Gray Whale Watching at Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Magdalena Bay

Gray whale watching in Bahia Magdalena, BCS, Mexico.

Ground transportation, private plane and overnight options available.

During September each year, the Pacific gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus, begins it’s 6,000 mile or so journey from the icy waters of the Bearing Sea to one of several of Baja’s warm Pacific lagoons.  Towards the end of December, they begin to arrive in Magdalena Bay to find mates or to give birth and nurse their young before their return journey begins in February or March of the next year.  Nursing mothers and their calves are generally the last ones to leave staying as long as late-March to early-April.

The gray whale is the only living species in its genus (Eschrichtius) and family (Eschrichtiidae). Adults can grow to almost 50 feet / 15 metres in length weighing as much as 36 tons and are considered to have a similar life span to that of our own. Gray whale calves are around 15 feet / 5 metres in length at birth!

A gray whale calf surfaces to breathe and checks out our boat as it does. This young one is roughly 5.5 meters in length. Photo: Carol Wallace-Tarry.

Join Baja Wildlife Diaries for a day or an over-night trip to visit the gray whales in their Magdalena Bay wintering grounds and view mothers with their calves and other family members as well as single animals exploring the warm-water lagoons for possible mates. We run trips from January through March of each year and gray whale watching is offered as part of our wildlife expeditions in February and March. The whale watching is aboard an open skiff boat that we charter privately for each trip.

 

Our fleet of licensed, airconditioned vehicles. 10, 12 and 14 seaters.

Day trip option (by road)

Gray whale watching trips depart from La Paz, BCS. The drive is approximately 3.5 hours each way with breakfast, a two hour gray whale watching and lunch in one of several restaurants.

Pick up options can also be arranged from Todos Santos and La Ventana at an extra cost.

Departures from Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are available for group bookings and will be priced depending on group size and other specifics. We will arrange an overnight stay to suit your requirements since it’s a 10-12 hour round trip by road. Meet in La Paz to take advantage of our private plane whale watching trip.

The comfortable 6-seater Cessna 210 takes just an hour each way to Magdalena Bay versus 3.5 hours by road.

Day trip option (by private plane. Maximum of four guests per trip)

The flight is approximately an hour each way with a two hour gray whale watching trip and lunch in one of several restaurants. Departs from La Paz airport. Four guests required to run this trip at the per-person price. Maximum of four guests per trip with day packs and cameras, no big luggage. We can take luggage but less guests if required. Smaller groups can charter the flight for the same price as four spaces.  We try our best to match up individuals and couples to fill the flight. Group private whale watching boat of six max comprising of four guests, host and captain. Trip dates on request. No passport required, just official ID from your home country or residency here in Mexico.

 

Overnight option

2 hour whale watching on day of arrival, night in a hotel and a 2 hour whale watching trip the following day before returning to La Paz. Before our first whale watching trip, let’s check in to a local hotel situated walking distance from the whale watching boat dock. After whale watching there’s several lunch options available before returning to the hotel or the group can opt to eat back at the hotel itself. The accommodation is basic and clean with two twin beds in one room plus a bathroom with hot a running shower. Air conditioning is in every room though it’s unlikely you will need this during gray whale season. Upgrades to your accommodation are available at request subject to availability. In the morning of the next day, we will have breakfast before a second two hour gray whale watching trip. Lunch can be either in Magdalena Bay or at a restaurant at Cd. Constitución roughly an hour into our return journey to La Paz.

Gray whales often seek very close interactions with boats and humans. Here, a large adult of 12 metres or so in length comes right up to the side of our boat to get a glimpse of the passengers.

Research collaboration

We collaborate with researchers at UABCS University in La Paz, BCS, Mexico, who have maintained a monitoring and census program for the species in Magdalena Bay for the last five years. This data is collected and catalogued to help answer questions about abundance, site fidelity and population dynamics of the Magdalena Bay Pacific gray whales. During our trips we will gather and contribute data to the photo-identification study.  Guests will also have the opportunity to contribute by taking and sharing useable photos for the purpose of identifying individual whales.

Prices

The price for a day trip by ground transportation is $165 usd per person departing from La Paz which includes round-trip transporation, a two hour gray whale watching trip and a restaurant breakfast and lunch. The price does not include any alcoholic beverages though you are welcome to buy or bring your own.

The price for a day trip by private plane is $395 usd per person departing from La Paz which includes a two-way flight in a Cessna 210 light aircraft, a two hour gray whale watching trip and a restaurant lunch. The price does not include any alcoholic beverages though you are welcome to buy or bring your own. It is roughly an hour fly time each way. The cessna 210 is a six-seater so can accommodate the pilot, guide and four guests with day packs.  Luggage and bulky items or equipment will reduce the carrying capacity accordingly.

The price for an overnight trip is $295 usd per person departing from La Paz. Includes round-trip transportation, one night in a hotel, 2 x 2 hour gray whale watching trips (one on each day) and a restaurant breakfast and lunch on both days. The price does not include an evening meal to leave it open for guests to choose from the several options. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the package.

For custom gray whale watching trips to Magdalena Bay, contact us and we will design a package based on your requirements.


Gray Whale Watching Trip Info

Day trip by land transportation

  • Price: $165 usd per person
  • Included: Round trip transportation from and to La Paz, 2 hours of whale watching, restaurant breakfast, restaurant lunch.
  • Not included: Alcoholic beverages, refreshments during transit, gratuities, personal expenses.
  • Trip duration: 8-9 hours including round trip transportation and lunch.

Day trip by private plane

  • Price: $395 usd per person
  • Included: Two-way flight in a Cessna 210 from and to La Paz airport , 2 hours of whale watching on a private boat in Lopez Mateos, restaurant lunch, refreshments.
  • Not included: Transportation to La Paz airport to board your private flight (private tourism licensed van with a/c and bilingual driver available at extra cost), alcoholic beverages, additional snacks and refreshments, gratuities, personal expenses.
  • Trip duration: 5 hours including flights and lunch.

Overnight trip

  • Price: $295 usd per person
  • Included: Round trip transportation from and to La Paz, 2 x 2 hours of gray whale watching (one trip each day), one night in a basic but clean and well located hotel (price based on double occupancy, hotel may vary depending on availability at the time of your booking) restaurant breakfast and lunch on both days.
  • Not included: Evening meal on night over, alcoholic beverages, refreshments during transit, gratuities, personal expenses.
  • Trip duration: 30-32 hours (departing at 8am on day one and returning to La Paz at around 3pm the following day.

Suitability: Family friendly.

Trip highlights: Whale watching, sea birds, mangrove forests, sand dunes, desert meets the sea.

Season: January to mid-April.