- Loreto Extension2 days from $1,190
On a three-day extension in and around Loreto, Mexico, delve into the spectacular desert realm of Baja California’s eastern mountains and the wildlife-rich waters of the Sea of Cortez. Explore Loreto’s elegant streets and charming plaza; hike in the rugged Sierra de la Giganta mountains amid soaring canyons and towering cacti; and step inside a historic Jesuit mission. Cruise into a protected marine park in search of sea lions, seabirds, and two of the largest animals on Earth: the blue whale and the fin whale.
Disembark the ship in either San Carlos or Loreto, and then venture to the Misión San Francisco Javier de Viggé-Biaundó, a historic Jesuit mission situated high in the rugged mountains of the Baja Peninsula. Founded in 1699 for the purpose of converting the native Cochimí, the mission was moved and enlarged several times until its abandonment in 1817. Enter the stunning stone church, taking in its soaring vaulted ceilings and intricate gilt altarpieces, and discover a green oasis of date palms and olive trees. Head out on a short hike around the mountaintop and gather for a picnic lunch, then return to Loreto to explore and enjoy dinner on your own.
After breakfast, transfer to the Loreto pier and board a local boat for an excursion into the wildlife-rich waters of Bahía de Loreto National Park. Set out into the sparkling Sea of Cortez in search of the elusive blue whale, the planet’s largest animal, and the fin whale, the second largest. With luck, spot these magnificent cetaceans surfacing and spouting in pristine waters, and keep an eye out for sea lions, pelicans, and other seabirds. After lunch, return to Loreto for a free afternoon to explore the town’s seaside malecón, leafy parks, and colonial-style church. Tonight, sample fresh seafood and classic Mexican flavors while dining at one of Loreto’s enchanting restaurants.
This morning, venture into the spectacular desert canyons of the Sierra de la Giganta, or “mountains of the giants,” a range of rugged, red peaks running along the eastern side of Baja California. Set out on a hike past spiny cacti, mountain streams, and wildflowers, while learning about the region’s unique geology. Spot wildlife that thrives in the surrounding xeric shrublands ecosystem, including roadrunners, gila woodpeckers, lizards, and the diminutive Xantus’s hummingbird. Return to the hotel for lunch and enjoy time to relax before transferring to the airport in Loreto for your flight home.