Posts Tagged ‘Baja’

September 1, 2015

Be an Explorer in the Sea of Cortez

One of the most magical, bio-diverse, and unimaginably beautiful family vacation destinations in the world is the Sea of Cortez. While there is much to love about Baja, Mexico, the Sea of Cortez is definitely something that stands out. It sets a scene that anyone who lays eyes on it won’t ever forget. What is so captivating about the Sea of Cortez isn’t the beauty on the surface, but the wonder below it. It’s a body of water that has been explored in the past and will continue to be explored in the future. A few expeditions have become more well known than others and hearing about two of these famous journeys will make anyone excited to book a family vacation out to Baja and dive head first into the Sea of Cortez.

John Steinbeck

dolphins bajaIn 1940, author John Steinbeck went on a six-week expedition in the Sea of Cortez to collect marine specimens. What was an author doing on a marine biology expedition? Good question! Essentially, Steinbeck was looking for a new start after he gained fame for Tortilla Flat and The Grapes of Wrath. He was interested in marine biology and his friend, marine biologist Ed Ricketts, was looking for a new adventure. Steinbeck’s exploration of the Sea of Cortez served as an important journey. You can read all about this expedition in Steinbeck’s book The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Steinbeck was not just a fan of the Sea of Cortez, but of the Baja peninsula as whole.

Jacques Cousteau


One of the most famous modern day explorers, the Frenchman Jacques Cousteau led more than one expedition to the Sea of Cortez.  He did much of his exploring in the 1960’s and felt strongly enough about what he saw that he called the Sea of Cortez the “Aquarium of the World.” It’s no secret any more that the waters in the sea are full of rich and biodiverse marine life. Many locals refer to Cortez as the “whale highway” because of the migration path of whales during the winter months (visitors during this time can normally see dozens of whales at a time!). Whales aren’t all that can be found here. People should keep an eye peeled for dolphins, sea lions, manta rays, and over 900 species of fish that come in all colors and sizes!

You don’t need to be a famous author or explorer to enjoy the natural treasures of the Sea of Cortez. All you need to do is go!

August 11, 2015

Where Will You Be This Winter?

A great way to spend the winter and the holidays is off on an adventure. If you’re a Northeast Coaster like we are at Thomson Family Adventures, there is nothing we understand more than wanting to escape the snow (especially after last winter!). If you’re from the warmer regions of the country, there is no way to make the holiday season more memorable or special than spending it in an exciting new place with the ones you love. Lucky for you, we have four great destinations for a winter and holiday time family vacation!


galapagos sea lions

The holiday season is full of wonder and amazement, but nothing will compare to the wonder or inspire the amazement that the Galapagos Islands will for your family. This is one of the few places in the world that has sustained its pristine natural biodiversity and charm with minimal change from human intervention. The conservation efforts on the islands are top of the line and allow you to see beautiful beaches, swim with playful sea lions, find old giant tortoises, and explore picturesque islands. This will be the best gift you can get your kids for the holidays!

South Africa

One of our new family vacation destinations, South Africa has an unrivaled country spirit. With a deep history producing revolutionary figures like Nelson Mandela, South Africa is a cultural and historical adventure like no other. It is a country dedicated to social empowerment and development that will inspire you and your children. There are also great intimate family safari opportunities in South Africa. You can see the Big 5 up close and enjoy magical evenings as the sun slowly sets, casting dark hues of oranges, reds, and yellows, over the South African bush.


There is something in Baja for everyone. It has plenty of active sport options, good for all ages, from surfing and kayaking to hiking and horseback riding. Or you can saunter around the cultural beach towns of La Paz or Todos Santos taking in the local art and food scenes. Escaping the cold for a beach town sounds just about perfect to us, even more so after remembering the average temperature in December is a cool 80 degrees!

Costa Rica

CR waterfall break

A destination that is perfect for multigenerational family vacations is Costa Rica. The National Parks of Corcovado and Manuel Antonio offer exciting opportunities to explore this amazing tropical land. you can sit by waterfalls in the jungle and enjoy fresh, juicy, and delicious fruit or relax on warm secluded beaches! It’s easy to fall in love with Costa Rica and sharing the experience with your family will make it even more unforgettable.

The holiday season is a great time to travel since everyone will be under one roof. Use this this time for a family vacation and have a holiday adventure your family will talk about forever!

June 12, 2015

Four Unlikely Places for Great Wildlife Viewing

Taking time to explore the wildlife in countries can be an amazing experience. We share this world with beautiful creatures that live in the forests, jungles, mountains, and oceans. Seeing animals in their natural environments is breathtaking. Once you have seen some of these places, the importance of conservation efforts and responsible travel can’t be ignored. Viewing wildlife on a family vacation isn’t just good in the Galapagos and Tanzania. Here are four places that aren’t traditional destinations for wildlife and they are all part of North America!



Baja is the western most part of Mexico, just to the south of California. If ocean and marine life is of the slightest interest to your family, then Baja must be on your bucket list of places to visit. Baja is the best of the best when it comes to life below the sea. The Sea of Cortez is home to the largest variety of whales in the world and every year gray whale mothers and their calves migrate to Magdalena Bay where they come close enough to visitors that you can touch them! This isn’t even to mention the thousands of fish that swim in the waters- and sea lions!


OD 9

When you neighbor Costa Rica it’s hard to compete in the wildlife department but, Panama does very well. It is home to over 200 mammals, 200 reptiles, 150 amphibians, and 900 birds (the most of any Central American country). Darien National Park in Panama is one of the best places to go bird watching in the world. A few of the birds that people travel to see are the harpy eagle, quetzals, macaws, parrots and toucans. Panama also has a great monkey population in spider monkeys, white-faced capuchins, squirrel monkeys, and the Geoffroy’s tamarin which can’t be found anywhere else in Central America.



When thinking of Cuba, it is hard to think of it as a place great for a wildlife adventure. But the truth is that Cuba has the most animal species in all of the Caribbean. One of the more fascinating animals in Cuba is the bee hummingbird. Many believe that this is the smallest bird in the world, just over 2 inches long and weighs less than an ounce! The locals say it is a symbol of love and call it a “zunzun.” Cuba is also home to crocodiles, flamingos, butterfly bats, reef sharks, and the emerald humming bird and much more!


Big Horned Sheep

While hiking in the Canadian Rockies you are bound to see some incredible and massive animals. Numbering in the thousands, there are plenty of opportunities to see elk. These creatures are majestic and you may want to get as close as you can to them, but remember they are wild and you need to stay at least a couple of hundred feet away. Your family will also have the chance to see mountain goats and bighorn sheep in action climbing the sides of mountains! There is also a scarce population of wolves and cougars that are rarely seen. Canada is truly a wild adventure and these animals only help add to the ambiance!

Taking your family vacation to any of these destinations is bound to be filled with excitement and great wildlife. Get out there and see the beauty that nature has to offer!

June 9, 2015

The 7 Best Things About Baja

There are many different parts of Mexico that make for good vacation spots. The truth is that not all of these places and resorts are family friendly. Despite that fact, one of our favorite family vacation spots in the world is Mexico’s Baja. Baja has a safe, warm, and welcoming environment that makes it hard to leave! Here are a few of the best parts about Baja that make it perfect for a family vacation.

1: Best Whale Watching in the World

Just popping up to say hello!

Just popping up to say hello!

One of the best places in the world for whale watching is Baja. You can find one third of the whale species in the world in Baja’s waters; including blue, gray, humpback, and minke whales. Whales are fascinating creatures and a true delight to see. The best time to go to Baja for whale watching is during the winter when gray whales frequent the lagoons for mating season. The whales are friendly and, often, you’re able to pet them as they come out of the water to say hello!

2: Incredible Weather

Baja has what very well may be the best weather in the world. It sits right on the Tropic of Cancer giving it perfect weather for a minimum of 8 months out of the year. The sun is always kind enough to kiss towns like La Paz and Todos Santos to make for great family vacation experiences. When the sun is out there is always something to do- like going to the…

3: Beautiful Beaches

Taking a stroll down the beach on horseback!

Taking a stroll down the beach on horseback!

The small town of Todos Santos alone has 70 miles of beach. With so many beaches your family can find a great location to relax or explore. You can find several coves or stretches of soft white sand that go as far as the eye can see. While relaxation is always a top priority, many stretches of beach in Baja are great for trying out horseback riding, surfing and other water activities that your kids will love. In the National Marine Park, Isla Espiritu Santo, the snorkeling and hiking are unmatched!

4: The Sea of Cortez

Jacques Cousteau called this UNESCO World Heritage Site “the aquarium of the world” and it is no wonder why. Between the marine life that is endemic to the body of water and its use as a popular migration route for many species, there are well over thousands and thousands of different marine species in the Sea of Cortez at any given time. Imagine the look on your child’s face when they see a giant manta ray jump out of the water!

5: A Culture Based on Being Friendly

Unlike the rest of Mexico, the Jesuits were the first people to settle on the Baja peninsula. The Jesuits hand selected the people they sent to Baja based on their trustworthiness, honesty, strong family values, and their ranching and farming skills. Through the course of history, the Jesuits left the land and mainland Mexico left Baja to operate independently for over 100 years. During this time a strong culture of hospitality and honor was forged and that culture is still strong in Baja today.

6: A Great Arts and Music Scene

Several creative types from all different fields have made their way to Todos Santos over the past few decades. This includes many artists, chefs, musicians, surfers, and writers; because of this Todos Santos has become home to wonderful art galleries, incredible restaurants and many festivals. A few of the celebrated festivals are the Todos Santos Music Festival (founded by Peter Buck of R.E.M), the Todos Santos Arts Festival, and the GastroVino Festival de Todos Santos which celebrates all local wines and foods.

7: Delicious Food

Delicious ceviche!

Delicious ceviche!

The food in Baja is traditional Mexican and almost all dishes are based on a few simple ingredients: beans, corn, squash, and onions. From there you can let your imagination and creativity go wild. The seafood is some of the freshest in the world and of a wide variety. While the food is similar to what you’ll find in Mexican restaurants in the U.S., it doesn’t rely as heavily on cheese or sour cream making it full of more local flavors and it’s also much healthier!

Baja has a great personality that makes it fun and friendly for family vacations and Thomson Family Adventures can help you get there!

September 25, 2012

Nothing Better than Baby Turtles

Thankful for Turtles

It’s hard to know what more I can say to enhance the photos, but let me try and paint a picture…. Imagine a nice family adventure vacation in a quiet corner of the Baja Peninsula. No big resorts or rowdy crowds, but plenty of surfing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, and swimming with sea lions. There is fabulous whale watching here in February, but in October and November you’ll find…baby turtles!

See more on our Facebook page here. Then you’ll just have to come see it for yourselves.

Thanksgiving anyone?


newly hatched leatherback turtle

December 12, 2011

The Grey Whales of Baja

Families love the curious grey whales migrating through Baja

Oh, to pat a young grey whale!

Whether you spell it grey or gray, these whales are mighty interesting.

Descended from filter feeding whales that developed over 30 million years ago (30 MILLION!!), grey whales consume ocean worms and crustaceans from the ocean floor and filtered through their baleen.

Growing to 50+ feet long, and weighing as much as 80,000 pounds they are certainly formidable. But curious and friendly too as you can see. Grey whales can live up to 50 years or more, and every year they perform the longest known migration of any other mammal. Their summer feeding grounds are in the icy Arctic waters of the Bering Sea, and in winter they move to their breeding grounds, the warmer waters off the coast of California and Mexico. All along the Pacific coast you can watch their glorious journey.

Thus, thousands of grey whales arrive each year in Baja California. The warm temperature, shallow depth, and limited access to the open sea make the lagoons the ideal places for these marine mammals to mate and to give birth. This environment protects them from the Orcas who use speed when hunting – and speed is hard to obtain in these conditions. A perfect safe haven for the grey whales and their young!

The gestation period for grey whales is 11 – 13 months. The dimply, shortened face is typical of young grey whales, and up close you can see the facial hair on the babies. They can be so curious, they will leap from the water to get a closer look at you – and yes, move in for contact too. A February vacation week is the ideal time to catch this migration in Baja, when the moms and babies are plentiful.

There is someting about the mystery, magic, and curiosity of these giant beings that just makes me want to hug them. How about you?

March 18, 2011

Back at the Ranch…

So after the kayaking and soccer, then a sleepy drive back to Todos Santos we slipped back in to our lovely casitas and enjoyed the pool and sunset on our last night

March 18, 2011

Killer Kayaking @ Beautiful Balandra Bay

Thursday: (Sorry I am out of date – just too much to do here to spend time on the computer!)

Balandra Bay is a thing of beauty. Clear blue water, and shallow enough to walk forever (thankfully our guides told us how to shuffle our feet so we would not be stung by sting rays; others were not so lucky) Kayaking here is easy on the smooth water, and the kayaks are steady. Though if you fell out you’d just stand up and climb back in. I think the boys did that a couple of times. We took off for a nice paddle around the bay and down into narrow lanes of mangroves – such awesome and peaceful beauty with egrets and herons gracing the shoreline. Our lunch spot was on top of a steep dune (can you guess how many times the kids ran and rolled up and down it??) overlooking the bay. We could see the tide going out – and in fact ended up having to pull rather than paddle the kayaks for the last 20 feet to ‘shore’. In no time the bay became the perfect field for an impromptu game of soccer….. then the ride back to Todos Santos became the perfect opportunity for a bit of a snooze!

March 16, 2011

Cliff Walk + Awesome Views = Full Heart

Yesterday I think I forgot, that if you are going to walk along the top of a cliff to enjoy amazing views, you first have to climb to get there. I am relatively NOT in great shape, as has been proven in the last few days. My legs are feeling, well, more alive, and it has been worth every muscle I had to wake up. The dogs came along too which was a blast, and we all remembered to drink lots of water. In Baja they say “the sun is our enemy….”

March 15, 2011

Walking in a desert canyon

This is tagged as a WATERFALL desert canyon hike, but right now there are no waterfalls. Baja California Sur usually gets about 4 inches of rain a year, but recently it’s only been 2 inches. Two inches of rain in a year! Now that is dry.

But no lack of this different kind of desert beauty. The rock, the granite and basalt, the turkey vultures, the cactus, the sand, the endless blue sky with glaring sun – and those refreshing pockets of shade where one can retreat to a remarkably cooler temperature.

So what did we do this day?