What to expect on Mary & Piet's learning vacations...



The Best of Baja: Expect the unexpected! Reserving Now!

Scheduled BFT Learning Vacations for 2016 & 2017

Click the program links with the learning vacations below, or the buttons above, to be connected to our specific  web pages for each trip.

Some web pages list trips that will be scheduled again in the future. Call us for Brochures & Reservations and to discuss your questions and interests. The brochures contain your detailed itineraries. We're here to help. and are happy to talk with you!

Piet & Mary Van de Mark: 520-887-2340


News Alert: Feb 11-19, 2017 is Reserving Now!

Feb. 2016  Best of Baja 2016 SOLD OUT in May, Thank You!

Don't Wait, Anticipate: 520-887-2340 (Tucson, Arizona) 

EMAIL: piet@bajasfrontiertours.com

February 11-19, 2017

Small Group of the First 20 Decisive Guests is Now Reserving: 

Enjoy Planning Ahead for The Best of Baja 2017!

Anticipation is Delightful!


Feb 2016 was filled in May, Thank you!

2017 is our 51st Anniversary of Sharing Natural History & Friendly Whale Watching in the Enchanted Peninsula: 

Don't wait: Anticipate!

Added Special Features for your Comfort & Convenience!

Call/email for our 2017 Baja Brochure

Please click this link to see Many More Whales:

 http://www.bajasfrontiertours.com/Files/Baja Whale Watching.htm 


The Best of Baja 2016 is produced for The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Experience 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. 

Will we see whales? The whales have always been there for our guests for fifty years. 

We look at the whales, not for them! And increasingly as the years go by we meet more and friendlier gray whales, and most if not all of our guests actually 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 the whales. This is more common as the years go by...

And 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! 

For your savings and convenience, comprehensive travel and trip cancellation insurance will be purchased by BFT for Best of Baja participants! We provide this deluxe insurance for you in the event of an unexpected cancellation due to covered medical reasons; if you'd like to see the policy information, please just let us know.

Further, our friendly group is limited to 20 guests, and seating is only two people per wide (3-person width) bench seat in three comfortable new vans; everyone enjoys plenty of room and their own window seat! 

We are now accepting registrations for the first 20 guests who register for our 51st Anniversary offering for 2017 in Baja California during our 51st 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!

For more Friendly Gray Whale Photos, please see:


Baja's Magic 

Magic Magic… Magic Magic… Magic Magic… Magic Magic… Magic Magic… Magic Magic… Magic  

Do you 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 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 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 peninsula.

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 whale watching!

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!  

And never stop learning!



The Journey is the Destination!


Travel Insurance  


Travel Insured Banner #3 (646 x 94)

Please click on their image above to be directed to Travel Insured's website to learn more and to purchase travel insurance for your learning vacation. We purchase this travel and trip cancellation insurance for our guests for most all of our learning vacations 

 No need to buy this yourself, as we've provided it for you! 

Travel Insured has provided our guests with excellent service for decades. 


Travel in Comfort!

Our Baja California, 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 to provide 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 own window seat with plenty of room and comfort to savor the astounding views of the carefully crafted travel scene for your best relaxation and even photography, for those inclined to take snapshots out the window!

Tour Alert:

Death Valley: Where Wonder Reigns 2016! 

The Best of Baja 2017!

Our  51st Anniversary tours are reserving now.




Always more to come....call us or write to learn our plans...



Important 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 "put 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 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 is included on many programs. We're here to assist you, and we're as close as 520-887-2340 or: piet@bajasfrontiertours.com

Just to let you know...You can plan ahead!

Many of you have asked us to give you advance notice of our future trips, so you can plan ahead and Anticipate! When we begin working on new learning adventures we'll make mention of the planning process, and we'll schedule the programs when we have completed the initial research, scouting and have the necessary reservations with staff, hotels and transportation; meantime, please call us with any questions.




Mesa Verde Archaeology



NOTICE: As you consider your learning vacation plans, please keep in mind that many of our programs are offered just one-time-only, 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.

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

Your Own Private getaway

The Chiricahua Cottages

Awaiting your personal quiet getaways in the lovely Chiricahua Mountains of southeast Arizona anytime...peaceful vistas on 80 quiet 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... 

Click 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 absolutely 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. And, in their own way, they're sharing your enjoyment, too!

Great fun combined with learning—During BFT's almost-five decades, an approach to experiential learning has evolved; we share our favorite places with pleasant, thoughtful, independent  and curious guests who choose the enthusiastic guidance and the enjoyable companionship of our staff and scholars, and the sociability of like-minded traveling 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 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 arts or whatever.

Learning vacations that will change who you areWe 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 you.

Savor the 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.

Comfortable Transportation—Each 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!

"Wish 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.

We're accountable—In 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 style! 

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.

Smoking—In 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. 

Our philosophy 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 Winsten photo

Detailed brochures and answers to your questions are yours for the asking for every scheduled program. 

Call Piet & Mary at 520-887-2340 in Tucson.

Or click here to send us an email: piet@bajasfrontiertours.com

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 travel and trip cancellation insurance now provided!

We're proud to offer The 50th Anniversary Best of Baja 2016, with the continued improvements that many of you have suggested over the years: a small group limit of 20 guests, and spacious seating of only two guests per normal 3-person seat in the very comfortable new vans. 

For the very best in natural history adventures, The Best of Baja is our 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. 

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 way. And now with increasing comfort in both travel and accommodations!

Co-sponsored again for 2016 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, of course) that even folks who haven't considered birds impressive before are impressed! The Feb 19-27, 2016 scheduled date SOLD OUT in May! The added March date has also sold out early.

This experience in the enchanted peninsula always manages to create magical memories (and  photographs!) for our guests, as it has for us for nearly five decades!

We love to hear from you! 

Please 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.

Piet & Mary Van de Mark

Travel Insured Banner #3 (646 x 94)

Please click 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.

We recommend the purchase of travel and trip cancellation insurance. 

Travel Insured has provided our guests with excellent service for many years. 

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.

Go With Experience! We do!

Tucson's Annual Mexican Folk Art Christmas Sale

It's just a memory now.

Thanks to Barney & Mahina for those 15 great years!


Any 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 call!


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 learning experience.

Contact Mary & Piet by phone: 520-887-2340 (Tucson, Arizona) 

EMAIL: piet@bajasfrontiertours.com

If you enjoy fun and learning, we hope you'll join us for your next getaway or vacation.
Planning a 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!

©Baja's Frontier Tours LLC, Tucson, Arizona 2003 & 2007 & 2008 & 2009, 2014 & 2016

all rights reserved

Please request written permission for copy or publication of any portion of these pages. Thanks!

Proofed by Marcia Quiroz at Tucson, Arizona January 11, 2006. Thank you, Marcia!

The management would also like to thank Mike Liebert for help with proofing!

Updated by Piet Van de Mark February 2016. Typos? Not Marcia or Mike's fault!

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