When the days are long and the sand is warm that means can only mean one thing… It’s officially Spring time in Baja California! We are getting our swimsuits and surfboards out and running to the beach because the water is looking more inviting than ever (and we aren’t the only ones who think so)! During March and April, the ocean’s most majestic creatures can be seen from the coast of Baja California. That’s right, it’s whale watching season!
Baja Whale Watching!
Over 15 types of whale species can be seen along the baja coast, but the most common species of whales seen at this time of year include the California Gray Whale, Orcas, Sperm Whales, Humpback, and even Blue Whales. You can also see different types of water inhabitants such as dolphins (usually in large super-pods of 50 - 100), and whale sharks. Whale Sharks eat the plankton and algae in the water and since they stay relatively close to shore their intimidating size may scare some (they are the largest fish in the world) but they are totally harmless and many love going snorkeling to get near them.
When Can You See Whales In Baja?
There are various opportunities to see difference species of whales at all times of the year down in Baja.The best time to see them depends on the species you want to see. Here are the best times to see the most common species of whales throughout Baja:
Let's start with the gray whale, one of the most iconic species of whale in Baja California. If you want to catch a glimpse of these gentle giants, plan your visit between December and April. During this time, gray whales migrate from Alaska to Baja California to mate and give birth. It's truly a sight to behold seeing these majestic creatures up close and personal. Another species of whale that you might want to see while in Baja California is the humpback whale. These creatures are known for their spectacular acrobatics, including breaching and tail slapping. If you're lucky, you might even hear their haunting songs. Like the gray whale, humpback whales migrate to Baja California between December and April to mate and give birth.
If you're interested in seeing the largest animal on earth, the blue whale, plan your visit between June and November. During this time, blue whales can be found feeding in the waters of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. These gentle giants can grow up to 100 feet in length, and seeing them in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Another whale species that can be seen in Baja California is the sperm whale. These deep-diving whales can be found in the waters off the coast of Baja California between December and April. Sperm whales are known for their distinctive square heads and are the largest of the toothed whales.
Finally, if you're hoping to see orcas (killer whales), plan your visit between January and April. Orcas can be found in the waters around the Baja Peninsula during this time, and they are truly a sight to behold. These powerful predators are known for their intelligence and are capable of working together to hunt prey.
Where to See Whales In Baja?
Fortunately, there are several locations along the coast of Baja California where you can spot these magnificent creatures. One of the most popular destinations for whale watching is the town of Guerrero Negro, located on the west coast of the Baja Peninsula. This town is known for its gray whale sightings, as the whales come close to the shore to mate and give birth. You can take a boat tour from Guerrero Negro to get up close to these gentle giants. Another great place to see gray whales is in the lagoons of San Ignacio and Ojo de Liebre. These lagoons are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and offer a unique opportunity to see the whales up close in a calm and protected environment.
If you're hoping to see humpback whales, the best place to go is the Cabo San Lucas area. Humpback whales can often be seen breaching and tail slapping in the waters near Cabo San Lucas, providing a thrilling and unforgettable experience. Blue whales can be spotted in the waters around Loreto, a picturesque town on the east coast of the Baja Peninsula. Loreto is a popular spot for eco-tourists, and many whale watching tours depart from this town. Sperm whales can often be found in the deep waters off the coast of Baja California, so taking a boat tour is the best way to see them. Many whale watching tours depart from the town of La Paz, located on the east coast of the Baja Peninsula. Finally, orcas can be seen in the waters around the northern part of the Baja Peninsula, including the area around Ensenada. Orcas are known to hunt seals and sea lions in this area, so if you're lucky, you might be able to witness this amazing spectacle.
Whale Watching Tips
Book a tour with a reputable whale watching company: It's important to choose a company that prioritizes the well-being of the whales and follows responsible whale watching guidelines. Look for a company that is certified by organizations such as the World Cetacean Alliance or the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
Dress appropriately: The weather can be unpredictable on the water, so make sure to dress in layers and wear waterproof clothing. Don't forget a hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
Bring binoculars: Even if you're close to the whales, binoculars can help you see details such as their markings and behavior.
Be patient: Whale watching is a waiting game, so be prepared to spend some time on the water before spotting any whales. But trust us, it's worth the wait!
Follow the guide's instructions: The tour guide will give you instructions on how to behave around the whales. Follow their guidance to ensure the safety of both the whales and the passengers.
Respect the whales' space: Whales are wild animals, and it's important to maintain a safe distance from them. Don't attempt to touch or feed the whales, and don't approach them too closely with the boat.
Observe quietly: Whales are sensitive to noise, so avoid making loud noises or sudden movements that could startle them.
Learn about the whales: Before your trip, do some research on the different species of whales that can be found in Baja California. This will help you appreciate the experience even more and understand the importance of protecting these incredible creatures.
So as the water gets warmer and you’re more tempted to get in, make sure you grab some snorkels or binoculars because you never know what you might see! Better yet, book a tour or an expedition and see oceans wonder up close and personal. What better reason to come down than to get closer to nature and learn about the creatures that you share the ocean with!
Even though whale watching excursions are an exciting way to get to see and learn about nature, please be sure to be respectful of the animals and the ocean. Do not litter and do not harass the animals in anyway. If your boat is getting too close to the whales it could scare them and cause them to act unnaturally so please do not ask your captain to get closer than they are regulated to. We must remember that in the ocean we are the visitors and so must treat it as such. Safe and respectful tours allow for us to continue to be educated about the wonders of nature and let’s nature continue to flourish!