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3 Day San Ignacio Whale Watching

Legendary San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja is one of our two locations for one of life’s most soul-stirring experiences. For reasons that no one understands, a select number of Pacific gray whales enjoy contact with people, and on these whale-watching tours you will get up close and personal with these gigantic animals.

San Ignacio whale watching is not to be missed and our camp, set on the edge of the water, is an ideal base of exploration. We head out twice each day to observe, discuss and get close to these gentle creatures that dwarf the motor skiffs (pangas) aboard which we travel. After each excursion we return to our camp to relax, enjoy a meal and after dinner, watch the sunset over this large Pacific lagoon. Our camp has a large dining dome and comfortable stand-up tents with cots.

San Ignacio Lagoon is one of our sheltered lagoons that are connected to the migratory path of the gray whales as they travel the Pacific Coast of North America from Alaska to Mexico, where they arrive every December and January to calve. Thousands of these awe-inspiring animals arrive each winter to bear their young, after having traveled over 5000 miles from the north.

For the past several decades, these gray whale birthing lagoons in Baja California have enjoyed strict Federal protection. Permits for the whale watching boats are limited and closely monitored. A lagoon guard notes exactly what time any boat enters the whale watching area and assures that each boat spend no more than the two hour limit. From the stable and comfortable skiffs, you watch the whales and their young calves (which may vary from a month to a couple of months old). There is also fascinating adult behavior to observe as well such as breaching, fluking and spy-hopping. It is not uncommon for a mother whale and her calf to approach our motor skiffs close enough that we are able to lean out and touch them. The key here is that the whales approach us and not vice versa. No one knows for sure why they exhibit this behavior, but looking into the eye of a whale is a very powerful experience. While the whales don’t always swim close enough to be touched, it is not uncommon and at the very least, you will be within 15-20’ of these athletic whales.


3 days


March - April

DATES IN 2020:

Mar 20, Mar 27,
Apr 03, Apr 10, Apr 17

RATES IN 2020:



Whale Watching
Family Focus


8 years


Loreto, Baja California /
Loreto, Baja California


Day 0: Welcome to Loreto in Baja!

We offer whale watching tours at San Ignacio Lagoon as a stand-alone experience with transportation to and from Loreto (about five hours south), or in combination with our sea kayaking tours in Loreto. You can combine a 4-day sea kayak tour of the Islands of Loreto with a 3-day whale watching tour in San Ignacio Lagoon. The San Ignacio Whale Watching with Kayaking combination tours run from mid-March to mid-April.

Arrive in Loreto, headquarters for ROW Sea Kayak Adventures’ operations in Baja! We have been based in this lovely town since 1993 and consider ourselves part of the fabric of the community. We are proud that we employ over 15 Mexican guides, support a number of local businesses, buy all our supplies locally and generally have a large economic impact within Baja California.

On your arrival catch a short cab ride to your hotel. Drop off your bags and head out to explore this tranquil colonial town. Founded in 1697 by Jesuit Missionaries, it is the region’s oldest permanent settlement. Located on the Sea of Cortez, Loreto today remains idyllic in many ways. There are gorgeous beaches, whale watching opportunities, snorkeling, and superb hiking and, is our base for kayaking tours to nearby Islands of Loreto Bay National Marine Park. Enjoy the town and waterfront promenade before we gather an orientation meeting at the Hacienda Suites.

Accommodation : (not included)

Day 1: Drive from Loreto to San Ignacio Lagoon

Today is a fabulous day of discovery! We rise and shine early then begin our drive north along the coast, and then west across the desert to the Pacific Ocean. This is the perfect introduction to the mountains and landscape of Baja California, and we will stop for some memorable highlights along the way. We will visit the old mining town of Santa Rosalia, founded in 1884 by a French copper mining company, where we see a handsome metal church designed by Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame! By early afternoon we arrive in the old mission town of San Ignacio. We arrive in the afternoon just in time for our first Whale Watching session in San Ignacio Lagoon. Breathe in the salty air of our secluded, quiet stretch of beach before settling into tonight’s accommodations. We dine together outside under the stars. Our seaside camp, perfectly located on the lagoon, provides everything you need for a rustic, but comfortable experience.

Accommodation : Whale Camp at San Ignacio
Meals Included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Whale Watching Galore!

It is hard to capture in words the powerful experience of an intimate whale encounter. To be close to these powerful, yet gentle animals, is the dream of many, and our whale watching adventure will fulfill that dream. We head out from our camp in small, motorized boats, locally called “pangas” with expert skippers. During our whale-watching sessions we are likely to see whales spy hop, breach and even witness a rare mating romp. Our small pangas allow us to observe the whales at close range. Once we near a whale (or whales) at a respectful distance the engine is put into neutral and it’s up to the whale to come closer or not. It is not uncommon for a whale, or a whale and her calf, to come up right next to the boat for a back scratch or head rub! It’s impossible to know why they exhibit this behavior, but we are the lucky recipients! To look into the eye of a whale is truly one of life’s most rare and moving experiences.

Whale watching activity is closely monitored and a limited number of boats are allowed in the lagoon whale watching area each morning and afternoon. Generally, we spend a hour and a half whale watching per excursion, and take two excursions today, but this could vary depending on whale activity, weather and regulations. Each excursion is different and a variety of whale behavior is witnessed while our naturalist guides offer you a wealth of knowledge to enrich your journey.

When not on the boats, we may hike, birdwatch, or explore the local mangrove estuaries.

Accommodation : Whale Camp at San Ignacio
Meals Included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: San Ignacio back to Loreto

Awake and say goodbye to San Ignacio Lagoon. We have a morning whale watching session before we catch our van transport and return to Loreto where some may be continuing to our Islands of Loreto Bay Kayaking Tour, or concluding their adventures in Baja.

Accommodation : (not included)
Meals Included : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Depart Home or Extend Your Trip

Return to the Loreto Aiport to catch your return flight home. Or, you may want to extend your trip with a kayaking tour around the islands of Loreto!

Whale Watching in San Ignacio Bay

As the whales migrate north to arctic waters, we also move our whale watching tours north from Magdalena Bay to San Ignacio Lagoon. This is one of the three prime whale watching areas in Baja, with several hundred whales visiting each winter. While not as close to Loreto as our Magdalena Bay whale camp, traveling to San Ignacio gives us the opportunity to have the powerful experience of getting up close to the gray whales for another month into the spring. To get to San Igancio Lagoon, we drive north from Loreto to the historic French mining town of Santa Rosalia (where we visit a church designed by Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel tower fame) and on to the historic Spanish mission town of San Ignacio. From here it's another hour to the bay and our accommodations. This trip is offered as a stand-alone whale watching tour, or better yet, combined with 4 days of sea kayaking in the Islands of Loreto.

For more information
Dive Discovery
1 800 886-7321
(415) 444-5100

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