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The Great Mural Region - Rock Art of Baja

Baja California's Great Mural Region Rock Art Edventure

Study the Ancient Cave Paintings of the Great Mural Region, Baja California

Custom Dates: Early-December and Mid-January
**7 months advanced planning required to obtain permits

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Duration: 12 Days, 11 nights
Location: Southern / Central Baja California
Price starting at: Price based on Group Size  See Below
Program Type: Archaeology, Trekking, Mule Packing, Camping
Meals: Included


Ancient Rock Art of The Great Mural Region, Baja California, Mexico












Overview --  If you are an enthusiast and student of world rock art then you probably already know from photographs the astonishing pictographs of the Sierra San Francisco.  This is The Great Mural Region.  Dozens of very ancient pictograph and petroglyph sites have been discovered deep in the remote canyons of the sierras.  Reaching the area at all is complicated by its remoteness. We have done the leg work already, obtaining permission from the Mexican government to visit the sites and contracting with the Spanish-speaking vaqueros who are licensed to guide and handle the on-the-ground logistics of our visit.  Wanderland is excited to be able to offer you naturalist-lead private field courses to the amazing frescoes of Santa Marta and San Francisco canyons in the Great Mural Region of Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Destination -- The incomparable ancient pictograph sites of the Great Mural Region.  This is a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural and Biological Reserve.  Located halfway down the Baja Peninsula in an amazing biodiversity hot-zone that registers everything from Gray Whales to Bighorn and Pronghorn, not to mention the rattle-less rattlers.  Native blue-fan palms, boojums, elephant trees, native figs,  and the giants of the columnar cacti world the cardóns all provide striking lessons in specialization to microclimates and the effects of Baja's island geography.  Your study will reveal the many ways in which ancient archaeology and modern cultural geography intertwine still in Baja.  Bone up on your Spanish!

Access -- Trekking and Horse Packing into the Sierra de San Francisco of Baja California Sur.  Baja is one of our favorite outdoor classrooms.  Baja and its denizens have so much to teach us. Your 11-Day Expedition will take you deep into this mountainous region of canyons and sleeping volcanoes to discover for yourself the ancient rock art of this important World Heritage destination.  11-days end to end, 8 days in the Sierras.  Dates are chosen for the ideal climate mean.

***Reservations for this once-in-a-lifetime experience must necessarily be made well in advance.  The sensitive and unique nature of these UNESCO World Heritage Sites requires that all potential group members must submit their identifications 6 months prior to the travel date. Fall, Winter, and Spring (October to March) dates are the only ones we will consider due to the desert climate in BCS.

The Baja Region and Rupestria

The entire region we are traveling through is a fantastic natural laboratory, surprising at every turn.  It is especially a land of vibrant peoples and vibrant social customs. Whether you arrive with us by air or by land you will carve along the groove of an incomparable landscape…. in the stirrups of your mule or trekking alongside.

The pictographic art of The Great Mural Region is unequaled in the world for its beauty, unique artistry, and antiquity.

Baja California is a changing land and you'll see that the Californianos need your help to keep ahead of the changes that rumble in. Our goal with this trip is to support local economies there and to encourage sustainability in those communities based on science, beauty, and historical preservation.

In the very heart of El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, we will visit a total of 10 rock art sites levels I, II and III (rated by the Mexican government as to their level of patrimonial value and uniqueness; scale is from I-III), including the famous La Pintada and the rarely visited caves of San Gregorio and San Gregorito. We will also be visiting Rancho San Gregorio, a man-made orchard paradise in the middle of the desert that has been tended by untold generations of sudcaliforniano crofters. We will share in the rugged lifestyle of its inhabitants to reach remote canyons.

Wanderland Itinerary

Day 1    Flight from San Diego to Guerrero Negro. Paperwork to finalize Baja California Sur visas. Transfer to San Francisquito de la Sierra.

Day 2  Rancho Santa Marta into the Sierra de San Francisco.

Days 3-10  Trekking and Mule Packing through terrain and deep canyons with surprising microclimates and world class rock art..

Day 11   Out of the Mountains and down to the birthing lagoons of the Gray Whales. Program wrap-up.

Day 12  Heading home.  Santa Marta-San Francisquito-Guerrero Negro. Airtime to San Diego and Customs.

Our Trip Includes: Ground transportation from San Ignacio to Santa Marta and back from San Francisco de la Sierra, all camping gear, tour and local guides, riding mules and pack burros, all meals, INAH permits for cave access, and permits for the use of either your camera or videocam.

For 4–8 expeditioners: about $ 4000  dollars per person.

*Though INAH permits for visiting the caves, we require a copy of your ID to get yours from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History. The visit to caves level III require a permit that must be applied for at least 6 months prior to the arrival date.

For this reason this is primarily a custom tour. We do place dates on the site, always 8 months to 1.5 years out.

First Potential Dates: Mid-December 2017 - based on group inscription by 1 June 2017

CURRICULUM -- The Sonoran Desert;  Baja California Geography and Modern Culture;  Languages and Customs of Modern Baja and Mexico;  Geology of the Baja Penninsula - Formation and Physiography;  The Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO Designations of the Region;  Pre-Historic Peoples of the Baja Region;  General Themes in Glyphics and the Special Rupestria of the Baja Region;  Laguna Ojo de Liebre and the Gray Whales of Baja;  And Plenty More....

Program includes:

  • Services of experienced educational travel leader and local professional guides.
  • Comfortable private motorcoach or flight departing from and arriving back to San Diego.
  • Three nights accommodations, five nights overnight outdoors outfitting.
  • All meals (mentioned in itinerary) plus snacks and drinks during driving time in Mexico.
  • Taxes and tips of included hotels, meals, auxiliary guides, driver and special excursions staff.
  • Gratuity of full-trip guides and hosts is not included.


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