How do I sign up?

You'll register for REC 478 or 678, Expeditionary Learning Practicum. This is a 3-credit, 2nd quarter course. We'll meet for two days during the fall semester to plan ahead and prepare. Assignments and readings will be on blackboard, and you must complete the online component in order to pass the class. If you are a RPLS major, this class will count toward your degree-- talk to your advisor about that.

How will I get to Mexico?

You'll arrange your own travel to Cabo, which will allow you to stay and explore after the expedition if you'd like. Your trip leaders will pick you up at the airport and drive you to the trailhead. A round trip flight from NYC costs about $400, as long as you book early. We will discuss travel logistics in detail at our meetings.

You will need a passport in order to go on this trip.


Baja is considered to be the safest part of Mexico and is significantly safer than many areas of the United States. This is true for both crime rates and Zika transmission.

What do I need to pack?

You will be provided with a detailed packing list. Much of the backpacking specific gear can be borrowed from SUNY Cortland. Group gear, such as tents, stoves, and maps will be provided.

What is included?

The tuition covers all living arrangements and food from January 15-25th. It also covers group camping equipment, evacuation support, and transportation to and from the trailhead.

Scholarships may be available through the Study Abroad office. Your financial aid can be used to cover the costs of this trip.

Other costs: Students do need to arrange for a passport, and a small amount of spending money will is nice for snacks and other incidentals while travelling in country. The best way to get pesos is to use your American debit card in an ATM machine in Mexico.

What will a typical day be like?

While we are on the backpacking trip, we'll be up before sun rises in order to beat the heat. You'll be in groups of 3-4 for cooking, and breakfast will depend on what you're craving: from cranberry walnut scones to cheesy fried hashbrowns. After a quick briefing to discuss goals and navigation for the day, we'll move camp, with time for individual instruction, conversation, and wildlife sighting. We'll hike until mid-afternoon, then set up camp and take time to to relax, rinse off, and make a delicious dinner. At night, we'll have an evening meeting, with a short class, readings, and games.

Make no mistake: this expedition will be physically demanding. You will be carrying 30-40 pounds on your back, and often there will be no trail. We will go slow with lots of chances to take a quick swim. Spending time in the fall at the gym, lifting weights, taking a yoga class, and running will set you up for success.

Where will we travel?

This expedition will travel into the Sierra de La Laguna, one of Baja California’s must rugged mountain ranges. Studded with relic forests and exuberant oases hidden in remote canyons, the inaccessibility of this places kept this ecosystems pristine, out of reach from cattle, loggers, copper mining projects and even unregulated tourism.

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What makes Baja Unique?

  • When the Spaniards arrived in the Baja California area in 1539, they believed they had reached a mythical island of female warriors governed by Queen Calafia.

  • Olive Ridley (golfinas) and Leatherback (laud) turtles nest on the state’s beaches, returning each year to lay their eggs on the same beach where they were born.

  • Ancient paintings, some of which were created by early humans around 8000 B.C, adorn caves and rock dwellings throughout the peninsula.

What else can I do in Baja if I stay after the Expedition?

Snorkel with sea lions, swim with whale sharks, learn to surf, discover hidden hot springs, tour wineries, and don't forget to eat some local fish tacos!