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Mexico’s Baja Tip to Toe: Landscape, Heritage, People & Whales

Program No. 12157RJ
Come to Baja to explore unique beaches, deserts and World Heritage Sites as you join local experts to learn about the region’s wildlife and get up-close and personal with gray whales!

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
Jan 17 - Jan 29, 2024
Starting at
Feb 12 - Feb 24, 2024
Starting at
Mar 6 - Mar 18, 2024
Starting at
Mar 20 - Apr 1, 2024
Starting at
DATES & starting prices
Jan 17 - Jan 29, 2024
Starting at
Feb 12 - Feb 24, 2024
Starting at
Mar 6 - Mar 18, 2024
Starting at
Mar 20 - Apr 1, 2024
Starting at
13 days
12 nights
33 meals
12B 11L 10D
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At a Glance

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. Get up close and personal with gray whales in their winter migration to the Baja Sanctuaries. Explore pristine beaches beneath towering escarpments, azure waters teeming with life and palm oasis among jagged peaks. 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.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking short distances on varied terrain with an optional steep hike. Boarding small fishing boats from the beach. May encounter rough season boats. Driving time on bus from 1.0 - 5.0 hours most days. Elevations up to 3,500 feet (900 m.).
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • 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.
  • Explore the diversity of ecosystems that make up one-third of the Baja peninsula.
  • Take in the crystalline waters and marvel at the geology and sea life on this paradisiac island, the biologically diverse Sea of Cortés.

General Notes

Road Scholar cannot offer air for this program. Participants have to arrange their own flights as well as transportation to the first hotel in San Diego. The program ends at the hotel in Los Cabos, and the Group leader can assist participants in arranging their transfer (not included) from the hotel to the airport on the last day of the program if necessary.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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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 learning adventures through different parts of Mexico and is a specialized guide for Baja California. She is one of the owners and founders of Andiamo.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Maria Mitrani
Maria Mitrani View biography
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 learning adventures through different parts of Mexico and is a specialized guide for Baja California. She is one of the owners and founders of Andiamo.
Profile Image of Norma Iglesias
Norma Iglesias View biography
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.
Profile Image of Fermin Reygadas
Fermin Reygadas View biography
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.
Profile Image of Graham MacKintosh
Graham MacKintosh View biography
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.
Profile Image of Esther Mitrani
Esther Mitrani View biography
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.
Profile Image of Isabel Sanchez
Isabel Sanchez View biography
Isabel Sanchez was born in Ensenada Baja California, Mexico. She began working as a group leader at a young age in the mid 1980s in her hometown. In 1998, she moved to Southern California where she continued her career as a successful group leader specializing in the Sonoran Desert as well as the Mojave Desert. In the fall of 2004, Isabel began leading groups through San Diego, Calif., the peninsula of Baja California, and the Copper Canyon in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Whales Know, Travels Along the Baja California Peninsula
by Pina Cacucci
A humorous and humble travelogue by writer-explorer Cacucci. He travels the length of Baja California revisiting sites seen by John Steinbeck, but becomes enamored with all things whale.
Baja California Map
by National Geographic
Waterproof • Tear-Resistant • Travel Map National Geographic Adventure Baja Map Pack
Into a Desert Place
by Graham MacKintosh
An Englishman, Mackintosh fell in love with Baja California on a visit and, despite a glaring shortage of both experience and money, determined to walk its entire coast. Into a Desert Place is his account of how he equipped himself, what he saw and learned, and how he survived on this harsh and beautiful journey.
Roadside Geology and Biology of Baja California, 2nd Edition
by John Minch,Jason Minch
The book is written for the enjoyment of the average person who has little or no training but has an interest in the natural surroundings and almost unique geology and biology of the Baja California Peninsula. It will provide for your enjoyment as you travel along Baja's highways. The road logs provide kilometer-by-kilometer information on the roadside geology and biology of the highways, introducing you to this magnificent place in a way that can be easily understood.
Mexico Field Guide, Baja California Sea and Shore Birds
by Rainforest Publications
This beautifully illustrated, double-sided laminated card depicts 60 commonly encountered birds of coastal Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. We also carry the Baja, Sea of Cortez Marine Mammal Guide plastic card. (Item BJA62)
Eye of the Whale, Epic Passage From Baja to Siberia
by Dick Russell
Epic in scope, this absorbing, first-person account follows the migration of the gray whale from the lagoons along the Pacific coast of Baja to the summer feeding grounds in Alaska.
Almost an Island, Travels in Baja California
by Bruce Berger
A poet and aficionado with an irrepressible sense of humor, Berger combines anecdote, history and research to bring the deserts, towns and eccentric personalities of Baja to life.
The Girl of the Sea of Cortez
by Peter Benchley
A heartwarming, eco-conscious novel about a young woman and her sixth-sense for ocean wildlife. Benchley’s protagonist, Paloma, discovers a secret ocean animal in a sea full of beauty, danger and adventure. First published in 1983.
Baja California Plant Field Guide
by Norman C. Roberts, Jon Rebman
We can't imagine a walk through the deserts and islands of Baja California without this book in hand. With hundreds of color photographs illustrating 715 plants of the region, this superb field guide also includes short introductory chapters on vegetation, geology and climate. This expanded third edition was revised by Jon Rebman, botanist at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Baja, Sea of Cortez Marine Mammal Guide
by Rainforest Publications
A double-sided, laminated field guide illustrating the whales, dolphins and other marine mammals of the Sea of Cortez and Pacific coast of Baja.
The Log from the Sea of Cortez
by John Steinbeck
The classic account of a collecting trip to the Sea of Cortez with marine biologist Ed Ricketts, first published in 1941. Subtitled "A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research," this much-loved book captures the wonders of the Gulf of California and the joys of discovery.
Field Guide to the Gray Whale Paperback
by Oceanic Society
This handy 50-page booklet is the first and only practical guide to viewing the biannual migration of gray whales along the Pacific Coast. It includes fascinating information about the natural history and habits of the gray whale as well as maps and directions to whale watching sites from Alaska to Baja. Proceeds of this book help support the Oceanic Society.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.