The Great Gray Whales of Baja

© 

Itinerary

Itinerary Map
Day 1: Loreto, Mexico
Our whale-watching tour begins upon arrival in the small coastal town of Loreto on the Sea of Cortez. A Nat Hab representative meets you at the airport and joins you on the short transfer to our waterfront hotel where our Expedition Leader will be waiting to greet you. Loreto was founded as a Spanish mission by Jesuit priests in 1697 and is the oldest permanent settlement on the Baja Peninsula. Loreto offers fine beaches, reef snorkeling, nearby islands to discover, and excellent hiking in the Sierra de la Giganta Mountains that rise behind the peaceful town centered on a colonial Spanish plaza. This evening, gather for a welcome dinner and a preview of our time with the magnificent gray whales of Baja.

Day 2: Loreto / San Ignacio Lagoon
A scenic drive is in store as we traverse the mountainous spine of narrow Baja California Sur to reach the Pacific Ocean. First, we follow the Sea of Cortez coastline northward, then turn west into a dramatic landscape of arid mountains and giant cardon cacti. Once we reach the sleepy colonial village of San Ignacio, we transfer into smaller vans for the remainder of the trip to the coast, arriving at our whale camp in the afternoon. Then, time permitting, we'll set out on our first whale-watching excursion. Our accommodations on San Ignacio Lagoon—private for Nat Hab guests only—are a special feature of our trip. Secluded on a quiet stretch of rocky beach, the cabanas are well-built thatched structures, rustic but inviting, each with two beds and a window overlooking the bay. Ecological shower facilities and toilets are shared, though an en suite room equipped with a small hygienic porta-potty is provided for nighttime relief. While basic, these are the best remote lodgings available, offering the opportunity to experience the wilderness of the Vizcaino Desert, a 6-million-acre UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, in solitude and comfort. We are also secluded in a remote area under very dark skies, making for outstanding star viewing. 

Days 3 & 4: Whale Watching & Exploring El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve
Whales have been revered as mystical creatures by many cultures, and an intimate encounter with them is a dream realized for wildlife lovers. Pacific gray whales make the world's longest mammal migration, traveling 10,00-12,000 miles annually between their summer feeding grounds in the cold Arctic waters of Alaska's Bering Sea to reach their sheltered winter calving lagoons in Baja, then swimming north again in the spring. Our Expedition Leader and local guides provide expert interpretation about the whales' remarkable journey and their fascinating range of behaviors, which we expect to witness at close range. 

We make multiple whale-watching excursions in San Ignacio Lagoon in motorized open pangas, offering an unimpeded view. We may see whales breach, spy-hop or glide up close to present their backs for a scratch. Generally, we spend 90 minutes whale-watching on each excursion and make two excursions per day (due to conservation regulations, these numbers may vary, depending on the total number of boats on the water at a given time), with a total of six whale-watching outings during our stay. Numerous whales enter this particular lagoon, and our maneuverable small boats allow us to get incredibly close. Naturally, we are very sensitive to the animals’ demeanor, and our panga captains are experts at positioning the boats to maximize proximity to the whales without disturbing or encroaching upon them, instead allowing them to approach us—which they often do. We may see males competing for females, young adults playing, and mothers protecting and teaching their calves, perhaps the most endearing of all our encounters. Sometimes, mothers even bring their babies—which are 14-16 feet at birth and gain 50 pounds a day as they grow—within arm’s length of our boats. Once a gray whale reaches full maturity, it will weigh 30-40 tons and reach 50-60 feet long.

Ashore, we visit the nearby fishing village and learn about the history and culture of the people who live around San Ignacio Lagoon. We view a mural of Pachico Mayoral, a local fisherman remembered as the first person to have a friendly encounter with a gray whale in the lagoon in 1972, changing the community’s relationship with them. After commercial whaling was banned in Mexico in 1947, fishermen still saw whales as adversaries, threatening their catch. But Mayoral's remarkable encounter—when a huge whale surfaced alongside his boat and rubbed against his outstretched hand—inspired him to offer whale-watching tours, opening the door to ecotourism that today provides incentive to local people to advocate for the whales' protection. We also tour a local oyster farm, with a chance to sample fresh oysters. Other activities may include birdwatching, exploring the vast, empty beaches looking for bones and shells, surveying the expansive salt flats around the lagoon as we drive beyond camp, and if weather and tides cooperate, we might investigate the local mangrove estuaries.

Day 5: Whale Watching / Loreto
After a last chance to spend time with the whales, it's time to drive back to San Ignacio. At the picturesque main plaza, we stop to eat our packed lunches and explore some of the history of this colonial town founded as a Jesuit mission in 1728. During a bit of free time, view the monastery, sample local coffee or authentic tacos from one of the many stands in and around the square, or shop for locally made souvenirs.  Then it's time to cross the Sierra de la Giganta Mountains once more to return to Loreto. We gather for a farewell dinner and a final evening together in this laid-back coastal town.

Day 6: Loreto / Depart
Our whale-watching adventure comes to a close with a transfer to the airport for flights home. Or, choose to spend an extra day in Loreto to explore its well-preserved colonial architecture and heritage in this little-developed region on the Sea of Cortez. 

Physical Rating: Easy

Interested in extending your trip? Link it up with another adventure!
Questions?
We've Got Answers!
Talk with an Adventure Specialist
Call Our Boulder Office at 800-543-8917 or contact your travel advisor.
We're Proud of the Reputation We’ve Earned
Outside
Voted "World's Best Travel
Company"
by Outside Magazine
Outside
Natural Habitat Adventures Ranked
“Best Outfitter”
NatGeo
Voted Best Winter Trip: Natural Habitat Adventures' Monarch Butterfly Migration, Mexico
VIEW MORE AWARDS
Physical Requirements
WWF Logo

Learn More

Customize Your African Safari

Let our in-house safari experts create your perfect African adventure. Whether you'd like to travel as a private group on this safari or you'd like to create an itinerary all your own, simply fill out the form to the right or give us a call at 800-543-8917.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Learn More
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Thank you for your interest!
We'll be in touch soon to help with your custom African safari!

Learn More

Customize Your Trip

Let our in-house trip experts create your perfect adventure. Whether you'd like to travel as a private group on our ${tripName} or you'd like to create an itinerary all your own, simply fill out the form to the right or give us a call at 800-543-8917.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
The Great Gray Whales of Baja
Learn More
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Thank you for your interest!
We'll be in touch soon to help with your private trip!

Download Trip Details

Discover the World's Best

Nature Travel Experiences

Get our downloadable trip details in PDF format, a handy resource for your travel planning. Inside, you'll find all the info from our website—highlights of the trip, itinerary, accommodations, and full details on dates, prices and logistics—plus a few extras!

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Download Trip Details
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Your download awaits…

Thank you for your request! Click here to see your trip details PDF now. You’ll also receive it by email momentarily.

Ask a Question

Ask a Question

Fill out our form to receive additional information about our ${tripName}, or give us a call at 800-543-8917.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
The Great Gray Whales of Baja
Ask a Question
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Thank you for your note!

We’ll be in touch soon with more details.

Send Me Travel Emails

Get the Inside Scoop on the

World of Nature Travel

Our weekly eNewsletters highlights new adventures, exclusive offers, webinars, nature news, travel ideas, photography tips and more. Sign up today!

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Send Me Travel Emails
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Privacy Policy
Thank you for joining our email list

Look for a special welcome message in your inbox, arriving shortly! Be sure to add naturalhabitat@nathab.com to your email contacts so you don’t miss out on future emails.

Request Your 2023 Catalog

Discover the World's Best

Nature Travel Experiences

Nathab 2024 Catalog

Together, Natural Habitat Adventures and World Wildlife Fund have teamed up to arrange nearly a hundred nature travel experiences around the planet, while helping to protect the magnificent places we visit and their wild inhabitants.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Request Your 2024/2025 Catalog
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Continued - Page 2 of 2
To help us customize your catalog request, please tell us more about your travel needs:
Thank you for requesting a catalog
We’ve received your request. If you have any questions about our trips, please feel free to contact an Adventure Specialist today by calling 800-543-8917.

Get Weekly Updatess

Discover the World's Best

Nature Travel Experiences

Our weekly eNewsletter highlights new adventures, exclusive offers, webinars, nature news, travel ideas, photography tips and more. Sign up today!

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Send Me Travel Emails
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Privacy Policy
Thank you for joining our email list!

Look for a special welcome message in your inbox, arriving shortly! Be sure to add naturalhabitat@nathab.com to your email contacts so you don’t miss out on future emails.

Send Us a Message

Send Us a Message

Have a question or comment? Use the form to the right to get in touch with us.

Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Send Us a Message
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Thank you for your message

We’ll be in touch soon with a response.

Refer a Friend

Refer a Friend,
Get $250 Off
Earn rewards for referring your friends! We'd like to thank our loyal travelers for spreading the word. Share your friend's address so we can send a catalog, and if your friend takes a trip as a first-time Nat Hab traveler, you'll receive a $250 Nat Hab credit you can use toward a future trip or the purchase of Nat Hab gear. To refer a friend, just complete the form below or call us at 800-543-8917. It's that easy! See rules and fine print here.
Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
Refer a Friend

Earn rewards for referring your friends! We'd like to thank our loyal travelers for spreading the word. Share your friend's address so we can send a catalog, and if your friend takes a trip as a first-time Nat Hab traveler, you'll receive a $250 Nat Hab credit you can use toward a future trip or the purchase of Nat Hab gear. To refer a friend, just complete the form below or call us at 800-543-8917. It's that easy! See rules and fine print here.

Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Thank you for the referral!

We've received your friend's information.

View Our 2023 Digital Catalog

View Our 2024/2025

Digital Catalog

Help us save paper! We offer a digital version of The World's Greatest Nature Journeys. If you'd prefer a mailed copy, please provide your contact details here. To view our digital catalog, please enter your info in the form to the right.
Natural Habitat Adventures Logo WWF Logo
View Digital Catalog
Text Messaging Policy Message and data rates may apply. You can unsubscribe from SMS at any time by texting STOP. Reply HELP for help. 2-4 promotional msgs/month. Informational msg frequency varies.
Happy browsing!

Thanks for requesting access to our digital catalog. Click here to view it now. You’ll also receive it by email momentarily.

Our Trips

Polar Bear Tours

Polar Bear Tours

African Safaris

African Safaris

Galapagos Tours

Galapagos Tours

Alaska Adventures

Alaska Adventures

U.S. National Parks Tours

U.S. National Parks Tours

Canada & the North

Canada & the North

Europe Adventures

Europe Adventures

Mexico & Central America Tours

Mexico & Central America Tours

South America Adventures

South America Adventures

Asia & Pacific Adventures

Asia & Pacific Adventures

Antarctica & Arctic Journeys

Antarctica & Arctic Journeys

Adventure Cruises

Adventure Cruises

Photography Expeditions

Photography Expeditions

Women's Adventures

Women's Adventures

Family Adventures

Family Adventures

New Adventures

New Adventures

Questions? Call 800-543-8917

Contact Us

Have a question or comment?
Click any of the buttons below to get in touch with us.

Hours
Mountain Time

  • 8 am to 5 pm, Monday - Friday
  • 8 am to 3 pm on Saturday
  • Closed on Sunday
Call 800-543-8917
Questions? Click to Chat
Questions? Click to Chat
/central-america/whales-of-baja/itinerary/