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The Great Gray Whales of Baja

Make Giant Friendships at Sea off Mexico's Baja Peninsula
6 Days From $3995
Every winter, hundreds of Pacific gray whales return to their traditional breeding and birthing grounds in sheltered San Ignacio Lagoon on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Their migration from Alaska's Bering Sea to the warm waters of Baja's Pacific lagoons is the longest mammal migration on Earth. Nearly hunted to extinction in the past, these gentle giants have made a dramatic comeback. Friendly and engaging, they are often intrigued with humans, swimming right up to our open boats. We may see mothers "showing off" their babies, and our small groups can frequently interact with them at close range. The whales entertain us with breaching and spy-hopping, and we sometimes observe mating behavior as well. When you come with us to Mexico to see them, you'll be forever spoiled for whale watching, because it doesn't get any better than this!
    Gray whale, San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, MexicoGray whale, San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, MexicoGray whale, San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, MexicoWhale Cabanas, San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, MexicoGray whale, San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, MexicoSan Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, MexicoGray whale, San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, MexicoGray whale, San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja, Mexico

Trip Highlights

  • An In-Depth ImmersionWitness the spring finale of the gray whales’ migration of nearly 6,000 miles from Alaska to Baja, with the expert interpretation of our naturalist Expedition Leader
  • Six Separate Whale ExcursionsCome within arm’s reach of gentle whales—including amiable mothers with calves—on six separate skiff journeys inside the protected waters of San Ignacio Lagoon
  • Vizcaino Desert DiscoveriesExplore the saguaro-studded wilderness of the Vizcaino Desert, a UN Biosphere Reserve, on excursions from our private beachfront whale camp

Come Eye to Eye with Whales from Our Open Skiffs

Many whale-watching tours—off Boston or Maui, for example—take place on large commercial boats where you have to strain to see around guests crowding the rail, and if you do spot a whale, it’s likely you’ll glimpse only a tail or a spout of spray on the horizon. Our Baja whale experience couldn’t be more different! We foray into the whales’ world at close range, with frequent, intimate encounters the norm. Here's what makes this trip a better “whale of an adventure” than the others:

  1. We Make SIX Separate Whale-Watching Excursions
    Typically, we’ll spend two hours on each whale-watching excursion (times are strictly regulated by marine reserve regulations) and make two excursions per day, for a total of six whale encounters during our six-day trip.
  2. Our Small Groups Get You Much Closer to Whales 
    The open skiffs we use hold just 8–10 guests and sit low on the water, putting you practically at eye level with the whales. If a whale approaches us, everyone gets a great look. Small groups also mean more personalized interactions with our guides, with plenty of opportunities for conversation about the whales’ behavior and their habitat.
  3. Our Small Skiffs are More Maneuverable, for Better Viewing
    There’s simply nothing as exhilarating as close proximity to a huge gray whale. Imagine the photographic opportunities as you come within arm’s length of these charismatic cetaceans! Your skiff driver is an expert at positioning the boat to maximize your encounters with the whales without disturbing them. Young whales tend to be especially curious, and mothers sometimes like to “show off” their calves by bringing them alongside our boats.
  4. Stay in Unique Accommodations Secluded in Nature
    Our private “whale camp” lies within the protected confines of El Vizcaino UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. With lodgings located on a quiet stretch of shoreline right on the lagoon’s edge, we get you as close as possible to these gentle giants without being in the water yourself! We stay in rustic but comfortable private thatched cabanas, backed by a vast expanse of desert, where a sense of nature’s peace is palpable. The Vizcaino ecosystem contains thousands of endemic species—plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. The dark, starry nights alone are worth the stay.
  5. The Whale Camp is Ours Alone 
    Not only do we enjoy exceptional proximity to San Ignacio Lagoon, but genuine privacy, too. No one else besides our small group will be staying in our camp’s enclave of 10 shoreside cabanas and a dining palapa, since we reserve it for our exclusive use. We’ll have this natural space all to ourselves to birdwatch, hike, beachcomb and explore the rare mangrove estuaries, stark salt flats and desert dunes.
  6. Travel with an Experienced Expedition Leader—Plus the Best Local Guides!
    The NHA Expedition Leaders who guide this trip have more than 20 years’ experience leading nature adventures in Mexico. In addition, they receive special training and resources from WWF scientists. As an added benefit, top local guides also join us, ensuring the perfect mix of insider insights and attentive personal service. See Expedition Leader bios with traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
  7. Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Outstanding Whale Watching Adventure
    With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee that clearly states that we will meet the high expectations we set forth in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
  8. Feel Good About the Way You Travel
    We all care about the planet, and you can travel with us knowing that the carbon emissions from your trip are 100% offset. Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company and a global industry leader in sustainable practices.
  9. Natural Habitat Adventures Is World Wildlife Fund’s Travel Partner
    Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our small-group nature adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the world’s leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat its worldwide travel partner—a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
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