A student uses oars while out on a sailboat in Baja California, Mexico.
Camera Cass Colman

Fall Semester in Baja


78 days


17+ yrs


$16,450 to $16,850

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Grow and lead on the Sea of Cortez

Open the door to lifelong outdoor adventure, leadership, and international travel on the Semester in Baja. Explore winding canyons in the Sonoran Desert. Sail quiet coves on clear blue water in the Sea of Cortez. Watch the sunset from the beach after a day of paddling your kayak. Learn from remote ranching and fishing communities. On this semester, you’ll learn the outdoor and leadership skills you need to explore these wild and beautiful places.

This semester combines a variety of outdoor activities interspersed with cultural learning opportunities. You’ll work on each activity for several weeks, gaining the skills to be self-sufficient in sea kayaking, backpacking, and coastal sailing. As you travel, you’ll have the opportunity to meet members of local fishing and ranching communities, practicing Spanish language skills and gaining a deeper understanding of the history and culture of Baja California.

Throughout your semester as you learn about traveling in the wilderness, you’ll grow and deepen your leadership skills. Leadership is learned by experience on a NOLS course: Working with your group to navigate challenging terrain is your chance to practice communication and decision making. Gaining independence as you sail is an opportunity to learn about teamwork and risk management. Meeting local educators, fishing communities, and ranchers will connect you to this place and help you learn from cultures different than your own. Unlike most tourists, you’ll spend your time far from city centers, exploring the landscape and communities of Baja California. The memories you make and friendships you form will stay with you for the rest of your life. Push yourself to meet new challenges and find your leadership style—you’re ready. 

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Course Dates

2 courses

Sep 8 - Nov 24, 2024

Backpacking, Sailing, Sea Kayaking


3 spaces Apply Now

Sep 7 - Nov 23, 2025

Backpacking, Sailing, Sea Kayaking


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What Our Grads Say

“There were the most beautiful, euphoric, accomplished of times, as well as the pivotal hardships moments. In my experience, these highs and lows were the crucial shaping moments that took the trip from just being an amazing memory to it being something that has changed my life and character forever.” 

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