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 Lion. 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 Lion for the entire voyage


Greet the sun as it rises over Las Almejas, the southernmost part of Magdalena Bay. Head out by expedition landing craft to visit a large frigate bird 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. Enjoy lunch onboard as we sail toward Isla Magdalena. Upon arrival, venture ashore to explore the island’s ever-shifting sand dunes. Walk across Isla Magdalena 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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, 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. 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. 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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Spend two full days 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. 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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily

Disembark in Lopez Mateos this morning and transfer to Loreto to connect with your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast