CampOceano:A Baja Conservation Family Vacation


Dates: August 7-11, 2019

Leaves from: San Diego, California

Destination: Bahia de los Ángeles, Mexico

Recommended for: Ages 6 to adult

Prices*: Adults and children 12+: $800

Children under 12: $600

* Discount of $30 if paying with a check

Programs Coordinators: Angela Yeager & Kristi Brown

Inquiries: Email any inquiries to Liana Vitali, VSI Education & Outreach Coordinator – lvitali@vermilionseainstitute.org

About:

Rediscover your sense of wonder and dive into marine science on this unforgettable family conservation vacation on the Baja California Peninsula! Swim with curious sea lions, search for whale sharks (the gentle giants of the sea),  discover tidepools, learn to snorkel, participate in citizen science conservation research, immerse yourself in local culture and language, and so much more!

The expedition starts in San Diego and includes an epic road trip through changing desert and ocean landscapes. Camp outside on cots under the stars at the Vermilion Sea Field Station in Bahia de Los Angeles, Mexico. Wake each morning with the sun rising over the Sea of Cortez to a delicious breakfast and prepare for a day full of activities. A typical day includes a boat trip around the bay or channel on pangas used by local fishermen, optional trips to town and activities and down time at the Vermilion Sea Field Station.


CampOceano is an adventure designed to engage families but also provides for unique experiences tailored for children and adults individually. Time is dedicated each day for children to join licensed science educators on discovery journeys along the shores of the sea while adults are free to kayak, hike, or socialize during relaxing seaside happy hours.

Space is limited to 18 participants. Reservations are first-come, first-serve and are NOT finalized until the reservation form is complete and payment is received. Reservation and payment details can be found below. This program is recommended for families but is open to single travelers. We also offer other citizen science research programs, including the Stars to Sea program.

Inclusions:

    • Round trip travel from San Diego to Bahia de los Ángeles, Mexico
    • Lodging at the Vermilion Sea Field Station
    • Meals at stops during road trips
    • Delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner prepared fresh at VSI. *We are able to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies
    • Boat rental fees and permits for access to the Natural Protected Area of Bahia de los Angeles
  • Wetsuits and fins for all participants and life jackets for children

Exclusions:

    • Travel to/from San Diego from home location
    • Lodging in San Diego before/after the trip
    • Snacks, sodas, alcohol, souvenirs
    • Snorkels and masks (available for rent for $10/set)
  • Travel & Medical Emergency Insurance (mandatory for every participant)

Itinerary:

Day 1: Depart from San Diego at 6:30 am sharp for Bahia de los Angeles, arriving approx. 7pm-9pm. Stops on the way will include lunch, stretch breaks and scenic views. The road trip is part of the fun and gives opportunities for making new friends, playing car games, and the occasional carpool karaoke.

Day 2-4: Each day kids can participate in daily SeaCamp lessons from licensed science educators, while parents have an opportunity for optional activities including kayaking, snorkeling or relaxing on the private beach just steps away. Daily boat trips include searching for whale sharks and and marine mammals, collecting data for citizen science research, exploring unique marine and coastal habitats and learning about oceanography and conservation. Most evenings free to relax, explore the town, or enjoy the following optional activities: kayaking, hiking, exploring wetlands/mangroves, reading, beachcombing, tide-pooling, stargazing, night snorkeling, and more!

Day 5: Depart Bahia de los Angeles at 8am for San Diego, arriving approx. 7pm-9pm (please do NOT schedule returning flights on Day 5 as arrival time cannot be guaranteed).

Important Note: While whale sharks have typically visited the waters off Bahia de los Angeles each summer, we can not predict that the sharks will be present during this program. Therefore, there is no guarantee that participants will see or swim with a whale shark.

Location:

Nestled upon the shores of the Sea of Cortez within the Bahía de los Ángeles Biosphere reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Vermilion Sea Field Station (VSFS) has hosted scientists, conservationists, educators, and students since the 1970’s. Bahia de los Angeles is sleepy little town unlike other crowded Mexican tourist destinations. It is primarily known for fishing and was formerly a mining town. It is authentic Mexico at its finest.

Background & Experience:

This is an educational program. Participants are not required to have previous experience with oceanography, field studies or research. Also, participants should be able to swim independently and be comfortable swimming in open water. Note that life jackets will be provided for children. Finally, given the nature of field-based education programs, a go-with-the-flow attitude is a must!

Lodging:
The Vermilion Sea Field Station is first and foremost a field facility for researchers and educators in the environmental sciences with rustic yet enjoyable accommodations. The field station is comprised of a central two story adobe and stone facility with 12 multi-purpose rooms, a large kitchen, in door shower and changing room, outdoor bucket-flush bathrooms, an additional family house, and features a fully-articulated fin whale skeleton.
Sleeping is typically dormitory style, with cots available for sleeping either inside the field station or outside under the stars.

For additional information such as a suggested packing list and other travel related questions, please review the VSI CampOceano Trip Planner which will be provided with registration confirmation.

Internet and Telephone Access:
There are limited wifi options in Bahia de los Angeles. There are a handful of internet cafes in town but they are not guaranteed. There is no cell service in town, but there are usually pay phones available at the internet cafes. Most visitors to Bahia and VSI take the opportunity to embrace being “unplugged” from typical life and find they connect more with the incredible local environment because of it.

Application:

In order to streamline the registration process, we are asking each individual/family to submit an application that will help us understand your group. To apply for the 2019 CampOceano, please click on the button below and fill out all of the required information. 

Participants can provide payment to the Vermilion Sea Institute by check or credit card:


Pay by Credit Card:

Adults and children 12+: $800

Children under 12: $600

The Vermilion Sea Institute uses PayPal Donate to process credit card payments. PayPal charges a service fee which is reflected in the total cost. Payments by check will receive a special discount.

*Note that payment must be processed for each individual and cannot be combined into one payment

Pay by Check (includes special discount):

Adults and children 12+: $770

Children under 12: $570
You may combine payments for more than one participant on one check made payable to the “Vermilion Sea institute” and mail to the following address:

Vermilion Sea Institute
PO Box 1904
Bonita, CA 91908

Refund Policy:
Refunds will be given for cancellations made on or before May 15, 2019 MINUS a 20% administration fee. Refunds of 50% will be given for cancellations made on or before June 15, 2019. Cancellations after June 15, 2019 will not be refunded.

​Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in the field!