Mexico: The Whale & the Boojum Tree – Marine Biology and Desert Ecology on the Baja Peninsula
Embark on a thousand-mile ecological and cultural adventure through beautiful desert landscapes and pristine beach towns along the crystal blue coasts of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Dubbed the world’s aquarium by Jacques Cousteau, the Sea of Cortez is home to giant manta rays, humpback whales, and fully 1/3 of all aquatic mammal species in the world.
After meeting your group in San Diego, cross into Baja California Norte, México. Your orientation begins in Ensenada, known as The Cinderella of the Pacific, for its gentle Mediterranean climate and gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. Taste fresh tacos de pescado, chocolate clams and aguachile. Learn how to make salsa, take surfing lessons and participate in a scavenger hunt on the Avenida Lopez Mateos, as you acclimate to Mexican life and culture.
During your Seminar visit the Observatorio Astronómico Nacional de México in a rare coniferous forest high in the desert mountains. Travel to San Felipe for your first views of the Sea of Cortez and learn about critically endangered species like the vaquita marina, the world’s rarest marine mammal. Explore Baja’s unique desert ecology as you begin a journey south that has captivated adventurers, explorers and missionaries for centuries. Along the way to Baja California Sur, pass through fantastical desert landscapes dotted by Boojum trees and Elephant cactus, see prehistoric cave paintings in the Vizcaíno desert and explore the remote French mining village of Santa Rosalía.
During your homestay, live with a welcoming Mexican family, learn to make tortillas by hand and pick avocados and mangos right off the trees. Stay on a traditional ranch and swim in a freshwater desert oasis in the mountains. Cross the Sierra Laguna on foot with pack mules and a Mexican naturalist. During your expedition, pitch a tent, eat around the campfire and sleep under a blanket of brilliant stars dotting the Baja night sky. Take a boat to the Isla Espiritu Santo, an uninhabited marine preserve teeming with life. Enjoy snorkeling and swimming with sea lions, dolphins and manta rays. During your final days, relax on the splendid beaches of San José del Cabo as you reflect on the unique cultures, underwater worlds and pristine ecosystems of Baja. Celebrate the beauty of Mexico with the special people who helped you call Baja home during an adventurous summer at the edge of the world.
Check back soon for more details about the program itinerary, venues and activities.
Program: Mexico – The Whale & the Boojum Tree
Start/End: San Diego, CA
Dates: 4 weeks (end of June – end of July)