NEW YORK -- Three programs that explore the Sea of Cortes,
departing December through April, are offered by Special
Expeditions, based here.
The itineraries are Among the Great Whales; Copper Canyon and
the Sea of Cortes and Exploring Baja's Infinite Mysteries.
Throughout the Sea of Cortes, passengers travel on Special
Expeditions' 70-passenger Sea Bird or Sea Lion, specially designed
to operate in remote areas and to reach places inaccessible to
larger vessels. Accompanying the group are naturalists who are
experts in fields such as geology, marine mammals and birds.
With an educational emphasis, the adventures aim to give
participants a chance to experience and understand the diversity of
marine life and of the flora and fauna of the area's numerous
uninhabited islands. The naturalists guide the group on shore
walks, identify wildlife from the ship, give slide-illustrated
lectures and discuss the day's highlights in an informal lounge
The Sea of Cortes is home to whales, dolphins, seabirds, sea
lions and many saltwater species of fish. The islands feature
desert landscapes of cacti and wildflowers and untouched beaches.
Among the activities on the Sea of Cortes portion of the trips are
viewing dolphins, manta rays and whales such as finback, blue and
humpback; swimming with sea lions; snorkeling and kayaking. On
hiking excursions, participants can see avian life such as
hummingbirds, frigate birds and blue-footed and brown boobies.
Beyond the Sea of Cortes, two of Special Expeditions'
itineraries highlight Bahia Magdalena and its California gray
whales and the Copper Canyon, a remote area in northwestern
Among the Great Whales is an eight-night program with a heavy
focus on the California gray whale, which migrates yearly from the
waters of Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California to mate, give
birth and nurture their young. The journey begins in La Paz on the
eastern edge of the Baja Peninsula, explores the Sea of Cortes,
stops in Los Cabos and heads up the Pacific coastline to Bahia
Magdalena. Whales can be observed from the decks of the ships, and
the firm carries a fleet of Zodiac landing craft to offer
passengers up-close encounters with the huge creatures.
Among the Great Whales is available January to March. The tour
is priced starting at $2,790 per person, double.
The seven-night Copper Canyon and the Sea of Cortes itinerary is
offered from December to April. After traveling through the Sea of
Cortes, passengers will stay a night in the colonial town of El
Fuerte before boarding the Copper Canyon Limited train for an
ascent on the Chihuahua al Pacifico railroad to Divisadero,
situated nearly 8,000 feet above sea level. Participants will
overnight at one of two mountain lodges at the rim of the canyon
before descending by motorcoach to Chihuahua.
Beyond the natural beauty of the Copper Canyon, a highlight of
the trip is the Tarahumara Indians, who live in caves or small
adobe dwellings and have retained their colorful dress and ancient
traditions. Rates for the Copper Canyon and the Sea of Cortes
program start at $2,100 per person, double.
Exploring Baja's Infinite Mysteries was designed to give clients
a comprehensive look at the Sea of Cortes, with visits to areas
never featured on Special Expeditions' programs in the past. The
seven-night tour features a loosely structured itinerary.
Exploring Baja's Infinite Mysteries, offered from late March to
mid-April, is priced starting at $2,290 per person, double.
Special Expeditions, Phone: (800) EXPEDITION
Two firms make debut in Sea of Cortes
NEW YORK -- Since 1981, Special Expeditions has offered
small-ship adventures highlighting the Sea of Cortes, which now is
an emerging area of interest in Mexico for firms wishing to cater
to the trend toward soft-adventure, nature-oriented vacations.
Voyager Cruise Line, a new company formed by Alaska's Glacier
Bay Tours & Cruises, and Alaska Sightseeing/Cruise West are new
entrants this year in the Sea of Cortes market.
All three firms offer programs that couple the Sea of Cortes
with a rail journey through Mexico's Copper Canyon, which gives
clients a look at the area's Tarahumara Indians.