As we move slowly ahead in our panga, several mothers and their calves approach (by late March, when we visit, most adult males have already left for their return trip north). Then a whale comes right at us. As big as a school bus, she could easily flip us with one swipe of a fluke. Instead, she sends up a thick ring of bubbles as she dips under the hull, her back lifting us slightly out of the water. Even as we catch our breath from that encounter, another mother nears, this time pushing her offspring toward us. She nudges the calf (it weighs about 3 tons by now) out of the water. Human and whale eyes lock as we stroke the calf’s smooth, rubbery skin. Then, as gently as they came, mother and calf move away.
Thank you so much for the visit Phil! As the article suggests, those of you visiting from outside Mexico can call Emily Evans at Custom Coastal to make your reservations or travel arrangements at 409-877-4551.
The San Ignacio Lagoon has become known as the mecca of whale watching. Nowhere else in the world offers such an amazingly intimate interaction between whales and humans. The waters literally come alive as hundreds of gray whales gather in this protected lagoon each year. Our cabañas provide guests with the most comfortable outpost from which to experience the gray whales.
Situated within the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, the largest and least populated protected area in Mexico, the San Ignacio Lagoon offers a protected sanctuary for gray whales. After the long and arduous journey from Alaskan waters, the gray whales enter one of three main areas on the Pacific coast of Baja to mate, give birth, and nurse their young calves. The lagoons are vital reproduction and wintering sites for not only gray whales but also coastal bird species as the lagoon is situated along the Pacific Flyway for migrating birds.
The residents of the San Ignacio lagoon established strict regulations enforced inside the whale watching area to protect the whales and provide guests with the most intimate whale watching in the world. During the winter months (Jan – April), the sleepy fishing town comes alive with whales and their fans. Experienced fishermen captain each vessel (panga) and a naturalist guide will share interesting stories and their love for the amazing creatures on daily outings to the see the whales.
There are several ways to reach this isolated area, travel logistics can be a bit complicated but once you have been eye-to-eye with a mama gray whale and her calf your efforts will be trivialized. The closest international airport is Loreto, a five to six hour drive from the lagoon. Intrepid travelers can also fly into San Jose del Cabo or La Paz and explore the Sea of Cortez side before heading to the Pacific.
We can help you arrange transportation based on your desires. Want to leave the driving to a professional? We can arrange private or shared transport from San Ignacio town, Loreto, La Paz, and San Jose del Cabo. Buses in Baja are incredibly comfortable, safe and reliable. Rental cars are another good option. Roads are well maintained and well signed, making it easy for the inexperienced navigator. The road to the lagoon is almost entirely paved, eliminating the need for a 4×4 vehicle.
Check out our trips section to see what adventures await!