to expect on Mary & Piet's learning vacations...
Best of Baja!
Close and Personal!
Whale watching? Yes! That
16' month-old baby gray whale is watching! Enjoying people watching!
March 9-17, 2018
Best of Baja Since 1966: Reserving Now! Expect the unexpected!
The peninsula's wild
deserts are chucky-jam full of unique and colorful plants to
enjoy and photograph.
Baja Central Desert sunsets are truly amazing,
BFT Learning Vacations for 2018
more to come...
Best of Baja 2018
Happy People. Who could ask for More?
Wait, Anticipate: 520-887-2340
Group of the First 16 Decisive Guests is Now Reserving:
Planning Now for The Best of Baja
Click this link to see Many More
http://www.bajasfrontiertours.com/Files/Baja Whale Watching.htm
is our 52nd
Anniversary of Sharing Natural
History and Friendly Whale Watching in the Enchanted
friendly whales are friendlier than ever
they bring their kids over to people
for our 2018 Baja Brochure
Special Features for your Comfort & Convenience!
Cancellation & Travel Protection Plan is
guest enjoys their own window seat as we travel.
Baja California, Mexico's personalized natural
history...including boating with Scammon's Lagoon's
friendly gray whales. Scammon's is the largest
and absolutely the best-protected migratory destination for these
we see whales? The whales have always
been there for our guests for over fifty years! This isn't
some sort of magic, of course; it's simple. We know when
and where to go, because we've been sharing this
experience with our guests for over 50 years!
We look at
the whales, not for them! And increasingly as
the years go by we meet more whales and friendlier gray
whales. In the last several years, all of our guests actually
have the opportunity to pet friendly whales and their
Who's Watching Whom?
This very curious baby gray
whale is eye to eye with our guests!
savings and convenience, we purchase the comprehensive Group
Protection Plan from Travel Insured International for
every guest; this includes travel and trip cancellation
insurance. We provide this deluxe insurance for
you in the event of an unexpected
to covered medical reasons for yourself, for
family, or your traveling companion; if you'd like to see
the policy information, please just let us know.
in the 1970's, we supported marine mammal research
in our wilderness camps. Marine biologists, with
our encouragement and assistance, of course, would
come and stay at our camp and go out - sometimes
with us, other times on their own - for weeks and
months at a time during the whale season. They benefited
from our secure and well-established camp with
meals, medical, tools and parts, communication and transportation
by land, sea and air. And we learned a lot, too!
We learned over the years when and where the
whales come and go.
We're pleased to report that in 2012, with
record numbers of both whales and newborn calves
enjoying Scammon's Lagoon, every one of our guests pet
the whales. This delightful behavior has become common as the years go
by... Do you think the whales enjoy people watching?
there's LOTS more to this learning vacation: The lagoons
are brimming with sea and shore birds, and a couple of
wild bird sanctuaries are there for our enjoyment and
photography. Botanical opportunities are outstanding! Whether
your interest is in photography or learning the
specificity of the peninsula's fascinating Sonoran
Desert plants, or just enjoying the beauty of this unique experience, you'll savor
your time with Mary as your botanical guide. We include
nightly comfortable hotels, and the opportunity to savor
the most wonderful fresh seafood
and delightful Mexican (American and continental, as
well) cuisine is unsurpassed!
Further, our friendly group is
generally limited to about 16 guests, and seating is only two
people per wide (3-person width) bench seat in our comfortable
vehicles; everyone enjoys plenty of room,
plus their own window seat!
We are now accepting
registrations for guests to sign up for The
Best of Baja 2018, our 52nd year of learning
vacations...and you're invited to consider joining
us; please call or email us with your questions and to request
your Baja Brochure! Piet & Mary produce and operate
each of their learning vacations very personally. We are
here to help, so please give us a call or email now.
For more Friendly Gray Whale Photos,
a Magical Peninsula…
love richness and diversity of the desert? Love the Sea? I'd venture to guess that no place
on earth but the Baja peninsula offers a higher percentage of lush, lovely deserts that actually, physically, meet
the sea. I'm talking cactus just spittin’ distance from salt water. Osprey
build their massive, messy nests of driftwood and desert scrub atop tall cardon
cacti by the shore and on low creosote bushes and cholla cactus on islands. Looking up to the dazzling blue sky from an endless carpet of desert
flowers to see dozens of bright white pelicans soaring on the rising air above
the desert or the beach where you stand in amazement!
The people of rural Baja California are wonderful folks, rightfully
proud because they have chosen to live as pioneers in a land of beauty and challenge. Yet
humbled by their closeness with God and nature. Abundance is here, but one needs
to learn where to seek it. A special few have been here a long while now. Their
fathers or grandfathers fought in the revolution and came to this place to claim
their rightful homesteads back when the last few Cochimi people still survived.
When the peninsula's only roads carried wagons from rough landings to inland mines and the few
accessible places where one could count on finding sweet water. Historic ranchos, old
mines and Spanish missions, both abandoned and occupied by the warm and pleasant
people of rural Baja California, are still scattered through the wild central
Food is wonderful here! Memorable restaurants feature diverse
Mexican food, fresh seafood specialties, and even unexpected French cuisine!
Travelers used to eat at the ranchos in the days when the old dirt road was so unbelievably
the very few who ventured into the peninsula welcomed a place to stop and eat every 20 or 30 miles. Nowadays travel is faster. Real
restaurants in real towns, cities and villages get the job done now, and fewer of the ranchos
serve meals to passers by.
Visitors are quickly impressed by the magnificent
scale of Baja
California, then drawn to details by the enormity of the diversity— vast untrammeled
wilderness, unspoiled shell-scattered beaches that seem to stretch forever;
forests of unbelievable desert plants...amazing Boojums, towering cardon cacti and
trees; the plethora of coastal bird life. And of course, one can get hooked on
The very memorable "whooof!" of the whales’ nearby blows
softly sounding in your ears will remain with you forever! Yet,
this is but one of the many personal discoveries that await you in Baja.
Savor the odyssey!
never stop learning!
about 40' of friendly gray whale beneath
the water as it gently presents its
(rostrum) to be petted by our equally
Journey is the Destination!
have purchased the Group Protection Plan on behalf of all
to learn more about the Group Protection Plan.
Assured. Travel in Comfort.
California, Native Peoples of the Southwest, Rio Grande Pueblos, Mesa Verde, Death
Valley, Chaco Canyon, Grand Staircase, Navajo, Hopi Arts & Culture,
Acoma to Zuni and all the other programs each venture
at least a little bit of off the beaten track
you with an extraordinary experience of seldom seen
scenes; each program offers the
considerable comfort of vans, SUVs or even a lovely crew
cab truck, and all featuring our very comfortable seating of just two
guests per wide three-person seat! Everyone enjoys their
seat with plenty of room and comfort to savor the
of the carefully crafted travel scene for your best relaxation and
even photography, for those inclined to take snapshots
out the window!
web pages list other trips that hopefully will be scheduled again in the future.
Call/email us for Brochures and Reservations and to discuss your questions and interests. The brochures
contain your detailed itineraries.
We're here to help; and are
very happy to talk with you!
& Mary Van de Mark: 520-887-2340
Peoples of the Southwest Past & Present
Acoma & Zuni
pueblos; Gallup, NM's Southwest Indian Arts; the Archaeology of Chaco
Canyon & Dinétah, NM and the Montezuma Valley & Mesa Verde, CO.
small group was last offered September 12-24, 2017.
This is an impressive new
learning vacation! We have been asked by previous guests to blend three of
our most popular Southwestern experiences into one comprehensive and efficient
program. This new 13 day adventure begins and ends in New Mexico, and
close to our focus of interest, in delightful Albuquerque! We travel scenic routes round-trip from
in spacious passenger vans, permitting comfort both on paved
highways & byways and on occasional seldom seen back-country roads, as
click here to learn more:
Always more to
come....call/email us to learn our plans...
for you to know: Most
programs are offered only one time every few years; some are one-time-only special
events...so, if you see something that really interests you, don't just
it off 'till next year" or "next time you hope we offer it" until you learn if
- or when - it will ever be available again! Please make your decisions well in advance and enjoy the anticipation!
Planning ahead helps everyone.
love to have you with us again...or for the first time. Please
allow us to assist you in planning ahead; all those additional
decisions, such as
choosing your travel partners, air, extra hotels and family visits
before or after are easier that way, thank you!
Comprehensive Travel Insurance is included on all our tours. We're here
to assist you, and we're as
close as 520-887-2340 or: email@example.com
to let you know...You can plan your own Custom Learning
of you have asked us to give you advance notice of our
future trips, yet we can do better than that! Because we
specialize in small group programs, we can work with you
to develop a custom trip for you and family and friends.
You can plan way ahead if you choose, and Enjoy the
call us with any questions: we're as close as
As you consider your
vacation plans, please keep in mind that many of our programs are
or are available to you only once every
5-to-10 years. If
you're thinking about "going next time," please call
us to ask when - or if - that special trip you've always wanted
to do will be offered again, or may be available to you as a
custom program for family & friends..
Does the Beauty of the Coachella
Valley Call you?
Call Piet & Mary at
520-887-2340 in Tucson to discuss your interests and BFT's
learning vacation offering
Available most anytime!
your personal quiet getaways in
the lovely Chiricahua Mountains of southeast Arizona anytime...a
cozy guest house with private peaceful
vistas on 80 high desert acres; you'll probably have the whole place
to yourself for just laying back, hiking, world-class birding...please click on the
link below...or give us a call...
the link for more: http://www.bajasfrontiertours.com/Files/Chiricahua%20Cottages.htm
Let us tell
you something about Baja's
Frontier Tours' handcrafted learning vacations...
You're in Good Company—Our
guests are very special people who never stop learning! They are bonded by common curiosity about the
chosen travel environment and their passion to learn about the world around them
and the people who live there. Most of our guests are seniors, and all are
welcome. We encourage
well-behaved and interested children and grand children, of course! The result
is VERY pleasant people sharing our enjoyment of these unique travel and
learning vacation experiences. And, each in their own way, they're sharing your
Great fun combined with
BFT's five-plus decades, an approach to experiential learning has evolved; we share our favorite places with pleasant, thoughtful,
and curious guests who choose the enthusiastic guidance and the enjoyable
companionship of our staff and scholars, and the sociability of delightful
companions; is that you? Experience tells us that you'll enjoy our guests (and our scholars) as we do!
The very best scholars for our
travel environment—Our instructors
are always highly skilled and affable folks, whose company and knowledge you'll
enjoy. In Baja California, for example, we humbly serve as your
hosts, tour operators and instructors. On other trips, if the subject is not our
specialty, we produce and operate the program personally (as always), and work with the
very best and most knowledgeable of scholar/interpreters.
Additionally, we often work with local specialists to
provide our guests a well-rounded understanding of the focus subject of
the trip, be it natural or cultural history, archaeology, geology,
that will change who you are—We do not call
our adventures sightseeing tours because that sounds quite a bit too
ordinary! We do see the sights, of course! And yet we do so much more. We
only rarely sit around in lectures, and
yet we learn about our travel environment. Our guests are much more experiential people, hands-on folks, who
enjoy getting out and actually absorbing the experience of being there...of
learning in the field. Itinerary details, and even our approach to the
travel environment, vary considerably from one program to another. That's why we
want you to call us and learn more about the specific learning vacation that really seems to be speaking to
you. And tell us about your own interests!
ahead; you have trip insurance!
We generally plan over a year ahead to secure reservations at the hotels we choose. And to
schedule our scholars. Your early decisions will assure you a space on your chosen learning vacation.
For your peace of mind, a comprehensive trip cancellation and travel protection
plan comes for each guest with every trip. Some programs fill many months in advance. Others fill at the last
minute, or not al all. So, please plan ahead and savor the anticipation. We
do look forward to speaking with you and to enjoying your
company again...or for the first time! Never stop learning!
Great food & lodging—always
part of the BFT experience to the extent the travel environment permits! Generally some meals are included; and for
the others, we guide our guests to places where we all find the freedom to choose from healthy mouthwatering
specialties. In Baja California, every restaurant and hotel
we'll take you to is one we've shared with our guests for over 40 years...most
of them since they first opened their doors. The
variety of truly fresh seafood is an uncommon and mouthwatering delight! We select accommodations that allow
us to accomplish the goals of a particular trip, generally the best that an area
has to offer. As some
itineraries take us off the beaten track at times, our choices vary from fairly
simple to rather extravagant, and always clean, familiar, comfortable, pleasant,
safe and enjoyable.
Transportation—Our travel goals often require
venturing away from paved highways occasionally. And most trips are small
groups. In addition to our spacious crew cab pickup, we choose comfortable
large SUVs or passenger vans, sometimes with the rear seat removed for luggage, picnic lunches and such.
We bring enough vehicles so just two guests enjoy each wide,
comfortable (normally 3-person) bench seat, allowing every participant the
pleasure of their own window seat! Each
tour program is different, and we choose appropriate mode of
transportation for each one. For occasional larger tours, modern European motor coaches offer the
unsurpassed comfort of picture window views from reclining seats and a
bathroom aboard; the audiovisual capability allows teaching en route. We
choose a bus when our itinerary and group numbers permit. An excellent
custom option, please ask!
Lists" planning for the future—Each
itinerary is different; some are unique: offered one time only.
You'll see trips online that are not presently scheduled, as we don't repeat
each trip every year. So,
we encourage you to call us to discuss your interests so that we may
help you choose the memorable and fun experience that will be just right
for you! For some programs that tend to fill quickly, we offer the
opportunity to put your name on a "Wish List" for that
trip well in advance, even before a date is chosen and details are
available. This means you'll be among the first to receive
details and the opportunity to sign up when itinerary specifics are available and
the program is officially scheduled. Call us for information.
this time in our world, when services are so often increasingly impersonal and lacking in
caring and accountability,
we hope you’ll appreciate that we create and operate each program very
personally. It's rather old-fashioned, isn't it? As BFT's owner/operators, we’re
always right there with you on your
vacation to keep things humming. Your safety, comfort and enjoyment are
essential to us! Our experience is long. Our quality control is excellent. Our commitment
is deep and personal; we’re accountable. We do this because we love
doing it. We want you to love it, too! Each of BFT’s five decades has
taught us a lot about producing learning vacations. And we're still
always learning how to do it better. We look forward to speaking with you. We hope you enjoy our
Perhaps you've been
there before? We often hear, "Oh, I've been there before."
Mesa Verde or Death Valley are common examples of that; some have said that
about Santa Fe or Palm Springs. Please let us assure you that
we always do our best to offer an experience well beyond your previous visit. Our
scholars are truly exceptional people who've devoted their lives to the area
we're visiting. These are not the step-on guides of many bus tours! We
ask our teachers what experiences they want to share, and then build a
comfortably-paced learning itinerary around a few of their favorite things. So, if you've
been there before, and are believe in Never Stop Learning,
then please ask us about our trip.
Weather & Timing—We
thoroughly consider optimal weather and special events—both natural and
cultural—in planning our schedules for each learning vacation; the California
Gray Whale migration is the best example. We plan carefully to avoid bad weather and
crowded seasons, whenever possible. You will notice that most of our offerings
come in fall, winter and spring. That's because most of our favorite places are
hot (and/or over-crowded!) in the summer.
Meals included? Not
necessarily. And that is a good thing for you in terms of choice
and cost. A few programs include most
meals. However, many include few or no restaurant
meals; Baja is an example of this latter approach, please let us explain. Many trips include enjoyable picnic lunches afield, when we find ourselves far from
restaurants at mealtime. Generally, we only include meals when there is some specific reason
to do so. By not including all meals, we save you money; perhaps lots
of money. Let me
explain: When we include meals, restaurants don't give us the breaks you might
expect; also, we must choose ample meals to satisfy the grandest of appetites; and
meals must be what we think you want to eat, rather than what you might
choose for yourself. I know, some other tours give you a limited choice. We find
our guests prefer full menu choices. So, if you
eat lightly (perhaps you and your traveling
companion prefer to share entrees, for example?), then you're not paying for a big meal that
you're not enjoying. Additionally, when you do the ordering,
you may choose from the full range of an often-extensive menu, thus enjoying
- and paying for - exactly, and only, what you choose. Our guests appreciate
the interest of health and comfort, there is no smoking where our guests gather—in
vehicles, at meals, group discussions, field interpretations, whether inside or
outdoors. No one breathes smoke unless they choose to. Whenever possible our hotels are
non-smoking properties. Smokers who are happy to observe these courtesies are very welcome
on every program.
BFT has offered natural and cultural history
learning vacations in Baja California,
Mexico since 1966. Today, and for many years, our offerings also include the Greater American
Southwest, featuring Arizona and New Mexico (including our Indian Country
programs), Utah, Colorado, California and Nevada. Mary & Piet produce and operate every single one of their programs personally.
regarding Baja's Frontier Tours' goals is simple: We go to places that we
consider very special - even unique; places that we've found our guests enjoy immensely, as
well. Sometimes these are not the most popular tourist destinations, rather they are special places
where our guests can learn, enjoy and refresh
themselves in peace, safety and comfort. We assure the success of each
program by creating, producing and operating it personally...whether we're your
teachers (as in Baja), or just producing and operating the tour (because our scholars know the
archaeology, geology, anthropology far better than we do), we enjoy each experience right
along with you, making each program the very best learning vacation possible!
We don't just have customers, we build
relationships. We invite your participation to make
this a reality for you. We enjoy your calls and emails to discuss your interests, answer your questions and to help you
consider a particular trip and determine if it's right for you. We're here to
help you choose, plan and enjoy the most memorable
and personally satisfying vacation possible. And, if we haven't spoken for a
while (or you're new and would like to chat and get acquainted while making
your decision), please give us a call
and let's talk!
Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Piet & Mary Van de Mark
Piet & Mary Dennis
Detailed brochures and
answers to your questions are yours for the asking for
every scheduled program.
Call Piet & Mary at 520-887-2340 in
Or click here to send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We thank you all who
have made Baja's Frontier Tours' 50 years so very memorable!
The Best of Baja! remains
our Flagship learning vacation. This program is offered with
spacious small group travel comforts including your own window seat, and
deluxe trip cancellation and travel protection policies is provided!
We're proud to offer The
52nd Anniversary Best of Baja 2018,
with the continued improvements that many of you have suggested over the
years: a small group limit of 8 - 16 guests, and
spacious seating of only two
guests per normal 3-person seat in the comfortable vehicles.
the very best in natural history adventures, The Best of Baja
root program, going all the way back to 1967 when BFT first took its guests
whale watching on Scammon's Lagoon. The peninsula was largely uninhabited
way back then;
those were the early dirt-road-only days of our extensive years of
memorable four-wheel-drive camping expeditions. The whale watching
trips were 16 days long back then!
Today, with a paved highway,
delightful hotels and mouthwatering restaurants featured (and all
getting even better every time we visit!), our roots
still allow us to share the peninsula's ample off-the-beaten- track grandeur in a very personal
and comfortable way.
And in these years, with increasing comfort in both travel and accommodations!
The Best of Baja learning vacation features those
wonderful and increasingly-friendly California gray whales
up close and personal plus the peninsula's astoundingly
beautiful and often unique Sonoran
Desert; learn and photograph the bountiful botany (consider Boojums &
elephant trees for two classic examples!), and the impressive lagoon bird life: Big birds, out in
the open and so easy to see and photograph (with the right camera and
course) that even folks who haven't considered birds impressive
are impressed! The Feb 2016 trip sold out early, so
don't wait: Anticipate!.
This experience in the enchanted peninsula always manages to create magical memories
(and photographs!) for
guests, as it has for us for five decades!
love to hear from you!
give us a call or a note just to stay in touch and let us know how you are and to catch up on what we're
doing, too...anytime. We're here to help you choose just the right learning
vacation for you. Perhaps, as many have done over the years, you want to repeat a favorite trip from years
& Mary Van de Mark
have purchased the Group Protection Plan on behalf of all
to learn more about the Group Protection Plan.
Our favorite places in Baja California,
Mexico are those that have remained relatively unchanged since Piet first
ventured into "The
Forgotten Peninsula" over fifty-five years ago. Perhaps that explains our
focus on the unspoiled midsection of Baja, rather than well-developed and more
familiar areas like Cabo San Lucas. We hope you'll
join us to experience some of the peninsula's lovely hidden, uncrowded
and unchanged places that most of Baja California's visitors fail to experience in
their mad rush to the more popular and familiar resort country.
Experience! We do!
Annual Mexican Folk Art Christmas
just a memory now. Our
to Barney & Mahina for those 15 Wonderful Years!
questions or comments about our website?
Thanks very much for bearing
with any confusions that may beset your browser. Please feel free to e-mail us
about anything. We always answer all
emails received. If you've emailed us and not received a reply, perhaps
we didn't receive your email. Please try again or, better yet, give us a
Considering a trip? Or wondering
which trip? Each program is personally produced and operated by Piet
& Mary Van de Mark and their knowledgeable interpreters of natural
and cultural history, anthropology, archaeology, geology, or whatever-ology
happens to be the focus of the particular program. Each trip is unique, and the
answers to the details and questions that concern
you may not be obvious on the web site. We're here to discuss your interests and answer
your questions so you may make a good decision. We have brochures for
you with detailed itineraries. Having considered all these things, you'll
join a select group of folks to share a very pleasant and memorable
Mary & Piet by phone: 520-887-2340
LLC, Tucson, Arizona
2003 & 2007 & 2008 & 2009, 2014, 2016, 2017
request written permission for copy or publication of any portion of these
management would like to thank Mike Liebert for help with proofing (Long
ago, eh, Mike?).
by Piet Van de Mark May 2017. Typos? Not Mike's fault!