Baja Gray Whale Watching

Experience one of the most incredible close-up wildlife encounters on the planet from our exclusive base camp situated on a secluded island beach at the very heart of whale activity in Magdalena Bay, one of the major calving lagoons for gray whales. See these magnificent, gentle giants at the height of their calving season from the safety of motor skiffs operated by local fishermen. These are amazing whale-watching trips and sometimes the whales exhibit "friendly" behavior, swimming very close to the boats and apparently seeking interaction with humans. Whether the whales come close, or keep their distance, we promise you a superb whale watching experience.

Magdalena Bay is one of three bays in Baja that is sheltered from the Pacific Ocean and like the other two, San Ignacio and Guerrero Negro, Magdalena Bay is a world-renowned winter nursery grounds of the California gray whale. Thousands of gray whales migrate from arctic waters to Baja every year, arriving from January through March. Dozens of these enter Magdalena Bay to bear their young and give their first couple of months of life a protected start. The mother's are not feeding during this time and experience a large weight loss as the calves nurse, drinking many gallons of milk each day. After about three months in the lagoons, the whales begin their northward migration, the longest of any marine mammal in the world. 

The gray whale lagoons in Baja enjoy strict federal protection, and one can only whale watch with a licensed tour operator. You can watch the whales and their newly born calves up close from the safety of motorized skiffs. Sometimes the whales are calmly swimming, other times they are spy-hopping and fluking, and at times we see males courting females, breaching and other fascinating behaviors. Being in proximity to these beautiful animals will captivate your attention and remind you of the incredible diversity of nature's creation.

You can observe gray whales and discover Magdalena Bay's diverse, fascinating ecosystem of windswept sand dunes, vibrant desert flora and mangrove-lined estuaries on one of our Baja whale-watching tours. Only Sea Kayak Adventures has exclusive permission to camp on an island at a spectacular location where deep waters allow the whales to swim directly in front of us. Our three-day and four-day gray whales of Magdalena Bay whale watching tours include accommodations at our safari-style base camp situated on a secluded beach at the center of whale activity very close to the mouth, or passageway that connects the bay with the open Pacific Ocean.

Each day motorized skiffs take you out to the deeper waters of the bay, where "friendly whales" may swim up to the skiffs for a closer look and often invite us to interact with them. Other days the whales may stay farther from the boats and we watch their swimming and other behaviors from a distance. Often we also offer the option of spending an hour or so in the mangroves next to the bay for birdwatching where you may identify many species of migratory shorebirds. Shore time is also an important part of our whale camp experience.  We offer a guide-led walk across the dunes to learn about the island's ecology and the various animals and plants that make this place their home. There's time for beach-combing, watching whales in the open Pacific, and simply enjoying our waterfront camp.

The camp provides all the gear and amenities you need for a comfortable wilderness experience. Your guides will give entertaining, informative presentations on whale natural history. There's also an extensive library with books on whales. 

*Note: First and last days for any Baja tour are arrival and departure days. You might consider arriving a day or two early to enjoy one of our skiff/snorkel tours in the Sea of Cortez or a visit to the mission town of San Javier.

Images & Videos

gray whale in Baja
gray whale spy hopping
sand dunes magdalena Bay
gray whale in baja's pacific lagoons
whale watching camp baja
people on sand dunes baja
whale camp dome baja
gray whale watching baja
woman watching whales from beach
gray whale in Baja
gray whale spy hopping
sand dunes magdalena Bay
gray whale in baja's pacific lagoons
whale watching camp baja
people on sand dunes baja
whale camp dome baja
gray whale watching baja
woman watching whales from beach

Itinerary

Collapse all days

Day 0

Arrive in Loreto

Upon arrival at the Loreto Airport take a quick cab ride to your hotel.  After checking in (Not included in the tour cost) you are on your own to explore Loreto, take a walk down the malecon, or relax by the hotel pool before your evening orientation meeting.  At the orientation meeting you will meet your guides who will give you details about the plan for the next morning and answer any questions you may have.

Please see our Baja Travel Guide for full details on travel to and from Baja.

ACCOMMODATION : Not included

Day 1

Whale Watching in Magdalena Bay

After a good hearty  breakfast be ready to depart 7:30am sharp for van transportation two hours to the Pacific coast, to Puerto Lopez Mateos on Magdalena Bay. Your first whale watching session will start immediately upon arrival. You might even see whales right from the dock! At the end of the two-hour session, the boat driver will ferry you across the bay to our exclusive base camp on a sand-dune barrier island. You’ll have a chance to unload your gear and settle into your pre-assembled tent before a hearty lunch. This afternoon, your guides will lead a hike across the dunes to the Pacific Ocean. You can meander back to camp along the beach in the sunset, just in time for happy hour and a dinner under the stars.

ACCOMMODATION : Magdalena Bay Whale Camp
MEALS INCLUDED : Lunch, Dinner

Day 2

Whale Watching in Magdalena Bay

Tea and coffee greet you with the morning sun, and you’re welcome to stroll along the beach and watch the whales wake up while your guides prepare a hot breakfast. Your day is filled with whale watching, hiking along the sand dunes and beachcombing the Pacific beaches. In the morning and afternoon we will take a motorized skiff into the bay for two hours of close encounters with gray whales (included in price), leaving the afternoon free for swimming, dune walking, whale watching from shore and exploring.  We can also lead skiff birding tours into the mangrove areas, or part whale watching, part birding sessions.  Learn more about the common birds of Magdalena Bay! Our bilingual naturalist guides include marine biology graduate students from the University of La Paz. Be sure to board the skiff as soon as it arrives, as the clock starts ticking on the strictly 2 hour whale-watching session.

ACCOMMODATION : Magdalena Bay Whale Watching
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Return to Loreto (3-day trip) or Another Day at Whale Camp (4-day trip)

Guests on a 3-day trip will enjoy one final whale-watching session after breakfast in the morning before you are returned to Puerto Lopez Mateos by panga.  On arrival we transfer to a restauarant operated by the local fishing cooperative.  After we enjoy a hot seafood lunch we then return to Loreto, usually arriving between 3-4 pm. Check into your hotel for a shower or take a stroll along the malecon before a farewell dinner (no-host) with your group where you can reminisce about nature's wonders.

Guests on a 4-day trip will enjoy a morning whale-watching session, perhaps with 3-day trip people, or in a separate panga, depending on trip numbers.  Lunch is again at camp.  After lunch we go out for another whale watching adventure.  Then we return to camp to enjoy a rest, a walk, or simply to watch the bay where we often see dolphins swimming by camp, as well as whales in bit further away from shore.  Appetizers are served, and with luck we watch a gorgeous sunset.  Dinner and a relaxed evening round out a perfect day.

ACCOMMODATION : On 3-day trip, not included.  On 4-day trip, another night at whale camp.
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch.  Also dinner for those on a 4-day trip.

Day 4

Depature Day

This morning finalize your packing, relish a final breakfast at whale camp surrounded by the fresh sea air, and then board a panga for one final whale-watching session.  We spend two hours whale watching as we travel south back to the town of Lopez Mateos.  On arrival we go to lunch at a restaurant run by the local fishing cooperative.  Then we drive back to Loreto to arrive sometime between 3 and 4pm.  Check into your hotel, take a shower and perhaps a walk to explore Loreto.  We then meet for a farewell dinner (no-host) with your group where you can reminisce about nature's wonders.

ACCOMMODATION : Not Included
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch

Featured Accommodation

Dates & Rates

DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD)
Jan 21, 2025 to Jan 23, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Jan 23, 2025 to Jan 25, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Jan 25, 2025 to Jan 27, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Jan 27, 2025 to Jan 30, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Jan 28, 2025 to Jan 30, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Jan 29, 2025 to Feb 01, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Feb 03, 2025 to Feb 06, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Feb 04, 2025 to Feb 06, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Feb 05, 2025 to Feb 08, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Feb 06, 2025 to Feb 08, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Feb 08, 2025 to Feb 10, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Feb 10, 2025 to Feb 13, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Feb 11, 2025 to Feb 13, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Feb 12, 2025 to Feb 15, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Feb 13, 2025 to Feb 15, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Feb 15, 2025 to Feb 17, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Feb 17, 2025 to Feb 20, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Feb 18, 2025 to Feb 20, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Feb 19, 2025 to Feb 22, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Feb 20, 2025 to Feb 22, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Feb 24, 2025 to Feb 27, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Mar 01, 2025 to Mar 03, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Mar 03, 2025 to Mar 06, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Mar 04, 2025 to Mar 06, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Mar 05, 2025 to Mar 08, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Mar 08, 2025 to Mar 10, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Mar 10, 2025 to Mar 13, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Mar 11, 2025 to Mar 13, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Mar 12, 2025 to Mar 15, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0
Mar 13, 2025 to Mar 15, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Mar 15, 2025 to Mar 17, 2025
3-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,370£0€0$0$0$1,280£0€0$0$0
Mar 19, 2025 to Mar 22, 2025
4-day Trip - Lowest Tier Price - Low Season
$1,685£0€0$0$0$1,580£0€0$0$0

Supplementary Information

Departure Details

Please note: We require a minimum of four guests to confirm trip departures. Please call the office if you have questions reguarding this. 

3 - Day Magdalena Bay Tour (Loreto departure) 

  • 4 - 6 Guests $1470 per adult, $1390 per youth
  • 7 - 18 Guests $1290 per adult, $1210 per youth

 Single Supplement - $120 per person per night

4 Day Magdalena Bay Whale Camp Departures (Loreto) :

  • 4 - 6 Guests $1760 per adult, $1630 per youth
  • 7 - 18 Guests $1590 per adult, $1490 per youth
Single Supplement - $120 per person per night

Single Supplement:  Solo travelers can have their own tent at whale camp, for an 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.

If you're looking for the ultimate Baja experience, add one of our many Day Trip Extensions to the beginning or end of your Whale Camp tour! 

Tour Includes:

  • Full services of our Adventure Consultants
  • Professional naturalist and bi-lingual guides
  • All meals and beverages as indicated on the itinerary
  • All transportation while on tour
  • All camping equipment
  • Whale watching sessions by Panga
  • All National Parks & Biosphere Reserve access fees required by itinerary
  • Taxes

Tour Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Transportation to and from the airport
  • Hotel before and after activities
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

*Notes:

All prices in US Dollars.

Each whale-watching session is two hours in length.  We cannot guarantee the presence of whales, nor mother whales with calves, during our trips.  We have set the dates for our whale watching season to conform to the date range that the whales are usually in Magdalena Bay.  However, we cannot control their movements, or when they might arrive at the bay, or leave to swim north towards the end of the season.  We have chosen conservative dates to improve the odds of seeing whales.  Tides are also a factor as during low tide, any whales that leave the bay cannot enter again until the tides are higher.  We end our season at Magdalena Bay around the third week of March and move trips either north to San Ignacio Bay or sometimes south to Puerto Chale.

We do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website. However, we reserve the right to change the itinerary should we feel we can improve your whale-watching experience or for any other reason.  Also, tour itineraries or subcontractors (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 factors. We always welcome you to call us to clarify any concerns or questions you may have.  We provide all our guests with a pre-trip email with the most current details within a month of your tour.  It is your responsibility to read all communications that we send you.   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.

Reviews

5
Average: 5 (38 votes)

Reviews

Google Review
5

Life-changing experience

The four-day gray whale camping trip with Rafa was particularly well organized. We so valued Rafa's commitment to responsibly enjoying all the gray whales that we saw that day. Rafa’s enthusiasm for seeing these magnificent creatures was almost as fun as seeing the animals themselves! His late afternoon lectures on whale conservation and the history of whaling were particularly interesting. Being so close to gray whales was a life-changing experience that all of us will remember forever. We cannot recommend this tour and these two guides highly enough.

5

Core Memories Made

I had the honor of taking this trip with my mom and it was simply incredible. Our guides, Diego and Rafa, were knowledgeable and dedicated to ensuring we would experience what we came for. They even relocated our group at a moment's notice to Puerto Chale where there would be more whales to guarantee satisfaction...and that choice did not disappoint! We saw an abundance of whales each time we went out! Diego and Rafa were incredibly kind, fun, patient, and have I mentioned knowledgeable? They responded with elaborate detail to every question about any topic. They taught us, of course, about whales, but also local birds, the landscape, the bodies of water, the towns we passed by and stopped in, the country and state, the foliage, the wildlife....they knew it ALL! We would do it all again in a heartbeat!

5

Beyond expectation!

This trip was amazing and exceeded our expectations. The four guides were fantastic (Amaranta, Lorena, Naythan and Rudolfo). They were entusiastic and fun, knowledgeable and hard-working. Their respect for the land/environment/people was evident throughout the trip. The food was incredible. It was a real adventure and truly memorable. We highly recommend this kayaking and whale watching package.

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FAQ & More

How do I get to Loreto?

Please see our Baja Travel Guide for full details on travel to and from Baja.

Do you provide transportation to and from the airport?

Airport transfers are not included in your tour package price.

Are your tour prices in USD?

Yes, all of our tour pricing is in US Dollars.

What’s included in this whale watching package? What’s not included?

Packages Include: All camping equipment, all meals and beverages once the tour begins, all National Parks & Biosphere Reserve access fees required by itinerary, bi-lingual certified guides and the full service of our Adventure Consultants. Dates provided reflect your arrival date; all packages include a arrival and departure day.

Packages do not Include: Airfare, Hotel accommodations before and after the tour, transportation to and from airport, gratuities, and items of a personal nature.

What’s the difference between San Ignacio and Magdalena Bay?

Visit this page for a better understanding of which whale watching tour is best for you: San Ignacio Lagoon vs Magdalena Bay.

When is the best time to see whales?

We design our wilderness adventures to provide you with the best whale encounters imaginable. Magdalena Bay is a whale-watchers' paradise and we GUARANTEE gray whale sightings on this tour! The whales migrate down from their Alaskan home waters to calve in Magdalena Bay  from January through mid-March, so this is the only window to see them in Baja.

How long are the whale watching sessions?

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.

How many people are in a panga during the whale watching session?

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.

Can I kayak with grey whales?

No kayaks or private boats are allowed in the nursery lagoons of Baja’s Pacific Coast including San Ignacio. Only licensed Mexican whale watching boats are allowed in the lagoons when the whales are present.

Are there any physical requirements?

It is important to understand that this is a camping trip and we want to be sure that you are prepared, both mentally and physically, for the challenges it will present, and have clear expectations about the trip. During the day, we'll spend two hour sessions on the water in motorized skiffs (called pangas) whale watching. While whale watching from a boat is not strenuous and the water is usually calm, the bay can be choppy when it is windy, so if you are susceptible to seasickness, bring medicine or whatever you need. The hiking could best be described as leisurely. We do require that anyone over 70 or with any health or weight concerns consult us before signing up to make sure you are up to fully participating.

What is whale camp like? Are there toilets and showers at camp?

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.

What common space is available?

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!

How big are the tents at whale camp?

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.

What gear do I need?

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!

Who will my guides be?

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.

What kind of food will I eat? Do you accommodate dietary restrictions?

Our renowned wilderness meals are prepared daily by our guides using local, fresh, healthy ingredients. In Baja you can expect an authentic dining experience, with savory dishes like chiles rellenos, tostadas, ceviche, and chicken mole. We even serve delicious desserts like brownies and pineapple upside-down cake! Each morning, we serve up freshly brewed coffee or tea. Throughout the day we provide an abundance of local fruits, vegetables, and other snacks. Wine and mixed drinks are served with hors d’oeuvres each evening for happy hour.

We do our best to accommodate special dietary requests, working within the parameters of the destinations in which we operate. If you have a very strict diet, we recommend packing extra snacks that you know you can eat.

How many guests per tour?

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.

Is there a single supplement fee for solo travelers?

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.

What’s the weather like in Baja?

Please check out this great website Weather Underground for temperature averages in Baja.

Where can I store my luggage while I’m on your 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.

What are your Terms and Conditions?

Please see our full Terms & Conditions HERE.

Do I Get to Touch the Whales and What is a "Friendly" Whale?

Some of the gray whales in Baja exhibit what is known as "friendly" behavior.  While they have the entire sea as their home, some whales choose to come very close to our boats to interact.  When this happens, there are times when it is appropriate to touch the whales.  In fact, if we don't interact they will sometimes swim away in search of another boat of humans to play with.  We can't know the emotion that the whales are experiencing, but clearly they have a choice to approach the boats or not.  Equally fascinating is the fact that often these friendly whales bring their babies up close as well, sometimes even pushing the calf closer to the whale-watching skiffs.  On some tours the whales choose not to get close to us and it's important to remember that these are whale watching trips, not whale touching trips.

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