“Timo” Means founded Baja Expeditions almost 50 years ago and led the way in pioneering eco-adventures in Baja California and passion for conservation. Opening up whale programs by working with local ex-fishermen panga captains. Building and operating one of the first liveaboard dive and eco-adventure boats in the world. Kayaking trips in the Sea of Cortez. Scuba diving. The first trips to Socorro Island, bravely heading out into open ocean where nobody had dared before. Saving Espiritu Santo Island from commercial exploitation. Setting up low-impact eco-friendly camps. We are grateful and appreciative to Timo for all of this and so much more, and honour his memory by continuing the legacy with a fresh infusion of capital, excellence in guest experience and top-of-the-line equipment.
Conservation as a Way of Life
“It was never my intention to start a business,” founder Tim Means (1944 – 2019) reflected over his break-of-dawn cafecito (coffee). “It was always about a way of life.”
Tim fell in love with the desert and its ecosystems at an early age. Tim turned his childhood fascination with the desert into a lifetime of commitment to conservation – he has run eco-adventures for more than four decades to share his vision with others. Friends chuckle that “gravity brought Tim Means to Baja California” – metaphorically following the rapids of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, where he was a raft guide in his early career, down to the waters of the Sea of Cortez. In the top picture on this page, Tim rows his dory fearlessly into a Grand Canyon wave, proudly flying the Mexican flag. Tim joked, “You should have seen the next picture. You can only see the flag.”
Family owned and operated since 1974, Baja Expeditions offers sustainable tourism that supports local environmental education, field research, conservation efforts, and as much time outside as possible – indeed a way of life. We collaborate with a variety of partners to provide access to the rich biodiversity in the deserts and seas of the Baja peninsula, its wilderness and official Natural Protected Areas. We take seriously our role as a part of the community advocating for this area’s sustainable management and preservation.
Constantly connecting motivated folks often begins at Tim’s kitchen table. If you can wrangle an invitation, you may find yourself across from a world-renowned nature photographer, a public radio reporter, or a local student with a bright idea, such as a battery-recycling project.
Means is one of Baja’s California’s true wild land advocates, as well as collector of both curios and like-minded citizens. A Sudcaliforniano at heart, he continues to call the desert and sea home. Means is a recognizable and decidedly colorful local character, and from fisherman to presidents, anyone who has ever visited La Paz by sea probably knows him and likely can produce his customary “Woooooooooooooop,” a booming greeting borrowed from Baja California rancheros, followed by a chuckle to himself. Tim Means will get your attention!
Unique Travel for Unique People
Means was a true pioneer for regional eco-travel and citizen science in the early 1970s in Southern Baja; the fisherman talk about days when they were the only ones at the islands, “Well, us and Tim Means,” an old timer remarked at a recent park symposium.
When Means first was building local alliances, Baja California was still “The Forgotten Peninsula” of naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch, who described Means’ trajectory in his work: “Sharing his fascination with the outdoors with passengers from around the world hardly seemed like work. He determined to mix business and avocation and in 1974 founded Baja Expeditions Inc. His first trips to the Sea of Cortez were aboard Mexican fishing boats, as rough and casual as the crew. He showed travelers the stark beauty of the desert islands; abundant wildlife on land and sea. He brought together ‘pescadores’ and ‘rancheros’ to share their knowledge of Baja’s life and landscape. In the ensuing years he has found … a home in La Paz and an abiding love of Baja. Baja Expeditions Inc. reflects… years of travel, adventure and friendship in the ‘Land that Time Forgot.’”
Over the years, the forgotten land has been slowly rediscovered and the local population has grown rapidly. The business, its collaborators, and the family grew over the years. Nora White met Means after she and her cousin had sailed a small catamaran on an independent expedition that finished in La Paz in the late 1970s. Tim and Nora later had two children and raised them on the shores and the seas of the desert peninsula. The whole family, together with their Baja Ex local and international team, have helped thousands of visitors discover the area’s natural wonders. Additionally, Baja Expeditions has been an incubator for many budding entrepreneurs, and many area owners of successful ecotourism ventures counted Means among their mentors.
Four decades after the first explorations, Baja Expeditions continues under leadership inspired by both Tim Means’ vision and the vanguard of conservation models on the peninsula and in Mexico. Our Baja Expeditions team includes local and international naturalists, local family members, former fisherman, accomplished guides, field scientists and local students. We can’t wait to welcome you to learn more.
Walk This Way
Tim Means walks his talk. Through almost a half century of work in eco-tourism and land advocacy and conservation, his efforts have inspired and cultivated institutional advocacy, community engagement and organizing, sustained alternative economic opportunity and concrete policy decrees, as well as personal and collective inspiration and connection for the conservation of wild places and inhabited wilderness in the Baja peninsula. Read more about Means’ pivotal role in saving the Espiritu Santo Island Archipelago.
Additionally, Means is one of three co-founders of Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparajá, named for the Pericú indigenous community, which has reported significant conservation results (see 25 years, 25 accomplishments 2015 report, Spanish). He sat on the bi-national advisory council for the San Diego Museum of Natural History. With so much progress toward so many conservation goals, Means’ legacy of commitment and action is ongoing.
In keeping with that legacy, Baja Expeditions offers an array of expeditions, day trips, community activities and liveaboard adventures. We have always believed in giving back, and all our programming helps subsidize our support of local environmental education, research and community projects. We love coming up with new ways for our guests to get involved so they can keep enjoying and advocating for our seas and coasts. It takes a village to conserve a peninsula!
Our business is all about making it easy to pitch in. We design expeditions that connect you with nature and really give you a sense of this unique place. Your ticket price already includes a little built-in support to keep Baja wild.