When the Spaniards arrived in Baja California in 1539, they believed they had reached a mythical island of female warriors governed by Queen Calafia. Certainly, this is paradise found – home to the legendary El Zorro, massive canyons, rugged coasts, rich jungles and UNESCO protected biospheres. Not for the average tourist, Baja California offers a very different Mexico. Plus, visit the remarkable Copper canyon by train.
Dick and Leslie West will be hosting this special cruise – Join them and receive a $300 per suite ship board credit, to use in the spa, salon, or for premium beverages.
DATES: April 21, 2018
DURATION: 12 DAYS/11 NIGHTS
EMBARK: Mazatlan, Mexico
DISEMBARK: San Diego, California
SAVE 10% – PAY IN FULL BY OCTOBER 31
SHIP: Silver Explorer
Truly all-inclusive – Open Bar; Free Internet; included shore excursions, including overnight train trip to the fabulous Copper Canyon, and a selection of activities in Cabo San Lucas; all Gratuities; Expert Expedition Leaders
Early Booking Bonus: Save 10% if you book and pay in full by 31 August
Alluring Single Fares: Single supplements starting at only 25%
Enjoy Expedition Free Air: Book by 30 September and Enjoy Free Economy Class Air Roundtrip, or Business Class Air Flights starting from $499 each way.
Day 1 – April 21: Arrive Mazatlan, Mexico
Embark Silver Explorer and depart on your exciting Silversea Expedition to Baja and the Sea of Cortez.
DEPART 4:00 PM
Day 2 – April 22: Los Islotes – Espiritu Santo
Have a leisurely breakfast and attend a lecture about the Sea of Cortez before we arrive at our first destination in the late morning.
Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida, constitute an important biological reserve. Los Islotes is a small set of rocks just to the north of Isla Partida,and is home to a sea lion colony of more than 200 permanent members and several seabird species. We will approach Los Islotes with our Zodiacs to get a closer look at the different animals and rock formations and will offer an opportunity to swim and snorkel with the sea lions.
Espiritu Santo was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1995, with Isla Partida separated from Espiritu Santo only by a narrow winding channel. Steep cliffs, azure blue water and white sand make for some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.
Day 3 – April 23: Isla San Pedro
This afternoon we will offer Zodiac cruises around the guano-covered island. This steep rock coming almost straight out of the sea is one of the few islands in the Sea of Cortez to have a permanent group of seabirds – Brown and Blue-footed Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, brown pelicans, cormorants and Magnificent Frigate birds. Landing is prohibited to protect the nesting sites of the birds and the island itself is protected by Mexican law and included in the UNESCO World Heritage list –together with 243 other islands in the Sea of Cortez. Bottlenose dolphins can be found around the island as well as one of the three great pods of sperm whale in the Gulf of California. Sea lions have made this island their home and form the third largest colony in the gulf.
Day 4 – April 24: Isla Partida, Isla San Esteban
Today, Silver Explorer will be off two more of the Midriff Islands and we will go ashore to search for desert birds and some of the endemic lizards following the dry riverbeds. Remains of the local Seri natives can be found in several areas.
Day 5 – April 25: Isla Santa Catalina
Santa Catalina is one of several islands in the Loreto Bay National Park (Parque Nacional Bahia Loreto). The sea surrounding Santa Catalina has manta rays and several large pods of bottlenose, spinner and long-beaked common dolphins, as well as short-finned pilot whales and we hope to not only see them from the outer decks of Silver Explorer, but also from our Zodiacs.
In the afternoon, we will go ashore and search for marine life and offer various hikes. We will hike into the Cardon cactus forest. Standing next to the various cacti –and especially the Santa Catalina barrel cactus- can be quite impressive. On the Cardon cactus we will look for Gila Woodpeckers and other birds that use the plant for food or as a resting place. There are several interesting animal species on the island, including the endemic Santa Catalina rattle-less rattlesnake. The Santa Catalina whiptail lizard, the common desert spiny lizard, Santa Catalina desert iguana, and other reptiles make for interesting photography.
Day 6 – April 26: Isla San Jose – Isla San Francisco
Exploration and discovery await us as we anchor off the coast of Isla San Jose. We intend to explore the mangroves on San Jose’s southern side and will take our Zodiacs into the lagoon and channel in search of shorebirds and waders. The Yellow-footed Gull is one of the resident seabirds.
At Isla San Francisco we will find a beautiful desert beach on its southwestern side with excellent snorkeling and a nearby sea lion colony. We will offer various shore hikes looking for fauna and flora for those wanting to stretch their legs.
Days 7-8 – April 27-28: Topolobampo –Copper Canyon
Silver Explorer will arrive quite early to Topolobampo where you will visit the famous Copper Canyon by train on an included overnight excursion seeing a series of massive canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains.
You will drive to El Fuerte, as the train ride to Copper Canyon will start from there. At El Fuerte you will board your privately chartered train on the Chihuahua Pacifico Railway. Enjoy a leisurely morning and a continental boxed breakfast on board the train while you traverse the magnificent Sierra Madre Mountain range, and eventually enter the Copper Canyon – four times larger than the Grand Canyon and only accessible by rail. Your rail journey will wind through tunnels and bridges as you climb from sea level to 7,200 feet. Traveling along the rails sometimes over 1,475 feet above the ground, the journey covers 400 miles over 37 bridges and through 86 tunnels. You will stay at the incredible Mirador Hotel overlooking Copper Canyon. The Mirador Hotel is located at the canyon’s edge, near the highest point of the canyon. The Mirador is the only hotel where each guest room has a spectacular view overlooking the canyon – claimed to be one of the ten best views in the world. Located in the middle of the legendary Sierra Madre Mountains of the Mexico’s state of Chihuahua, this immense series of canyons and ridges covers 25,000 square miles of rugged territory.
While staying at the Mirador we will also witness a Tarahumara dance presentation. The Tarahumara – a reclusive tribe that has chosen to live apart from modern western culture, subsisting on corn, beans, and their livestock – constitute the largest indigenous group in the state of Chihuahua.
Day 9 – April 29: Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is often referred to as Land’s End as it is located on the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula. Enjoy a selection of included activities –
Set sail on a spacious catamaran for a scenic cruise in the Sea of Cortez to beautiful Chileno Bay. Anchored in turquoise waters you can snorkel over a reef that is home to colorful marine life. As the sails are hoisted for the return, relax onboard with complimentary snacks and an open bar.
Visits a quaint sea-side ranch where horses will be waiting for you. After brief instructions, you will begin a leisurely one-hour beach ride along a secluded beach. A short ride to the beach -where you are met by the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean- will then take you atop a bluff. The contrast between desert and sea is spectacular if experienced on horseback.
Visit San Jose del Cabo. The bus ride shows Baja California’s striking appearance, from its arid desert setting and white sand coves, to its swaying palm trees and the deep blue sea. At the picturesque San Jose del Cabo you will visit the local mission church and its shady tree-lined plaza; the town even has an old opera house, now converted to a popular local restaurant.
If you would like to kayak in the bay, you can opt to do so to take your sea-kayak past Los Arcos to reach renowned Lovers Beach –a strip of land connecting the Sea of Cortez with the Pacific Ocean.
Another way to explore the bay and sea would be aboard a comfortable motorized catamaran for a coastal cruise along the Sea of Cortéz and Pacific Coast. Refreshments and snacks are served on board the boat. En route, take in breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, secluded coves and the famous arch at Land’s End, along with the spectacular golf resorts and residential developments.
Day 10-11– April 30-May 1: At Sea
Silver Explorer will sail from Cabo San Lucas along the west coast of Baja California. Take the time to look for cetaceans and seabirds, attend lectures about Baja California and California, or edit the many photos you have taken during the exploration of the Sea of Cortez.
The onboard Videographer will present the voyage DVD and the Captain will invite you to the Farewell Cocktail Party and Farewell Dinner.
Day 12 – May 2: San Diego, California
After breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.
BAJA AND TREASURES OF CORTES EXPEDITION CRUISE and COPPER CANYON
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