Gray whales are 52 feet long and weigh 36 tons,yet are gentle enough to touch. Right now,Baja California's Pacific coast is the perfect place to experience the thrill.
Every year in November,more than 10 thousand gray whales trade the freezing waters of Alaska's Bering Sea for the warmth of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. Traveling along the Pacific coastline at top speeds of five mph and with pregnant females in the lead,the whales take about four months to make the 10 thousand miles roundtrip.
Once the whales reach the Mexican coast,they mate,bask in soothing lagoons and give birth,making January through early April the peak time to whale watch. During these months, boat excursions are available all along Baja California,giving tourists the chance to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural environment,see the newborn calves and enjoy the blowhole water shows.
Gray whales are so friendly that on many occasions they swim right up to the boats and even allow human contact. In early spring,the calves and their mothers are the last to head back up north,and without the presence of the males,mothers are less protective,often allowing their young to approach tour boats more freely.
Where to watch
Although a small percentage of whales,particularly those that are not giving birth,make it as far south as Cabo San Lucas and the East Cape on the southern tip of the Baja,most whale-watching takes place in three major lagoons all the coastline of the Baja Peninsula.
Laguna Ojo de Liebre: Also known as Scammon's Lagoon,this body of water is located half-way down the peninsula on the Pacific side in Guerrero Negro,about 440 miles south of the border. It was the principal hunting lagoon used by commercial whale hunters in the 19th century. Today tourists arrive to the lagoon by car,but a national airport is also available for tourists flying in from other destinations in Mexico.
Laguna San Ignacio: Located 100 miles south of Laguna Ojo de Liebre,access to this site is mostly through charter air service from international airports such as San Diego and Tijuana.
Bahia Magdalena (Magdalena Bay): This bay in becoming increasingly popular for whale-watching due to its proximity to the La Paz and Loreto International airports.
How to get there
Tourists can arrive by charter plane and/or ground to the lagoons. Loreto's International airport is the closest international airport to the lagoons,with limited service provided by Aeromexico and Aero California. Baja California's capital,La Paz,is located approximately halfway between Loreto and Cabo and its larger airport offers more flight options.
Gray whale excursions comprise half-day or day trips,packages based out of whale-watching camps,and cruise programs that allow tourists to sleep onboard ships. There are various tour operators that specialize in whale-watching - contact us for more information or visit our main website for information about Cabo real estate.