, you will be able to observe these magnificent and curious mammals at close quarters, and learn about their fascinating behavior from an expert naturalist who accompanies our tour. The photo possibilities are fabulous and the experience is unbelievable!

Our beach camp is comfortable and provides all the amenities. The motorized skiffs not only aid with the whale watching, but also allow bringing all the goodies like a complete kitchen and plenty of ice to keep the food fresh and the drinks cold. A sunset “happy hour” is served each evening on the beach, and the meals are gourmet Mexican / American cuisine prepared with fresh local ingredients. Tasty soups and salads accompany dishes like fish Vera Cruz and scrumptious beef fajitas topped with guacamole and fresh salsa, and remember to save room for the dessert!

This tour will be a time of discovery and fun in the unique environment of Magdalena Bay. Each day you can choose from a variety of activities like paddling, hiking, whale watching and birding to help build your appetite for a delicious dinner and relaxed evening. Our naturalist will provide interesting talks on the local flora and fauna of the area, and the resident coyotes may even serenade us as the stars blaze above. This is the experience of a lifetime, observing whales in their natural habitat.

Tour Map

Tour Video

Day 1

Leave La Paz early morning after breakfast at your hotel. Transfer by van (4 hours) and boat (1/2 hour) to our whale camp in Magdalena Bay. Arrive in time for lunch at camp and afternoon whale watching or dune hiking depending upon weather. B/L/D

Day 2 or 3

Whale watching excursions, beachcombing, bird watching and/or kayaking in mangrove estuaries. B/L/D.

Day 3 or 4

Morning activities of your choice. Leave camp after lunch and return to La Paz by 6pm B/L

Who comes on a Nichols Expeditions Sea Kayak Tour?

You can expect a spirited mixture of singles and couples in their 20′s to 70′s from all corners of the US and a few international locations as well. Many have accompanied us on numerous domestic and international tours in the past. The ability range within most groups spans from novice to experienced paddlers, and everyone seems to share the common bond of an appreciation for the outdoors and an active lifestyle. We will gladly supply references and the make-up of any trip that you are interested in joining.

Are charter trips available?

You bring the people and we will take care of all the details! All of our scheduled biking, sea kayaking and hiking tours are available for Charter. We can also create a Custom Charter Tour for you with the dates, trip amenities and any special activities that you would like. Call us and we will create your next vacation! 800-648-8488.

The guides

Our Baja staff includes an expert bilingual naturalist and an experienced Mexican crew, many of whom grew up on the Sea of Cortez. You’ll have a great time, feel well cared for, and this will be an unforgettable vacation.

How difficult is sea kayaking?

This tour is designed with beginners in mind, and you should be in good general health and accustomed to regular exercise, as sea kayaking requires a reasonable amount of stamina and upper body strength. We will provide kayak instruction for operating both single and double kayaks. Paddling with a partner in a double kayak is great fun and also allows pairing people of different strengths and abilities. We will be paddling approximately 2-4 hours per day and there is always room to ride in the support boat if you get tired.

Support boat

20-foot skiffs accompany each trip for two main reasons – safety and convenience. We think this margin of safety is vital for beginners or those who tire easily. The skiffs bring up the rear, out of earshot, so they don’t interfere with the tranquility of the daily adventures, and all of our camping gear travels in them so we are free to paddle lighter boats.

Weather

This will be the perfect winter break! The days are warm with plenty of sunshine (80°- 90°F) and nights are also warm (65 – 75°F).

What about tipping?

For the Mexican staff on the kayak trip (usually 5-6 people) we suggest 10% of the trip cost, which will be divided among the staff. We suggest 10-15% for good service in restaurants and a small amount for baggage and taxi workers (a good use for the $1 bills).

Language

It is not necessary to be able to speak Spanish to get along in Baja, but it can be lots of fun and the Mexican crew can always help you with the finer points of the language.

How is the food?

The food and water on the tour are safe. We serve great food and there is plenty of it! Meals are a combination of the best of American and Mexican cuisine prepared with fresh local ingredients. Barbecued chicken, fresh fish Vera Cruz style, grilled steak tacos accompanied by guacamole and a variety of Mexican salsas, plus fresh soups and salads are just a few examples of our tasty menu. Vegetarian and other dietary restrictions can easily be accommodated. The skiffs allow us to bring large blocks of ice to store fresh produce and indulge in luxuries such as cold sodas, juice and beer. Each evening we serve a cocktail and appetizer for “happy hour” so you can sit back and enjoy the spectacular Baja sunset while sipping something cold.

Equipment

We camp on the lee side of Magdalena, a barrier island on the Pacific coast of the Baja Peninsula. Nestled in sand dunes, our camp faces the bay and often provides a great view of whales and dolphins as they swim by. A small mangrove estuary is a 15-minute paddle from camp and provides a peaceful kayaking experience while you observe its abundant bird life. The Pacific Ocean is a 20-minute walk across the majestic windswept sand dunes and provides the lovely sound of waves caressing the beach 24 hours a day. The kitchen and dining area is comprised of large MASH-style wall tents that offer protection from the sun and the wind. The tents are furnished with tables and chairs for eating or relaxing, and feature solar-powered lighting in the evenings. Our guides give presentations here on the local ecology and the biology of the gray whale. Some chaise lounges offer the opportunity for sun bathing on the beach. Solar sun showers are available for showering in private shower stalls. Large (10′x12′) walk-in canvas tents are provided for sleeping accommodations, each complete with two cots, sleeping pads and tables. These tents are provided for double occupancy. Smaller backpacking-style tents may be used for singles. The toilets are self-contained porta-potties that flush with water. They are set up in private stalls behind camp and emptied daily.

Do I need a dry bag?

A large dry bag for your clothing is optional, as your gear will be transported to camp by skiff, not in the kayaks. However, we do suggest bringing a small dry bag or a day pack lined with a sturdy plastic bag to keep personal items handy such as a camera and dry clothes when kayaking or riding in the skiffs.

Camera Equipment

Bring plenty of film! Select ASA 100 – 400 (the higher ASA# will insure better shots while in the kayaks and photographing whales from the skiffs). MAKE SURE YOUR BATTERIES ARE NEW! Also bring spare batteries, lens cleaner, lens tissue, lens brush and a clean toothbrush to remove sand. For larger cameras we suggest a waterproof case or diver’s dry box. Ziploc freezer bags are fine for small point and shoot cameras, but bring extras in case of leaks. Also, toss in a few silica gel packets to help control moisture.

Camera equipment

Bring plenty of film! Select ASA 100 – 400 (the higher ASA# will insure better shots while in the kayaks and photographing whales from the skiffs). MAKE SURE YOUR BATTERIES ARE NEW! Also bring spare batteries, lens cleaner, lens tissue, lens brush and a clean toothbrush to remove sand. For larger cameras we suggest a waterproof case or diver’s dry box. Ziploc freezer bags are fine for small point and shoot cameras, but bring extras in case of leaks. Also, toss in a few silica gel packets to help control moisture.

Travel Info & Tips

The secret to stress free travel

Simply put, arrive at the starting point of your trip a day or two early. Many have told us this was one of the most important things they did to get ready for their trip. They felt rested and more acquainted with the customs and pace of life of their new surroundings.

Travel Information: This trip begins in Loreto and ends in La Paz

The airlines that fly to La Paz (LAP) are AeroMexico (800-237-6639) and Alaska Airlines (800-252-7522). Because flight schedules change periodically we suggest reconfirming your flight 7 days prior to your trip.

Entering Mexico

You will need PROOF OF UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP (a passport, voter’s registration or notarized copy of your birth certificate – a driver’s license is not adequate). Make sure your PASSPORT DOES NOT EXPIRE WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF THE COMPLETION OF YOUR TOUR. These requirements do vary from country to country, but just to be safe, we recommend going by the 6 month standard, because it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when it comes to international travel! Before you enter Baja, you will fill out a TOURIST CARD (you get it from the airlines or on your flight). You must keep the TOURIST CARD for the DURATION OF YOUR STAY IN MEXICO. You will turn in your TOURIST CARD at the airport before leaving Baja, so KEEP IT WITH YOUR PASSPORT and DON’T LOOSE IT!

Travel Delays

Nichols Expeditions is not responsible for any costs you may incur due to delays with transportation (airline or other), weather, road conditions, government intervention, sickness or other contingencies for which we are unable to control. For international flights, it is necessary to arrive 2 hours prior to departure. If you miss your flight and we need to provide a special shuttle for you to meet up with the group, you will be responsible to pay for all extra costs.

Travel Insurance

To protect yourself against life’s uncertainties, we highly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy!

Learn more about the Travel Insurance.

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