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

Witness the gray whale migration, one of nature’s most phenomenal events, and see these gentle giants up-close in the heart of their breeding grounds.
Rating (4.92)
Program No. 12315RJ
8 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Observe one of the most miraculous natural phenomena on the planet: the 5,000-mile winter migration of gray whales to the Baja Peninsula to mate and deliver their calves. Journey from San Diego into Mexico to trace the migration and lifecycle of the gray whale.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking short distances on varied terrain. Must carry all belongings across the border and walk up to 1,500 feet (450 m) on a smooth sidewalk. Boarding small fishing boats from pier and beach, possibly wading into water knee-high. Driving on graded road one hour. Driving time on bus from 1.5-5.5 hours daily. 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 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Aboard a 12-person fishing boat, get within an arm’s length of a pod of gray whales.
  • Visit the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to learn about whales with marine biologists.
  • In the deserts of Baja, examine the bizarre boojum tree, towering cardon cactus, contorted elephant tree and other endemic plants.

General Notes

For a women only version of this program, please check out program number 23963.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Veronica (Luka) Rangel
Born in Mexico City, Veronica Luka Rangel adopted Ensenada as her home in 1994 when she settled there to study Oceanography at the State University. Her passion to protect the environment inspired her to continue in the university as an environmental education teacher. Her enthusiasm has helped fuel the development of remote villages in Baja California, organizing cultural and environmental events, as well as participating in summer programs with the Kumeyaay and Paipai native communities.

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

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Veronica (Luka) Rangel
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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.
Baja California Map
by National Geographic
Waterproof • Tear-Resistant • Travel Map National Geographic Adventure Baja Map Pack
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mexico Field Guide, Baja California Sea and Shore Birds
by Robert Dean
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.
Lagoon Time: Our Life and Times Among the Gray Whales of Laguna San Ignacio
by Steven L. Swartz
Lagoon Time is an extraordinary first-hand account of the experiences and discoveries made by Dr. Steven Swartz and his colleagues in San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja California Sur, Mexico, that provides visitors a look into the human and natural history of Laguna San Ignacio. It is also a field guide to gray whale behavior and the diverse botanical and avian wildlife in the area. It presents information on the Pacific gray whales that winter in Baja California beginning in 1977 to the present. All of the net proceeds will support the Laguna San Ignacio Ecosystem Science Program, a project of The Ocean Foundation.
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.
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 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.

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