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Baja & the Gulf of California

Marine Science & Conservation on the Mexican Coast

July 25 — August 5
$6,390 + airfare

Baja & the Gulf of California

Marine Science & Conservation on the Mexican Coast

July 25 — August 5
$6,390 + airfare

Described by legendary underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau as “the world’s aquarium,” the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, teems with marine life, from acrobatic dolphins and sea lions to massive manta rays and whale sharks. Travel to Baja, Mexico, this summer and dive into this incredible underwater ecosystem. Learn about marine conservation from professionals in the field and embrace adventure as you snorkel, kayak, and paddleboard. Alongside marine biologists and conservationists, see groundbreaking conservation initiatives in action and lend a hand in research projects and the preservation of at-risk habitats.

• Get up close with sea lions, dolphins, and tropical fish while snorkeling
• Camp on the Pacific Coast and learn to surf on its pristine waves
• Help identify and examine species with marine biologists and researchers
• Kayak or paddleboard the clear waters alongside charismatic sea lions
“Given Bobby’s love for science, ocean, and marine life, I was hoping that he would learn even more being out on the water with your experts. The program absolutely exceeded my expectations in every way!”
—Danielle W., New York, NY
Featured

Expert

An Expert joins each Career program for a portion of the itinerary, lending their insights and perspectives to the experience.
headshot of evans
Kip Evans
Award-winning filmmaker, photographer, and explorer Kip Evans has led or participated in more than 70 expeditions throughout the world, including recent assignments in the Arctic, Patagonia, Indonesia, and the Galapagos Islands. As a photographer, he...
View Bio
headshot of evans
Kip Evans
Award-winning filmmaker, photographer, and explorer Kip Evans has led or participated in more than 70...
View Bio
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Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Los Angeles, California, and fly together to Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

La Ventana, Gulf of California — 3 days

Begin your program in La Ventana Bay on the Gulf of California and settle into your waterfront accommodations, run by a marine biologist, sea captain, and educator. Get to know your group during an in-depth orientation, then dive into the water and snorkel or scuba along the rocky coast. Learn to identify the resident aquatic species—including fish, crabs, and sea stars—and assist in examining and recording their behaviors. After sunset, grab a flashlight for nighttime snorkel excursions, in search of nocturnal marine species and glowing bioluminescence. Take a cooking class and learn how to make authentic tortillas and spicy salsas, and practice traditional dance moves with students from a local dance troupe.

Punta Marquez, Pacific Coast — 2 days

Adventure across the peninsula to the Pacific Coast, stopping to hike in this dramatic desert landscape. Stay on a remote stretch of beach and continue learning about the different ecosystems found in Baja. Search for fossilized shark teeth in the soft, white sand and learn to surf the perfect wave. Visit an oyster aquaculture lab, then cook meals together as a group as you watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean. Gaze at millions of stars, point out constellations, and learn the basics of celestial navigation.

La Ventana, Gulf of California — 6 days

Return to La Ventana Bay and meet locals dedicated to the conservation of tropical coral reefs. Help check the health of the local reef and collect data for projects aimed at protecting native species. Perform a plankton tow and assist in the collection of invertebrate species. Through partnership with the local school, invite students and their teachers to the beach to learn more about these animals. Spend your down time relaxing on the beach, swimming, or practicing Spanish. Enjoy a research presentation from an expert on whale sharks and manta rays, then spend a day on the water searching for either of these magnificent creatures.

Day trip to the interior of the peninsula for an exciting hike to a secluded waterfall oasis and natural hot springs. Lend a hand with beach cleanups, plant native species in a nearby cactus sanctuary, and join a game of football. Pack your boat for an overnight camping trip on Cerralvo Island, the southernmost island in the Gulf of California. Hike beneath dramatic sandstone cliffs and snorkel with playful sea lions near a rookery. Visit the nearby towns of La Paz and Todos Santos to speak with local artisans about their work. Finally, enjoy the last night of your program reflecting on your adventures and savoring one final meal together with your group.

Return — Travel Day

Fly from Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico, to Los Angeles, California, with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Los Angeles, California, and fly together to Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

La Ventana, Gulf of California — 3 days

Begin your program in La Ventana Bay on the Gulf of California and settle into your waterfront accommodations, run by a marine biologist, sea captain, and educator. Get to know your group during an in-depth orientation, then dive into the water and snorkel or scuba along the rocky coast. Learn to identify the resident aquatic species—including fish, crabs, and sea stars—and assist in examining and recording their behaviors. After sunset, grab a flashlight for nighttime snorkel excursions, in search of nocturnal marine species and glowing bioluminescence. Take a cooking class and learn how to make authentic tortillas and spicy salsas, and practice traditional dance moves with students from a local dance troupe.

Punta Marquez, Pacific Coast — 2 days

Adventure across the peninsula to the Pacific Coast, stopping to hike in this dramatic desert landscape. Stay on a remote stretch of beach and continue learning about the different ecosystems found in Baja. Search for fossilized shark teeth in the soft, white sand and learn to surf the perfect wave. Visit an oyster aquaculture lab, then cook meals together as a group as you watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean. Gaze at millions of stars, point out constellations, and learn the basics of celestial navigation.

La Ventana, Gulf of California — 6 days

Return to La Ventana Bay and meet locals dedicated to the conservation of tropical coral reefs. Help check the health of the local reef and collect data for projects aimed at protecting native species. Perform a plankton tow and assist in the collection of invertebrate species. Through partnership with the local school, invite students and their teachers to the beach to learn more about these animals. Spend your down time relaxing on the beach, swimming, or practicing Spanish. Enjoy a research presentation from an expert on whale sharks and manta rays, then spend a day on the water searching for either of these magnificent creatures.

Day trip to the interior of the peninsula for an exciting hike to a secluded waterfall oasis and natural hot springs. Lend a hand with beach cleanups, plant native species in a nearby cactus sanctuary, and join a game of football. Pack your boat for an overnight camping trip on Cerralvo Island, the southernmost island in the Gulf of California. Hike beneath dramatic sandstone cliffs and snorkel with playful sea lions near a rookery. Visit the nearby towns of La Paz and Todos Santos to speak with local artisans about their work. Finally, enjoy the last night of your program reflecting on your adventures and savoring one final meal together with your group.

Return — Travel Day

Fly from Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico, to Los Angeles, California, with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_cbelb_chris-cilfone
Chris Cilfone
View Bio
2023_cbela_ngxbajb_jordann-waldron
Jordann Waldron
View Bio
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Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_cbelb_chris-cilfone
Chris Cilfone
View Bio
2023_cbela_ngxbajb_jordann-waldron
Jordann Waldron
View Bio
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About the Destination

The peninsula of Baja California Sur separates the vast Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The deep, warm waters create the perfect environment for countless species of fish, sea lions, whales, dolphins, and other marine life. The dramatic landscapes are often referred to as a “geological living laboratory.”

Language

Spanish is the official language of Mexico, but many of our contacts speak some English.

Climate

Days are hot, reaching the mid-80s°F (26°C), with warm evenings tempered by a nice breeze coming off the coast.

Cuisine

Meals consist of tortillas, rice, beans, fresh fruit, seafood, and chicken. American-style dishes of pizza, hotdogs, and burgers are also available.

About the Destination

The peninsula of Baja California Sur separates the vast Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The deep, warm waters create the perfect environment for countless species of fish, sea lions, whales, dolphins, and other marine life. The dramatic landscapes are often referred to as a “geological living laboratory.”

Language

Spanish is the official language of Mexico, but many of our contacts speak some English.

Climate

Days are hot, reaching the mid-80s°F (26°C), with warm evenings tempered by a nice breeze coming off the coast.

Cuisine

Meals consist of tortillas, rice, beans, fresh fruit, seafood, and chicken. American-style dishes of pizza, hotdogs, and burgers are also available.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Program Theme

Marine Science & Conservation • Work with scientists and conservationists to help protect the fragile ecosystems of the Gulf of California. Under the guidance of marine biologists, collect data on undersea species, catch—and later release—specimens for close-up observation, and evaluate the health of a coral reef. Work alongside whale shark and manta ray researchers to identify and catalog individual animals.

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities. While you don’t need to be an advanced swimmer, this program spends a lot of time in and on the water, so a level of comfort and a basic ability to swim is necessary.

Accommodations

We stay in comfortable family-run guest houses, and spend three nights camping on the beach.

Meals

We eat most meals in small, local restaurants with a lot of fresh fruit, seafood, chicken, rice, beans, and other traditional Mexican food. For day trips we pack our lunches to bring with us.

Scuba Opportunities

While scuba diving is not the main focus of this trip, students who are at least Basic Open Water certified will have the opportunity to participate in up to four dives, depending on weather and conditions. The supplemental fee for diving is $300 per student.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Program Theme

Marine Science & Conservation • Work with scientists and conservationists to help protect the fragile ecosystems of the Gulf of California. Under the guidance of marine biologists, collect data on undersea species, catch—and later release—specimens for close-up observation, and evaluate the health of a coral reef. Work alongside whale shark and manta ray researchers to identify and catalog individual animals.

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities. While you don’t need to be an advanced swimmer, this program spends a lot of time in and on the water, so a level of comfort and a basic ability to swim is necessary.

Accommodations

We stay in comfortable family-run guest houses, and spend three nights camping on the beach.

Meals

We eat most meals in small, local restaurants with a lot of fresh fruit, seafood, chicken, rice, beans, and other traditional Mexican food. For day trips we pack our lunches to bring with us.

Scuba Opportunities

While scuba diving is not the main focus of this trip, students who are at least Basic Open Water certified will have the opportunity to participate in up to four dives, depending on weather and conditions. The supplemental fee for diving is $300 per student.

A Day in the Life: La Ventana

Due to the traveling nature of this student program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in La Ventana Bay.
7:00am
Enjoy breakfast as a group at your waterfront accommodations
8:00am
Board the panga boats and go snorkeling, scouting for dolphins and other wildlife
12:30pm
Eat a packed lunch on board your boat
2:00pm
Return to La Ventana to enjoy some downtime or project time
4:00pm
Kayak or stand up paddle board from the beach down the coast
6:30pm
Prepare and eat a delicious dinner of fresh fish, fruit, and Mexican fare
8:00pm
Enjoy a presentation by a local whale shark and manta ray researcher
9:00pm
Group meeting to recap the day and discuss the plan for tomorrow

A Day in the Life:
La Ventana

Due to the traveling nature of this student program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in La Ventana Bay.
7:00am
Enjoy breakfast as a group at your waterfront accommodations
8:00am
Board the panga boats and go snorkeling, scouting for dolphins and other wildlife
12:30pm
Eat a packed lunch on board your boat
2:00pm
Return to La Ventana to enjoy some downtime or project time
4:00pm
Kayak or stand up paddle board from the beach down the coast
6:30pm
Prepare and eat a delicious dinner of fresh fish, fruit, and Mexican fare
8:00pm
Enjoy a presentation by a local whale shark and manta ray researcher
9:00pm
Group meeting to recap the day and discuss the plan for tomorrow
“What gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment was the fact that I was able to be part of a strong community while also doing what I love.”
—Thea K., Chappaqua, NY
mike-oster

This Program is Directed by

Mike Oster

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

mike-oster

This Program is Directed by

Mike Oster

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

Enroll in two programs & save $1,000!

$800 tuition discount + no application fee

Baja & the Gulf of California
Marine Science & Conservation on the Mexican Coast

2024 Dates
July 25 — August 5

Duration
12 days

Tuition
$6,390 + airfare

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
16–18 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Los Angeles


 

Additional Info

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

 

2024 Dates
July 25 — August 5

Duration
12 days

Tuition
$6,390 + airfare


 

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
16–18 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Los Angeles

 

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

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