Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Get up close to California gray whale mothers and calves in their annual breeding grounds in Magdalena Bay.
  • Hike through diverse island landscapes with our naturalists, from windswept sand dunes to cactus groves.
  • Kayak and paddleboard on the glassy waters of the bay and into mangrove forests teeming with wildlife.
  • Learn about desert ecosystems, seabird migrations, and whale behavior from our experienced naturalists.



Spend several extraordinary days in the company of majestic gray whales in Mexico’s Bahía Magdalena, one of the best places in the world to witness interactions between gray whale mothers and their curious calves. On this compact trip, we’ll navigate the length of the bay aboard our nimble expedition ship, and set out by expedition landing craft for thrilling, up-close encounters. Kayak through mangrove forests and hike desert islands, watch pelicans and ospreys soar overhead, and soak up the sun on some of the Pacific’s most pristine beaches.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.


Day 1: Loreto, Mexico/San Carlos

Arrive in Loreto and transfer to the port town of San Carlos, where we embark the National Geographic Sea Bird. Tonight, unwind under a star-studded sky as we anchor in calm waters off the coast of Isla Magdalena.

Meals Included:Dinner

National Geographic Sea Bird for the entire voyage

Day 2: Isla Magdalena/Hull Canal

Wake up to a rosy sunrise and attend an optional morning stretch class. After breakfast, take an expedition landing craft ashore to explore the ever-shifting sand dunes of Isla Magdalena. Walk across the island to one of the most pristine beaches of the Pacific, go for a swim in the turquoise shallows, or study the intricate patterns of countless sand dollars scattered on the shore. After lunch onboard, find a spot on deck and watch for wildlife with our naturalists as we navigate the narrow Canal de Soledad (Hull Canal), bordered by thick mangroves and rolling sand dunes.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Magdalena Bay

As our ship glides into the glassy waters of Boca de Soledad, keep an eye out for frigate birds and brown pelicans overhead. This sheltered bay provides a haven for California gray whales who travel south each winter from Arctic waters to breed and care for their newborn calves. Spend a full day exploring the bay by expedition landing craft under the guidance of our naturalists and local fishermen. With luck, we’ll witness mother whales teaching their calves to breathe, breach, and dive; and watch as youngsters roll and spy-hop.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Magdalena Bay/Hull Canal

This morning, enjoy another opportunity to interact with gray whales. We’ll utilize our extensive experience navigating these waters, as well as our ship’s exploration tools, to maximize up-close encounters with mother whales and their calves. This afternoon, transit south along the Hull Canal. Weather permitting, stop along the way to explore the vast mangrove forest system by kayak and expedition landing craft. Search for pelicans, cormorants, herons, and ibis hunting among secluded pools and tangled roots, and watch for whimbrels and willets darting over the sandy shore.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Las Almejas/Canal de Rehusa

Greet the sun as it rises over Las Almejas, the southernmost part of Magdalena Bay. Head out by Zodiac to visit a large frigatebird colony on Isla Santa Margarita, and watch for playful sea lions following in our wake. Further offshore we’ll seek out more gray whales, which tend to be particularly active in this area. Navigate into Canal de Rehusa, which leads to the Pacific, to spot whales coming and going between the bay and the ocean.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: San Carlos/Loreto

Disembark in San Carlos this morning and transfer to Loreto to connect with your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast