California Missions and Archaeology Tour
$2,195 per person ($375 single supplement)
In 1542 the first European explorer in California, Juan Cabrillo, sailed into what is known today as San Diego Bay and made first contact with the local inhabitants, the Kumeyaay people. It is widely agreed among scholars that the Kumeyaay people occupied this region for at least 12,000 years. To the north lived the Luiseño people, and to the east, the Cahuilla.
In 1769, Father Junípero Serra established the first Franciscan mission in California near the ancient Kumeyaay village of Kosa’aay, known today as Old Town San Diego. Father Serra, also known as the “Founder of California,” went on to establish 9 of the 21 missions from San Diego to San Francisco.
During our tour of the San Diego area, we will take an in-depth look into some of these missions, as well as the archaeology of the native people, which will tell us the story of their unique existence before and after the arrival of the Spanish.
View the schedule below.
[L] = Lunch provided on these days.
Monday, March 6
Join us in Old Town San Diego for a welcome reception and lecture from a local archaeological expert.
Tuesday, March 7 [L]
We will begin our tour with a docent-guided tour of Mission San Diego de Alcala, founded in 1769. After a picnic lunch, we will tour the Cabrillo National Monument where Juan Cabrillo first landed in San Diego and take in breathtaking views of the San Diego area. We will then depart San Diego for a night in Oceanside to the north.
Wednesday, March 8 [L]
In the morning we will have a docent-guided tour of the spectacular Mission San Luis Rey, founded in 1798. This Mission lent its name to the Luiseño tribe of Mission Indians.
We’ll then continue our day with a stop at the San Diego Archaeological Center for a presentation and tour of the facility with their knowledgeable staff. We will then travel east into the desert environment of Anza Borrego State Park, spending the first of two nights in Borrego Springs.
Thursday, March 9 [L]
We will ditch our tour bus for off road transportation and take an excursion into the desert to tour the Morteros, Pictographs, and Mine Wash archaeological sites in Anza Borrego State Park, guided by site stewards and State Park archaeologists. In the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to get a rare look into the Anza Borrego State Park’s Archaeological Lab with the park’s archaeologist. We will finish our day at the Anza Borrego State Park visitor’s center, ending with a second night in Borrego Springs, California.
Friday, March 10 [L]
We will depart Borrego Springs for San Juan Capistrano, where we will have a docent-guided tour of what many people view as the gem of all California missions, Mission San Juan Capistrano, founded in 1776. After our tour of the mission, we’ll have free time to explore the town. Then we’ll depart for San Diego for our final night in Old Town San Diego.
Saturday, March 11
Tour participants depart for home.
Cost includes first class hotel accommodations based on double occupancy (single supplement is $375), lunches, happy hours, expert Conservancy and special guides, admittance fees, tours and orientations, background reading, and surface travel via air-conditioned bus with restroom (except on Thursday, March 17 we will be in open air trucks).
Not included are meals other than lunches and travel to and from San Diego.