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Baja California Whale Watching & Stargazing Cruise

February 26 - March 5, 2022

As the sun climbs above the sparkling Sea of Cortez, you head out for an exhilarating day of whale spotting. Then in the evening, you and your fellow travelers survey the star-filled Pacific skies from a secluded beach or the deck of your small expedition ship. At day’s end, you retire to your comfortable cabin, knowing that sunrise will reveal a new expanse of pristine waters teeming with marine life, and another stretch of dune-lined coast waiting to be explored.

This is the blend of natural ...Show more

Highlights

  • Unforgettable close encounters with California gray whales in the wild.
  • Hiking desert islands in the Sea of Cortez, and spotting wildlife among the dunes.
  • Snorkeling with friendly sea lions and along spectacular coral reefs.
  • Superb stargazing from aboard ship and on remote coastal beaches.
  • The best of Baja California – benefiting from Lindblad Expeditions’ 30+ years of discovering hidden gems and building deep local relationships.

 

At TravelQuest we want to be sure you find the trip that best suits your interests and level of fitness. Please email or call if you have any questions regarding this itinerary.

IMPORTANT

  • TravelQuest, working with our partners, makes every effort to follow the published itinerary. However, please keep in mind that it is subject to change depending on weather and other local conditions.
  • It is important to acknowledge that seeing the stars above is weather dependent, and TravelQuest can make no guarantees that local conditions will cooperate.
  • All tour prices, taxes and airfares quoted in this brochure are based on tariffs, costs and US dollar exchange rates that were in effect at the time of publication. Consequently, prices herein are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in global oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee. You will be advised of details and costs prior to departure.

When you arrive in Loreto on the east coast of the Baja California peninsula, you will transfer from the airport to the Pacific port town of San Carlos, where we board our floating home for the next eight days, National Geographic Venture. Sailing southward along the Pacific coast, we anchor for the night off Isla Santa Margarita.

DATE(S): Saturday, February 26, 2022

MEALS: Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: 50-cabin National Geographic Venture

The morning light reveals beautiful ocean views as we cruise further south, observing a large frigatebird colony en route to the thriving whale habitat of Bahía Almejas. In the southernmost part of the bay, gray whales tend to be both highly active and apparently oblivious of their human admirers, so settle in for some great viewing.

As you enjoy your shipboard lunch, National Geographic Venture sails on to Isla Magdalena, where we disembark and explore on foot. Crossing the island among constantly shifting sand dunes, you reach one of the most pristine beaches on North America’s Pacific coast. Birdwatching is excellent here: seabirds circle and dive over the bay while shorebirds patrol the beach, feeding off marine life as they prepare for the long journey to their Arctic breeding grounds.

After a barbecue dinner ashore, join us for an evening under the stars (weather permitting) as we set up our telescopes and explore the sky from Sand Dollar Beach. In addition to new angles on familiar wonders like Orion and Taurus, you can look forward to novel sights along the winter Milky Way, in constellations not easily seen from much of North America.

DATE(S): Sunday, February 27, 2022

MEALS: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: 50-cabin National Geographic Venture

 Each winter, gray whales migrate south from their Arctic feeding grounds to breed, give birth and raise their calves in the protected waters of Baja California. This morning we transfer by motorcoach to López Mateos and spend the whole day out on small boats, or pangas, observing these majestic creatures. With luck, we’ll enjoy close encounters with a few mother-calf pairs, guided by whale-savvy fishermen we’ve known for years. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a few more hours of spectacular whale watching before we head back to the ship in late afternoon.

 

DATE(S): Monday, February 28, 2022

MEALS: Breakfast /Lunch /Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: 50-cabin National Geographic Venture

After breakfast – and maybe a morning stretch on the sundeck with our shipboard wellness expert – it’s time to explore (weather permitting) the bay's mangrove system via kayak, standup paddleboard and Zodiac, getting a firsthand look at these remarkable coastal ecosystems. In the afternoon, we leave Magdalena Bay behind and sail further south along the peninsula, with chances to spot a wide variety of marine life – including the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale. Our naturalist guide shares insights on the beautiful surroundings, along with tips on how to capture that beauty in photographs.

In the evening, join us on deck, where the captain will dim most of the lights to allow even better views of the night sky. (Of course, shipboard stargazing requires clear skies and calm seas. But the odds of success are excellent at this time of year, so keep your fingers crossed – and don’t forget your binoculars!)

DATE(S): Tuesday, March 1, 2022

MEALS: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: 50-cabin National Geographic Venture

After enjoying sunrise views of the iconic Friars Rocks at the southernmost tip of Baja California, we spend the rest of the morning off the Gorda Banks, an undersea mountain whose waters are a renowned gathering place for whales (especially humpbacks), dolphins and other sea life. In the afternoon, put on your flippers, mask and snorkel – all provided, of course – to explore the pristine reefs of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, one of the world’s great ocean reserves, where our local friends tell you about their efforts to protect this unique place. Then after dinner back onboard ship, meet us on the sundeck for another evening of stargazing (conditions permitting).

DATE(S): Wednesday, March 2, 2022

MEALS: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: 50-cabin National Geographic Venture

We awake this morning off the rocky island of Los Islotes, where you can snorkel among curious sea lions – an experience you won’t soon forget. We then sail on to the port city of La Paz, the state capital of Baja California Sur, where you can immerse yourself in vibrant street culture as you stroll the beachfront Malecon. Dinner is a memorable experience featuring regional cuisine, dancing and folklore. Then back onboard ship, we gather on the sundeck for another evening of stargazing (as always, conditions permitting).

DATE(S): Thursday, March 3, 2022

MEALS: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: 50-cabin National Geographic Venture

Our plan today is flexible as we explore some of the many uninhabited islands in the Sea of Cortez. We may go ashore at Isla San Francisco, whose sweeping white-sand beach is an ideal spot for kayaking and standup paddleboarding. Hike with our naturalist to a ridge offering unparalleled views over Isla Danzante, or maybe even visit the fascinating abandoned salt works on Isla Carmen. Trust our Captain and Expedition Leader to choose the right combination of activities for a perfect day. Wherever we go, you’ll have chances to spot a diverse array of wildlife amidst incredible natural beauty. Then, after a farewell dinner aboard National Geographic Venture, we head ashore in Zodiacs to a dark beach for our final evening of stargazing (as always, weather permitting).

DATE(S): Friday, March 4, 2022

MEALS: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: 50-cabin National Geographic Venture

Following a last breakfast onboard, we take you to the center of Loreto, where you can visit the first mission in Baja California, learn more about this colonial port in its small museum and take time to explore the town’s many quaint shops and colorful side streets. After lunch, we arrange the quick transfer to Loreto Airport for your flight home or onward adventures.

DATE(S): Saturday, March 5, 2022

MEALS: Breakfast /Lunch

TRIP LEVEL

Easy/Moderate – Both short and long walks through hilly terrain, passing over wet, sandy and sometimes uneven ground. At sea, rough conditions are possible. Guests must be able to negotiate the ship’s gangways and climb into and out of Zodiac boats (with assistance). The ability to maneuver a kayak is required for optional excursions.

National Geographic Venture – Welcome!

Lindblad’s National Geographic Venture was launched in 2019 and is an expedition ship intimate in scale, but far-reaching in ambition. Designed with over 50 years of expedition heritage, the 100 guest National Geographic Venture is able to explore the same remote locations we’ve sought out for decades while setting a new standard in comfort and style.  She features step-out balconies (available in 22 of the 50 spacious cabins), plus six sets of connecting cabins for families and groups; a Sun Deck bar, and a designated mudroom for expedition gear.

Special Features

  • Expedition Leader & expert naturalist staff
  • Full-time doctor
  • Undersea specialist
  • Expert photographer
  • Lindblad photo instructor and video chronicler
  • Wellness Specialist
  • Fitness center
  • Sundeck
  • Internet café
  • Global artisan market
  • Tools for Exploration – including snorkeling gear, kayaks, Zodiacs, and more

The luxury of comfort on expedition

National Geographic Venture comfortably accommodates 100 guests in 50 outside-facing cabins. Cabins are efficiently designed, with sizes ranging from the 136-square-foot category 1 to the 185-square-foot category 5 suite. Twenty-two of the 50 cabins feature small balconies with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that bring in the spectacular views and ample natural light. Twelve cabins connect via internal doorway access allowing families to combine their rooms. Plus, all category 5 suite cabins can accommodate a third person on a convertible sofa bed.

 

Comfort & convenience in every room

All cabins face outside with windows, portholes, or step-out balconies, Wi-Fi access and climate controls. Bathrooms are modern and stocked with botanically inspired hair products, soap, and shower gel, plus a hairdryer. Every room has outlets and USB ports for charging your camera gear or electronics, and space for luggage storage.

 

 

Deck Plan & Cabin Details

Download Deck Plan

Dining

Food served aboard is fresh, local, and delicious, and sourced from suppliers who share our values of sustainable use whenever possible. Meals aboard are almost always served in the dining room, located aft of the lounge deck. When weather conditions allow, lighter fare may be served on the observation deck. There is no assigned seating and our dining room accommodates the entire expedition community in a single seating. During meals your expedition leader, naturalists, and any guest speakers aboard will join you.

Public Spaces

The ship features a fitness center and spa, an observation deck, mudroom with lockers for expedition gear, and a partially covered sundeck with chairs and tables.

 

 

Open Bridge

You’re invited to the ship’s bridge to see where the calm business of navigation unfolds. You’ll find our captains are engaged, knowledgeable members of your expedition who are eager to share their passion with you. Venture’s open bridge features comfortable spaces to sit where you can enjoy the view, drink your morning coffee, chat with the officers or help yourself to the ever-ready binoculars to scan the horizon.

Lounge

The lounge is the heart of our expedition community, where we hold cocktail hour and recap each evening. It’s also where you’ll gather for presentations, photography talks, and guest speaker presentations.

Zodiacs

Key to our operation is our fleet of 8 Zodiacs, which we use to land in places that would otherwise be inaccessible. With two loading stations, we are able to transfer guests off the ship quickly, so you can be out on adventures, and not idly waiting. The Zodiacs are 19 feet long, powered by four-stroke outboard engines, and are capable of comfortably carrying 10-12 people. They are widely recognized as the safest and most versatile small inflatable boats afloat.

 

 

Remotely Operated Vehicle

Capable of reaching 1,000 feet, far beyond the range of any Scuba diver, the ROV allows you to literally view parts of the undersea that are as unexplored as the moon. Chances are you, like many of our guests, will be struck by how surprisingly colorful undersea life is in these unlikely places. This rarely seen vantage point may fundamentally change the way you view the ocean.

Kayaks

National Geographic Venture is equipped with 24 two-person kayaks—a fleet large enough to ensure everyone who wants to can paddle at every opportunity. Consequently, prior kayaking experience isn’t necessary—many of our guests have their first kayaking experience in extraordinary locations. Our custom-designed floating platform lets us deploy kayaks from the ship, or any location we want—including far from shore. Kayakers are usually free to explore where they want within boundaries set by the undersea specialist and officer of the watch.

Underwater camera

Our undersea specialist will occasionally dive during your expedition to shoot high-definition, Cousteau-like footage of the deep. Colorful swimming nudibranchs, plant-like crinoids, and mysterious fish with antifreeze blood that thrive in the frigid sea will give you an entirely new appreciation of the marine environment.

Video microscope

Naturalists will use the video microscope to help explain all elements of the environment, including tiny organisms that are the building block of the marine ecosystem. Spellbinding live views of krill at 80x magnification fills the high-definition screens in the lounge with vivid detail and fills every onlooker with a sense of wonder at the importance of otherwise unobservable creatures.

Hydrophone

This underwater microphone is deployed to listen to the vocalizations of marine mammals. Real time transmissions of their eerie, haunting sounds can be broadcast through the ship or recorded for later playback. Few experiences in nature are as captivating as watching humpback whales feed close to the ship as their vocalizations play through the ship’s PA system.

Electronic charts

An electronic chart showing the ship’s location, course, and speed is usually on display in the lounge.

Snorkeling gear & wetsuits

You’ll select a mask, snorkel, fins, and wetsuit that remain yours for the duration of the expedition. There’s no need to pack and tote your own gear, although guests who prefer to do so are welcome to bring their own.

Lindblad’s National Geographic Venture was launched in 2019 and is an expedition ship intimate in scale, but far-reaching in ambition. Designed with over 50 years of expedition heritage, the 100 guest National Geographic Venture is able to explore the same remote locations we’ve sought out for decades while setting a new standard in comfort and style.  She features step-out balconies (available in 22 of the 50 spacious cabins), plus six sets of connecting cabins for families and groups; a Sun Deck bar, and a designated mudroom for expedition gear.

Special Features

  • Expedition Leader & expert naturalist staff
  • Full-time doctor
  • Undersea specialist
  • Expert photographer
  • Lindblad photo instructor and video chronicler
  • Wellness Specialist
  • Fitness center
  • Sundeck
  • Internet café
  • Global artisan market
  • Tools for Exploration – including snorkeling gear, kayaks, Zodiacs, and more

The luxury of comfort on expedition

National Geographic Venture comfortably accommodates 100 guests in 50 outside-facing cabins. Cabins are efficiently designed, with sizes ranging from the 136-square-foot category 1 to the 185-square-foot category 5 suite. Twenty-two of the 50 cabins feature small balconies with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that bring in the spectacular views and ample natural light. Twelve cabins connect via internal doorway access allowing families to combine their rooms. Plus, all category 5 suite cabins can accommodate a third person on a convertible sofa bed.

 

Comfort & convenience in every room

All cabins face outside with windows, portholes, or step-out balconies, Wi-Fi access and climate controls. Bathrooms are modern and stocked with botanically inspired hair products, soap, and shower gel, plus a hairdryer. Every room has outlets and USB ports for charging your camera gear or electronics, and space for luggage storage.

 

 

Deck Plan & Cabin Details

Download Deck Plan

Dining

Food served aboard is fresh, local, and delicious, and sourced from suppliers who share our values of sustainable use whenever possible. Meals aboard are almost always served in the dining room, located aft of the lounge deck. When weather conditions allow, lighter fare may be served on the observation deck. There is no assigned seating and our dining room accommodates the entire expedition community in a single seating. During meals your expedition leader, naturalists, and any guest speakers aboard will join you.

Public Spaces

The ship features a fitness center and spa, an observation deck, mudroom with lockers for expedition gear, and a partially covered sundeck with chairs and tables.

 

 

Open Bridge

You’re invited to the ship’s bridge to see where the calm business of navigation unfolds. You’ll find our captains are engaged, knowledgeable members of your expedition who are eager to share their passion with you. Venture’s open bridge features comfortable spaces to sit where you can enjoy the view, drink your morning coffee, chat with the officers or help yourself to the ever-ready binoculars to scan the horizon.

Lounge

The lounge is the heart of our expedition community, where we hold cocktail hour and recap each evening. It’s also where you’ll gather for presentations, photography talks, and guest speaker presentations.

Zodiacs

Key to our operation is our fleet of 8 Zodiacs, which we use to land in places that would otherwise be inaccessible. With two loading stations, we are able to transfer guests off the ship quickly, so you can be out on adventures, and not idly waiting. The Zodiacs are 19 feet long, powered by four-stroke outboard engines, and are capable of comfortably carrying 10-12 people. They are widely recognized as the safest and most versatile small inflatable boats afloat.

 

 

Remotely Operated Vehicle

Capable of reaching 1,000 feet, far beyond the range of any Scuba diver, the ROV allows you to literally view parts of the undersea that are as unexplored as the moon. Chances are you, like many of our guests, will be struck by how surprisingly colorful undersea life is in these unlikely places. This rarely seen vantage point may fundamentally change the way you view the ocean.

Kayaks

National Geographic Venture is equipped with 24 two-person kayaks—a fleet large enough to ensure everyone who wants to can paddle at every opportunity. Consequently, prior kayaking experience isn’t necessary—many of our guests have their first kayaking experience in extraordinary locations. Our custom-designed floating platform lets us deploy kayaks from the ship, or any location we want—including far from shore. Kayakers are usually free to explore where they want within boundaries set by the undersea specialist and officer of the watch.

Underwater camera

Our undersea specialist will occasionally dive during your expedition to shoot high-definition, Cousteau-like footage of the deep. Colorful swimming nudibranchs, plant-like crinoids, and mysterious fish with antifreeze blood that thrive in the frigid sea will give you an entirely new appreciation of the marine environment.

Video microscope

Naturalists will use the video microscope to help explain all elements of the environment, including tiny organisms that are the building block of the marine ecosystem. Spellbinding live views of krill at 80x magnification fills the high-definition screens in the lounge with vivid detail and fills every onlooker with a sense of wonder at the importance of otherwise unobservable creatures.

Hydrophone

This underwater microphone is deployed to listen to the vocalizations of marine mammals. Real time transmissions of their eerie, haunting sounds can be broadcast through the ship or recorded for later playback. Few experiences in nature are as captivating as watching humpback whales feed close to the ship as their vocalizations play through the ship’s PA system.

Electronic charts

An electronic chart showing the ship’s location, course, and speed is usually on display in the lounge.

Snorkeling gear & wetsuits

You’ll select a mask, snorkel, fins, and wetsuit that remain yours for the duration of the expedition. There’s no need to pack and tote your own gear, although guests who prefer to do so are welcome to bring their own.

Cabin Categories 1-5 prices are per person, based on the double occupancy, in US Dollars.

Cabin Categories A & B Solo are available only for single travelers. Prices are per person, based on the single occupancy, in US Dollars.

 A $500 discount is extended to all guests under the age of 18.

C1
Category 1

Brochure price

$6,400
C2
Category 2

Brochure price

$7,130
C3
Category 3

Brochure price

$7,720
C4
Category 4

Brochure price

$8,520
C5
Category 5 (SUITE)

Brochure price

$9,460
CA
Category Solo A

Brochure price

$9,740
CB
Category Solo B

Brochure price

$10,610

IMPORTANT: All tour prices, taxes and airfares quoted in this brochure are based on tariffs and costs that were in effect at the time of publication. Consequently, prices herein are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in global oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee. You will be advised of details and costs prior to departure.

Single Occupancy

A limited number of Category A/B solo cabins are being sold in Categories 1-2 and can be booked through the online reservation form. Solo A cabins are in Category 1, and Solo B cabins are in Category 2. Those of you interested in traveling in Categories 3-5 as a solo traveler can do so at 200% of the double occupancy rate. If you would like to purchase one of the Category 3-5 Staterooms as a solo traveler, please email reservations@travelquesttours.com or call us (1-800-830-1998) for details.

Triple Occupancy

A very limited number of triple accommodations are available for this sailing and are sold on a first come basis. A third person may be added to a double occupancy cabin in category 5, with the third person paying 50% of the double occupancy cruise fare. Email reservations@travelquesttours.com or call us (1-800-830-1998) for details.

Room Sharing Program

If you are traveling solo, you can realize significant savings by taking advantage of TravelQuest’s Room Sharing Program, where travelers of the same gender can share twin-bedded accommodations.

Includes

  • Arrival and Departure transfers (based on group flights) on February 26, 2022 and March 5, 2022 from Loreto International Airport (Airport code: LTO)
  • Seven nights’ accommodations aboard the National Geographic Venture
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages (per the itinerary)
  • All excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Special access permits, park fees and port taxes
  • Services of a TravelQuest Trip Leader/Astronomer
  • Services of the naturalist staff and a certified photo instructor
  • Services of the ship’s physician
  • Zodiac & kayak explorations
  • Snorkeling in approved areas (including wetsuits, masks, fins & snorkel)
  • Evening presentations in the lounge
  • Gratuities to guides and drivers (if applicable)
  • One complimentary voyage chronicle per couple / cabin

Not Included

  • Air travel to and from Loreto, Mexico (Airport code: LTO)
  • Passport & visa fees, along with any required immunizations
  • Pre or post-tour extensions
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Meals not noted in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature, including spa, WiFi access, and gift shop
  • Discretionary gratuities to the ship’s crew
  • Trip Insurance (highly recommended)

Payments & Terms

  • An advance payment of $750 USD per person, along with the completed reservation form, are required to secure your reservation.
  • Your balance payment in full, payable by bank wire only, is due by November 18, 2021.

Cancellation Terms

  • TravelQuest reserves the right to treat a reservation as cancelled if payments are not received when due.
  • Cancellations must be in writing, by email, fax or letter to TravelQuest to receive a refund of cruise charges according to this schedule
    • Cancellations made from the time of booking through October 29, 2021 will incur a cancellation fee equal to $450 USD per person.
    • Cancellations made between October 30–November 18, 2021 will incur a cancellation fee equal to $750 USD per person.
    • Cancellations made between November 19–December 28, 2021 will incur a cancellation fee equal to 25% of trip cost.
    • Cancellations made between December 29–January 12, 2022 will incur a cancellation fee equal to 50% of trip cost.
    • Cancellations made after January 13, 2022 will incur a cancellation fee equal to 100% of trip cost.
    • International air cancellation terms are additional.

IMPORTANT NOTE

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 as a global pandemic in March 2020, and its consequences are therefore no longer unforeseen or unexpected. These consequences include but are not limited to travel advisories and restrictions, flight and other transport disruptions and cancelations, mandatory quarantine periods, border closures and stay at home mandates, health advisories changes to applicable laws and Government Mandates and prohibitions. No deposits paid will be refunded should any of these Covid-19 events result in a travel member’s trip cancellation, interruption or mandatory quarantine.

BOOKING YOUR AIR TRAVEL

Lindblad’s Air Department will assure you don’t miss the boat! This program offers guests the opportunity to upgrade to First or Business class. Please do not book your air until you receive an Air Notification from TravelQuest.

TRAVELER HEALTH

We at TQ want to be sure you find the trip that best suits your interests and level of fitness. Prior to submitting a booking, it is the responsibility of each traveler on the booking to thoroughly read the itinerary, acquire and understand all pertinent medical advice to determine whether or not they are of an appropriate physical and healthy state to undertake the trip. At minimum, participants must be able to climb into and out of buses and Zodiacs without assistance, keep up with the pace of the trip, and if necessary, carry their own luggage. If you have any questions about your trip’s itinerary or its level of difficulty, please contact us prior to booking.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance protects you from the unexpected “what-ifs” on your travels. What if your bags go missing, what if you have to cancel, what if you need medical assistance? We at TravelQuest International recommend that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. You may purchase this insurance on your own or you may contact our friends at Travelex who are familiar with our trips and offer a selection of coverages to suit your needs. To be eligible for the waiver of pre-existing medical condition exclusion, the plans must be purchased within 15 days from the time you make your initial deposit to TravelQuest. ALL Travelex policies must be purchased at least 3 weeks (21 days) prior to your departure date.

For more information on these plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services direct at 1-800-228-9792, and reference location number 03-6043.

TravelEx Insurance

A NOTE ABOUT VOYAGE PRICING

Itinerary and prices listed in this brochure are as of publication date and are subject to change. Under normal conditions the total expedition price is guaranteed at the time of booking. However, the expedition pricing is determined far in advance of initial departure, on the basis of then-existing projections of fuel and other costs. In the event of increases in those costs, including but not limited to increases in the price of fuel, currency fluctuations, increases in government taxes or levies, or increased security costs, the right is reserved to adjust the price of your expedition or add a surcharge to cover such unexpected increases. We will always provide an explanation of the reason for increase in costs.

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