Exploring Baja's Interior & Gray Whale Watching
From mid-January to late March, when the gray whales are nursing their young in Magdalena Bay, aka “Mag Bay,” we offer you the best of Baja! Drive through the remote mountains to visit a remote village, then continue on for one of the greatest wildlife experiences on earth! The adventure begins and ends in Loreto and can be done as a 4 or 5 day tour, depending on how many days you stay at our whale watching camp in Magdalena Bay.
Images & Videos
Drive through Sierra La Giganta Mountains, Visit San Javier Mission, Continue on to San Miguel de Comondu
Departing Loreto, we head upwards into the Sierra La Giganta for our first stop at the hamlet of San Javier home to Baja’s third oldest mission, dating to 1699. After a walk through the small town, we visit the mission and its gardens. After a traditional Mexican lunch, we continue across the Baja Peninsula to the agricultural oasis of San Miguel de Comondu, where palms, grapes and other fruits grow. Here we find a small and cozy hotel and are welcomed by the town locals for heartfelt conversation and tales of the long history of this isolated agricultural community.
Explore the Desert Palm Oasis of San Miguel
In the morning we meet some of the villagers who are eager to share their way of life with us. We might milk a goat, help pick grapes or learn how to weave palms. Then we’re off to hike to a fantastic geologic wonder known as the “prism.” Some 14 million years ago volcanic eruptions cooled, forming hexagonal basalt columns that look like a giant pipe organ. We explore other parts of this lush paradise in the desert before returning to San Miguel for another night at our homespun hotel and a dinner and evening filled with stories and legends.
Travel to Lopez Mateos, Whale Watching, Arrive at Whale Camp
We depart early for a 2 ½ -3 hour drive to the Pacific Coast and the town of Lopez Mateos. This is the epicenter of whale watching tours in Magdalena Bay. Our private boat whisks us from the dock, heading north in the bay for our first 2-hour whale watching session. The gray whales have migrated all the way from the Arctic to these warm Pacific waters to calve and nurse their young. It’s the longest migration that any mammal on earth undertakes. The mothers spend about 3 months here nursing their calves and strengthening them for the epic swim north to Arctic waters where they will spend 3-4 months feeding in the nutrient-rich ocean waters.
Gray whales were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1800’s. Once whaling ended (because oil replaced the need for blubber) the population slowly recovered. Today over 20,000 gray whales ply the waters off the Pacific Coast of North America and around 150-200 come each year into Magdalena Bay. For reasons unknown, some seem to enjoy interaction with humans, and approach our whale watching boats as we sit idly by. The mothers will even push their calves towards the boats. To look into the eye of these massive 35-40’ (12-13 meter) animals is one of life’s most emotional experiences.
After our morning whale watching session, we arrive at our exclusive whale camp on a long barrier island that separates the wide Pacific from the protected lagoon of Mag Bay. We unload gear into our stand-up canvas tents, with cots and sleeping pads, and then sit down for lunch. Sea birds fly overhead, and the smell of salty sea air fills the senses. We take a walk across the island to the Pacific where miles of empty beach await our bare feet. Waves lap as we look out across the immense sea, often seeing whales spout.
Back at camp it’s soon time for hors d’oeuvres made of a local fisherman’s catch, some traditional Mexican punch and then dinner. After dinner our naturalist guides give a presentation on the natural history of whales and gray whales in particular.
Whale Watching, Retun to Loreto (Or Extend Your Stay)
After a hearty breakfast our pangas (local fishing boats) arrive to gather us and our luggage up. We spend the next 2 hours plying the waters of Magdalena Bay for more time with the whales. By late morning we’re back at Lopez Mateos. A fine lunch in a local restaurant fills us up and off we go back to Loreto.
Day 5 - Optional
Add one more day at our whale camp for our most popular 3-day/2 night stay. In this case there is one more whale watching session on the afternoon of Day 4 for a total of 4 whale watching sessions. Return to Loreto by 4:00 PM on Day 5.
Note: Our whale camp has 10 tents and a capacity for up to 20 guests. While you may be in a much smaller group during the mountain portion of this trip, there may be other people sharing the whale camp. Each tent is separated from other tents by 20-50 feet (7-15 meters). Meals are served outdoors, weather permitting. Otherwise they are served in our large 30’ diameter dome tents where we also give our evening naturalist presentations.
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Adult (USD)||Child (USD)|
|Jan 24, 2021 to Mar 12, 2021 |
Based on the Lowest Tier Price
Daily departures available for private groups January through March
4 Day Tour Prices
2 People - $2600 per person
3-4 People - $1990 per person
5-12 People - $1640 per person
5 Day Tour Prices
2 People - $3200 per person
3-4 People - $2290 per person
5-12 People - $1890 per person
Single Supplement: Solo travelers will typically have their own tent at whale camp, at no additional cost. However, we are unable to guarantee individual tents at whale camp due to limited tent capacity. If you are asked to share a tent at our whale camp, rest assured that tents are very spacious, full-height canvas wall tents, with two cots and plenty of room to stand and maneuver around your tent-mate without difficulty.
- Full services of our Adventure Consultants
- Professional bi-lingual guide
- All meals and beverages as indicated on the itinerary
- Hotel accommodations between activities as dictated by the itinerary
- All transportation while on tour
- All kayaking, camping and snorkeling equipment
- All entrance fees and National Park fees
Tour Does Not Include:
- Transportation to and from the airport
- Hotel accommodations before and after tour
- Items of a personal nature
ALL PRICES IN US DOLLARS. We will do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website. However, tour itineraries or sub contractors (such as taxi, cruise boats or hotels) may change slightly due to reasons beyond our control including but not limited to Acts of God, wind, waves, inclement weather or other. We always welcome you to call us to clarify any item - often this is the best way to fully clarify expectations - call us collect or on our toll-free number. You will be sent pre-trip email with latest details within a month of your tour - it is your responsibility to check in with us prior to your trip to see if you have all the information you need. We will always do our best to provide you with the best possible tour and to fully meet your expectations to the best of our ability.
FAQ & More
Please see our Baja Travel Guide for full details on travel to and from Baja.
Airport transfers are not included in your tour package price.
Yes, all of our tour pricing is in US Dollars.
You will spend two-hour sessions on the water in motorized skiffs (called pangas) whale watching. Be ready to go immediately when the boat arrives to maximize your time out whale watching, as the 2-hour session starts promptly.
All whale watching excursions are in open fiberglass 22-foot motorized boats called “pangas” that hold a maximum of six passengers each, plus a guide and driver. Each panga is equipped with life jackets, radio, first aid kit, and piloted by an experienced, government-licensed Mexican “pangero” who will allow us safe and proximate viewing of the California Gray Whale.
A roomy full-height wall tent with two cots, night stand, rectangular sleeping bag with clean sheet, small pillow, and comfortable self-inflating pad are provided for your convenience at camp. There is also a washroom tent with a portable toilet. We recommend packing biodegradable shower wipes to freshen up with as there is no fresh water at whale camp.
We have a spacious 30’ wide dome tent that serves as an evening gathering space if it’s too cool or rainy outside (rare) or just a place to get out of the sun during the day. There are also miles of beach and sand dunes to explore!
Our tents are 8’ x 12’ and about 7’ tall. They are made of canvas and have a nice big window on one side. They are equipped with cots, comfortable sleeping pads, sleeping bags and pillows.
Sea Kayak Adventures will provide you with a detailed packing list prior to your trip. We provide all of the necessary camping, paddling and snorkeling equipment, which you will need to fully enjoy your adventure. If you have any questions, or need help deciding what to bring, you can call or e-mail one of our friendly Adventure Consultants at any time for some extra advice!
We know your Guide will make the biggest difference on your trip! Which is why we pride ourselves on employing only the best local guides for all of the incredible locations that we visit. Part of this is to support our eco-tourism efforts, but we also believe that there is no better way to experience a new destination than through they eyes of a local! We find talented and skilled local guides, train and certify them, and provide a positive and consistent source of income to them and their families. Most of our guides are with us for the long-term, despite the seasonal nature of the industry.
To keep our group size small and our impact minimal, we typically limit our tours to 14 people or less. Our standard minimum to confirm a departure is 4 guests for our Magdalena Bay whale watching tour.
You can leave your luggage at your hotel while you are on tour. We recommend getting a luggage lock if you are leaving any electronics in the bags. We’ve never had any issues with guests leaving their bags at the hotel but it’s always better to be safe just in case. Be sure to confirm at check in.