Cedros Outdoor Adventures (COA) was founded by husband and wife team Melanie Lamaga and Jose Angel Sanchez in 2008 to provide a secure, enjoyable travel experience to sport fishermen, eco-tourists, and researchers visiting Baja California Mexico. Jose is a marine biologist with a long history researching gray whales, helping to establish the Vizcaino Biosphere reserve in the 1980s, and later working as a guide in San Ignacio Lagoon. Jose says San Ignacio is the best location for experiencing friendly gray whale encounters.
Melanie is a writer, photographer, and climate change educator and the CEO of Cedros Outdoor Adventures. Her first gray whale experiences twelve years ago, petting wild whales, watching mothers bring their babies close to see the humans, watching whales breaching and spy-hopping, and having a juvenile whale flip a bucket's-worth of water on her head after she splashed in the water to get his attention (whale jokes!), touched her heart in a way that she will never forget.
In Melanie's words: "People like to know how a photographer from Virginia and a marine biologist from Mexico ended up together. And it is kind of an amazing story. We met in 2006 after a computer algorithm on Match.com decided we should, even though neither of us was looking to meet people more than a couple hundred miles away. What are the odds? But we were both intrigued, and started emailing, then talking on the phone, then I finally took a trip to visit a friend in San Diego (after getting a private detective to check out Jose's credentials) and we had a very proper first date with my friend chaperoning (you can't be too careful, right ladies?)
"Needless to say, we hit it off in a big way. A year later we'd gotten married and I'd relocated to Baja ... just in time for the great recession of 2008. There were no jobs to be had, so out of desperation we created our own! We had no idea at the time that unemployment would turn out to be the best thing that could have happened. Starting from nothing, we built Cedros Outdoor Adventures DIY-style, one step at a time. By 2012, the business had grown enough that we were able to build Baja Magic Lodge. By 2018 we wanted to expand again, but options for travel to remote areas of Baja like Cedros and San Ignacio Lagoon are limited. We acquired a Piper Navajo Chieftain, twin engine turboprop that carries up to 7 passengers. Now we can take our clients in a faster, easier, more secure way to some of the remotest and wildest spots in Baja California. Best of all, there is no need to cross the border by land. Our clients love it. It has been a game-changer!
"I'm proud to say that COA has a stellar reputation as a Baja outfitter. More than 60% of our clients are returns, and many come year after year. On Cedros we provide jobs for many locals during the season. We also support the community with donations to the high school and other activities for locals. We work to preserve the natural eco-system of Cedros Island, to protect it's beauty and bounty for the citizens and visitors alike. Oh, and we rescue dogs every year and find them good homes. Our boys, Chucho and Rocky (in the picture) were also Baja rescues.
"We are so excited to return to Jose's roots, offering all-inclusive gray whale watching packages with our Premium Guide Service from Brown Field Airport in San Diego County to the friendly gray whales of San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California Sur! Your patronage will help us continue our community outreach and conservation efforts to preserve this unique place for the future."
“I’ve been ... with Cedros Outdoor Adventures for many years. Last week, I got the chance to try flying direct from San Deigo County in Cedros Outdoor Adventures’ new Piper Navajo Chieftain. I enjoyed the feeling of flying in a twin-engine more than a single engine. Meeting the plane was extremely convenient. I parked at the hangar, walked a few steps to the plane, and the pilot loaded my gear. The ride ... in the Chieftain was comfortable and we got there in about 3 hours. The return trip was great, too. When cleared in customs in Mexico we were on the ground for less than 30 minutes, and then US customs for less then 5 minutes. No border wait in the heat for hours. After arriving we pulled our vehicles up to the plane and transferred the gear. It was all really easy." --Dana Kaplan
“The new plane was spacious and comfortable. It shortened our travel time significantly." -Mark Kennedy
“This year we signed up for the Premium Service, with the plane leaving from Brown Field. What a great way to get to paradise. Early departure, quick stop for customs and on. The pilot was great and was very helpful throughout the process.”–Tom and Kaitlyn Wilkens
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