Road Scholar : Home
Explore Mexico’s Baja Tip to Toe

Program Number: 12157RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/16/2013 - 2/28/2013; 10/24/2014 - 11/5/2014; 12/1/2014 - 12/13/2014; 1/17/2015 - 1/29/2015; 2/21/2015 - 3/5/2015; 3/14/2015 - 3/26/2015;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Mexico
Price starting at: $2,895.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; Natural History; Birding; Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 35; 12 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

With a whales, birding or photography focus, experience the wonders of the majestic Peninsula of Baja California from bustling cities through pristine, exotic desert landscapes, surrounded by azure waters teeming with life. A land which inspires tranquility and a feeling of peaceful isolation. Learn about this incredible landscape, its rich exotic flora, abundant sea life, friendly people and breathtaking wildlife.




Highlights

• Expand your knowledge in the field of your interest with specialized dates for photographers, birders and Gray Whale lovers.
• Explore Espiritu Santo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Travel the entire length of the Baja peninsula, cross a variety of ecosystems and sample Mexican cuisine as you learn about the region’s culinary traditions.



Activity Particulars

Able to board small motor boats giving a step approximately of knee level, with possibility of encountering rough seas.Boarding small boats form the beach and changing from one boat to another in calm waters. Walks are usually short and on relatively flat terrain, however often on uneven ground. If participant can't join, he/she may spend time in town or at the hotel during the activity. Daily driving times varies from a 5 hour stretch with stops, to days with only short transfers. Bathroom facilities on-route range from modern to rustic.



So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.




Date Specific Information

2-16-2013

Get up-close and personal with the magnificent Gray Whales in Scammon's Lagoon. Embrace the sanctuary to view these enormous mammals at arm's length, some even let themselves be petted! Each year, gray whales travel thousands of miles from the Arctic Ocean to the warm waters of this wildlife refuge to court, mate, give birth and care for their young.



10-24-2014

Hone your photography skills in deserts rich in exotic flora, colorful jagged peaks, turquoise waters and clear air. Led by a professional photographer and teacher, capture the nature, isolation, colors, flora, history and beauty of Baja through your lens. Gigantic “cardons” set against azure waters, stocky elephant trees embracing dancing Boojums, birds perched on spiny cacti — Baja California is a paradise for amateur and professional photographers alike.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



12-1-2014

Birding focus: Join an expert birder to search for land and shore birds beginning in San Diego and following along the peninsula of Baja California. Search for the Baja endemics, or almost, such as the Gray thrasher, Xantus hummingbird, Beldings yellowthroat, Cape pygmy owl, Bairds junco, Cape Robin, Vizcaino thrasher, White breasted nuthatch, Nuttalls and Acorn woodpeckers. Large numbers of Ospreys, Cara caras and a variety of Herons are among the many probable sightings. Road Scholar birding programs are conducted in accordance with the American Birding Association’s Code of Ethic. Learn more at http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



1-17-2015, 2-21-2015, 3-14-2015

Get up close and personal with the magnificent gray whales in Scammons Lagoon. Embrace the sanctuary to view these enormous mammals at arms length, some even let themselves be petted! Each year, gray whales travel thousands of miles from the Arctic Ocean to the warm waters of this wildlife refuge to court, mate, give birth and care for their young.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival San Diego, Calif., 2 nights; cross border via motorcoach to Ensenada (Mexico), 2 nights; Catavina, 1 night; Guerrero Negro, 1 night; San Ignacio, 1 night; Loreto, 2 nights; La Paz, 2 night; San Jose del Cabo, 1 night; Independent departures.



Arrival San Diego, Calif.
2 nights
Coach to Ensenada (Mexico)
2 nights
Coach to Cataviña
1 night

Enjoy sunny San Diego with visits to some of the city’s most famous landmarks. Then cross the border, and learn about Mexico's wine country and have a hands-on introduction to Mexican cuisine. Plunge into the magnificent desert to discover a world of fantasy among unique vegetation.



Coach to Guerrero Negro
1 night
Coach to San Ignacio
1 night
Coach to Loreto
2 nights

Discover the Vizcaino World Biosphere and its most famous residents at a Gray Whale Sanctuary. Learn about the area’s importance as a major bird migration destination. In the charming tow of saint Ignacio, explore its 18th century mission in the midst of a lush, tranquil oasis. In historic Loreto, climb jagged Sierra de la Giganta dotted with ranches to explore San Javier, a jewel of a mission.



Coach to La Paz
2 nights
Coach to San José del Cabo
1 night
Departure

Discover for yourself the “peace” in La Paz, as you explore the city’s tranquil coastline. Journey to a magnificent UNESCO-protected island to explore sea life, geology, birds and pristine beaches. Stroll in a colonial mining village and an artist oasis. At the tip of the peninsula, Los Cabos, take a boat to the famous arch where “land ends and heaven begins.” Celebrate the end of the journey at a farewell dinner.




Mexico

The oldest of the land’s found by Europeans in the New World, Mexico has endured a rough history at the hands of Cortes and subsequent invaders. Despite a turbulent past, the country maintains its relaxed and inviting charm with a mix of modern and traditional from its industrious cities to its captivating wildernesses.



Accommodations
San Diego: Modern hotel. Ensenada: Resort with private beaches. Catavina: Cozy hotel with patio and garden. Guerrero Negro: Colonial-style hotel. San Ignacio: Hotel in a palm oasis. Loreto: Oceanfront hotel. La Paz: Hotel on beautiful, secluded beach. San Jose del Cabo: Hotel near historic Mision de San Jose.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Esther Mitrani

Esther Mitrani was born in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. She graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, then worked in San Francisco for three years in human resources in high-tech. Missing her home, she return to her native city. Esther has been guiding since 1994, and joined the family business in 2002 as an organizer and tour leader. She is an eager traveler, and she loves sports and languages.
 
Isabel Sanchez

Although she lived for many years in the United States, Ensenada is Isabel Sanchez's hometown and where she first worked as a guide for cruise-ship passengers. She moved to Palm Springs, Calif., specializing in leading desert excursions. A desire to return to her family and home, and to instill the native culture in her children, inspired Isabel to return to Tijuana in 2004 and join Andiamo.
 
Ayam Beamonte

A native of Baja, California, Ayam Beamonte has studied computer programming and taught English as a Second Language. The son of two oceanographers, Ayam is a compulsive reader with a special love of history. He teaches English at the Universidad de Baja California Language School and works with his father in Ensenada’s Health Food Center.
 
Hiroshi Kawashima

Hiroshi Kawashima’s mother is a native of Baja California and his father is Japanese. He studied biology at the State University and, as an avid surfer, he has become an expert on Baja California’s coast. His ease in human relations, love for nature and extremely active outdoor life have helped him develop a deeper understanding of his rugged homeland and its people. Having acquired a taste from his Japanese ancestors, he began a successful tea business in 2002.
 
Bob Blackwell

Bob graduated from University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s in plant sciences and horticulture. However, his passion for photography changed the course of his life and in 2001 he earned a bachelor’s in commercial/advertising photography from the Brooks Institute of Photography. He is a commercial and fine arts photographer, and his patient and positive personality has made him an excellent teacher. He teaches at Santa Barbara City College.
 
Norma Iglesias

Norma Iglesias’ ample research and experience has made her an expert in United States-Mexico inter-border culture, communication and economy. An associate professor at San Diego State’s Department of Chicano Studies, she earned a master’s in social anthropology in Mexico City and a Ph.D. in sociology and communication theory in Madrid. Moving to Tijuana, Norma worked at the Colegio de la Frontera Norte and at San Diego State, immersing herself in Mexican-American border issues.
 
Fermin Reygadas

Fermin Reygadas is a professor and researcher at the social sciences division at the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur, at La Paz, Mexico. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on Baja California, with over 30 years of experience in the field. He has written extensively on subjects ranging from Cape Region archaeology to settlement patterns and diet among Pericue Native Indians. In recent years he has dedicated his efforts to experimental archeology.
 
Thomas Myers

Thomas Myers is passionate about the reptiles, amphibians, mammals and marine invertebrates found in his native Southern California. He is currently involved in research on all types of land vertebrates at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Also, he is working for the San Diego Zoo/U.S. Navy doing research on endangered shorebirds such as the California Least Tern and western Snowy Plover, as well as other nesting birds along the San Diego coastline.
 
Graham MacKintosh

Before heading off to face the wilds of Baja in April 1983, Graham Mackintosh was a lecturer at West Kent College in England, teaching social sciences and special education. In the hope of showing his students that a shoestring expedition could be the adventure of a lifetime, Graham, who described himself as the "least adventurous person in the world," set out to walk around the beautiful but dangerous coastline of Baja California. The two-year, 3,000-mile trip changed his life. He later followed this journey with a walk down the rugged, mountainous interior of Baja, visiting many of the old missions along the way. These adventures were the inspirations for his books, “Into a Desert Place,” and “Journey with a Baja Burro.” Graham now lives in San Diego, California with his wife Bonni. He continues to give lectures on his trips, writes articles on Baja and has led hiking, kayaking, whale watching, and winery explorations.
 
Maria Mitrani

Maria Mitrani was born in Italy, then lived in Canada, the United States and France. She finally settled in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, where she has been living since 1976 with her husband and three children. She has a bachelor’s in Italian and art history from the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1985 she has led tours through different parts of Mexico and is a specialized guide for Baja California. She is one of the owners and founders of Andiamo.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Courtyard Marriott
  San Diego, CA, USA 2 nights
   Hotel Corona
  Ensenada, Mexico 2 nights
   Misión Cataviña
  Cataviña, Mexico 1 night
   Halfway Inn
  Guerrero Negro, Mexico 1 night
   Desert Inn, San Ignacio
  San Ignacio, Mexico 1 night
   Desert Inn, Loreto
  Loreto, Mexico 2 nights
   La Concha
  La Paz, Mexico 2 nights
   Tropicana Inn
  Los Cabos, Mexico 1 night
 Courtyard Marriott
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 allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: 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

 Hotel Corona
Type: Hotel
  Description: Stratigically located near the main shopping area, Ensenada's pleasant board-walk and one block away from the historic Ex-hotel and gambling Casino built during the prohibition years in the United states.
  Contact info: Blvd Costero 1442
Ensenada, BC,  22800 Mexico
phone: +52 (646)176 0901 to 10
web: www.hotelcorona.com.mx
  Room amenities: Air-conditioned and satellite TV rooms, hair dryers, in-room telephone, ironing boards.
  Facility amenities: 92 rooms, Spa, pool, high speed internet, bar, restaurant, complimentary WiFi .
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Misión Cataviña
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 allowed: Yes

 Halfway Inn
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 allowed: Yes

 Desert Inn, San Ignacio
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 allowed: No

 Desert Inn, Loreto
Type: Hotel
  Description: The hotel consists of several two stories units set along the beach. All rooms are ocean front. The central building houses the lobby and restaurant / bar and faces a large pool area.
  Contact info: Prolongación Francisco I Madero s/n
Loreto, Baja California Sur,  23880 Mexico
phone: +52 (613) 135 0025
web: www.desertinns.com
  Room amenities: 49 ample rooms with air conditioning, private balconies, in room phone and satellite TV.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, non-heated pool, game room, complimentary Wi-Fi in common areas (Internet reception may often be weak)
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 La Concha
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located on a secluded beach along La Paz Bay.
  Contact info: Carretera a Pichilingue km 5
La Paz, BCS,  23010 Mexico
phone: +52 (612) 121 6344
web: www.laconcha.com
  Room amenities: 92 rooms with ocean view; air-conditioning; cable TV; mini bar; coffee maker; microwave; telephone.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, pool, private beach and garden,complimentary WiFi.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Tropicana Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: Is located 20 minutes from the international airport, within the historic town of San Jose Del Cabo. The hotel is centrally situated along Blvd Mijares (one of the main streets in town) and two blocks from the Historical "Mision de San Jose", an amazing church founded in the XVIII Century. This central location puts shopping, restaurants and city services at your doorstep. Within walking distance discover pristine and beautiful beaches.
  Contact info: Blvd. Mijares #30
San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur,  23400 Mexico
phone: +52 (624) 142 1580
web: www.tropicanainn.com.mx
  Room amenities: 37 deluxe rooms feature two double beds with full baths, quiet mini-split air-conditioners, in-room telephone, cable TV, fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, and luxury linens.
  Facility amenities: A large Romanesque outdoor pool, swim up bar, lush tropical gardens, live music, traditional gourmet cuisine, complimentary WiFi.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
San Diego, CA. The program will begin at 5:00 PM. Meet in a private room of the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. Please check hotel information board for room assignment. You will be staying at Courtyard Marriott that night.
  End of Program:
San Diego, CA. The program will end at the San Diego Airport. Please do not book flights from San Diego before 7:00 PM. You will be staying at Tropicana Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Complete and return the Andiamo's Liability Waiver (located at the end of the Prep-Material), to the following address: 482 West San Ysidro Blvd. Suite 612 San Ysidro, CA 92173-2444
  Parking availability:
Participants may leave their cars at the hotel at no additional charge.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  San Diego, CA
  Nearest city or town:  San Diego
  Nearest highway: Interstate 8 between highway 5 and highway 805
  Nearest airport:  SAN -San Diego Lindbergh Airport-
  From End of Program
  Location: San Diego, CA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Courtyard Marriott

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
EZ Ride Shuttle
phone: 619-251-5111
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$12 approx.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

It is a 10-15 minute drive 

   

Private shuttles or taxicabs are the best means of transportation. To receive the special rate, contact Howard (619) 251-5111 at EZ Shuttle. Please call one day in advance to schedule your pick up from the airport, the bus or train stations, or SAN parking lot.

 

Courtyard Marriott

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Xpress Shuttle
phone: 800-900-7433
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$11 approx
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

It is a 10-15 minute drive 

   

Please call one day in advance to schedule your pick up from the airport, the bus or train stations.

 

Courtyard Marriott

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20 approx per cab
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

It is a 10-15 minute drive 

   

Taxi cabs may be found right outside the airport terminal.

 
Driving Directions
  San Diego Airport To Courtyard Marriott Hotel: 1.Exit on Hawthorn St., and turn right on Harbor Dr.: 2.Start going toward the AIRPORT EXIT on TERMINAL 2 - go 0.3 mi 3.Continue on AIRPORT EXIT toward RENTAL CAR RETURN - go 0.1 mi 3.Turn Right on N HARBOR DR - go 0.9 mi 4.Turn Right on NIMITZ BLVD - go 2.3 mi 5.Bear Right onto I-8 EAST toward I-5 S - go 3.8 mi 6.Take the HOTEL CIRCLE exit toward HOTEL CIR S - go 0.1 mi 7.Turn Left on HOTEL CIRCLE SOUTH - go < 0.1 mi 8.Arrive at 595 HOTEL CIRCLE SOUTH, on the Right
Elevation Note: The highest altitude will be 3,500 feet above sea level

Equipment Requirements: No
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Program orientation, lecture and welcome dinner
(Saturday, February 16)
   
 Arrive To: Courtyard Marriott Hotel. Program orientation and presentation of fellow travelers at 5:00PM in one of the hotel's private rooms. Room number posted on the daily events board.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel in San Diego.
 Evening: Join an enjoyable lecture of Baja California imparted by Graham Mackintosh, travel writer who walked the entire coastline of the peninsula in two occasions.
   
Accommodations: Courtyard Marriott
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Introduction to the border/ A taste of sunny San Diego
(Sunday, February 17)
   
 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel in San Diego.
 Morning: Begin the day with a lecture by a local Mexican sociologist who discusses the history, culture and economy of the contrasting border region, providing an overview and helping to understand the sites visited the following days. The historical journey of San Diego begins with a visit to Balboa Park housing 15 museums and a famous zoo (not visited). Continue to Presidio Hill and Old Town, where the first Spanish colonists settled in the early 1800’s. Visit some of the more than 30 sites classified within this State Historic Park.
 Lunch: A picnic lunch is served at Presidio, on the hill overlooking Old-town.
 Afternoon: Continue to discover the dynamic side of San Diego. Its ideal location, almost perfect weather, and casual lifestyle constantly attract new residents and businesses, especially over the past 30 years. Stop to interpret the murals of Chicano Park in the Mexican neighborhood, then drive over the bridge to Coronado peninsula to stroll through the epic Hotel Del. Cross back to the Gaslamp Quarter by ferry to view the new down town from the waterfront.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a popular fish and sea food restaurant with a beautiful view of the San Diego bay.
   
Accommodations: Courtyard Marriott
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Begin the journey South/ Understanding the neighboring cultures in one of the busiest borders in the world/ Relax in peaceful Ensenada.
(Monday, February 18)

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: Begin the journey South. Northern Baja exemplifies the strong cultural and economic ties between the U.S. and Mexico. Drive through the most crossed border in the world. Visit the architecturally attractive cultural center CECUT for a guided walk through its modern visual Museo de las Californias . The scenic road to Ensenada along the coast offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
 Lunch: Delight your taste buds with a traditional meal. Savor a lunch consisting of mole, chocolate and vanilla based desserts, and traditional Mexican hot chocolate. The thick, multi-ingredient sauce called mole is one of Mexico's representative dishes.
 Afternoon: One of Mexico’s most important culinary gifts to the world is chocolate. Learn about the uses of cacao and participate in a cooking event to prepare chocolate-based recipes such as mole and chocolate patties. Settle in the hotel in Ensenada. The remainder of the day is free to relax, stroll through the main avenue or enjoy the hotel's SPA.
 Dinner: Dinner is at the hotel in Ensenada, on your own time with a voucher.
 Evening: Enjoy the hotel SPA or bar, or explore the night life of Ensenada.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Corona
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Learn about Ensenada's past glory/ Savor flavorful wines in Mexico's wine country.
(Tuesday, February 19)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel in Ensenada. Meal options: a variety of Mexican and light dishes.
 Morning: Join a lecture on Mexican staples, an introduction to the country's elaborate cuisine. Driving through town, learn about the pleasant city located in the attractive Todos Santos Bay, popular land and cruise ship destination, and important fishing, canning, and agricultural center. Walk through the Riviera del Pacifico ex–casino and hotel, a glamorous resort during the US prohibition years. Eighty percent of Mexico's wine is produced in the beautiful surroundings of Ensenada. Travel to Valle de Guadalupe, located amidst gigantic granite boulders.
 Lunch: Enjoy a finger food meal served with wine at a well known winery.
 Afternoon: Learn the process of winemaking on a winery tour followed by tasting. Head out a Russian Community Museum in what was once a Russian Colony. Time permitting, visit the new Museo del Vino.
 Dinner: The wine industry and local chefs developed a new cuisine called Baja Med, sampled at a dinner in a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Corona
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Follow the dramatic coastline to reach the powerful blowhole/ Welcome to the heart of Baja California's breathtaking desert.
(Wednesday, February 20)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel in Ensenada. Meal options: a variety of Mexican and light dishes.
 Morning: Continue the journey South. Take a detour to scenic Punta Banda where the famous Bufadora, a natural sea spout, probably the highest in the world, is located. Take advantage of informal shopping. Another stop is made to visit the San Vicente Community Museum. Continue to San Quintin, the vegetable garden of Baja California.
 Lunch: In a typical "fonda" (small restaurant) of San Quintin. Meal options: a variety of Mexican and local specialties. Taste a healthy salad prepared with the leaf of the national plant of Mexico: the prickley pear cactus.
 Afternoon: The road leaves the coast and plunges into the desert. Begin a world of fantasy in the midst of unique vegetation. Enter “Reserva de los Cirios” named in honor of the tall, graceful Boojum tree, Baja’s signature plant.
 Dinner: Participate in a small Mexican Fiesta with a finger food dinner. Meal options, taquitos, quesadillas, guacamole, and more.
   
Accommodations: Misión Cataviña
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Marvel at the unique desert garden: Dr. Suess' back yard
(Thursday, February 21)

Note: To visit the small cave with simple rock art in Cataviña, a short steep hike on grated terrain is required. Participants who can't join, may stay at the base of the hill and enjoy the wonderful surrounding scenery.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel in Cataviña. Meal options: a variety of Mexican and light dishes.
 Morning: Located in the Central Desert, a combination of sun, sand, gigantic granite boulders, and amusing combinations of Boojums, Cardons and Elephant trees make Cataviña a superb desert garden. Spend the morning investigating the flora in this attractive setting. Nature walks include an optional visit to a small cave with simple rock art.
 Lunch: At the hotel in Cataviña based on Mexican specialties.
 Afternoon: Continue the drive to Guerrero Negro, home of the largest salt plant in the world and one of the gray whale sanctuaries.
 Dinner: At the hotel in Guerrero Negro. Meal options: choice of beef, chicken or fish.
 Evening: A presentation is given on the Vizcaino World Biosphere, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to whales, migrant birds, endemic vegetation, gigantic rock art caves and the salt plant.
   
Accommodations: Halfway Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Friendly gray whales up-close/ Admire the largest salt plant in the world/ Enormous salt marsh where birds migrate from Russia, Canada, and other latitudes
(Friday, February 22)

Note: Getting on and off small out-of-board motor fishing boats from dock is required. There is a possibility of encountering rough seas.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel in Guerrero Negro. Meal options: a variety of Mexican and light dishes.
 Morning: Get up-close and personal with the magnificent Gray whales in Scammon’s Lagoon. Board the pangas for TWO memorable outings to view these enormous mammals at arm’s length, some even let themselves be petted! Each year, gray whales travel thousands of miles from the Arctic Ocean to the warm waters of this wildlife refuge to court, mate, give birth and care for their young. Begin the day driving through La Exportadora de Sal, one of the largest salt plants in the world and learn about its activities. At Scammon’s Lagoon, board small pangas for your exciting encounters among whales.
 Lunch: Light box lunches provided on boat while whale watching.
 Afternoon: After the second excursion, on the way back to town drive through a natural reserve in an enormous salt marsh where birds migrate from Russia, Canada, and other latitudes. Continue to San Ignacio, a charming town that developed around its famous 18th century mission in the midst of a lush, tranquil palm tree oasis. Visit this small colonial town and its well kept Mission.
 Dinner: Savor a tostada dinner at the hotel in San Ignacio.
   
Accommodations: Desert Inn, San Ignacio
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: The peninsula's eclectic history/ Old French mining town/ Palm-tree lined river and oasis/ Crystal blue waters of the Sea of Cortes contrasting the desert vegetation.
(Saturday, February 23)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel in San Ignacio. Meal options: a variety of Mexican and light dishes.
 Morning: The variety of scenery makes this part of the road particularly interesting. Beginning on the volcanic cacti-covered high desert, the steepest grade in the peninsula leads to the blue waters of the Sea of Cortes. Stop in Santa Rosalia, a copper mining town established by the French who brought over a prefabricated iron church designed by Eiffel. Visit the church along with the old French quarters and the Boleo mine museum. Continue to Mulege, a mission settlement on a riverbed in the midst of a palm oasis.
 Lunch: Enjoy a Mexican buffet in a colorful hotel of Mulege
 Afternoon: South of town, drive along the crystal clear blue waters of Bahia de Concepcion with a stop at one of its unspoiled beaches. Giant cardons dominate the landscape. Reach Loreto, the oldest mission and permanent settlement of the Californias. Loreto also served as the capital of the territory for over 100 years. The mission is still standing today. The hotel is on the beach allowing pleasant walks.
 Dinner: At the hotel in Loreto.
   
Accommodations: Desert Inn, Loreto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Visit the Jewel of Baja California's missions in impressive jagged peaks of the surrounding mountains/ Hands-on tortilla-making in a goat ranch.
(Sunday, February 24)

Note: To join this excursion, a 1.5 hour van drive each way, part of it on a graded road, is required.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel in Loreto. Meal options: a variety of Mexican and light dishes.
 Morning: Loreto is surrounded by the impressively rugged peaks of the Sierra de la Giganta providing the scenery for one of the peninsula's most beautiful side excursions: a visit to San Javier Mission. Known as the "jewel of the missions", it is one of the best preserved, proud of its original orchard planted by the missionaries.
 Lunch: A typical "machaca" (shreded beef) lunch is served in a small restaurant next to San Javier Mission.
 Afternoon: Near San Javier, stop at a goat ranch to learn about life in a ranch and the process to make goat cheese. Practice tortilla-making for your cheese with beans snack. Back in Loreto, time is al leisure to visit the mission, shop or stroll through the pleasant town.
 Dinner: On your own for an opportunity to explore local flair.
   
Accommodations: Desert Inn, Loreto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10: Breathtaking mountain coastline/ Quaint La Paz with pleasant boardwalk/ Sunset dinner at the beach.
(Monday, February 25)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel in Loreto. Meal options: a variety of Mexican and light dishes.
 Morning: Depart in the morning to continue driving along scenic sea-shores, through Sierra de la Giganta mountains and across an important agricultural area to reach La Paz.
 Lunch: Try the famous Mexican tacos in a "taqueria" in La Paz.
 Afternoon: Although La Paz is the most important city of the southern part of the peninsula, its tree-lined streets and calm clear beaches inspire tranquility. A walk along the malecon (boardwalk) is a treat. Visit the zocalo and the Cathedral before settling in the beach front hotel. Then head out to the beaches to enjoy the romantic coast where sunsets tend to be spectacular.
 Dinner: Relax in the romantic coast, viewing the sunset while savoring a fish and sea food dinner in a beach "palapa" (palm-thatched roof) restaurant.
   
Accommodations: La Concha
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Crystal Waters/ White Sand/ Bird and Sea Life/ Unique Geology
(Tuesday, February 26)

Note: To join this activity, boarding a small boat from the beach and changing from one boat to another in calm waters, is required.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel in La Paz.
 Morning: During breakfast, join a lecture on the geology of the peninsula and the Golfo de California (commonly known as Sea of Cortes) Marine Park. The Sea of Cortes has been defined as one of the most biologically diverse marine areas in the world. Within the Sea of Cortes Marine Park Reserve, the protected island of Espiritu Santo, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a variety of attractions: fascinating geology, snorkeling with sea lions and tropical fish in crystal clear water, pristine beaches, hidden coves and isolation. Take a boat out to the island for a day full of activities
 Lunch: A flavorful fish lunch is served in a pristine beach of the island with a breath-taking view of the the private bay.
 Afternoon: Continue to enjoy the island. Return to La Paz and relax at the hotel.
 Dinner: Buffet dinner in the hotel gardens facing the sea.
 Evening: Enjoy a colorful folk dancing show presented exclusively for participants at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: La Concha
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Colonial village of El Triunfo with chimney designed by Mr. Eiffel/ Life in Todos Santos with fine arts galleries/ Famous Lands End rock Arch in Los Cabos/ Farewell dinner
(Wednesday, February 27)

Note: To join the boat ride to the rock arch, getting on and off a panga (small fishing boat) giving a step of approximately knee height from the dock, is required.



   
 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel in La Paz.
 Morning: On the way to San Jose del Cabo, have a walking tour through the recently restored XIX century gold and silver mining town of El Triunfo and visit their museum...of music! Continue to the fertile oasis of Todos Santos, now home to many artists and art galleries, to stroll and have lunch.
 Lunch: A light lunch is served in a pleasant tree shaded restaurant of Todos Santos.
 Afternoon: Continue to Cabo San Lucas for a short boat excursion to reach the famous arch which marks the place where “land ends and heaven begins”. The Los Cabos Corridor, a stretch of beautiful beaches dotted with conspicuous hotels, connects the overwhelming Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo, a rather quaint town of narrow streets and Spanish style buildings at the mouth of a palm-lined river. The cozy colonial hotel is off a restaurant and shopping street, one block from the main square with its restored mission church.
 Dinner: The farewell dinner is served in the well-known restaurant of the hotel accompanied by a lively musical group. The choice is Mexican style beef or fish.
   
Accommodations: Tropicana Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Farewell
(Thursday, February 28)

Note: The in-program flight is with Alaska Airlines Flight # 227, departing from San Jose del Cabo at 3:15 PM, arriving to San Diego at 4:30 PM



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel in San Jose del Cabo.
 Morning: Free time to enjoy the town of San Jose del Cabo before transferring to the airport for the return flight to San Diego.
 Lunch: Light or picnic lunch depending on the flight schedule
 Afternoon: Flight from Los Cabos to San Diego. Program ends at the San Diego airport. Independent Departures. Please do not book flights from San Diego before 7:00PM
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  San Diego, CA General Overview
Get to know other participants, relaxing at the hotel For additional information, visit www.sannet.gov
  Ensenada General Overview
Time to shop, relax, enjoy the SPA, or stroll through town. A new cultural center is located across the street from the hotel featuring art exhibits, a bookstore and a pleasant atmosphere (CEARTE). Taxi cabs may be requested at the hotel; however, best transportation method to transfer from hotel to downtown area is by foot. For additional information, visit www.ensenada.com
  Cataviña Relaxation
The surrounding area is beautiful to walk and relax.
  Los Cabos Relaxation
Walk around the historical streets surrounding the plaza of San Jose del Cabo featuring many boutiques and art galleries as well as pleasant cafes and restaurants.
  Loreto General Overview
Although taxicabs are available, the town is within walking distance. The town offers many options for shopping, relaxing at a cafe, or walking along its "malecón" (boardwalk).
  La Paz General Overview
La Paz offers a variety of options. Strolling in the town, shopping, the boardwalk filled with small beaches, restaurants, cafes, ice- cream parlors, etc.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles Through Baja California, the Other Mexico


Author: C. M. Mayo


Description: Also in paperback at Milkweed Editions; A collection of tales told by a superb story teller.



Baja California


Author: AAA


Description: Provides information of hotels, roads, services, restaurants and brief- description of the towns.



Baja Legends


Author: Greg Niemann


Description: Entertaining and good to learn history and stories of people, buildings, and places of Baja California.



Into a Desert Place


Author: Graham Mackintosh


Description: One day the spectacularly ill-equipped Mackintosh set out to walk around Baja California, with $150 in his pocket and a gallon jug of water in each hand. This is the vastly entertaining and typically British story of his 3,000-mile lark around the Peninsula.



The Magnificent Peninsula


Author: Jack Williams


Description: Provides good general information about Baja California





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