Gray whale watching guaranteed! Of the whale watching tours we offer in Baja Mexico, this one is best for seeing whales at very close range, and plenty of them! Enormous Magdalena Bay is home to thousands of breeding gray whales. Dolphins and more than 100 species of marine birds spend the winter in the sheltered lagoons, including huge white pelicans, brant geese, and many waders. Emerald mangrove forests line the lagoons and shelter many birds and smaller marine life. On the other side of the dunes and barrier islands that separate Magdalena Bay from the Pacific Ocean is a surf-pounded beach studded with countless shipwrecks and tragic history.
This Baja whale watching tour uses a comfortable basecamp and so it is extremely well-suited for families and those who want a less challenging camping experience. The basecamp has large wall tents, cots for sleeping, solar showers, nightly slide shows, and even ice for your desert drinks! The basecamp is located on a remote shore where gray whale activity is excellent. We should see them breaching and spyhopping from our camp.
We can approach the whales with a motorized boat operated by a certified whale watching guide. Most days we are able to move within the herd and possibly get close enough to pet some of the friendly whales who seek our company. A motor boat will also be used for transport to the basecamp.
Sea kayaking can be done in the maze of mangroves that form an estuary along parts of the bay shore. The mangrove forest is a unique and productive marine habitat and is a great place to observe the birds and other marine mammals of Magdalena Bay. We do not approach the whales with the sea kayaks on this tour.
Beachcombing for whale bones, dune hiking, and bird watching is excellent. Although you may swim in Magdalena Bay, the water is silty and snorkeling is usually poor. This region is substantially windier and colder than our Sea of Cortez kayaking locations on the other side of the Baja Peninsula. But the gray whale watching is the best in the world and the importance of this area as a major winter habitat for huge bird concentrations can make up for those shortcomings. Besides, where else can you pet a whale?!
Whale Watching Baja – Gray Whale Tour Itinerary
Please note: The Magdalena Gray Whale Watching Tour is available versions ranging from 4 to 6 days. The longer version of the tour is shown below and includes three nights at the whale watching basecamp. The shorter versions are the same except that the number of nights at the basecamp for enjoying the whales and Baja environment are reduced to either two nights or just one.
Day 1 – Arrive in La Paz, Mexico Enjoy the small seaside city of La Paz with its wonderful waterfront malecon walkway and local markets. You are responsible for your own accommodations and meals in La Paz.
Day 2 – First day of whale watching in Baja California Tour leaders meet you very early after breakfast at your hotel. We board a van for a four hour drive across the Baja Peninsula. After reaching Magdalena Bay we board a motorized boat for a ride to basecamp on a remote beach in time for a late lunch. Depending on weather, we may use the boat for whale watching or go on a dune and beach hike. Basecamp is located in a high whale activity zone so expect to see and hear the whales right from your tent! Great hiking is found in the dunes and beaches. Your guides will be available at all times to identify flora and fauna, and discuss the natural history of the Baja California region.
Visit our Baja Mexico kayak map page to view or print a larger version of this Baja whale-watching tour map.
Days 3 & 4 – Enjoying Gray Whale Basecamp Mornings are spent gray whale watching from a motor boat or kayaking as it is usually calmest early in the day. The boat will take us out for close up looks of the gray whales where we will hopefully encounter some “friendlies” who enjoy human contact. Afternoons are free to explore the remote and wild setting.
Day 5 – Last day of whale watching in Mexico After morning whale watching or kayaking, and a final lunch at basecamp, the boat will return us to civilization and the van ride back to La Paz by 600pm.
Day 6 – Departure from La Paz, Mexico or continue your Baja vacation Unless you have arranged to spend extra time vacationing in Mexico after your Baja whale watching adventure ends, you should get to airport at least 2 hours in advance of your flight.
Quick Tour Facts
Available from late January through mid March. See our Kayak Tour Schedule page for dates. The 6-day adventure fee is $899 and the 5-day trip fee is $759. There is no age limit and children aged 2 years or less go free! There is a single supplement fee of $25 for those who require a private tent. Only tandem kayaks are available. All meals are included at the gray whale watching basecamp; meals, hotels and airport transfers in La Paz are not included. Sleeping bags, pads, snorkel gear and wet suits are available for rent in La Paz if you choose not to bring your own.