Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Aboard the National Geographic Venture, voyage to Bahía Magdalena to observe California gray whales and their calves with our naturalists.
  • Go snorkeling amid sea lions, king angelfish, and brilliant blue damselfish.
  • Glimpse the marine world through underwater video footage, and listen in on the haunting songs of whales on our hydrophone.
  • Explore diverse landscapes with our naturalists, discovering sand dunes, a cactus forest, and deserted islands.



Discover the natural wonders of the Sea of Cortez on an expedition aboard the National Geographic Venture. In the company of marine biologists, experience encounters with gray whale mothers and their calves after they have migrated to the inlets of Bahía Magdalena. Hop into a Zodiac to encounter wildlife up close, from whales to bottlenose dolphins. Follow naturalists on hikes amid barrel cacti, and snorkel among playful sea lions.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.


Day 1: Loreto, Mexico/San Carlos

Arrive in Loreto, then transfer to San Carlos and board our ship.

Meals Included:Dinner

National Geographic Venture for the remainder of the trip

Day 2: Bahía Almejas/Isla Magdalena

Awake anchored in Bahía Almejas, the southernmost part of Bahía Magdalena, where gray whales gather to breed and nurse their young. Glide past a crowded frigatebird colony and keep your binoculars at hand to spot whales surfacing and spouting around our ship. Go ashore on Isla Magdalena, a vast sandy wilderness surrounded by mangrove channels. Explore the island’s ever-shifting dunes during a walk to one of the most pristine beaches on the Pacific coast. On the mud flats, spot migrating birds at rest, including frigatebirds, pelicans, cormorants, terns, and great blue herons.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Boca de Soledad/Bahía Magdalena

Bahía Magdalena is one of the main breeding and calving areas for gray whales. Every year, whales migrate here from the Arctic waters of Alaska; it is one of the longest known migrations of mammals and one of nature’s greatest spectacles. Transfer to Boca de Soledad into this vast water nursery and spend a full day observing these gentle giants at water level from our local pangas. Our extensive experience navigating these waters, and the in-depth knowledge of our local guides, maximize the likelihood of up-close encounters with gray whales and their calves.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Hull Canal (Canal La Soledad)

Enjoy an optional morning stretching session on deck with our wellness specialist, then set out by kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or Zodiac to explore the vast coastal mangroves of the Hull Canal. As we glide through a vibrant green maze, learn from our naturalists about how this resilient ecosystem protects the coastline and supports a range of species. In the afternoon, cruise through “La Entrada” and leave Bahía Magdalena behind. Find a spot on deck to watch for marine life, head to the ship lounge to listen to talks by our experts, or pick up photography tips and tricks from our National Geographic–Lindblad photo instructor as we travel south along the peninsula’s Pacific coast.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Gorda Banks/Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park

This morning, we cruise past the iconic Friars rocks at Land’s End and arrive at the Gorda Banks seamount, a gathering place for whales, dolphins, and other sea life. Humpbacks are often active here at this time of year, and we may witness them tail-lobbing, flipper-slapping, and breaching. Our onboard marine biologists and naturalists will be available to interpret the behaviors of these majestic animals. After lunch, snorkel pristine coral reefs in Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, and learn about local initiatives to protect this rich underwater sanctuary.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Los Islotes/La Paz

In the waters off Los Islotes, we’ll have the opportunity to snorkel and swim among curious sea lions. Later, anchor in the port of La Paz and go ashore to gain insight into the history and culture of this colorful coastal city. Stroll the lively waterfront malecón, spot vibrant street art, and savor the aroma of delicious street food. This evening, enjoy a dinner of local cuisine and a performance by a local opera singer.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Sea of Cortez

Today we enjoy the luxury of having no specific plan. You may spend time on the lookout for whales, as well as bottlenose and common dolphins; or explore some of the many uninhabited islands in the Sea of Cortez, such as Isla San Francisco or Isla San José, known for its sweeping beaches and arroyos. Birdlife may be plentiful, and the nutrient-rich sea is home to an incredible variety of fish, including angelfish, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, damselfish, and the beautiful parrotfish.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Loreto

Disembark in Loreto after breakfast and spend the morning exploring this seaside town. Visit the Loreto Mission—the first Jesuit mission in Baja California—and learn about local history at a nearby museum. Meander quiet, tree-lined streets and explore quaint shops and cafés. After lunch, transfer to the airport to connect with your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch