Summary : The Pacific gray whale migration from Alaska's Bering Sea to the warm waters of Baja's lagoons is the longest mammal migration on earth. Nearly hunted to extinction in the past, these gentle leviathans have made a dramatic comeback and today show little fear of humans. Every spring, hundreds of them return to traditional birthing and breeding grounds at sheltered San Ignacio Lagoon on Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Friendly and engaging, they are often intrigued with humans, swimming right up to the boats, and passengers can frequently approach close enough to touch them during encounters at sea. This remarkable whale watching encounter is a rare adventure!
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Snorkeling
$999,999,999 to $0
Your whale watching tour begins upon arrival in the colonial town of Loreto, where you transfer to your hotel near the plaza. At one time the capital of California under Mexico’s rule, Loreto was founded in 1697 and is the region’s oldest permanent settlement. Located on the Sea of Cortez, Loreto boasts fine beaches, reef snorkeling and excellent hiking in the nearby Sierra de la Giganta Mountains. This evening, gather for dinner and an orientation to the magnificent gray whales of Baja.
Drive across the desert to the Pacific Ocean today, traversing a scenic landscape of arid mountains dotted with saguaros, to arrive by late afternoon or early evening. Your “whale cabana” accommodations at the edge of San Ignacio Lagoon are a special feature of your trip. Secluded on a quiet stretch of beach, the cabanas are well-built thatched structures, rustic but inviting, each with two beds and a window overlooking the bay. Shower facilities and toilets are shared. While basic, these are the best remote lodgings available, offering the opportunity to experience the wilderness of the Vizcaino Desert, a UN Biosphere Reserve, in genuine comfort.
Whales have been revered as mystical creatures by many cultures, and an intimate encounter with them is a dream realized for wildlife lovers. Watch them from skiffs—small motorized boats—that allow you to closely observe their fascinating range of behaviors. You may see them breach, spy-hop or come up close to present their backs for a scratch. In general, spend two hours whale watching per excursion and take two excursions per day (due to conservation regulations, these numbers may vary, depending on the total number of boats on the water at a given time), with a total of six whale-watching excursions during your stay.
Numerous whales enter this particular lagoon, and your small boat allows you to get incredibly close. Naturally, your guides are very sensitive to the animals’ demeanor before approaching, and your skiff drivers are experts at positioning the boats to maximize encounters with the whales without disturbing them. You may see males competing for females, young adults playing, and mothers protecting and teaching their calves, perhaps the most endearing of all your encounters. Babies are 14 to 16 feet at birth, and they often come within arm’s length of the boats. Your Expedition Leader and expert local guides provide interpretation about their remarkable journey and habits.
Ashore, enjoy the chance to participate in other activities such as bird watching and naturalist-led hikes, during which you may find fossils, bones and shells. If weather and tides cooperate, you may also explore the local mangrove estuaries.
After a final chance to visit the whales, depart San Ignacio by road, returning to Loreto in time for dinner and your final evening together.
Transfer to the airport for flights home. An extra day is recommended to explore Loreto, a historic town and beautiful, little-developed region.
Departure dates subject to change. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to confirm departure schedule before purchasing air tickets.
Accommodations; meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 6; purified drinking water during activities and purified drinking water and soft drinks at meals; services of an Expedition Leader and local guides; most gratuities; all permits; group airport transfers on Day 1 and final day; entrance fees and taxes.
Travel to and from start and end point of trip; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities; passport fees; items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, etc.); airport and departure taxes; optional travel insurance; airline baggage fees; early arrival or late departure airport transfers.