to expect on Mary & Piet's learning vacations...
BFT Learning Vacations for 2014 & 2015...
Scheduled Learning Vacations
Listed Below are now reserving/filling.
click the program links with the learning vacations below, or
the buttons above,
connected to our specific web pages for each trip.
| Call us for Brochures &
Reservations and to discuss your questions and interests.
& Mary Van de Mark: 520-887-2340
Get into Chaco Culture with
Archaeologist Extraordinaire Gwinn Vivian
Chaco Page for Details Now:
is Limited on this unusually small group.
Call now for information.
Time to Join us!
this Special 5-Day Chaco Trip with Gwinn Vivian!
Canyon, New Mexico
group reserving now.
10-14, 2014 !
California, Chaco Canyon, Silver
City, Grand Staircase, Navajo, Mesa Verde, Rio Grande
Pueblos, Hopi Arts & Culture, Day of the Dead, Death
Valley, Acoma to Zuni and all the other programs each venture
at least a little bit of off the beaten track knowledge,
you with an extraordinary experience; each offers the
considerable comfort of new passenger vans and 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 excellent views
of the carefully crafted travel scene for your best relaxation and
even photography .
Best of Baja 2015!
For more Friendly Gray Whale Photos,
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 low creosote bushes 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 clearing where you stand in amazement!
The people of rural Baja California are wonderful folks, rightfully
proud because they have chosen to live 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. One
used to eat at the ranchos in the days when the old dirt road was so slow that
the very few travelers needed a place to 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 the 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...Boojums, cardon cacti and elephant
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!
on their image above to be directed to Travel Insured's website to learn more
and to purchase travel insurance for your learning vacation.
Some of our learning vacations now include
travel and trip cancellation insurance; The
of Baja, The Day of the Dead, and the new
adventure to Silver City, New Mexico are among
those that offer you this savings.
recommend the purchase of travel and trip
Insured has provided our guests with excellent service for
Brand New Learning Vacation!
now - Don't wait!
City, New Mexico
West & Ancient Cultures
Era Fort v
Mining Tour v
World Class Mimbres Collection Curator’s Tour v
Group. Comfortable Spacious Travel with Your Own Window
Please call Piet & Mary at
(520) 887-2340 in
Tucson for information and reservations
Amazing Geological Adventure!
for more info...
Always more to
come....call us or write to learn our plans...
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" until you learn if
- or when - it will ever be offered
again! Please make your decisions well in advance and enjoy the anticipation! We'd
love to have you with us again...or for the first time. Please
allow us to assist you in planning way ahead; additional reservations 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 available, and included on
some programs. We're here
to assist you, and we're as
close as 520-887-2340 or: email@example.com
is limited to just twenty guests - Filling Now
Don't wait, Anticipate!
History & Friendly Whale Watching in the Enchanted
features for your comfort & convenience
Baja California, Mexico's personalized natural
history...including boating with Scammon's Lagoon's
friendly gray whales. Scammon's is the largest
and best-protected migratory destination. The whales have always
been there for our guests for well over forty years.
We look at
the whales, not for them! And on average, half
of our guests get to pet friendly whales and their
calves! 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
there's more: 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 unique experience, you'll savor the
time with Mary as your guide. The opportunity to
enjoy the most wonderful fresh seafood
and delightful Mexican (American and continental, as
well) cuisine is unsurpassed!
Co-sponsored with Tucson's
magnificent Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. For your
savings and convenience, comprehensive travel and trip
cancellation insurance is now included in the
price for all Best of Baja
Further, our friendly group is
limited to just 20 guests, and seating is only two
people per wide (3-person width) bench seat in three
comfortable new vans;
now everyone has a window seat!
We are now accepting
registrations for the first 20 guests who register for this offering for
2014 in Baja
California during our 47th year of learning
vacations...and you're invited to consider joining
us; please call us with your questions and to request
your Baja Brochure!
the link for more: http://www.bajasfrontiertours.com/Files/Baja Whale Watching.htm
And more friendly whale pictures here: http://www.bajasfrontiertours.com/Files/friendlywhale.htm
to let you know...You can plan ahead!
of you have asked us to give you advance notice of our
future trips, so you can plan ahead and Anticipate! What
follows is early information and not necessarily
complete; we will move each of these programs into detailed
learning adventures when we have completed the initial research,
scouting and necessary reservations; meantime, please
call us with any questions.
learning vacation was last produced May 12 - 16, 2010. Please call us with any
As you consider your
vacation plans, please keep in mind that many of our programs are
or are available to you only once every 2-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.
Grande Pueblos, New Mexico With
6 - 13, 2010
News Alert: Guests
who couldn't make this last trip in 2010 for one reason or another are asking
when we're going to offer it again; we appreciate the interest! We can
hold your spot on this one with a phone call.
Collector? Shopper? Just Looking?
Our guests have learned they can trust the artists and
traders we visit.
The master, Ray Lovato, shares his art with his grandson...and our
bygone era crumbling...and we know where tradition is still alive!
on the Edge
California Deserts, Palm Canyons,
Mountain Wilderness & Salton Sea’s Birds -
you miss that?
Detailed brochures are yours for the asking
for every scheduled program.
Call Piet & Mary at
520-887-2340 in Tucson to discuss your interests and BFT's
learning vacation offering
Own Private getaway?
your personal quiet getaways in
the lovely Chiricahua Mountains of southeast Arizona anytime...peaceful
vistas on 80 quiet acres; 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 bonded by common curiosity about the
chosen travel environment and their passion to learn about the world around
them. Most of our guests are seniors, though we also encourage
well-behaved and interested children and grand children, too. The result
is VERY pleasant people sharing our enjoyment of these unique travel and
learning vacation experiences.
Great fun combined with
BFT's four decades, an approach to experiential learning has evolved through which we share our favorite places with pleasant, thoughtful,
and curious guests who choose our enthusiastic guidance and the enjoyable
companionship and sociability of like-minded traveling companions. 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 are 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 best and most knowledgeable of 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, the
that will change who you are—We don't call
them sightseeing tours. We do see the sights,
however! And yet we do so much more. We rarely sit around in
lectures. Our guests are much more experiential people, hands-on folks, who
enjoy getting out and actually enjoying 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 suggest that
you call us and learn more about the specific learning vacation that really seems to be speaking to
anticipation...please plan way ahead.
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.
Some programs fill many months in advance. Others fill at the last minute; very
rarely, a tour must be cancelled several months in advance for lack of
participation, only to have folks call later to sign up and find that an earlier
decision would have allowed their program to operate. 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 they are free 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 well over 30 years...most
of them since they first opened their doors. The
variety of truly fresh seafood is mouthwatering! 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, comfortable, pleasant and safe.
tour program is different and we choose appropriate mode of
transportation for each one. 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 permits. When our travel goals require
venturing away from paved highways, we choose new passenger vans,
generally with the rear seat removed for luggage, picnic lunches and such.
On overnight trips, we limit enrollment to just two guests per wide,
comfortable (normally 3-person) bench seat, allowing every participant
their own window seat!
Lists" planning for the future—Each
tour program is different; many are unique: offered one time only. 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 for information.
this time in our world, when services are so often impersonal and lacking in accountability,
we hope you’ll appreciate that we create and operate each program
personally. It's almost old-fashioned, isn't it? As BFT's owner/operators, we’re 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. Each of BFT’s four decades has
taught us a lot about producing learning vacations. And we're still
always learning how to do it better. We hope you enjoy our
Weather & Timing—We
thoroughly consider optimal weather and special events—both natural and
cultural—in planning our schedules for each learning vacation. We plan carefully to avoid bad weather and
crowded seasons whenever possible. You will notice that our offerings
come in fall, winter and spring. That's because most of our favorite places are
hot (or over-crowded!) in the summer.
Meals included? Not
necessarily. And that can be a good thing for you in terms of choice
and cost. Some of our programs include most
meals. Others include few or no restaurant
meals; Baja is an example of the latter. Many trips include a number of
enjoyable picnic lunches afield, when we find ourselves far from
restaurants. Generally, we 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. So, if you
eat lightly (perhaps you and your traveling
companion prefer to share entrees?), then you're 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.
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. Some of 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 and 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, or just running the tour, we enjoy each experience right
along with you, making each program the 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 get acquainted...), please give us a call
and let's talk!
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' 48 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 travel and trip cancellation
insurance now included!
We're proud to offer The Best of Baja,
with improvements that many of you have
suggested: a small group limit of just 20 guests, and
spacious seating of only two
guests per normal 3-person seat in our comfortable brand new vans.
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 four-wheel-drive camping expeditions.
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 off-the-beaten-track grandeur in a very personal way.
And now with even more comfort in both travel and accommodations!
again for 2014 with
the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, The Best of Baja learning vacation features those 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!), and the impressive lagoon bird life: Big birds, out in
the open and so easy to see and photograph (with the right camera
equipment) that even folks who haven't considered birds impressive before
This experience in the enchanted peninsula always manages to create magical memories
(and photographs!) for
guests, as it has for us for over four 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.
& Mary Van de Mark
on their image to be directed to Travel Insured's website to learn more
and to purchase travel insurance for your learning vacation with us.
recommend the purchase of travel and trip cancellation insurance.
Insured has provided our guests with excellent service for many
Our favorite places in Baja California,
Mexico are those that have remained relatively unchanged since Piet first
ventured into "The
Forgotten Peninsula" fifty 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 resort country.
Experience! We do!
Annual Mexican Folk Art Christmas
just a memory now.
to Barney & Mahina for those 15 great 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
you enjoy fun and learning, we
hope you'll join
us for your next getaway
tour with us? The
Chiricahua Cottages on your own?
Thoughts about your next
vacation? Please tell us
how we can help you make it happen!
LLC, Tucson, Arizona
2003 & 2007 & 2008 & 2009 & 2014
request written permission for copy or publication of any portion of these
by Marcia Quiroz at Tucson,
Arizona January 11, 2006. Thank
management would also like to thank Mike Liebert for help with proofing!
by Piet Van de Mark February 2014. Typos? Not Marcia or Mike's fault!