COVID Protocols

Stocked with supplies and a bountiful sense of adventure, follow Steinbeck’s path into the protected waters of Cousteau’s “world’s aquarium” in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Crystal clear water abounds near the shorelines, fringed by red desert bluffs. Sail among the islands, once explored by the conquistadors searching for black pearls. Learn about the impressive geologic forces that created these picturesque islands. Explore by kayak and paddleboard, keeping your eyes peeled for sea life, or enjoy leisurely beachcombing with the sand between your toes.

Islands of the Sea of Cortez are much like the Galapagos, a textbook for the study of speciation, which we see in lizards, plant life, and right from the start at Cabo, with some of Baja’s endemic birds including Belding’s Yellowthroat, Gray Thrasher, and Xantus’s Hummingbird.

Active exploration, turquoise water and snorkeling, and a menagerie of seabirds and other wildlife await you on this exciting Sea of Cortez nature cruise! Talk to us about a possible pre-extension all-day birding trip to see the Baja endemics.

Tour Highlights

  • Watch for whales, Mobula rays, dolphins, and birds
  • Witness courtship rituals of nesting Brown and Blue-footed Boobies
  • Hike, kayak, paddle board, and explore by skiff
  • Burro ride into arroyos with local rancheros
  • Search for Gray Whales at Baja Magdalena
  • Snorkel with Sea Lion pups and colorful reef fish; on land be dazzled by Xantus's Hummingbird
  • Enjoy the convenience of flying in and out of Los Cabos International Airport

Trip Itinerary

Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary may occur to account for weather, road conditions, closures, etc. and to maximize your experience.

Sat., Feb. 10 : San José del Cabo | La Paz—Embarkation

Welcome to Baja, Mexico! You are met today upon arrival at the Los Cabos International Airport in San José del Cabo and transferred to our hospitality area. We are then joined by the cruise’s expedition team for an overland orientation transfer to La Paz, getting our group acquainted with the dramatically beautiful Baja landscape and the week of adventure that lies ahead. As we board our ship, the Safari Voyager, the captain and crew welcome you aboard with a cocktail before a kick-off dinner with your new mates.

Sun., Feb. 11 : Gulf of California Biosphere Reserve

Today is a perfect introduction to life at sea, settling into a tucked-away, remote beach like Bonanza or Ayla in the beautiful gulf. Our boat’s expedition team is at the ready with more adventurous options to choose from - kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding, or beachcombing. Or, simply relax without worry of any other beachgoers from surrounding busy beaches. We keep watch for Brown and Blue-footed Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird, and the endemic Yellow-footed Gull. Discover nature’s diversity and learn about the geologic forces that inhabit them.

Mon., Feb. 12 : Bahía Agua Verde

At Bahía Agua Verde, stunningly clear waters are bordered by sparse craggy mountains hemmed in green. Today we explore the coast by small skiff, keeping our eyes peeled for wildlife, the ever-present Osprey nesting on sea stacks, and different species of cormorants and terns. Mobula Rays may be taking that leap of faith as they rocket out of the water, landing belly first back into the sea. We then visit with a local ranchero and his family before we take to the canyons and mountains on a mule ride to experience the “real Baja.” Today’s scenic vistas, outstanding exploration by boat and by hoof, excellent birding, and unmatched camaraderie make for a perfect day.

Tues., Feb. 13 : Isla San Francisco

Today we begin our explorations in a playground of steep red bluffs and sweeping desert beach. What a treat to kick off your adventure with a day of play?this is a vacation, after all. Don a snorkel and some flippers and get to know the colorful and bountiful sea life, put on your walking shoes for an exploratory hike along the red bluffs, grab a paddle and explore by kayak, or just relax on the beach with the sand between your toes…the choice is yours! The rugged beauty of Isla San Francisco makes it an ideal spot for escapades.

Today, and throughout the duration of the cruise, we are on the lookout for the different whale species that call this sea home. Fin, Bryde’s, Pilot, Gray, and Sperm Whales are some of the larger whales we hope to see, while large numbers of different dolphin species make their presence known, riding the bow waves. If you choose to go ashore, we look for the Isla San Francisco Whiptail Lizard, found no other place in the world! Tonight, we enjoy a delicious dinner as we watch the sun set.

Wed., Feb. 14 : Marine Life Search in Magdalena Bay

We defer to our on-board naturalists today, and depending on conditions and recent activity, we either visit Magdalena Bay for Gray Whales or Bahía de la Paz for Whale Sharks. The Gray Whales arrive each year on Baja’s west coast—migrating more than 12,000 miles—to calve in Bahía Magdalena. If Gray Whales are the day’s excursion, we dock in Puerto Escondido, then drive across the peninsula to ride in a panga and witness these remarkable mammals and their babies in the lagoon. Those going ashore watch for wintering warblers, vireos, and sparrows use these islands as winter retreats.

Thurs., Feb. 15 : Los Islotes | Isla Partida

At Los Islotes, a steep craggy seamount leaping straight from the sea, we observe a Sea Lion colony from the boat and skiff, or slip into a wetsuit for an early morning snorkel with curious, agile young Sea Lion pups. After a lively morning, we heave anchor and set sail for Isla Partida for an afternoon of water play or island hikes along desert beaches or into rocky arroyos.

Fri., Feb. 16 : Isla Espíritu Santo

Today we quietly tuck into a secluded cove surrounded by long fingers of red rock and a golden beach. We spend our last full day enjoying the feel of warm sand under our feet on a beach walk, investigating nooks and crannies in the rocks by kayak, or exploring a little further afield on a guided hike. We are accompanied by the ever-present frigatebirds patrolling the skies. Watching these pirates of the air sometimes gives us an alert to the presence of flying fish or maybe a feeding frenzy replete with dolphins, whales, and seabirds. The Sea of Cortez is one of the world’s best for marine mammals and we should have plenty of photographic opportunities. Sea Lions are abundant here and snorkeling with these agile swimmers gives you ample and up close views as they blast through their watery home. Tonight we celebrate our lovely week at this evening’s special farewell dinner with an entertaining slideshow by your expedition team.

Sat., Feb. 17 : La Paz | San José—Disembark

After breakfast, it’s “adios” La Paz, as you disembark the vessel and transfer back to San José del Cabo for flights home.

Cost of the Journey

The cost of the cruise is $6500 (Navigator Cabin) – $7100 (Trailblazer Cabin) per person based on double occupancy, plus a $495 port tax/fee per person. Single occupancy is available at $11,400 (Navigator) – $12,500 (Trailblazer). Other cabins may be available. Please inquire. The tour cost includes 7 nights aboard the Safari Voyager, all meals onboard the voyage including alcoholic beverages, all excursions with professional guides, and miscellaneous program expenses, transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark days; entry fees to national parks/preserves; all from-the-ship adventure activities and equipment; wellness amenities: fitness equipment and yoga mats. Not included is the round-trip flight to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The tour cost does not include items of a personal nature such as telephone charges or optional activities. We recommend a gratuity for local guides and the ship crew, which is left to the discretion of each participant; guidelines will be provided, usually around $250 per participant.

Please note: Cruise payments are subject to the terms and conditions of the cruise company, UnCruise Adventures, we contract with and may be fully non-refundable. These terms and conditions are primary over those of Naturalist Journeys.

Naturalist Journeys’ Added Value: Why cruise with Naturalist Journeys? First and foremost, it doesn’t cost you more to cruise with us. You pay the same rate you would if you booked directly through the operator. That’s where the perks come in! When you book with Naturalist Journeys, you’re part of a group. We send a leader with you who adds excellent hosting and interpretation skills, and facilitates group interaction. We also send you a species list and trip report once the trip is over. So really, you get the benefit of a small-group guide without the added cost!

Travel Details

Please plan to make air travel plans only after the minimum group size has been met. We will send you a confirmation email as soon as the trip has been confirmed.

Arrival and Departure Airport: The airport for this cruise is Los Cabos International (SJD). 

Arrival Details: Please plan flights to arrive by 2:30 PM on February 10, 2024. 

Departure Details: Please plan flights to depart after 1:00 PM on February 17, 2024. We STRONGLY recommend you arrive the night before — you don’t want to miss the boat!

Browse below for trip reports and species lists from past versions of this and other tours from this destination.



Butterflies & Birds


Sea of Cortés


  • Kelly Vandenheuvel

    Kelly has worked with Naturalist Journeys since 2011. She assists our lead guides on trips to Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Death Valley, the Eastern Sierras, California’s Central Coast, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, Utah’s National Parks, Belize and the Caribbean islands of Trinidad & Tobago. Kelly enjoys the outdoors, travel, nature, wildlife, and working with people. Kelly is a licensed wildlife rehabber and educator for Pacific Wildlife Care in San Luis Obispo county, and is a founding member of the organization. She is also the Owner/Broker of Central Coast Property Sales. She and her husband Art own a ranch in Cayucos on California’s Central Coast, where
    they live with their large menagerie of birds and mammals, both wild and domestic. When not traveling, Art and Kelly welcome guests to find peace and quiet on their ranch in their B and B guest house.

    Other trips with Kelly Vandenheuvel

Map for Baja's Bounty: Wildlife Discovery in the Sea of Cortez

Essential Information +

This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have Read more

This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have the best experience possible. If you only read one section, this one is key!

Ahead of Your Tour

  • Make sure your passport is in good condition and valid at time of entry into Mexico. No Visas are required for U.S. citizens for the length of this stay in Mexico. If you are from another country, please contact the Embassy of Mexico website for guidelines.
  • Please check current CDC recommendations for travel to Mexico and consult with your doctor about general travel vaccinations you should have as precaution for travel. See the “Health and Inoculations” section below.
  • Travel insurance in case of serious medical emergency is strongly recommended. Full health coverage and repatriation is available through Allianz Travel Insurance.
  • Make your international flight reservations in and out of Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) in San Jose del Cabo. Please provide Naturalist Journeys with your flight information.
  • Soft sided luggage/duffel bags are easiest for packing the vans. Pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.

Arriving into Los Cabos International (SJD)

In case of delay on embarkation day, please contact our operator’s Seattle office during these hours: 6:00-5:00 PST/Monday-Friday; 7:00-5:00 PST/ Saturday; 8:00-4:00 PST/ Sunday at 888-862-8881. In Mexico and/or after hours, call: 907-957-3501. You may also contact our office (the number will be on your emergency contact list).

Your arrival airport is Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) in San Jose? del Cabo. After deplaning, you will pass through Immigration and Customs at the airport. Your international tourist permit will be stamped by immigration officials, you will pick up your luggage, and you will make a customs declarations (forms are usually provided in flight by the airlines.) Hang on to your tourist permit for the duration of the trip. Upon departure, immigration officials will ask to see it. A lost or stolen tourist permit should always be replaced before leaving México.

As you exit the customs/baggage claim area into the air terminal, you will be met by cruise representatives and transferred to the cruise hospitality area. The cruise’s expedition team will join you for an overland orientation transfer to La Paz, introducing you to the beautiful Baja landscape and preparing you for the week of adventure ahead. As you board our ship, crew members will transfer your luggage while the captain and crew welcome you aboard with a cocktail before dinner.

Please check the Travel Details section of this tour for additional information and updates.

Departures from Los Cabos International (SJD)

Plan to depart from Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) on flights out after 1:30 PM. There will be group transfers to the airport based on departing flight times.

Please check the Travel Details section of this tour for additional information and updates.

Passports, Visas & Documents

A valid passport book is required to enter Mexico. You must have a passport valid at the time on entry into Mexico. Please check your expiration date carefully! We advise having at least one blank passport page per entry stamp. U.S. citizens attempting to enter Mexico at an airport with a U.S. passport card only may be denied entry. If you are from another country, please contact the Mexican embassy website for guidelines.

It is always smart to check for changes 60-90 days before tour departs but at the time of writing, a tourist visa is not required for U.S. citizens for length of this stay. If you are from another country, please contact the Mexican embassy website for guidelines.Information for U.S. citizens can be found at:

As a precaution for lost or misplaced documents you carry on your person during travel, we highly recommend you keep hard and digital backup copies on your phone (either photo or PDF scan), as well as a hard copy left with your emergency contact at home. The recommended important documents to copy include, but are not limited to; your passport ID page, travel visa, the front and back of your credit card(s), the airline barcode on your luggage. This will greatly expedite getting new ones if necessary – we hope everyone will always keep travel documents close so that losing them will not be an issue.

General Health & Inoculations Information– Be Prepared!

We will share your health information with your guide. This information will be kept confidential but is very important as we want to be best prepared in case of medical emergency. 

Anti-malarial drugs are not required for any area that you visit. There are occasional reports of Dengue Fever in lower elevation areas, for which there is no vaccine. Dengue fever, Zika, and other diseases are contacted by mosquito bites so be sure to use mosquito repellant containing DEET or Picaridin. Travelers can reduce their risk of disease by protecting themselves from mosquito bites in lower elevation areas by using protective clothing.

Vaccinations: Bring your up-to-date vaccination records with you. At the time of writing there were no required vaccinations to enter Mexico, however, the CDC recommends that all travelers be up to date with routine vaccinations and basic travel vaccines (such as Hepatitis A and Typhoid) before traveling to any destination. Please check with your doctor for recommendations at least 4-6 weeks before departing on your trip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website is helpful or you may contact them by phone at (800) CDC-INFO or (800) 232-4636.

Prescriptions and Allergies: It is a good idea to pack any meds you take regularly in your carry-on luggage.  Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses. Bring an adequate supply of any prescription medications you use, a copy of the prescription and a list of generic names of your medicines as “back-up” in case it is necessary to purchase drugs while abroad. You’ll want to keep medications in their original, labeled containers.  It is also recommended to carry with you an up-to-date record of known allergies, chronic medical problems and Medic Alerts so that, if necessary, emergency treatment can be carried out without endangering your health.

Common Ailments: We recommend that you bring a travel-sized first aid kit and a supply of standard over-the-counter medications for common ailments (such as upset stomach, headache, motion sickness, diahhrea, minor scrapes, bug bites, etc.).

Weather & Climate

The southern part of the Baja Peninsula has warm winters and hot summers with occasional refreshing breezes. The coast of the Sea of Cortez generally has warmer temperatures than the Pacific coast. Los Cabos receives an annual average rainfall of 10 inches, which falls mostly in September and October.

Cruising Philosophy

The vessel’s intimate size allows access to secluded passages, coves, and wilderness areas—allowing for spontaneity and the ability to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. A day's schedule may change to improve your experience when wildlife presents itself or there is a desire to explore an area beyond a certain period of time. Your Captain and Expedition Leader will keep you informed.


Throughout your voyage, activities such as guided hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, small skiff rides, and nature walks excursions are available. You should be able to comfortably walk distances of at least 1/2-mile at a time. It is always your choice whether to participate in the activities, relax on the beach, or kickback on board with a book and margarita.

A certain amount of agility is necessary when boarding your expedition vessel and kayaks, motorized skiffs, or hiking over exposed vegetation and rocks on trails. Some walks are on uneven terrain, which are sometimes slippery with rocks. Footwear with good traction and support is essential. We also keep hiking poles on board which you are welcome to use any time.

All activity equipment is provided. Kayaks, paddleboards, snorkeling gear (fins and masks), and wet suits are available on board for guest use. Sorry, scuba diving is not permitted from the vessel.

Food & Drinks

On the mainland ahead and after the voyage, you should drink bottled water. On the cruise, the vessel filters its own water on board so there should be no concerns about its safety. Complimentary refillable water bottles are provided in each cabin for your use; this helps enormously to cut down on the use of plastics.

While on board, meals and all premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included at no additional charge. A good selection is available. Charges apply only for super premium wines and spirits. Specific meal times and daily entrée choices will be announced on board.

You can keep a shipboard account for additional drink charges, for gratuities to staff and crew, and for any gear our souvenirs purchased. They accept credit cards (all major varieties) for payment.

Packing, Clothing & Laundry

There are no guest laundry facilities on board. We suggest bringing a small line (or dental floss will work), some clothespins, and soap.

Please, pack light. We are serious about this – you just do not need much to cope with tropical life! Please do not bring anything more than you must. Lay out your hopeful things to take and then do a serious paring down!

TRAVEL TIP: Imagine NOT getting your suitcase. Wear your most important shoes for the field and have one day’s clothing change (including a change of underwear!). And please do not pack any essential medications, or your vital optics, in your checked luggage!

Spending Money

The official currency in Mexico is the Peso. US dollar is accepted but not everywhere. We advise you carry a mix of different types of payments, such as cash, an ATM card, and a credit card. For the current exchange rate, please refer to an online converter tool like, or your bank. U.S. dollars in good condition (no rips or tears) are taken as a form of payment but shopping for smaller handicrafts may necessitate using local currency.

When using the ATM to withdrawal cash, keep in mind it might only accept cards from local banks or not allow cash advances on credit cards. Many U.S. banks charge a fee of $1 - $5 each time you use a foreign ATM. Others may charge you a percentage of the amount you withdraw. Check with your bank before departure. You must become familiar with how to use your ATM card and PIN number ahead of the journey.

We suggest you have more than one card available, if possible. You may want to bring more than one brand of card (VISA and Mastercard are commonly accepted; American Express is less common). You can use credit cards at lodges to pay your bar and gift tabs. Not every shop will accept every card. Some smaller shops and restaurants, or taxis require cash, so it is always a good idea to ask before making a purchase. Also, we recommend that you advise your bank or credit card company that you will be traveling abroad to avoid questions, card freezes, or charges. If you have a choice of cards, bring one with no foreign exchange fees.

Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted. They can be difficult to exchange. We do not advise you use them.


Tipping is optional and completely at your discretion. If you would like to show our appreciation to your guides, the ship crew or anyone associated with this tour, it is entirely appropriate. Know that they appreciate anything you care to give and of course you can do more if you wish! We hope that you will be pleased with all professional services.

Here is a standard suggestion for tipping on birding trips:

  • Gratuities for group meals are included
  • Birding tour guide: US $10.00 - $15.00 per day per guest
    Note: If there is more than one guide, this can be split among them, so that is a total, per person, per day
  • Transfer (airport shuttle) driver: US $2.00 - $3.00 per person

Gratuities will be shared among your onboard crew and are paid at the end of your cruise. Our operator recommends $250 per week per guest ($35/day per guest). Gratuities can be added to your tab along with any onboard purchases. For travel in the U.S., gratuities may be paid by cash (USD), check, travelers’ check, or credit card.

Cell Phones & Internet Service

The ship is equipped with communication devices designed to conduct the ship's business and for emergency purposes but wifi is not available for passenger use. Cell phones sometimes work near more populated areas. A satellite phone is available on the bridge of each ship for emergency use at additional cost.

In an emergency, family and friends can call 888-862-8881 Monday-Friday 6:00 am-6:00 pm or Saturday 7:00 am-4:00 pm.

On the mainland, please check with your wireless provider to see if your phone and service will work in your destination country. If your phone can connect to Wi-Fi, you may be able to make voice and video calls free of charge. Please contact your cell phone provider for further details. Another option if you have access to Wi-Fi, is to use smartphone apps like Skype, WhatsApp, or Viber to send text messages, and make voice calls, or video calls. Many smartphones, tablets, or laptops come with one of these apps pre-installed or you can download for free. If bringing a laptop or tablet, get a good dustcover to protect it at all times.

Make sure if you do NOT want to use your cell phone that you turn off your cellular data. You could incur huge charges if you are not on Wi-Fi. Putting your phone in airplane mode if you mainly use it for photos will save the battery as well.


Mexico plugs are 110 volts AV (60 cycles), as they are in the U.S. and Canada. You will not need a power plug adapter if you are using U.S. or Canadian plugs. Mexican socket types are type A and B. We recommend you bring a 3 to 2 prong adaptor just in case type B sockets are not available. More information can be found at


Baja California Sur, Mexico uses Mountain Standard time in the winter and Mountain Daylight Time in summer. A great website for local times is


Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at or telephone at our office: (520) 558-1146 or toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey!


Pace & Protocols +

Pace of the Tour & What to Expect You will receive a Schedule-at-a-Glance and list of Read more

Pace of the Tour & What to Expect

You will receive a Schedule-at-a-Glance and list of hotels (our eContact List) a few weeks before your departure. This will serve as an outline for each day and alert you to any recent changes made in the schedule or to our hotels, if needed.

Our journeys are set up to follow the rhythm of nature. Our focus is on birding and nature; we offer full, well-planned field days and often get up early for that magical time around dawn. We generally follow the published itinerary, but we stay flexible to the weather, wildlife opportunities and the interests of the group. Your guide will keep you apprised of the next day’s schedule at each evening meal, noting what to bring and what to prepare for. Questions and/or concerns are welcome.

The pace of our Naturalist Journeys tours is moderate; to fully participate you should be able to get in and out of vehicles several times a day, and walk 1-3 miles over uneven terrain. It is important to participate with a flexible attitude as adjustments may be made in our schedule to make the most of our time in the field or for other purposes at your guide's discretion. We are not a “listing” bird company that drills down on target species, but at times we do wait for those special species unique to the places we visit. During the day, we take time to stop for photos and for educational opportunities to learn about conservation projects, landscapes, and geology. We appreciate other taxa as well as birds, with mammals often the biggest draw but plants and butterflies are also very popular. Our clients often lend their own expertise to the mix.

We like to make meals a fun and memorable part of the experience, too. Breakfasts are often at hotels, and we carry snacks, fruit, and water in the vans each day. Lunches are a mix of picnics in the field (weather dependent) and a chance to dine with locals at small cafes and restaurants. For dinner, we pride ourselves in our homework to keep up with the best choices for dining, choosing restaurants with atmosphere that specialize in local foods. On occasion we keep dinner simple to go back out in the field for sunset wildlife viewing or night walks. In some remote locations, our choices are limited. If you are tired, room service for dinner may be an option you can choose.

Naturalist Journeys International Trips: Guide Role

Naturalist Journeys supports ecotourism and the development of excellent local guides. Once we know our international partners and guides well, we can send out small groups working directly with these trusted partners, adding a Naturalist Journeys guide to assist the local expert when we have a group of 6-7 or more. This helps us keep your costs down while retaining tour quality. The local guide is your main guide. You can expect your Naturalist Journeys guide to be well-researched and often they are experienced in the destination, but their role is not to be primary, it is to help to organize logistics, help you find birds, mammals, and interesting other species in the field, keep reports, help facilitate group interactions, and to keep the trip within Naturalist Journeys' style. Local guides live in the countries we travel to, know the destinations intimately, and are often the strongest force for conservation in their countries. They open many doors for us to have a rich experience.


Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle or in any situation where the group is participating in an activity together, such as a vehicle excursion or a guided walk. Please respect all designated smoking areas at hotels and restaurants.


As a courtesy to each other, we ask that all travelers please rotate seating. On international trips we may all be in one small bus, on some trips we are in vans, particularly the roomy Sprinter Vans when available. Some areas require us to be in smaller 4-wheel drive or safari vehicles. Rotation allows you to sit with different drivers and alternate front and back seating.

Photo Release & Sharing

We take many group photos and will share photos with the group. And after your tour, we will organize a chance to share photos via Dropbox or Google Photos. Please note that this is our policy and if you prefer to be excluded, we need to know ahead of your tour.

By registering for this tour, you agree to grant to Naturalist Journeys and its authorized representatives’ permission to record on photography film and/or video, pictures of my participation in the tour. You further agree that any or all of the material photographed may be used, in any form, as part of any future publications, brochure, or other printed materials used to promote Naturalist Journeys, and further that such use shall be without payment of fees, royalties, special credit or other compensation.

Travel Insurance

You are traveling in remote areas. Naturalist Journeys strongly recommends you have full medical and evacuation insurance from a company such as Allianz, for all international travel. If you do not have medical coverage or evacuation coverage on your existing travel insurance policy or for some reason elected not to take that out, we advise getting an evacuation plan with Global RescueWorld Nomads, Medjet, Allianz (they can do evacuation only) or a similar company. These plans are typically $300-$400 for a year for multiple destinations. This coverage may be a part of a larger Travel Insurance policy but can also be purchased on its own.


Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at or telephone our office: (520) 558-1146 or toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey.


Packing List +

The following items will be provided. Adventure gear including mask/snorkel/fins/wet suits & yoga mats Two robes, hairdryer, Read more

The following items will be provided.

  • Adventure gear including mask/snorkel/fins/wet suits & yoga mats
  • Two robes, hairdryer, towels, shampoo, conditioner & body wash per cabin
  • Refillable water bottles
  • Reef-safe sunscreen

Please pack light!

Soft luggage is much easier for us to pack than a more rigid hard sided piece, so if you have the choice, please use your soft luggage.  Be sure to have your name and address on the inside of the bag, as well as on the luggage tag on the handle.  It is our hope that you can pack in one checked suitcase that does not exceed 45 pounds.  Be sure to pack your personal medication, airline tickets, passport, binoculars, camera, and other essential items in your carry-on bag. You will want a day pack for field trips, so this makes an ideal carry-on. Please reconfirm your airline’s baggage weight and size restrictions about a week or so before departure.

Dress is comfortable and informal throughout the trip. Dressing in layers is the best way to be comfortable. Lightweight long sleeve shirts and long pants make ideal field clothing as they are more protective from sun and vegetation.  But if you like to wear them, by all means bring some shorts.  Also, choose clothing you don’t mind getting dirty or muddy and things that are comfortable and easy.

Note on clothing colors and insect repellent: We recommend muted colors of tan, brown, khaki, grey or green, as they are spotted less easily than white or bright colors, though camouflage clothing is not recommended. It is possible to purchase field clothing permeated with insect repellent, such as Craghoppers Insect Shield collection. Another approach is to purchase Permethrin spray (online or from REI) to treat your field clothing and socks before your departure.

Clothing & Gear

  • Lightweight or convertible hiking pants, 1-2 pair
  • Shorts, shirts/dresses 2-3
  • Lightweight long-sleeved shirts, 2-3
  • T-shirts, sleeveless and short-sleeved or equivalent, 2-3
  • Comfortable clothes for evening (a cleaner version of your field clothes)
  • Personal underclothing (consider what dries quickly if you plan to do laundry)
  • Socks – lightweight, easy to wash and dry, and long enough to tuck your pants to help protect from chiggers
  • Comfortable walking shoes (such as tennis shoes), deck shoes
  • Sturdy walking shoes/day hikers
  • Sandals or flip flops
  • Water socks or water shores for wet landings
  • Lightweight hooded rain/wind jacket
  • Fleece or hooded jacket or pullover/sweater for windy evenings on deck
  • Hat with broad brim
  • Bandana (optional, great for cooling off when hot and sweaty)
  • Long-sleeve rash guard/sun-shirt
  • Bathing suit and (optional) beach cover up

Equipment & Miscellaneous

  • Airline tickets or e-ticket verification
  • Passport, visa (if required), travel insurance info, money & credit cards.
  • A secure pouch to carry the items above on your person at all times (such as a secure, under-clothing document pouch)
  • As a backup: copies of all the above (phone and/or paper) packed in a separate location than on your person, plus a set given to your emergency contact at home as a backup. For passport, copy of the  ID and entry stamp pages.
  • Small daypack or fanny pack for carrying your field gear
  • Dry bag for camera, binoculars, snacks, etc. (optional but strongly recommended)
  • Small flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries
  • Sunscreen/Chapstick and waterproof sunblock
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Insect repellent (containing DEET)
  • Toiletry articles
  • Binoculars
  • Spotting scope and tripod (optional – guide will have them)
  • Camera and extra batteries/chargers, memory cards, lens cleaning supplies and your instruction   manual, safety lanyard.
  • Paddling gloves (optional – for kayaking)
  • Snorkel, mask and flippers (optional if you prefer to use your own)
  • Notebook and pen or journal (optional)
  • Field guides (optional)
  • Heavy-gauge gallon-size ziplock bags for keeping possessions dry


WE DO NOT RECOMMEND TRAVELING WITH PRECIOUS OR VALUABLE JEWELRY – don’t tempt anyone and don’t bring things you’d regret losing - your mind will be at ease!

Medical & First Aid Items

  • Heath insurance and vaccination information (kept in personal pouch with other travel documents)
  • Personal medications (and copy of vital prescriptions)
  • Motion sickness preventatives if likely to be needed on bus, van drives, etc.
  • Personal first aid kit and medications for general ailments
  • Copy of eyeglass prescription, medical prescriptions, vaccination records, and any medical alerts
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses or contacts
  • Band-aids, moleskin to protect against blisters
  • Hand sanitizer in small container


Suggested Reading List +

There are many titles of interest for Mexico the following are a few that we Read more

There are many titles of interest for Mexico the following are a few that we have enjoyed that can get you started.

Top Picks

Merlin App – Mexico Pack. A phone-based birding app from Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology. Before departing the U.S., download the app for free, then from within the app, download the “pack” for Mexico.

A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America

Mexico - Culture Smart! The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Field Guides

Birds of Mexico and Central America

Baja California Plant Field Guide 

Sea of Cortez Marine Invertebrates

Mexico Marine Guide Pacific Coast Sea of Cortez

Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: West Coast

Reef Fish Identification: Baja to Panama 

Mexico: Baja California Travel Reference Map

Roadside Geology and Biology of Baja California

Gray Whales: Wandering Giants

Field Guide to the Birds of North America

Natural History

The Log from the Sea of Cortez

The Forgotten Peninsula; A Naturalist in Baja California  

The Desert Islands of Mexico's Sea of Cortez

Telling our Way to the Sea; A Voyage of Discovery in the Sea of Cortez 

Eye of the Whale: Epic Passage from Baja to Siberia

History & Culture

Moon Handbook Baja

Mexico - Culture Smart! The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Into A Desert Place: A 3000 Mile Walk around the Coast of Baja California

Almost an Island: Travels in Baja California

Spanish Lingo for the Savvy Gringo 


King of the Moon: A Novel of Baja California

The Pearl. John Steinbeck

There is a good selection of books available for sale at visitors’ centers, and your guide will also have a selection of reference books and materials for participants to share. As an Amazon Associate, Naturalist Journeys earns from qualifying purchases, and may get commissions for purchases made through links on this page at no added cost to you.


Useful Links +

Learn more about your destination at these external websites, carefully researched for you. Read more


Mexican State of Baja California Sur

Baja and Sea of Cortez General Information

San José del Cabo

Isla San Francisco

Wildlife, Nature & Biology

Sea of Cortez - A large natural biodiversity aquarium

“The Sea of Cortez” – A very interesting paper outlining “one of the world’s most biologically rich subtropical seas, the Gulf of California”

Sea of Cortez Fish Identification

Endemic Animals of Baja California

California Sea Lion

Snorkeling with California Sea Lions in Baja (YouTube video)

Nat Geo Article – Get Up Close with Wildlife of Magdalena Bay

Gray Whale – See other news articles on this website about the endangerment of the Gray Whale

Vaquita – the world’s smallest, and most endangered cetacean

Birding Baja California Sur

Baja California Sur Checklist – select your animal

Amphibians and Reptiles of Mexico

Conservation, Parks & Reserves

Islands and Protected Areas of the Sea of Cortez (UNESCO)

Gulf of California Biosphere Reserve

Conservation in Baja California –

Terra Peninsular Article – “18 Years of Conservation for Baja California

 “Protecting the Baja Peninsula” – Article by National Resources Defense Council

“Project – Baja California’s Pacific and the Sea of Cortez” – Article by

Geology & Geography

Geology of Baja California Peninsula

Geography of Baja California Peninsula

Geography of Mexico

History & Culture

A Brief History of Baja California (History Channel)

Cultural Anthropology in Baja

Helpful Travel Websites

Los Cabos International Airport (SJD)

National Passport Information Center

Homeland Security Real ID Act

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

ATM Locator

Foreign Exchange Rates

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

U.S. Department of State International Travel Information - Mexico

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Mexico

Canada Travel Advice and Advisories - Mexico

Travel Health Pro (UK) - Mexico

Electricity and Plugs - Mexico

Date, Time, and Holidays - Mexico

Photo credits: Banners: Safari Endeavor by Jocelyn Pride, courtesy UnCruise Adventures; Brown-footed Booby by Peg Abbott; Skiff Landing, courtesy UnCruise Adventures; Dolphins, courtesy UnCruise Adventures; Hiking, courtesy UnCruise Adventures; Beach Walkers, Yellow-legged Gull, Long-billed Dowitchers by Peg Abbott; Brown Pelican by Mahlon Hale; gray Thrasher, by Susan Zazzali Mittelstadt; Kayakers, Gull by Naturalist Journeys stock; Sea Lion courtesy of Un-Cruise.


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