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MEXICO

Mexico: The Great Gray Whale Migration and Baja’s Natural Wonders

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Road Scholar
Program #12315RJ
8 Days | 7 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
The highest altitude is approximately 3,500 feet.

Itinerary for Mar 19 — Mar 26, 2013

Expand all
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: Centrally located, less than 10 minutes from the airport, down town Gaslamp Quarters, Hillcrest neighborhood, Balboa Park and Old Town. Fully renovated in 2009. Taxis readily available upon request.

Contact info:
595 Hotel Circle South
San Diego, CA 92108 USA
phone: 619-291-5720
web: www.courtyardsd.com

Room amenities: Large, ergonomic desk with no-glare lighting, ergonomic desk chair, armchair, complimentary WiFi, 32" HDTV with premium channels, pay-per-view movies, stunning bathrooms, hair dryer, coffee maker, refrigerator, ...and more.

Facility amenities: 137 spacious contemporary all amenities guest rooms. GoBoard touch screen with weather, news, etc, at your fingertips. Meeting/event spaces. Lounge with personal booths wired for Internet and with personal LCD TVs. Bistro. Full-service bar. Outdoor heated pool and spa. Fitness room. Basic market with snacks, beverages and sundries. Valet dry cleaning, coin-operated laundry. Boarding pass printing kiosk. Safe deposit boxes at front desk.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Approx $100.00
Please make pre and post-program reservations directly with hotel by calling : Annika Decker at (619) 481 5887..

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Tuesday, March 19 - Welcome/ Marine Life Orientation
Morning: Meet in a private room of the hotel at 10:00AM for a welcome brunch and an overview of the program. Begin the journey with an excursion to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla for an introductory lecture on gray whales given by a marine biologist followed by a guided visit to the aquarium to learn about Baja's marine life.

Brunch: Welcome buffet brunch in a private room of the hotel.

Lunch: Enjoy a bag lunch along the La Jolla shores with a view of the ocean.

Afternoon: Explore beautiful La Jolla shores. Walk to the famous coves, protected seal beach, and learn about the endemic Torrey Pines. Continue to downtown San Diego to get to know some of the city's most attractive landmarks. In Old Town, walk through the historical homes and have dinner.

Dinner: Dinner is at a well-known Mexican restaurant to taste Cal-Mex cuisine.

Lodging: Courtyard Marriott

Meals Included: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Picturesque colonial style hotel beautifully situated on a long stretch of sandy beach outside of town. All rooms are ocean front.

Contact info:
Playa Santa Maria
San Quintin, BC, 22940 Mexico
phone: +52 (616) 165 9008
web: www.hotelmisionsantamaria.com.mx

Room amenities: 55 ample rooms with air-conditioning / heater, satellite TV and private balconies.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, patio, conference room. Phone in lobby. Complimentary Wi-Fi in common areas (Internet reception may often be weak).

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Two: Wednesday, March 20 - Across the Border
Note: WATER AND ICE: In Mexico, purified water and ice will be served throughout the trip, on the bus and in restaurants and hotels.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel in San Diego

Morning: Your quest for the gray whale begins as you drive south through the most-crossed border in the world, into Mexico. The first activity is a guided field trip through the modern visual Museo de las Californias in the attractive cultural center CECUT as an introduction to better understand the peninsula. Highway One to Ensenada offers breathtaking views on the Pacific Ocean.

Lunch: Enjoy a home-cooked meal in a private home in Ensenada.

Afternoon: Explore Ensenada, located on the ample Todos Santos Bay, the city was established by the English in the 1880's. It now houses one of Mexico's most important harbors. See the main streets, the "malecón" (boardwalk), and an ex-casino. Continue south to San Vicente to visit a small community museum. Drive through one of the peninsula's most important agricultural areas to reach the hotel for the night, situated in front of a wide-open beach in San Quintin.

Dinner: Free to explore on your own.

Lodging: Misión Santa Maria

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: Colonial style hotel with central patio. Large lobby, bar and restaurant area. Formerly Desert Inn Hotel.

Contact info:
Carretera Transpeninsular Paralelo 28
Guerrero Negro, BCS, 23940 Mexico
phone: +52 (615) 157-1304
web: www.halfwayinnhotel.com

Room amenities: 28 ample rooms with heater, satellite TV.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, game area. Phone in the lobby

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Thursday, March 21 - The Desert Beautiful
Breakfast: At the hotel in San Quintin

Morning: The day is dedicated to admire the wonders of the desert. The mountainous peninsula is covered by innumerable species of flora, many of which are endemic. Among them, the cirio (boojum tree), Baja's signature plant, is probably the most outstanding, naming the region Valle de los Cirios Nature Reserve. Stops are made for guided nature walks. The highlight is Cataviña, surrounded by gigantic granite boulders and unique vegetation.

Lunch: In Cataviña, a choice of Mexican or international dishes.

Afternoon: Arrive at the 28th parallel, where the State of Baja California Sur begins with the city of Guerrero Negro. Stateline also marks the beginning of the Vizcaino World Biosphere established to protect the Gray Whale Sanctuaries, important rock art sites, and a variety of flora and fauna.

Dinner: At the hotel in Guerrero Negro. Choice of meat, chicken or fish.

Evening: Lecture on the Vizcaino World Biosphere. Learn about birds, whales and the largest salt plant producer in the world.

Lodging: Halfway Inn

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Cozy colonial style hotel with central patio and pleasant outdoor areas located in the middle of a palm oasis.

Contact info:
Domicilio Conocido
San Ignacio, Baja California Sur, 22930 Mexico
phone: +52 (615) 154 0300
web: www.desertinns.com

Room amenities: 28 ample air-conditioned/heated rooms with satellite TV.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, game room, non-heated pool, phone in the lobby, complimentary Wi-Fi in common areas -Internet reception may often be weak.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Friday, March 22 - Baja's Birds/ Whales Up Close
Breakfast: At the hotel in Guerrero Negro. Choice of Mexican and international breakfast dishes.

Morning: Begin the day visiting a natural reserve in an enormous salt marsh where birds migrate from Russia, Canada and other latitudes. A unique, unforgettable experience is a boat ride among gray whales in Scammon's Lagoon, a Gray Whale Sanctuary in the Vizcaino World Biosphere, to view these giant mammals at arm's length; some even let themselves be petted! Each year, gray whales travel approximately 5,000 miles from the Bering and Chukchi Seas to the warm waters of this wildlife refuge to court and mate; to give birth and care for their young. To access the sanctuary, drive through La Exportadora de Sal, and learn about its history and activities.

Lunch: Enjoy the tranquility of the lagoon during a picnic lunch.

Afternoon: Continue the trip to San Ignacio to explore this charming town that developed around its imposing 18th century mission, still in use today, in the midst of a lush, tranquil oasis. Upon arrival mingle with the local children at a lively folk dancing presentation at the local school.

Dinner: A Mexican dinner is served at the hotel in San Ignacio

Lodging: Desert Inn, San Ignacio

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Cozy colonial style hotel with central patio and pleasant outdoor areas located in the middle of a palm oasis.

Contact info:
Domicilio Conocido
San Ignacio, Baja California Sur, 22930 Mexico
phone: +52 (615) 154 0300
web: www.desertinns.com

Room amenities: 28 ample air-conditioned/heated rooms with satellite TV.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, game room, non-heated pool, phone in the lobby, complimentary Wi-Fi in common areas -Internet reception may often be weak.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Five: Saturday, March 23 - Gray Whales Continued
Breakfast: At the hotel in San Ignacio. Choice of Mexican and international breakfast dishes.

Morning: After breakfast board special vehicles for the graded road that connects the town to secluded Laguna de San Ignacio, also part of Vizcaino World Biosphere, for another adventuresome ride among whales. Migrating birds can be spotted along the shore.

Lunch: A hot meal is served in a "palapa" at the lagoon in San Ignacio.

Afternoon: Learn about the whale-counting process and surveillance system in the whale sanctuary before returning to town. Back in San Ignacio, visit the tree-filled "zocalo", the church and enter a home where date bread and pie is made. Enjoy the company of the pleasant host while learning to make flour tortillas by hand to taste with local ranch cheese.

Dinner: Your choice to explore local flair.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Desert Inn, San Ignacio

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: Cozy colonial style hotel with central patio and pleasant garden areas surrounded by the magnificent landscape and unique vegetation of the Cataviña desert.

Contact info:
Carretera Transpeninsular 1 km 179 desviacion Bahia de LA – San Quintin
Cataviña, Baja California, 22930 Mexico
phone: +52 (200) 124 9123
web: www.hotelmisionsantamaria.com.mx/es/catavina.html

Room amenities: 28 ample air-conditioned/heated rooms with satellite TV.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, non-heated pool, phone in the lobby, complimentary WiFi in common areas (internet reception may often be weak).

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Six: Sunday, March 24 - Vizcaino Desert Walk/ Farewell Fiesta
Breakfast: At the hotel in San Ignacio. Choice of Mexican and international breakfast dishes.

Morning: Return to Guerrero Negro for a third and final encounter with the whales.

Lunch: Enjoy the tranquility of the lagoon during a picnic lunch.

Afternoon: Back into the Central Desert, a combination of sun, sand, gigantic granite boulders, and amusing collages of boojums, cardons and elephant trees that make Cataviña a superb "desert garden". Due to this setting, nights in Cataviña are memorable.

Dinner: Enjoy Mexican finger food at the hotel in Cataviña.

Evening: Celebrate Mexican-style at a fiesta with a taste of tequila and piñata-breaking while learning about Mexican traditions.

Lodging: Misión Cataviña

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: Centrally located, less than 10 minutes from the airport, down town Gaslamp Quarters, Hillcrest neighborhood, Balboa Park and Old Town. Fully renovated in 2009. Taxis readily available upon request.

Contact info:
595 Hotel Circle South
San Diego, CA 92108 USA
phone: 619-291-5720
web: www.courtyardsd.com

Room amenities: Large, ergonomic desk with no-glare lighting, ergonomic desk chair, armchair, complimentary WiFi, 32" HDTV with premium channels, pay-per-view movies, stunning bathrooms, hair dryer, coffee maker, refrigerator, ...and more.

Facility amenities: 137 spacious contemporary all amenities guest rooms. GoBoard touch screen with weather, news, etc, at your fingertips. Meeting/event spaces. Lounge with personal booths wired for Internet and with personal LCD TVs. Bistro. Full-service bar. Outdoor heated pool and spa. Fitness room. Basic market with snacks, beverages and sundries. Valet dry cleaning, coin-operated laundry. Boarding pass printing kiosk. Safe deposit boxes at front desk.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Approx $100.00
Please make pre and post-program reservations directly with hotel by calling : Annika Decker at (619) 481 5887..

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Seven: Monday, March 25 - Farewell to Baja/ Return to San Diego
Note: To visit the small cave with simple rock art in Cataviña, a short steep hike on graded terrain is required. Participants who can't join, may stay at the base of the hill and enjoy the grand scenery.

Breakfast: At the hotel in Cataviña. Choice of Mexican and international breakfast dishes.

Morning: Begin the last stretch with a beautiful walk to visit to a small cave with fascinating rock art in Cataviña. Begin the return trip to San Diego.

Lunch: In a "fonda" (small restaurant) of San Quintin. Choice of Mexican and local specialties. In addition, taste a healthy salad prepared with the leaf of the national plant of Mexico, the prickly pear cactus.

Afternoon: Continue the return drive to San Diego. During a brief stop in Ensenada, stretch your legs, shop or enjoy one of its cafes.

Dinner: A box dinner is provided to eat en route to San Diego.

Evening: Arrive in San Diego for your final night.

Lodging: Courtyard Marriott

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Eight: Tuesday, March 26 - Departures
Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel in San Diego.

Morning: Independent departures.

Meals Included: Breakfast


Free Time Opportunities


San Ignacio, Baja California Sur
San IgnacioTime at leisure in San Ignacio oasis may be spent visiting and strolling the small town square, its imposing 1728 Mission, or enjoying the slow pace of life in the town and the hotel.

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
7 nights of accommodations
20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 brunch, 7 lunches, 5 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
10 Field trips
2 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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