Small Ship Cruises
Baja | Sea of Cortez | Adult Only
The Sea of Cortez, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a marine life-rich natural aquarium
8 days / 7 nights
Activity LevelActivity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Our inclusive island-hopping cruise in the Sea of Cortez showcases adventure, culture, and wildlife—boobies, pelicans, frigate birds; humpback, gray, pilot, and blue whales; whale sharks, dolphins, and sea lions. Paddle and hike along desert landscape. Snorkel with sea lion pups. Ride a mule into the arroyos with local rancheros. And discover firsthand how small the human presence here truly is.
Active exploration and a menagerie of wildlife await you on our Mexico Baja Cruise! Traverse the Sea of Cortez on a 7-night island-hopping adventure filled with an abundance of activities. Hike the Isla San Franciso’s ruggedly beautiful beach, kayak the Isla Espíritu Santo, and ride mules into arroyos with local rancheros on Bahía Agua Verde. Search for whales, mobula rays, and dolphins while you explore by skiff, or get up close and personal with sea lion pups and colorful reef fish as you snorkel the rich waters of the world’s youngest sea. All the while, enjoy the best accommodations and delectable cuisine with Austin’s signature touch of inspired, thoughtful service and discover the perfect blend of exploration and relaxation on this unforgettable holiday.
- Watch for pods of dolphin and sperm whales as they spout, leap, and dive in the bounteous Sea of Cortez
- Search for gentle whale sharks in Bahia de La Paz or (depending on the season) for gray whales and their new calves at Bahia Magdalena
- Hitch a ride by burro to a local arroyo, experiencing the “real Baja” alongside a local ranchero family
- Snorkel with acrobatic sea lion pups at the craggy Los Islotes
- Hike red-rock outcroppings, paddle idyllic bays, and beachcomb protected, shell-strewn shores on Baja’s isle-dappled coast
- By night, ogle at a star-filled sky and at waters that glow as if by magic in bioluminescence
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Soak up the Sun: Rain is a rarity in San Jose del Cabo, with over 350 days of sunshine annually.
Sea Variety: The Sea of Cortez is home to 900 varieties of fish and 2,000 species of marine invertebrates, making it the richest body of water on the planet.
From Page to Sea: Follow the path of author John Steinbeck, as written in his book 'The Log from the Sea of Cortez'.
San José Del Cabo, Mexico SJD
San José Del Cabo, Mexico SJD
San Jose del Cabo
Bienvenidos! You will be met at the Los Cabos International Airport in San José del Cabo and transferred to our hospitality area. Joined by your expedition team, an overland orientation transfer to La Paz acquaints you with the dramatic Baja landscape and the week that lies ahead. The captain and crew welcome you aboard just in time for a cocktail and dinner with your new mates.
Isla San Francisco
In a playground of steep red bluffs and sweeping desert beach, kick off your weeklong adventure with a day of play. Don some flippers for a snorkel among colorful sea life, put on your walking shoes for an exploratory hike, grab a paddle, or relax on the beach with the sand between your toes. The rugged beauty of the island makes it an ideal spot for escapades.
Bahía Agua Verde
At Bahía Agua Verde, clear waters are bordered by sparse craggy mountains hemmed in green. Explore the coast by small skiff, visit with a local ranchero and his family, and take to the canyons and mountains on a mule ride and experience the “real Baja”. Scenic vistas, outstanding exploration, excellent birding, and unmatched camaraderie—the day is done.
While it’s unlikely you’ll find any black pearls, today you’ll sail amongst islands once explored by early conquistadors. Your expedition team will be at-the-ready with more adventurous options to choose from—kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding, or beachcombing. Discover nature’s diversity and learn about the geologic forces that formed these islands.
Marine Life Search
Depending on the time of year you’re joining us, you’ll either explore Magdalena Bay or Bahía de la Paz.
Mother Nature is your guide today. The gray whales arrive each year on Baja’s west coast”migrating more than 12,000 miles to calve in Bahía Magdalena. Dock in Puerto Escondido, then drive across the peninsula to ride in a panga and observe these mammals and their babies in the lagoon.
Bahía de la Paz
Whale sharks the largest known species of fish are known to frequent the bay. Keep watch for the watery “footprints” of these gentle giants, and conditions permitting, gear up for an unforgettable swim alongside this colossal creature or observe from above in the skiff.
Los Islotes / Isla Partida
At Los Islotes—a steep craggy seamount leaping straight from the sea—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. Afterwards, heave anchor and set sail for Isla Partida, for an afternoon of water play or island hikes along desert beaches or into rocky arroyos.
Isla Espíritu Santo
Tuck into a secluded cove surrounded by long fingers of red rock and a golden beach. Spend your last full day enjoying the feel of warm sand under your feet on a beach walk, investigate nooks and crannies in the rocks by kayak, or explore a little further afield on a guided hike. Celebrate your week at tonight’s special farewell dinner with an entertaining slideshow by your expedition team.
La Paz / San Jose
After breakfast, it’s “adios” La Paz, as you disembark the vessel and transfer back to San José del Cabo for your flight, or UnCruise hotel stay.
* This trip is operated by UnCruise Adventures in partnership with Austin Adventures.
** Due to the nature of our explorations, itineraries are guidelines and will change in order to maximize wildlife and natural encounters. Variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur.
Arrival & Departure
We suggest that you book your flight into San José del Cabo at least one day prior to your trip departure. You may arrive on day of departure as long as you arrive into the airport no later than 2:30 pm. If you are arriving on the day of embarkation, your airport transfer is included to the hospitality area in San José del Cabo. You will have time to explore the city and meet back no later than 4:30 pm to meet your Expedition leader, followed by a 4:45 pm transfer to the boat for your embarkation. Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the airport or your post-trip hotel. Please schedule departing flights for after 11:30 am.
* Daily itinerary is kept purposefully flexible to maximize wildlife sightings and natural encounters.
- Hiking: Difficulty varies depending on group, no experience necessary.
- Kayaking: Protected coves and inlets, no experience necessary.
- Boating: Interpretive small ship wildlife cruise with captain and crew; small skiffs provide easy access to tucked-away inlets and shorelines.
- Paddle boarding: Stand up paddling, no experience necessary.
- Snorkeling: No experience necessary.
- Wildlife Viewing: No experience necessary but come prepared to look and listen.
Austin Adventures and UnCruise Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance or activity that’s right for you.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals aboard the ship: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions are included. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). All non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages are included. Super premium wines and spirits and all related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in Trip Price
- All meals aboard ship.
- Double occupancy cabins with private baths.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- All “from-the-ship” adventure activities and equipment.
- Premium spirits, wine, beer; non-alcoholic beverages.
- Wellness amenities: fitness equipment, yoga mats and a complimentary massage.
- Transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark day.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt and luggage tags.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Entry fees to national parks/preserves.
Not Included in Trip Price
- Gratuities to UnCruise Adventures captain and crew.
- Port taxes and fees ($300 per person).
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
- Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
- Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.