When the grey whales arrive in Baja to have their babies, it is a magical time. Whale watching is one of the most popular activities in Baja, and this is much more than just watching whales! We often have the opportunity to pet and kiss them, and it is their idea!
Going to Baja the slow way! Every year, the California grey whales set off on the longest migration made by any mammal, 12,000 miles roundtrip! They are on their way to Baja to spend a few months enjoying the Pacific lagoons along the Baja coast. The grey whales were once hunted to near extinction in the very waters they work so hard to visit. They are now protected in the U.S. and México, it is thought that the population is now over 20,000 strong.
There are only three places in the world the grey whales give birth to their babies, and all three are in Baja!
This is no vacation for the grey whales. This is the annual ritual of returning to their place of birth, to bring their own babies into this world. It is a long, and dangerous trip for these gentle creatures, but the lagoons in Baja are the perfect location for birthing.
It was just about 40 years ago, that Francisco “Pachico” Mayoral, a fisherman in San Ignacio, was the first to experience a grey whale seeking human interaction. Pachico was fishing in the Lagoon and a grey whale leaned its head on the side of his 18 foot boat, and looked him straight in the eye. Pachico insisted the huge whale “wanted to be friends”.
When Pachico returned to his village and told his story, everyone thought he was crazy. This was the very same Lagoon where whales were slaughtered for their oil, just 100 years ago! But, they found that the whales did want to be friends! Since then, this remote Lagoon has become the place in the world for us to make contact with these huge mammals (49 feet and 40 tons) we now call “friendlies”.
Baja is one of my very favorite places – often called “the Last Frontier”, most of it is a hidden gem, little populated and unknown by most – yet with some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. If you do make the effort to travel to a lagoon midway down the Pacific side of the peninsula, located in a desolate place far from “civilization”, you’ll be rewarded with what most people refer to as an event that changed their lives – the only place where Grey Whales actively seek human interaction in the wild.
We will begin in the beautiful, historic Spanish town of Loreto on the Sea of Cortez, where we’ll spend a couple days unwinding, and learning to slow down….we’ll even have a chance to visit one of the islands in the protected marine park – what Jacques Cousteau called “the world’s aquarium” . Then we’ll drive across the peninsula to the oasis town of San Ignacio on the beautiful river, and the next day to the Lagoon on the Pacific Ocean to spend time with some of my friends, the Grey Whales – and what an adventure it will be!
No one knows why whales started seeking human touch here, in a place that just 100 years ago ran red with their blood. The lagoon is where they were hunted for their oil, because they returned every year to mate and bear their young – the longest migration of any mammal on earth. Since then, those whales who first initiated interaction with us 40 years ago have continued to teach their offspring…
Adult Grey Whales are up to 49 ft. in length (the females are slightly larger than the males) and 30-40 tons. Their tails are so powerful that they could easily slice our boat in two with one little flick. However, in all the years people have been coming to the lagoon, there has never been one adverse incident – the whales are gentle and thoughtful in all of their interactions with us. I say thoughtful because their brains are larger and more complex than ours, and it is clear when they swim up to us and look us straight in the eye, that it is a deliberate action. From the moment you see them “spy-hopping” to check out our boats from a distance in the vast lagoon, until one of the babies decides to spin the boat around like a bathtub toy, every minute with them is pure joy!
We’ll meet in the beautiful town of Loreto, which will be our home base, and, although 170 miles away, it is the nearest airport to the Lagoon. It is a perfect introduction to Baja because the very 1st settlement established in California (which Baja was first called before explorers traveled north to what is now present day California State) was in Loreto in 1697. That mission is still on the Plaza, and is in use every day. The historic Malecon, or walkway along the Sea of Cortez, looks out to the protected Marine Park, and islands. We’ll be staying at a hotel near the historic Plaza tonight, and tomorrow night, and again when we return from our whale camp.
Today, we’ll be spending the morning and afternoon exploring Coronado Island, 7 miles from Loreto, in the protected Marine Park. On the way to the island, we may see Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, huge pods of dolphins, schools of Manta Rays, turtles, and many, many varieties of birds, including the Blue-Footed Booby. We’ll have lunch and snorkel on a white sandy beach. Our afternoon is free, and we’ll have dinner together in the evening
In the morning, we’ll take our van north to the French colonial town of Santa Rosalia, whose streets were designed by a French mining company in the 1800’s. The copper mines were closed in 1954, but have been re-opened in the last few years. There is an iron church in the center of town designed by Eiffel. After lunch in Santa Rosalia, we’ll cross over the Sierra La Giganta mountains, passing Tres Virgenes – three huge dormant volcanic mountains, and then towards the Pacific Ocean, stopping in the oasis town of San Ignacio for the night.
This morning, we’ll drive the dirt road to San Ignacio Lagoon, where we’ll stay right on the beach in small eco-cabins. This remote Lagoon is a protected area, and our camp is solar-powered, and every effort has been made to protect the environment. This is the Lagoon where a grey whale first initiated human contact 40 years ago, and it remains the place in the world to interact with these gentle giants.
We’ll go out on the water again today to experience the whales. In the afternoon, we can explore the maze of mangroves, and look for some of the 225 species of birds who reside there, or visit a vast salt lake bed, where what is considered the best salt in the world is harvested.
Our last day at the Lagoon, we’ll spend more time on the water with the whales, walking on the beach, and relaxing in this pristine environment, one of the few places I’ve been in the world that looks the same now as it did 25 years ago, when I first visited.
This morning, we’ll take our van back to Loreto, stopping in the town of Mulege for lunch. Mulege is an oasis town where a Jesuit mission was built in 1705. It was destroyed by a flood and rebuilt in 1770 and is still in use. We’ll arrive back at our hotel in Loreto in the afternoon, and have dinner together under the stars.
Today is a “free” day to do any activity of your choice: kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, exploring an old Moorish-style Mission in the nearby Sierra La Giganta mountains, shopping, or doing nothing at all. Our last dinner together will be at a local restaurant.
Goodbyes and return home.
Tour price : $ 2,495.00 USD
Reserve your space with a $500,00 deposit.
To request information without obligation, please enter your email address and telephone below.
We will contact you as soon as possible.