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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.
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Discussion Board

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Arlene Owens Feb 19, 2015 at 06:47 PM

Carol, you need neither binoculars nor anything special for plugging your camera/ phone, etc.


Carol Sinclair Feb 19, 2015 at 05:53 PM

A couple more questions since we have so many who have already attended this tour. 1- Should I bring binoculars? They are large and heavy so I only bring along if it will be really worthwhile. 2- What about electricity? Will I be able to just plug in my battery chargers, etc? Or are convertors and/or adapters needed for regular USA equipment?
Thanks! March 10 isn't to far away now :)
Sarah Ann Israel Feb 19, 2015 at 06:00 PM

You don't need binculars on the boats to see the whales. One guy brought them, but only used them on the desert walk to see birds.All the hotels have electricity, though one hotel did lose power for 20 minutes 2 days in a row. You do not need a converter. You can plug in your phone/Ipad/whatever straight into the socket. Most rooms have 2 outlets in teh bedroom area, though one is often behind the dresser, but accessible. Fabulous trip - Enjoy!
Carol Sinclair Feb 19, 2015 at 06:05 PM

Thanks so much Sarah. Two less things to pack then :).
Sheila Bracken Feb 19, 2015 at 06:30 PM

I was just about to post answers, but Sarah said it all. I brought little binoculars last time, but just carried them. You sure don't need binoculars to see the whales. The first time one came towards the boat, it was like having an airplane come up to us! Don't forget a water bottle. There is treated water on the bus, that they will fill as you need it. See you in a few weeks!!!


Sheila Bracken Feb 18, 2015 at 09:17 PM

Hi Kathryn:
On our trip their were all types of cameras, from complicated to disposables. One person even had an underwater camera. I used my IPhone. I looked for a waterproof case, and was advised to just put the camera/phone in a zip lock bag. Worked great. Unless the water is really rough,and /or you are in the front of the boat, you don't get soaked. Good advice about taking a flashlight on your trip into town. Same for shoes...sandals, sturdy sneakers, and water shoes. Again, ask people in the other boat to take your picture when you are interacting with the whales, and offer to do the same. My favorite pic of my previous trip was just that...and e-mailed to me when I got home. Enlarged and framed!!!
Kathryn Waer Feb 18, 2015 at 09:25 PM

I love that! Cannot wait :-)



HELPFUL HINT: can leave winter clothing and boots with Courtyard Marriott Front Desk and get claim check to pick up upon your return as long as you come back to the hotel and are not dropped at the airport. Get special $110/room rate if staying over your last night, talk to Carissa (note in your RS package).


Kathryn Waer Feb 18, 2015 at 07:32 PM

Hi all - I am joining the March 18th program for my first Road Scholar trip. Can't wait!! I so appreciate all of the helpful information posted. Does anyone have a suggestion about what kind of camera I should take? I am wondering about how wet the boat rides are.

Hi Kathryn: I used my iPad Mini as my camera and found it great. I could edit and deletion the LONG bus rides. It has a handle on the back purchased at Apple Store. Not wet on the boats but sharp elbows help if you have a middle seat, since not everyone lets you to the edge to see/touch the whales ... Must be assertive!
Carol Sinclair Feb 18, 2015 at 07:44 PM

Wow, we need to let everyone have a chance to see and touch! Rotate out from the edge would be the kind thing to do! As far as the camera good question! I was wondering the same. Do I risj=k my good Nikon or take the el cheapo pocket camera in case it gets wet!

SAN IGNACIO: free time dinner was sensational at TOOTSIE'S Bar & Grill, a little hard to findin downtown San Ignacio. reasonable-priced, fresh veggies, specials, Canadian owner hosts...before sundown, VERY dark walk back to hotel. Take a good flashlight or know how to work on your iPhone.

Use rope or lanyard to hook camera around your neck (or use both!!)
Carol Sinclair Feb 18, 2015 at 07:53 PM

Thanks. So there are no splashes that come up into the boat???

Not big splashes,. Can tuck your camera inside your orange vest that is mandatory to wear.
Kathryn Waer Feb 18, 2015 at 08:32 PM

More great information! Thank you :-) Pre-IPhone, I used a complicated Nikon but am now irreversibly spoiled. Will need to find a wrist/neck tether. Another question - any suggestion about shoes? Did you wish for anything more than walking/trail shoes and water shoes?
Carol Sinclair Feb 18, 2015 at 08:49 PM

Thanks so much Cate for all the info :)

SHOES: one pair sturdy sneakers, one pair water shoes, one pair flat sandals for evening = total you will need. Climb to caveart us steep but three school kids were brought in to help us get up the rocks and sand. Just walk slowly and carefully there. ¿¿
Kathryn Waer Feb 18, 2015 at 09:13 PM

Absolutely perfect. Thank you :-)
Mary Greenwood Feb 19, 2015 at 06:05 PM

WE got splashed by the Whale spouting - might want to protect your camera - I stuck it inside my shirt when I thought the whales were going to splash.


Kerry Hanson Feb 17, 2015 at 07:58 AM

Just thought I would pass on some info that I gleaned when I did the 12 day Baja a couple years ago. The bus ride is long, but I found the small villages very inter4sting. I was fascinated by the women cooking in outdoor ovens. Wi-Fi is not great at some of the hotels; usually avail in the lobby/bar area, there are internet cafes in the larger towns. Be prepared to dress in layers, the weather varied from warm to chilly in the evening or on the water. I had a good windbreaker type rain jacket and a light fleece and was fine. Most of the trip is very very casual dress wise. Make sure you have a hat for out on the water; the boats are like a wide rowboat. They offer no shade, and the reflection off the water is substantial. Also sunscreen if you are not one who tans; as I discovered on my first trip. The hotels are not typical of our "Holiday Inn" type hotels. The hotels are simple, clean, and comfortable; but not fancy in the small villages. Not all have alarm clocks or coffee makers; so plan ahead if needed. I purchased pesos at the border and received a good exchange rate and cost was reasonable. The American green was accepted most everywhere; do watch the exchange rate. I used my credit card to shop, exchange rate was very good with Visa. The dinners out on our own were very reasonable. I had some awesome fresh scampi; dinner with wine about $20.000 (2012). If you like seafood, Baja is a great destination; fresh and healthy food. The whales are so special; this is my favorite Road Scholar trip out of 25. I look forward to meeting those on the Feb. 25th trip. It will be fun......
Arlene Owens Feb 17, 2015 at 11:58 AM

Kerry, I am just back from this fabulous trip. Your description is excellent. I think I was not prepared for very long bus rides, but experienced a HUGE learning curve regarding the dessert. It rivaled (almost) the experience with the whales. The only item I packed that I didn't use was a pair of shorts, so I navigated that challenge fairly well. I did not wear my watch for some reason, and it would have been helpful for wake up time and time to meet others in the group. I took about $100.00 dollars worth of pesos, and spent it only on a couple meals and a couple trinkets for my children. There was no time for shopping, but the outpost at one of the lagoons, Ignacios, was the most interesting and the $ spent there supports this fabulous effort of education regarding the whales.
Kerry Hanson Feb 18, 2015 at 04:17 AM

Thanks for the post Arlene, I am glad you had a great trip. It is difficult to put into words what it is like to experience so many whales in such a small lagoon. We see the greys off the coast of Washington; when they are migrating. When they migrate, they stay underwater for the most part, and only surface briefly for air. I live near Puget Sound. I never in a million years thought I would ever pet a whale. This is unlike anything I could have imagined. I liked everything about this trip. The bus ride was even fun and interesting as we had a great group. I did buy some small trinkets; mostly whale related. I am so excited about getting ready to go on Feb 25th. Road Scholar and Andiamo do a great job of taking care of everyone. Thanks again for the post, as you said it truly is a fabulous trip.
Kerry Hanson Feb 18, 2015 at 04:17 AM

Thanks for the post Arlene, I am glad you had a great trip. It is difficult to put into words what it is like to experience so many whales in such a small lagoon. We see the greys off the coast of Washington; when they are migrating. When they migrate, they stay underwater for the most part, and only surface briefly for air. I live near Puget Sound. I never in a million years thought I would ever pet a whale. This is unlike anything I could have imagined. I liked everything about this trip. The bus ride was even fun and interesting as we had a great group. I did buy some small trinkets; mostly whale related. I am so excited about getting ready to go on Feb 25th. Road Scholar and Andiamo do a great job of taking care of everyone. Thanks again for the post, as you said it truly is a fabulous trip.


Don Blackett Feb 08, 2015 at 06:39 PM

We are on the Feb 25th program. This will be our first Roads Scholar program and our first trip to Mexico. Does anyone have a suggestion about how much Mexican money to bring and in what denominations. We understand we have one dinner on our own and are not sure what else we'll need pesos for. Don and Shari Blackett
Peggy Johnston Feb 11, 2015 at 11:44 AM

I just returned from this fabulous adventure on Feb. 4; it was a fabulous experience with the whales. I did not bring any Mexican money at all; just paid for the dinner on our own using small bills (10s, 5s, 1s). You will receive change in pesos. Be prepared for a long bus ride midway down the peninsula; know that it is worth every minute of it to spend time with the gray whales! This was my 16th Road Scholar program and it definitely did not disappoint! Wear your "flexibility hat" and bring an adventurous attitude and you will have the time of your life. In fact, I am jealous of anyone going to see those remarkable animals without me!!!! Oh, I DID buy a cheap whale bracelet; used US dollars.....
Don Blackett Feb 11, 2015 at 05:48 PM

Thanks Peggy. I appreciate the info. That's less to do to prepare for the trip. I'll probably pass on the bracelet, though.
Sheila Bracken Feb 13, 2015 at 08:25 AM

Hi Don and Peggy. I am lucky enough to be going to visit the whales a second time. I'll be there March 11 with a friend who took me at my word when I said I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I did take a small amount of pesos to use in the small towns. Ice cream vendors, Mexican vanilla...they appreciate the pesos ...watch the exchange rate. Peggy is correct about the long ride in the coach. The scenery is beautiful...they do show videos...bring reading material. Water provided on the bus ride. If your prone to snacks, bring them. I brought nuts and granola bars. I've given this advice before, but worth it.. When you go out to see the whales, you'll be in small fishing boats. Have someone in the OTHER boat take your picture interacting with the whales and you do the same for them. That has to be the best picture of my trip.
Don Blackett Feb 13, 2015 at 11:00 PM

Thanks Sheila. The picture idea really makes sense.


Mary Greenwood Feb 07, 2015 at 06:40 PM

My daughter and I are flying in to San Diego February 10 and going to the zoo. Could meet others for dinner and drinks that evening


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Included
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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

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