Non-Kayaking tours are available! Located on Baja's Pacific Coast, Magdalena Bay, and San Ignacio Lagoon are the world-renowned winter nursery grounds of the California gray whale. Late January through mid-March, hundreds of gray whales mate and bear their young in these protected waters after traveling over 5000 miles from the Bering Strait. The gray whale calving lagoons gained acclaim in the early 1970s when a gray whale made contact with a local fisherman, allowing him to pat her head. Word spread of this remarkable occurrence both among the fishermen and apparently among the gray whales, who now eagerly approach whale-watching boats and interact freely with guests onboard. Because whale watching in the lagoons is federally regulated, all companies adhere to the same ordinances of time with the gray whales, passengers per boat, and best whale watching practices. Once aboard the skiff, you can watch the gray whales and their newly born calves up close from the safety of motorized skiffs as they breaching, spy-hop and fluke. Magdalena Bay and San Ignacio boast multi-generational friendly gray whales, and mothers and calves alike eagerly initiate contact.
San Ignacio Lagoon vs. Magdalena Bay? It's hard to go wrong with either. They are about 4 hours from each other so the whale encounters are very similar. On Magdalena Bay, we do have exclusive rights to a beach camp. Nobody else can use it. Magdalena bay is also a bit easier from a logistic and travel standpoint as it's close to Loreto (major airport) while San Ignacio is about a 4-hour drive. In San Ignacio, the more famous of the two because it was first to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site and received fame from documentaries and being in a few books, there are more tourists who visit and witness the whales...but it's still a surreal experience. This said San Ignacio does have a longer whale watching season from January through April while Magdalena's prime whale watching season is from mid-Jan through March.
Don’t just watch gray whales from a boat! Sea Kayak Adventures ensures a rich gray whale experience even when you’re not on the water. We hold the exclusive permit to camp on Isla Santo Domingo island, right on the mouth of the lagoon’s seaside entrance. Unlike the shallow mangroves of other parts of the bay, gray whales regularly frequent the deep waters of this outlet to the sea. That means you can often see gray whales right from camp! Enjoy breakfast with whales breaching just offshore, or hear their rhythmic blows lull you to sleep. Rather than "stretch" the season in hope of early arrivals or stragglers, our tour dates are planned well within typical whale migrations. We would rather treat our guests to amazing encounters in the height of the season than run tours with a lesser likelihood of peak whale viewing.
Sea Kayak Adventures holds permits to both of these magnificent locations which we pristinely maintain with no permanent fixtures to mar the landscape. When the gray whales leave, we leave no trace. Your guides, including marine biologist graduate students from the University of La Paz in southern Baja, will teach you how to adhere to this camping practice, and about gray whale behavior. Federally protected Magdalena Bay and San Ignacio Lagoon also hosts a vast array of other sea life like bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, and dense mangroves which provide cover for an incredible variety of sea birds and migratory birds.
We design our whale watching adventures to provide you with the best whale encounters imaginable in this whale-watchers' paradise. In conjunction with our gray whale base camps, we also offer kayaking and gray whale watching combination tours that allow you to visit the Sea of Cortez. The islands of Loreto Bay National Marine Park, located in the Sea of Cortez, are home to one-third of the world's whale species, including blue, fin, Sei, humpback, sperm, Bryde's and pilot whales as well as common and bottlenose dolphins. Our variety of kayak and whale watching combo tour itineraries give you "the Best of Baja" combining close up gray whale encounters with kayaking near whales and dolphins in the sunny Sea of Cortez.
We are delighted to announce that furthering our conservation and responsible tourism efforts, in 2013 we became the first kayak tour operator outfitter to join the Responsible Whale Watch Partnership. We join just 20 other companies in an effort to raise the standards of whale and dolphin watching in Baja and worldwide.