Announcing our Guided Overland Series to the Baja Peninsula

All to often our travels can feel rarified, predicable, and lack the feeling you get when you are truly exploring. We founded Pacific Overlander to offer the adventurous a better way to get outside and discover the natural world on their own terms, the way it was meant to be experienced: away from the crowds and carparks. In 2019 we look forward to expanding on this mission by offering a guided tour of the Baja Peninsula, one of the most remote, pristine, and inspiring desert landscapes in the world.

As our first offering in a series of guided trips though Baja, we invite you to join us in late February and early March for a guided tour of the Baja Peninsula. This trip will focus on Baja’s Central Desert, Sea of Cortez, and Pacific Coast. We’ve put together an itinerary full of bucket-list adventures, so make sure to give it a read!

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Itinerary

The trip will be run in two distinct, separate 8-day legs showcasing the rugged Baja Peninsula. A southbound route will depart from San Diego to Loreto, and a northbound route will return from Loreto to San Diego. We suggest adding relaxed beach time in Loreto after (or before).

Southbound

Depart San Diego Airport at 10am, Friday, 15th, 2019 / Arrive in Loreto, BCS at 2pm, Friday, February 22nd, 2019

Northbound

Depart Loreto, BCS at 10am, Sunday, February 24th, 2019 / Arrive in San Diego at 2:30pm, Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

 

Please read through until the end for more details on what’s included and pricing.


Sea of Cortez - World Class Kayaking, Snorkeling, and Beaches

Described by Jacques Cousteau as “the world's aquarium,” the Sea of Cortez is one of the most biologically rich marine regions on earth. Picture vast walls of fish stretching from the surface to the sand and you’ll have a pretty good sense of what you might encounter on a dive or snorkel here. Couple the deep blues of the Gulf with the striking desert landscape and you have a truly magical landscape. We will spend a few of nights camped out along a number beaches and coves, allowing guests an opportunity to explore the warm waters and relax on the white sand beaches.

Pacific Coast - Coastal Communities, Whale Watching, Sea Lion Colonies, & Beach Camping

It may surprise some to learn that Mexico is a conservation leader. With the largest Marine Protected Area in North America and the largest Biosphere Reserve in Latin America both falling on or near the Baja Peninsula, visitor to the area are treated to some of the most spectacular natural phenomena on the planet. About halfway through the trip our route will trace the Pacific Coast, visiting the Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, known internationally as a Grey Whale hotspot. We will arrive during the peak of the Grey’s annual birthing and nursing seasons, offering guests a chance to come into direct contact with newborns and nursing adults. The whales in this area have been known to approach boats with curiosity, inviting human touch, and affording visitors life-changing encounters.

Desert Interior - Biodiverse Flora and Fauna, Stunning Landscapes, and Remote Camping

Along the 200 mile stretch of the Peninsula known to many travelers as “the gas gap” lies one of the most beautiful stretches of desert in the world. While the area may be short on resources, its isolation has allowed it to remain one of the most well preserved deserts in North America, boasting a rich biodiversity of endemic flora and fauna. The Valle de los Cirios Natural Protected Area, or ‘Valley of Candles,’ contains a number of unique cactus species found only here. We will spend a night tucked away amongst giant sandstone boulders and towering cacti. Guests are invited to explore the backcountry, visit ancient rock art sites, rock climb, and take in one of the darkest night skies in Baja.

Campfire Gourmet - Fresh Local Fare, fireside cookouts, and Small Group Camping

Enjoy a selection of the best local foods and catered menus during your trip shared around the campfire. Daily prepared meals will be provided or cooked collaboratively depending on the day’s schedule. All meals will be shared in a group format with plenty of time for a sundowner, though guest are also afforded plenty of time for private dining as desired.

Desert Oases - Hidden Canyons, Hot Springs, Palm Groves, & Spectacular Waterfall Hikes

Each trip will either start or end at one of Baja’s hidden gems: a remote desert oasis nestled in the foothills of the Sierra. Spend the day hiking to a series of cascading waterfalls or relaxing in the naturally heated hot springs that dot the palm filled, valley floor. Hovering around 102°, these pools are the perfect temperature for long lazy soaks. It’s a great place to leave all your cares behind and simply relax.

Roof Top Tent Living - You’ll Fall Asleep to the Stars & Wake to the Natural World

Whether staying in one of our roof-top tents or taking advantage of our ground tents, we strive to provide the highest quality night’s sleep possible. All tents come with an internal mattress and bedding can be added upon request, while ground tents will enjoy the provision of comfortable cot beds. Our tour sponsors may also contribute care packages for the guest to use on the trip and take home when done.

Loreto, Baja California Sur - Where Desert Landscapes Meet Endless Blue Seas

The first colonial outpost on the Peninsula, Lorteto still retains much of its old charm. Considered the ‘un-Cabo’ by locals, Loreto has been sheltered from much of the development that has affected other parts of Mexico. Loreto Bay, recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage site granting it National Park protection, has managed to keep the large cruise ships out, so protecting many of the animals that call this place home. Loreto is magical with breathtaking view of the seas framed by the ruddy hues of the Sierra de la Ginganta rising to the west. Enjoy a stroll down the malecon or in the old colonial plaza while the sounds of mariachi fill the night. We recommend bookending your trip with at least one night’s stay in Loreto to take it all in.

Culture & History - Pre-Columbian Archeology, Colonial Antiquity, Present Day Pura Vida

If you love history, you’ll find plenty to admire on the Peninsula. With indigenous rock art that dates back nearly 10,000 years, colonial heritage as old as the 17th century, and a vibrant modern day culture, any visit to Baja would be incomplete without an experience of its people. We will visit cave painting sites, early missions, and of course connect with the locals over a meal and in the zocalo (Spanish for central plaza).

Overland Travel - We’ll Drive for the experience, not just the next destination

This is not your typical road trip. Along our route we will spend a fair amount of time traveling along dirt roads and playing in the sand. While the majority of the miles driven will be on pavement (or at least the Mexican equivalent), there will be plenty of opportunity to learn basic off-road driving techniques and brush up on your overlanding skills. Whether you are interested in learning more about navigation and route planning, the use of variable tire pressures to maximize your vehicles performance, or just looking for adventure, this trip offer something for everyone.

The Vehicles - We’ll outfit you with fully kitted out Toyota 4Runner “TRD Off-road”

The perfect platform for 2-4 passengers, our 4Runner models are incredibly capable and reliable: two qualities any overlander can appreciate. And while the roof top tent is best for 2 adults, the addition of a ground tent and cots will allow for you to travel as a larger group. Additionally, our support vehicle will provide supplemental storage, an on-board air compressor, recovery equipment, galley kitchen, heated outdoor shower, and restroom facilities for the duration of the trip.

Tour Specifics

What’s Included?

  • We will provide you with a fully-outfitted 4Runner TRD Off Road with 2 birth roof top tent and additional ground tent/cot as needed.

  • Professional guide on hand to assist with border-crossing, driving, way-finding, and provide a fully-curated route and experience

  • A range of daily activities including kayaking on the Sea of Cortez, hiking to hidden desert waterfalls, visiting pre-columbian rock art sites, exploring desert oases with natural hot springs, a Grey Whale tour, etc.

  • All food, including a mix of cooking off the grid, and stops in local restaurants along the way

  • All vehicle costs: vehicle collision/liability insurance, gasoline, tolls, etc.

  • 24/7 access to a satellite phone and emergency transponder

  • A selection of complimentary outdoor equipment from our partners, for you to test and take home as well as access to additional items like kayaks, binoculars, etc.

  • Access to professional photographs taken during the trip

Not included:

  • Alcohol and Soft Drinks: We will provide complimentary “sun-downers” as a treat periodically but recommend bringing your own drinks of choice.

  • Accommodation in San Diego, CA and Loreto, BCS

Cost

  • $4000 per vehicle, per leg for 2 passengers

  • $4500 per vehicle, per leg for 3 passengers

  • $4750 per vehicle, per leg for 4 passengers

Flights

Direct flights to/from San Diego are available from all major US cities. Direct flights to/from Loreto can be arranged to a number of major cities in Mexico, as well as Los Angeles, Tijuana (easy shuttle access from San Diego), and Calagary.

Questions?

We welcome connecting with you on a call to discuss specifics and answer any questions you might have about this trip. If you wish to reserve we will send you a comprehensive itinerary and quote, as well as work with you to help finalize a packing-list, required documents, and address any specific needs you might have.

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“Each of them in his own tempo and with his own voice discovered and reaffirmed with astonishment the knowledge that all things are one thing and that one thing is all things—plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.”
— John Steinbeck - Sea of Cortez