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

Program Number: 12157RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/21/2015 - 3/5/2015; 3/5/2016 - 3/17/2016; 1/18/2017 - 1/30/2017; 2/15/2017 - 2/27/2017; 3/6/2017 - 3/18/2017; 3/25/2017 - 4/6/2017;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Mexico
Price starting at: $2,695.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Natural History; Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 34; 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Salt; Low Fat    

Surrounded by a natural aquarium, the rugged, magical landscape of Baja California is a premium wildlife destination virtually untouched by humans. Immerse yourself in vast desert expanses rich in exotic vegetation, explore pristine beaches beneath towering escarpments, azure waters teeming with life and get up close and personal with gray whales. Journey through a land that attracted explorers, adventurers and religious seekers leaving their footprints in Spanish missions, fishing villages, quiet mining towns and isolated ranches. Trace the natural and cultural history of this paradise on earth. Experience the peaceful solitude that Baja inspires.


• Explore the diversity of ecosystems which make one third of Baja peninsula and surrounding sea protected areas with UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
• Interact with Gray Whales at arm's length visiting two of the most important whale sanctuaries along their migration path on Baja’s Pacific Coast.
• In a paradisiac island of the most biologically diverse Sea of Cortés, swim with playful sea lions in crystalline waters revealing prolific sea life.

Activity Particulars

Participants must be able to board small fishing boats from a beach and from a pier giving a step approximately of knee level, in addition to transferring from a Cabin Cruiser type boat to a dinghy in calm waters. Possibility of encountering rough seas while on the boats. Walking short distances on relatively flat but uneven ground with an optional short but steep hike. Driving time on bus (some days in vans or in boats) varies from 1 ½ -5 hours/day including one hour on a graded road. Bathroom facilities on-route range from modern to rustic..

Date Specific Information


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.


The late March date offers excellent weather both in the desert and for the water / beach activities, generally being pleasantly warm both on land and in the water without reaching the high temperatures. The desert is in bloom, the daytimes are long, and the mother and baby whales are accustomed to the boats in the lagoons.

Itinerary Summary

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

Arrival San Diego, Calif.
1 night
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
2 night
Coach to Loreto
2 nights

Discover the Vizcaino World Biosphere and its most famous residents (during season) at a Gray Whale Sanctuary. Learn about the area’s importance as a major bird migration destination. In the charming town of San 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 Jose del Cabo
1 night

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, in 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.


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.

San Diego: Modern hotel. Ensenada: Centrally located. 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 facing the sea. 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.
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.
Carlos Granados

A native of Los Mochis, Carlos Granados was born to a family of 11 children who moved to Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua where they lived many years. He attended school in the U.S. and studied biology at the University of Texas. In 1984, the family returned to Sinaloa to begin a cotton seed mill business where Carlos worked as a seed analyst for 12 years until the company closed. His love of nature, especially of plants, birds and geology, inspired Carlos to become certified as a specialist in the Copper Canyon area and later expanding his expertise to the peninsula of Baja California. He has been an excursion leader for over 10 years, winning travelers' hearts and respect with his tranquil personality and deep knowledge.
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.
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 Hotel
  San Diego, California, USA 2 nights
   Hotel Corona
  Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico 2 nights
   Mision Catavina
  Cataviña, Baja California, Mexico 1 night
   Halfway Inn
  Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur, Mexico 1 night
   Desert Inn, San Ignacio
  San Ignacio, Baja California Sur, Mexico 1 night
   Loreto Bay Golf Resort & Spa
  Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico 2 nights
   Hyatt Place
  La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico 2 nights
   Tropicana Inn
  San Jose del Cabo, Mexico 1 night
 Courtyard Marriott Hotel
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
  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 $110.00 Please make pre and post-program reservations directly with hotel by calling : Jessica Sagar 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
  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

 Mision Catavina
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
  Room amenities: 28 ample air-conditioned/heated rooms with satellite TV.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, non-heated pool, phone in the lobby, complimentary Wi-Fi 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
  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
  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

 Loreto Bay Golf Resort & Spa
Type: Resort
  Description: Located in the Bay of Loreto, Loreto Bay is surrounded by magnificent natural scenes, offering a casual, intimate style, as well as an unmatched sophisticated service. Incredible installations with a view of the pristine waters of the Sea of Cortes. In this exclusive enclave, the hotel features 150 Mexican contemporary style rooms, blending fine woods with marble and terracotta, providing the perfect combination of luxury and serenity. All the rooms are surrounded by beautiful, lush gardens, the majestic golf course, overlooking the impressive Sea of Cortes.
  Contact info: Paseo de la Misión de Loreto S/N Col. Nopoló
Loreto, BCS,  23880 Mexico
phone: +52 (613) 133 0010
  Room amenities: Large and comfortable rooms with a balcony that invites you to enjoy a spectacular view of the Sea of Cortes . All the rooms feature oversized bathroom with luxurious amenities. Rooms for guests with special physical needs. - Wi-Fi Internet - Air Conditionning - Flat screen satellite TV - Telephone - Balcony or garden - Coffee maker - Safe deposit box - Hair Dryer - Iron - Ironing board - Pillow menu - Electronic locks - Laundry services - Room Service
  Facility amenities: - Loreto Bay features two restaurants: Savor exquisite flavors from the Baja California region. Plus, a selection of classic traditional Mexican dishes and international food set, in an exceptional marine environment. These local delicacies as well as the international cuisine will delight everyone taste. - The Pool Bar is ideal for enjoying the sea breeze with a refreshing drink and snacks. - Golf Course: Considered to be one of the most beautiful and challenging courses, originally designed by landscape architects, Mario Schjetnan and Pedro Guereca, the golf course blends in harmoniously with nature´s elements like the majestic Sierra La Giganta, Punta Nopolo, the Sea of Cortes, the impressive breathtaking desert and man-made four artificial lakes that form part of the magnificent surrounding ecosystem. - The Spa offers a large array of body treatments, including full facials, manicure, pedicure and body massages. - Tennis Center: Two recently renovated tennis courts. - Full modern equipped Gym: Work out and stay in shape, while enjoying an ocean view. Loreto Bay features a wide range of activities for all tastes like: Kayaking Snorkeling Zumba Classes Hiking Golf Classes- $ Sport Fishing- rental of equipment and boats- $ Scuba Diving- $
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hyatt Place
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The recently constructed hotel (2014) is located in the area of the exclusive Costa Baja Resort Complex featuring a private beach, a beautiful infinity pool, an elegant marina, a golf course, and a boardwalk with shops and restaurants. Hotel guests have access to all the resort facilities in addition to the hotel proper. The hotel features a modern lobby-social concept referred to as The Gallery. Facing the Sea of Cortes, it is a 10 minutes drive to downtown La Paz and the traditional "Malecón."
  Contact info: Km. 7.5 Carretera a Pichilingue.
La Paz, BCS,  23010 Mexico
phone: +01 52 612 123 1234
  Room amenities: The spacious guestrooms feature the plush Hyatt Grand Bed®. A state-of-the-art media and work center includes a large desk area with a computer data port and free Wi-Fi with remote printing. Rooms are equipped with a 42" HDTV, a mini-refrigerator, a coffee maker/tea maker, a AM/FM alarm clock radio with MP3 connectivity, one cordless telephone with voice mail, an iron/ironing board and a hair dryer. The new, modern bathrooms featuring granite counter top vanities provide all amenities.
  Facility amenities: The open lobby - social area referred to as The Gallery includes a Bistro, a Bar, a Coffee Shop, a Market, and a Business Center with high speed internet access. The hotel features an outdoor pool and a Stay-Fit Gym. Room service is available and a complimentary local newspaper is provided daily. The hotel has free Wi-Fi Internet access throughout the premises
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Tropicana Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: The cozy colonial style hotel is located in the heart of San José del Cabo. Although simple, the hotel offers a pleasant friendly atmosphere. Shops and restaurants are at the doorstep, one block from the historic plaza and the restored mission church. The "gallery walk"(a small area full of art galleries of local and well-known artists) is past the plaza. A 20 minutes stroll along a path of a bird-filled estuary leads to the gorgeous wide San José del Cabo beach. The international airport is a 25 minutes drive.
  Contact info: Blvd. Mijares #30
San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur,  23400 Mexico
phone: +52 (624) 142 1580
  Room amenities: All 37 deluxe rooms face the pool and garden. Each room features two double beds, full baths decorated with distinctive Mexican colorful tiles, quiet mini-split air-conditioners, in-room telephone, cable TV, small fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, and luxury linens.
  Facility amenities: On the promises is the well known, inviting, attractive Tropicana Restaurant and Bar, frequently offering live entertainment. The enclosed lush tropical garden, including bird cages and fountains, has a small Romanesque outdoor pool with a swim up bar. Complimentary WiFi is accessible throughout the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after: Approx $110.00 Please make post-program reservations directly with hotel by e-mailing : Elizabeth Silva
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
San Diego, CA. The program will begin at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby for registration and orientation. You will be staying at Courtyard Marriott Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
San Jose del Cabo, BCS. Formally, farewell dinner at the Hotel in SJD on Day 12. Hotel accommodation on Day 12 and breakfast on Day 13 are included. You will be staying at Tropicana Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. A valid passport is required. Non US citizens please call Mexican and the country of your nationality consulates for individual requirements.
  Parking availability:
Participants may leave their cars at the hotel at no additional charge.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Bus-Greyhound Lines. Train-Amtrak Stations
To Start of Program
  Location:  San Diego, California
  Nearest airport:  San Diego Airport (SAN).
  Transportation to site: Private shuttles or taxicabs are the best means of transportation for your pick up from the airport, the bus or train stations, or SAN parking lot to the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, where the program will start. - Super Shuttle. Price Per Person One Way: Approx $14.00 for reservations made by phone, 800-258-3826 or $12.00 online, Please call one day in advance to schedule your pick up from the airport. - Taxi cabs. Price Per Cab One Way: Approx $20.00. Taxi cabs may be found right outside the airport terminal. It is the easiest transfer method. DRIVING DIRECTIONS FROM NORTH: • Take I-5 S. • Merge onto I-8 E via EXIT 20 toward EL CENTRO • Take the HOTEL CIRCLE exit, EXIT 4A • Turn LEFT onto HOTEL CIRCLE SOUTH • Courtyard Marriott is on the RIGHT FROM SOUTH: • Take I-5 N. • Merge onto I-8 E. • Take the HOTEL CIRCLE exit, EXIT 4A • Turn LEFT onto HOTEL CIR S. • Courtyard Marriott is on the RIGHT Participants may leave their cars at the hotel at no additional charge.
  From End of Program
  Location:  San Jose del Cabo
  Nearest airport:  San José del Cabo
  Transportation from site: Taxi cabs are available outside the hotel in San Jose del Cabo. Price from the hotel to the airport is approximately $20.00 usd per cab.
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 21)
 Arrive To: Program orientation and presentation of fellow travelers at 5:00 p.m. in one of the hotel's private room, followed by welcome dinner. Room number posted on the daily events board.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Join an enjoyable lecture of Baja California's peninsula lead by a teacher who has walked the entire peninsula in two occasions.
Accommodations: Courtyard Marriott Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Introduction to the border/ A taste of sunny San Diego
(Sunday, February 22)
 Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel in San Diego.
 Morning: Begin the day with a lecture by a local Mexican sociologist on 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 Hotel
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 23)

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, 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 reminder 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 (with a voucher).
 Evening: Enjoy the hotel SPA or bar, or explore the pleasant tourist area 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 24)
 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.
 Lunch: Enjoy a finger food meal served with wine at one of Ensenada's wineries.
 Afternoon: Eighty percent of Mexico's wine is produced in the beautiful surroundings of Ensenada. Travel to Valle de Guadalupe, located amidst gigantic granite boulders to visit a well- known winery. Learn the process of wine making on a winery tour followed by tasting. Get to know about the Russian Community which settle in this valley at the beginning of the 1900s.
 Dinner: Dinner is in a well known Mediterranean fusion food 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 25)
 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. Taste the local specialties at a lunch in San Quintin, the vegetable garden of Baja California.
 Lunch: In a "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: After lunch, plunge into the desert and 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: Mision Catavina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Marvel at the unique desert garden: Dr. Suess' back yard
(Thursday, February 26)

Note: To visit the small cave with simple rock art in Catavina, 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 Catavina. 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 Catavina 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 Catavina.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, 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.
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 27)

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 Guerreo 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 28)
 Breakfast: At hotel. Meal options: a variety of Mexican and light dishes.
 Morning: The variety of scenery makes this part of the road probably the most interesting. Beginning with the volcanic cacti-covered high desert, the steepest grade in the peninsula leads to the blue waters of the Sea of Cortes. On the way to Loreto, stop in Santa Rosalia, where the French established this old copper mining town and brought over the prefabricated iron church designed by Eiffel. Visit the church along with the old French quarters and the Boleo mine museum. Continue to Mulege, an ancient mission settlement 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 to 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.
 Evening: Arrive in Loreto where the hotel fronts the Sea of Cortes.
Accommodations: Loreto Bay Golf Resort & Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Visit the Jewel of Baja California's missions in an excursion to the impressive jagged peaks of the surrounding mountains/ Hands-on tortilla-making in a goat ranch.
(Sunday, March 1)

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.
 Dinner: Free to explore local fair. Choose your favorite Loreto restaurant for dinner.
 Evening: Back in Loreto, time is at leisure.
Accommodations: Loreto Bay Golf Resort & Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10: Breathtaking mountain coastline/ Quaint La Paz with pleasant boardwalk/ Sunset dinner at the beach.
(Monday, March 2)
 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. Then head out to the beaches to enjoy the romantic coast, and view the sunset while having a shrimp dinner in a beach "palapa" restaurant.
 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: Hyatt Place
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Crystal Waters/ White Sand/ Bird and Sea Life/ Unique Geology
(Tuesday, March 3)

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 private bay.
 Afternoon: The second half of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the pleasant life of La Paz.
 Dinner: At the hotel in La Paz, accompanied by a colorful folk dancing show just for participants.
Accommodations: Hyatt Place
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, March 4)

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 a savory Mexican combination served in the well-known restaurant of the hotel in San Jose del Cabo.
Accommodations: Tropicana Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Farewell
(Thursday, March 5)
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel in San Jose del Cabo
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Ensenada, Baja California Time at leisure
Walk along the Ventana al Mar boardwalk, browse the shops and cantinas of Paseo Calle Primera. For additional information, visit
  La Paz, Baja California Sur Time at leisure
La Paz offers a variety of options. Strolling in the town, the boardwalk filled with small beaches, restaurants, cafes, ice- cream places, etc.
  Loreto, Baja California Sur Time at leisure
Loreto is a small town offering the opportunity to walk around the Mission, or the pleasant boardwalk while enjoying the view of the Sea of Cortes. The hotel fronts the ocean, sunrises from the beach are memorable.
  Los Cabos, Baja California Sur Time at leisure
Although Cabo San Lucas is a bustling tourist center, San Jose del Cabo has remained a tranquil Mission Town. Most of the restaurants and cafes are located within walking distance from the hotel. The variety of activities and recreational possibilities offered in the San Jose del Cabo - Cabo San Lucas area are infinite. Check with the hotel for options. Some activities are included in the program or offered as options.
  San Ignacio, Baja California Sur San Ignacio
Time 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.
  Cataviña, Baja California Time at leisure
Set in the heart of the desert in a town of 300, Cataviña is the perfect place to relax at the hotel, the endless desert and the clear nights.
  San Diego, California General Overview
With almost idyllic weather, San Diego offers entertainment for every taste. From numerous museums, nature and beaches, exhibits and events, to a great number of amusement parks, restaurants and night clubs, this city has something for every age. San Diego offers a vast variety of events year-round for all tastes. To learn what will be happening during your stay, you may review a comprehensive calendar at this San Diego visitor's on-line guide. For additional information, visit,
  San Jose del Cabo Various activities
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.
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

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.

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

Author: C. M. Mayo

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

The Magnificent Peninsula

Author: Jack Williams

Description: Provides good general information about Baja California

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