Bahía de los Ángeles Biosphere Reserve

Bahía de los Ángeles is a small fishing village of 1000 people that lies nestled between the rugged Sierra San Borja Mountains and the sparkling water of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). Every summer up to 220 whale sharks gather at the south end of this bay. Snorkelling with the whale sharks is amazing and we love nothing better than getting in the water with them. The nearby scuba diving is great and local colonies of up to 1000 sea lions enhance the experience even more.

“It was unbelievable, I’ve never experienced anything like this. I am used to searching long and hard for whale sharks and being lucky to get in the water with them. On my first day of diving at Bahia de Los Angeles we were the only boat on the water and our first whale shark found us within 10 minutes. He hung around while I jumped in and then it was off to our next whale shark 15 minutes later. Amazing!”

Captain Mike 

What’s Special

Some great diving and guaranteed whale sharks and sea lions. In 2007 Mexican President Felipe Calderón, in cooperation with the nongovernmental organization Pronatura Noroeste, Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Areas, the Global Conservation Fund (GCF) and others established the Bahía de los Ángeles Biosphere Reserve to protect the unique ecology of the region.

It covers an area of almost 1500 square miles (387,956 hectares) and includes a portion of the Baja coastline, all 16 islands, numerous smaller islands and islets and the Canal de Salsipuedes and Canal de las Ballenas.

The reserve protects a diverse marine population including many endangered species including whale sharks, fin whales, California sea lions and five species of sea turtle.

The Ship

The Nautilus Gallant Lady will be your liveaboard headquarters at Bahia de Los Angeles from 2019 onwards. 2018 trips are land based using the local hotel and dive centre.

With 6 spacious suites – all convertible from quasi-king to 2 doubles – and all the luxury of a private yacht, we are excited to offer more than just diving. Kayaking, paddle boarding, mountain biking, desert hikes, long walks on remote beaches, beach bonfires are all on the menu.



Now on offer, a very special trip where up to 220 whale sharks aggregate in the bay every season. Plus over 1000 sea lions. Plus some great scuba diving. All while being spoiled land based (2018) and live board on the Gallant Lady (2019).



Day 1 – San Diego to Ensenada

It should be fine to fly in to San Diego on departure day, although it’s always safest to come in the day before. San Diego is a neat place to tour around. Balboa Park alone is enough to keep one busy for a couple of days. Our hospitality suite at the Best Western Palms resort (2018 departures) is open from noon onwards and we ask that you please check in with us by 7 pm at the latest. We should be departing for Ensenada by 7:30 pm. It’s a quick trip – 90 minutes of driving plus clearing the border.

We will drop you off at the Best Western El Cid hotel in downtown Ensenada for the night. The hotel is located in the heart of the tourist district on the main street – it’s safe, fun and interesting to go for a walk after arrival.

Day 2 – Journey across Baja

Our resident naturalist and tour guide will be meeting you at the hotel first thing in the morning, departing in our Cadillac Escalade on the first leg of the adventure. We will be having breakfast somewhere south of town and then driving and exploring the local wine valley and onwards. We can stop at a local taco stand, or a restaurant if you prefer. We can explore San Quintin. We will be stopping and going for a short walk to view local rock paintings and we will be sure to stop when we reach the Sonoran Desert. The stillness – the beauty – of the desert is magnificent and this is the perfect way to go exploring. Our naturalist is a very interesting guy and will help you see Baja California from a very different perspective.

Late afternoon arrival in the village of Bahía de los Ángeles on the Sea of Cortez.

2018 trips: We will be staying in a local hotel with a short drive to the dive centre each day. NOTE: the maximum group size in 2018 is 6 divers.

2019 trips: We will have champagne waiting for you when you board your private yacht. Diving will be done from the mothership, the Nautilus Gallant Lady.

Days 3 through 5 – Welcome to the Bay of Angels

Diving in the morning – whale sharks and sea lions in the afternoon!

Your day starts with an early breakfast and then meeting up with Ricardo Arce for a day of adventures. Ricardo is our partner in this adventure. A former abalone diver, Ricardo decided to make his way by building a local eco-tourism business. He bought a compressor, some tanks, and slowly built up a dive centre and small fleet of dive pangas. He is a super inquisitive guy, an avid diver and he never stops exploring and trying out new dive sites. We love his story and his success and chose to whole heartedly support his local endeavor rather than running our own pangas.

Great and no problema if you have a special request for more diving and fewer whale sharks – or vice versa. Otherwise, we will plan on 2 tank diving in the morning and spending the afternoon snorkeling with the whale sharks and/or one of the large colonies of sea lions. The whale shark adventures are crazy good here – up to 220 individual whale sharks have been identified in one summer season in the southern end of the bay. They seem to like gathering where the local estuary drains into the bay. We can’t tell you that the water is crystal clear, but you can expect 20 to 40 feet of visibility in the bay – and much better on the outside where we do our diving.

2018 trips: We will head back to the hotel after the dive day for cocktail hour, dinner and some much-needed rest and relaxation.

2019 trips: We’ll head back to the boat for lunch and then head back out on the water again. It’s YOUR vacation so of course it is entirely your option to stay on the yacht and relax, or you might choose to go kayaking, paddle boarding or be dropped off in the village to go for a walk or mountain biking.

We traditionally have cocktail hour at 6 bells (or 7 pm, which might be a bit confusing but it’s how we talk as sailors!) with micro brews, fine wines, single malt whiskey and our signature gin and tonics. Dinner to follow, then a bonfire on the beach, an evening presentation, and lots of relaxation.

Day 6 – Departures

We will be heading out after breakfast to start our way back to Ensenada. Our resident naturalist will be guiding us back on a different route cutting through the mountains of Sierra de San Pedro Martir and up along the beautiful coast line of the Sea of Cortez – stopping not just in San Felipe but in other interesting spots. This is ADVENTURE!! We should arrive back in Ensenada and our hospitality suite late afternoon if you are joining one of our Guadalupe great white shark trips. Or, we can transfer you directly back to San Diego. We highly recommend the white shark option!!!!

Price: from $1995 usd / person

Special group rates available


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