Wild and rugged Alaska is a surefire favorite when it comes to close-to-home destinations that feel a world away. But Northeastern Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula is equally enchanting when you venture beyond the bustling border cities and resort towns to the remote desert isles in the Gulf of California.
Comparing these two destinations, one may expect a stark contrast between the sandy beaches of Baja California and the winding fjords of Southeast Alaska, but they have a surprisingly high degree in common. Rest assured that there’s no wrong choice; these islands and inlets teem with the most incredible wilderness experiences North America’s west coast has to offer.
Both have captivated Expedition Leader John Mitchell, who has spent several of his off-seasons living in La Paz—the capital city of Baja California Sur—and estimates he’s sailed to Alaska no less than 500 times. On his first trip, Mitchell recalls approaching through a thick fog, permeated only by distant humpback whale songs. “When the skies cleared, it was as though I was seeing heaven for the first time,” he says. “I don't think I’ve ever lost that feeling.”
As for Baja California, it’s a long-time favorite for Lindblad Expeditions staff. According to Mitchell, “the landscape and way of life have touched every one of us who’s been there.”
Below, we draw on more than 40 years of unparalleled experience navigating the hidden gems of each region to help you decide on the perfect Pacific expedition—or at least which one to take first.