Fall Semester in Baja

Credit: Cass Colman

Fall Semester in Baja

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. 



2019 Dates

Sept. 20 – Dec. 6, 2019

Tuition: $13,995
Details: Backpacking, Sea Kayaking, Sailing
In Progress

2020 Dates

Sept. 18 – Dec. 4, 2020

Tuition: $13,995
Details: Backpacking, Sea Kayaking, Sailing


All course information at a glance


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Equipment Deposit



78 days

Minimum Age

17 yrs.

Academic Credit

16 College Credits
  • 3 Risk Assessment
  • 6 Skills Practicum
  • 4 Leadership Techniques
  • 3 Environmental Studies

2 High School Credits

  • 1.00 Leadership
  • 1.00 Physical Education
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Course Description

Equipment List

Travel and Logistics


In San Diego, Out Loreto

Fly in/out

In San Diego, Out Loreto

Skills learned




Sea Kayaking

Additional Details

Semester Scholarship Form

Essential Eligibility Criteria



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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.” 

— Madelyn B., NOLS Fall Semester in Baja grad

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