AdventureSmith Explorations will help banish snow and ice with three new close-to-home itineraries, two by land and one by sea. All deliver guests this winter into the sunshine of Baja where the wonders of a North American version of the Galapagos await.
One itinerary places people nose-to-nose with land and marine life teeming in one of the world’s most nutrient-rich marine environments-- the Sea of Cortez, home to 39 percent of the world’s total marine mammal species, a third of the world’s marine cetacean species and 891 fish species. This abundance of marine life also draws many species of birds. Another itinerary posits guests up close and personal with the color, culture, landscape and people on the Pacific Ocean side of Baja California Sur (south) where sunny days and white sand beaches traditionally draw culture mavens and their followers to an abundance of art, music and regional fare.
“On or off the water, our Baja itineraries are immersive and active. The new programs we’re presenting this winter address requests for quick getaways as well as week-long vacations, all in a region with the same kind of appeal as the Galapagos,” says Todd Smith, AdventureSmith Explorations Founder and President. “We can usually accommodate last-minute requests for land-based and cruise itineraries in this affordable, easy-to-navigate region.”
Three days at Camp Cecil on the desert island of Isla Espiritu Santo comes with naturalist guides ready to indulge whims for birdwatching, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, snorkeling and swimming just off the coast of Baja California. A three-day rate is from $750 per person double, with departures any day, November through April. Included are roundtrip transfers from La Paz and Todos Santos to this electricity-free island; snorkel gear and wet suit; all adventures and related equipment; all meals and happy hours; walk-in luxury tent accommodations; panga (dinghy) support; bilingual naturalist guide/certified Wilderness First-Aid Responder; and National Park Conservation fee. The luxury camp (real linens on the beds and daily housekeeping service) is located within a National Marine Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site offering protected wildlife and landscapes rife for exploration. The waters harbor whale sharks, dolphins, sea lions, and over a dozen species of whales (including Blue whales). Guests search for blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate bird colonies. The island is one of the 900 islands in the Espiritu Santo Archipelago.
Baja Intimate Insider is a seven-day itinerary that can be customized. The rate is from $3,500 per person double, with departures any day, year-round. Hand-curated local guides introduce guests to their favorite artists, rancheros and chefs. The rate includes boutique accommodations selected for character and size (intimate); meals; daily activities and excursions; local guides/experts and airport transfers to and from San Jose del Cabo airport. Adventures can include hikes, horseback rides, birdwatching, ranch tours and cooking classes. Opportunities for guests may include:
- visit the Sierra La Laguna Biosphere Reserve, one of Baja's most beautiful but least-explored areas and home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life, boasting one of the highest rates of plant endemism of any place in the world;
- surf with Mario, a veteran surf instructor, who guarantees that guests will stand up on their boards during the first hour of instruction - at least for a few moments;
- stargaze with Sergio, the owner of Los Colibris Casitas, who will explore Aztec and Mayan mythology through the stars;
- explore ranching in the mountains with Doña Ramona and learn how to make traditional tortillas; marvel at the artistry of potters who share the landscape riddled with dry arroyos;
- dine on creative farm-to-table presentations and home-style Mexican cuisine;
- imbibe the secrets of Iker Algorri, chef/author of Cooking Adventures in Baja California Sur;
- walk the bluffs over the Pacific coastline where sea lions cavort;
- check out some of the over 430 bird species spotted in this region while riding horses with Kaia, an avid birder and naturalist;
- drink wine with local artist Jill Logan.
The brand-new 100-guest National Geographic Venture launches this winter with spacious accommodations and equipment to suit the most active of travelers over five days on Base Camp Baja, a wellness-focused cruise in the Sea of Cortez. This cruise is active and relaxing with award-winning wellness programs. Guests pursue yoga, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, stretching in the onboard fitness center, meditating and massages as well as body and natural facial, hand and foot treatments. This new ship is kicking off its first-ever sailing season in Baja before heading north to Alaska. The per person double rate is from $2,650. Departure dates in 2018 are Dec. 22-26, Dec. 26-30 and Dec. 30-Jan. 3, 2019; 2019 departures are Jan. 3-7, Jan. 7-11, Dec. 23-27, Dec. 29-Jan. 2, 2020; 2020 departure dates are Jan. 2-6 and Jan. 6-10.
A bonus for vacationing in this region is the possibility of swimming with whale sharks. Although whale sharks are found swimming all over the world, La Paz, Baja (a commonly used port for AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises), is one of the easiest and closest opportunities to swim alongside them for North Americans. These fish (the largest fish in the world) have made a winter home in the sandy shallows just outside the La Paz harbor where snorkelers can test their swimming speed (and nerve) by trying to keep up with these massive creatures. (Whale sharks swim like a shark but feed on plankton and other small sea life, offering no threat to swimmers.) Swimming with these majestic creatures is an experience not easily forgotten.
For details on all AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises worldwide, day-to-day itineraries, availability and reservations, phone: 866-575-2875 toll-free or visit their company website.
About AdventureSmith Explorations -Think Outside the Boat!
Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Truckee, CA, near the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. A recognized leader in small ship cruising, in 2012 owner Todd Smith joined the ranks of Condé Nast Traveler's prestigious world’s Top Travel Specialists list as the leading expert on small ship expeditions.