TWP Tours goes rural for a unique tour to El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve in Baja California Sur. Travel between magic pueblos and fishing villages along both coasts of Baja California Sur. See and learn how fisheries protection and ecotourism provide a stable economy for coastal populations on this arid peninsula. Meet communities planting mangrove forests, get up close and personal with baby gray whales, traverse desert canyons in search of cave paintings, and feast on sustainably harvested shellfish produced by local communities.
Cost: $2,199 (Cost includes meals, lodging, in-country transportation, park fees, guides, and cost of chartered flight from LAX to Loreto, Mexico)
Length: 8 days / 7 nights
Lodging: Small hotels, cabins, and ranches
Weather: January through early April is the coolest time of the year in Baja. The dry desert air can be chilly and windy so don't forget your jacket, waterproof windbreaker/shell and warm hat. The strong desert sun can be intense (especially when out on the water because of its reflection); the local fishermen usually wear long sleeves, long pants, sun-proctecting hats, face shields and sunglasses. The Gulf of California side's air and water temperatures are warmer than the Pacific side's. Temperatures may be between the 60's and 90's during the day and the 40's and 60's during the night along our route through Baja Sur. The average rainfall for the regions we will visit are 0.4" during February and March.
Difficulty: Low difficulty, no strenuous hikes or physical ability required, but must be comfortable on open water
This is a sample itinerary. Subject to change up until one month before departure.
Meet the TWP Tours team and the rest of our travelers at Los Angeles Airport (LAX)! We will all fly together to Loreto International Airport (~2 hours) and celebrate our arrival by enjoying some welcome drinks and lunch at a local brewery. Afterwards we'll head north to our lodging along the Santa Rosalia river in Mulegé (2 hour drive) where we'll unpack, unwind, and enjoy free time before dinner.
After breakfast and some light coffee consumption we will head to Santispac Beach (1/2 hour drive; leave Mulegé at 7:30 am) where we will link up with local fishermen for a Conception Bay 'panga' (typical fishing boat) tour including snorkeling and wild clam harvesting. We will then enjoy a nice picnic lunch of our bounty on an island. If we're lucky we may see some Juvenile Whale Sharks during the day as they occasionally feed on plankton in these waters. After an enjoyable beach day we will head back to Mulegé and visit the unique Prison Museum and learn about local history and the prison's open-door system. We will enjoy a delicious dinner in the evening.
After check out and breakfast we will hit the road and head to the San Francisco Sierras (3:30 hour drive; leave Mulegé at 7:30 am), a UNESCO World Heritage Site within the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve. We will arrive at the Buenaventura Ranch Eco-touristic Community Hostel, where we'll be spending the night in company of a rancher family, and unpack. Our visit begins with a tour of local ancient cave paintings and petroglyphs in the area left by the Cochimí natives, then lunch, then we'll enjoy a multi-hour trek of the stunning desert peaks and canyons by muleback (or by foot if you prefer). Our evening dinner will consist of gourmet goat meat prepared on site by our ranch hosts.
Lend a hand and learn about life on a rancho! Accompany our rancher family friends with their morning chores of goat herding and milking! Then learn how to turn that milk into goat cheese, get a tortilla-making lesson, and enjoy the fruits of your labor as we all breakfast together. After a hearty breakfast we will depart for the oasis town of San Ignacio (1:30 hours drive) where we'll drop our bags off at our lodging and tour the town's plaza, Jesuit mission, date palm and citrus orchards, and learn about the area's history. We'll enjoy a local lunch, then receive date palm culinary lessons from a local woman who will share her pastry-making masteries with us.
Our journey continues as we head out to the pacific coastline after an early light breakfast. We will leave for the fishing village of El Delgadito (2 hour drive; leave San Ignacio at 7:30 am) where we'll eat a 'second breakfast' followed by a panga tour of a Red Mangrove restoration project and learn about the critical importance of mangroves for local and worldwide ecological health! Be on the lookout for a vast array of bird and marine wildlife as we learn about all of the species that depend on mangroves. We will visit a women's artisanal fishing cooperative where we'll learn more about community resilience in the wake of illegal commercial fishing impacts and indulge in locally caught seafood for lunch. Afterwards we'll get our hands dirty by participating in the Red Mangrove restoration project where we'll plant our very own seedling contributions (aka PROPAGULES). After a fun and adventurous day, we will head north (1 hour drive) and check into Pachico's Eco-Camp on the shore of the San Ignacio Lagoon and unwind with happy hour and dinner.
We'll enjoy a hearty breakfast, have a safety briefing, then get ready for the experience of a lifetime! Welcome to the Gray Whale's winter nursery, where whale mothers birth and raise their calves for the first three months of their lives. We will experience two 90-minute tours out at sea surrounded by these majestic beings, dubbed the 'famous friendly whales,' where it is not uncommon for these ancient cetaceans to display curious behavior towards us. Mothers and calves alike may approach us, eyeball us, scratch themselves under our panga, and even receive some scratches and pets from us! We will stop at a secluded desert beach for lunch in between the two tours, then return to Pachico's in time for happy hour and dinner.
After a delicious breakfast, we will check out of Pachico's Eco-Camp and depart on our final 90-minute Gray Whale Tour of our trip. We continue the day by visiting the Sol Azul Sustainable Oyster Farm located in an estuary along the San Ignacio Lagoon where we will take an educational tour of the oyster farm and have an all-you-can-eat oyster lunch with refreshments. Afterwards, with our bellies full, we will depart for Loreto (5 hour drive) stopping along the way for photo opportunities and snack/refreshment/bathroom breaks as requested along our scenic drive. Once we arrive in Loreto we will check in our hotel and have a final group dinner.
Departure day! But first .... Enjoy a lazy morning, explore the town of Loreto, OR if you signed up for our additional marine adventure of a 5-hour Coronado Island panga tour including snorkeling with sea lions, this is the day! This tour commences at 7 am and returns at 12 pm. Either way, we will all regroup, head to the airport together by 1 pm, and fly back to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Enjoy a group reflection, exchange memories and favorite photos, and relish with your new friends on this one-of-a-kind experience as you make your way home. Until next time.