Sea Kayaking & Whale Watching Gray Whale Watching Base Camp

Magdalena Bay Whale Watching

Witness and interact with the friendly California Gray Whale on this incredible adventure set right in the heart of Baja's gray whale territory: Magdalena Bay. Magdalena Bay, a chain of lagoons protected by barrier islands, provides a favored sanctuary and winter nursery for the gray whales that travel over 5,000 miles from the Bering Strait to Baja. From January through March, pods of gray whales mate, raise their young and play in Baja's warm, sheltered waters.

Baja Unbound offers an exclusive adventure as only we have permission to camp on the island so near to the calving grounds. Watch these impressive, friendly whales as they breach, spy-hop, and fluke--and occasionally, you may reach down and actually touch these sociable giants. Spotting whales is a guarantee on these tours, so you don't have to keep your eyes peeled; instead, find yourself immersed in their world. When you're not on the water doing some whale watching, explore Magdalena Bay's incredible ecosystem, where colorful desert flora and mangrove-hedged estauries dot the arid stretches of sand dunes. Enjoy dune hiking, birding throughout mangrove channels and beachcombing. 

Our 3 and 4-day Magdalena Bay Whale Watching tours include camping at our exclusive safari-style basecamp set on a secluded beach. With the highest concentration of Baja gray whales right offshore, there's no better place to witness the gray whales as they play. 

The area around our camp boasts the highest concentration of whales in Baja. Each day motorized skiffs take you out to the deeper waters of the bay, where "friendly whales" swim up to the skiffs for a closer look and often let guests touch their noses. On shore your guides will take you dune hiking, beachcombing and birding in mangrove channels - a mecca for migratory shorebirds.

The camp provides all the gear and amenities you need for a comfortable wilderness experience. Your guides will give entertaining, informative presentations on whale natural history. There's also an extensive library with books on whales. Ideal for families with children ages 8-18 and those wishing a shorter, more focused experience with whales.

For more adventure, add a day of snorkeling around beautiful Isla Coronado in the Sea of Cortez to your Baja whale watching tour. Observe sea lions on rocks, snorkel, sunbathe, eat a picnic lunch and take a nature hike on this hat-shaped cinder cone island with sandy coves. 

*NOTE: Day zero is your arrival day to Baja. This itinerary can be run from either Loreto or LaPaz. Please inquire with an Adventure Consultant for additional details. *An additional $100 per person transportation fee will be added for all tours out of La Paz. Add an extention and fly in a day early for a snorkel and skiff tour in the Sea of Cortez! Keep in mind that Baja's gray whale lagoons are protected by the government, and so you may only whale watch with a licensed tour operator like Baja Unbound. 

Images & Videos

Tourist taking a picture of a gray whale from a boat on the Pacific Coast in Baja California Sur
Group of tourists pointing at whales from the beach swimming near the shore
Gray whale breaching out of the ocean next to a boat full of whale watchers
Person reaching out their hand to touch a friendly gray whale nudging their boat in Baja California Sur
Person running through the sand dunes of Magdalena Bay in Baja California Sur, Mexico
Sunset from Magdalena Bay over the Pacific Ocean as a bird flies by
View of canvas tents overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Magdalena Bay in Baja California Sur
Group of campers on Magdalena Bay hiking around the sand dunes underneath the winter sun
A large gray whale swimming up to a boat full of tourists in awe
Person sitting in a sand dune on a sunny day looking over the Pacific Ocean as a whale tail sticks out of the water
Guide Diego giving a educational talk on gray whales during the downtime while whale watching in Baja California Sur
Gray whale breached out of the Pacific Ocean on a sunny day
Two boats full of whale watchers taking pictures of whales in between the boats breaching the surface of the water
Sunset at Adventure Unbound whale camp on Magdalena Bay on the Pacific side of Baja California Sur
People running through the sand dunes of Magdalena Bay on a clear sunny day
A group of people on a panga boat admiring pelicans and gray whales in the surrounding water and shorelines
A couple sitting at a camping table enjoying their morning coffee as a whale breaches the surface of the water they are overlooking
Tourist taking a picture of a gray whale from a boat on the Pacific Coast in Baja California Sur
Group of tourists pointing at whales from the beach swimming near the shore
Gray whale breaching out of the ocean next to a boat full of whale watchers
Person reaching out their hand to touch a friendly gray whale nudging their boat in Baja California Sur
Person running through the sand dunes of Magdalena Bay in Baja California Sur, Mexico
Sunset from Magdalena Bay over the Pacific Ocean as a bird flies by
View of canvas tents overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Magdalena Bay in Baja California Sur
Group of campers on Magdalena Bay hiking around the sand dunes underneath the winter sun
A large gray whale swimming up to a boat full of tourists in awe
Person sitting in a sand dune on a sunny day looking over the Pacific Ocean as a whale tail sticks out of the water
Guide Diego giving a educational talk on gray whales during the downtime while whale watching in Baja California Sur
Gray whale breached out of the Pacific Ocean on a sunny day
Two boats full of whale watchers taking pictures of whales in between the boats breaching the surface of the water
Sunset at Adventure Unbound whale camp on Magdalena Bay on the Pacific side of Baja California Sur
People running through the sand dunes of Magdalena Bay on a clear sunny day
A group of people on a panga boat admiring pelicans and gray whales in the surrounding water and shorelines
A couple sitting at a camping table enjoying their morning coffee as a whale breaches the surface of the water they are overlooking

Itinerary

Collapse all days

Day 1

Whale Watching in Magdalena Bay

After breakfast, depart for a 2-hour drive to Magdalena Bay's Puerto Lopez Mateos. Your whale watching adventure beings upon arrival--and you might even be able to spot passing whales from the dock. We explore the bay and enjoy our first meet and greet with the whales before we are ferried to our exclusive Magdalena Bay basecamp situated on a secluded barrier island. 

Once we've settled into our camp, enjoy a delicious lunch prepared for you. Then spend your afternoon hiking across wind-swept dunes, taking in the arid landscape and desert flora. Reach camp by sunset just in time for happy hour and a fresh, healthy dinner under Baja's balmy skies.

ACCOMMODATION : Beach Camping
MEALS INCLUDED : Lunch, Dinner

Day 2

Whale Watching in Magdalena Bay

Wake to the fresh scent of coffee and tea, and possibly fit in an early morning whale-watching session from the beach while the guides prepare your hot breakfast. Today is filled with beachcombing,  swimming, hikes through the island's dunes and, of course, plenty of whale watching. 

We take out our motorized skiff in the morning and afternoon for two sessions of whale watching and close encounters with the friendly gray whales. We also have the opportunity to explore the mangrove-lined estuaries filled with flitting birds. With our naturalist guides' studies in marine biology, your time whale watching and birding is both informative and entertaining. 

ACCOMMODATION : Beach Camping
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Return to Loreto

After breakfast, we set out for one last morning whale watching session before returning by panga to Puerto Lopez Mateos.

Take in the bustling port and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch at a favorite local restaurant before our return trip to Loreto. Settle into your hotel room, relax, or finish exploring Loreto before a no-host farewell dinner with your group and guides. 

ACCOMMODATION : not included
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

Depature Day

We have no planned activities for today--depart whenever you wish! 

Please note: The 4-day Magdalena Bay itinerary follows the same schedule as the 3-day itinerary, but with one additional day of whale watching and camping. The first and last day remain arrival and departure days.

MEALS INCLUDED : None

Map

Dates & Rates

DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD)
Feb 22, 2024 to Feb 24, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Feb 24, 2024 to Feb 26, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Feb 26, 2024 to Feb 29, 2024
4-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,590£0€0$0$0$1,490£0€0$0$0
Feb 27, 2024 to Feb 29, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Feb 28, 2024 to Mar 02, 2024
4-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,590£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Mar 01, 2024 to Mar 03, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
SOLD OUT
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Mar 04, 2024 to Mar 07, 2024
4-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,590£0€0$0$0$1,490£0€0$0$0
Mar 05, 2024 to Mar 07, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Mar 06, 2024 to Mar 09, 2024
4-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,590£0€0$0$0$1,490£0€0$0$0
Mar 07, 2024 to Mar 09, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Mar 09, 2024 to Mar 11, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Mar 11, 2024 to Mar 14, 2024
4-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,590£0€0$0$0$1,490£0€0$0$0
Mar 12, 2024 to Mar 14, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Mar 13, 2024 to Mar 16, 2024
4-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,590£0€0$0$0$1,490£0€0$0$0
Mar 14, 2024 to Mar 16, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Mar 16, 2024 to Mar 18, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Mar 18, 2024 to Mar 21, 2024
4-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,590£0€0$0$0$1,490£0€0$0$0
Mar 19, 2024 to Mar 21, 2024
3-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,290£0€0$0$0$1,210£0€0$0$0
Mar 20, 2024 to Mar 23, 2024
4-Day Whale Camp- Lowest Tier Price
$1,590£0€0$0$0$1,490£0€0$0$0

Supplementary Information

All above dates depart from Loreto Only unless otherwise noted.

Departures from La Paz will have an added transportation fee of $100
 

Please Note: This tour involves transportation to and from Loreto or LaPaz to the whale camp at Magdalena Bay.  An additional transportation fee of $100 will be added to any Whale Camp trip running in LaPaz.  Guests requesting a trip arriving in LaPaz and departing in Loreto (or vice versa), if the option is available, may also be subject to additional fees for transportation.  Please discuss this with our office staff if it is something you are interested in.

 

ALL PRICES IN US DOLLARS. We will do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website.  However, tour itineraries or sub contractors (such as taxi, cruise boats or hotels) may change slightly due to reasons beyond our control including but not limiited to Acts of God, wind, waves, inclement weather or other.  We always welcome yout o call us to clarify any item - often this is the best way to fully clarify expectations.  You will be sent a pre-trip e-mail wiht the latest details within a month of your tour - it is your responsibility to check in with us prior to your trip to see if you have all the information you need.  We will always do our best to provide you with the best possible tour and to fully meet your expectations to the best of our ability. 

Single Supplement:  Solo travelers will typically have their own tent at whale camp, at no additional cost.  However, we are unable to guarantee individual tents at whale camp due to limited tent capacity.  If you are asked to share a tent at our whale camp, rest assured that tents are very spacious, full-height canvas wall tents, with two cots and plenty of room to stand and maneuver around your tent-mate without difficulty.

Tour Includes: 

  • Full services of our Adventure Consultants
  • Professional naturalists and bi-lingual guides
  • All meals and beverages as indicated on the itinerary
  • All transportation while on tour
  • Camping equipment
  • Whale watching sessions by Panga
  • All National Parks & Biosphere Reserve access fees required by itinerary
  • Taxes

Tour Does Not Include: 

  • Airfare
  • Transportation to and from the airport
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Hotel before and after the tour as noted on the itinerary

Reviews

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Reviews

Google Review
5

Could not recommend this trip more highly.

Could not recommend this trip more highly. Everything about it was superb. The trip was made by our host and guide Fabian. His enthusiasm, friendliness, kindness, sense of humor and his knowledge was unbeatable. He is a lovely person and a joy to be with on holiday. He brought our time with the whales alive and full of interest and involved the boat captains so well that they too seemed to be enjoying the trip. The food at camp was extraordinarily good. All fresh and delicious. The tents were warm and comfortable and all the extra activities Fabian arranged were perfect. Swimming, bird watching, hiking, visits to the mangroves and more.

Google Review
5

Fabulous!

We did a 4 day gray whale excursion. It was fabulous. 10 out of 10. Our guide, Fabion, was wonderful. He went out of his way to ensure we had a lifetime experience and learn about the need to protect whales. He was as excited to see the whales as we were and explained what behavior we were seeing. His love for his job was contagious!! We had educational talks from two guides, both with biology degrees and 9 + yrs experience as guides / studing whales. Hats off to Fabion and Mario!!! All the meals were great, tents comfortable, view at the campsite perfect. Now, if you want a feather bed, hot shower, flush toilet this may not be your thing. It IS camping.... almost glamping. Also, the company supports the community and off season boat captains for the whale sea excursions in their pangas. Sea Kayak is VERY environmentally minded and respectful of the whales environment, comfort and safety following all regulations to protect the sanctuary. That means recycling. We will definitely use Sea Kayak for future adventures!!!

Google Review
5

Outstanding trip!

Our trip to the whale camp in Magdalena Bay was extremely well-organized and staffed. Our guide, Diego, was the kind of person you rarely meet--articulate, curious, knowledgeable, gracious, organized, and very much in love with the place and the creatures who live there. His enthusiasm is infectious. Our cook, too, exceeded our expectations, and every boat captain was a safe, accomplished, congenial facilitator of our trips on the water. The food was delicious and prompt and hot and satisfying. Because of the good organization and staffing, we were able to see everything we wanted to see and more. This is an outstanding trip for people who want to see (and sleep in) an unspoiled nature preserve and who want to be in close proximity to whales, dolphins, shorebirds, and stars.

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FAQ & More

How do I get to Loreto?

Please check out our Transportation Guide for our recommendations on how to get to Loreto.

Do you provide transportation to and from the airport?

Airport transfers are not included in your tour package price.

Are your tour prices in USD?

Yes, all of our tour pricing is in US Dollars.

What’s included in this whale watching package? What’s not included?

Packages Include: All camping equipment, all meals and beverages once the tour begins, bi-lingual certified guides and the full service of our Adventure Consultants. Dates provided reflect your arrival date; all packages include an arrival and departure day.

Packages do not Include: Airfare, transportation to and from airport, Hotel accommodations before and after the tour, all National Parks & Biosphere Reserve access fees, gratuities, and items of a personal nature.

What’s the difference between San Ignacio and Magdalena Bay?

Visit this page for a better understanding of which whale watching tour is best for you: San Ignacio Lagoon vs Magdalena Bay.

When is the best time to see whales?

We design our wilderness adventures to provide you with the best whale encounters imaginable. Magdalena Bay is a whale-watchers' paradise and we GUARANTEE gray whale sightings on this tour! The whales migrate down from their Alaskan home waters to calve in Magdalena Bay  from January through mid-March, so this is the only window to see them in Baja.

How long are the whale watching sessions?

You will spend two-hour sessions on the water in motorized skiffs (called pangas) whale watching. Be ready to go immediately when the boat arrives to maximize your time out whale watching, as the 2-hour session starts promptly.

How many people are in a panga during the whale watching session?

All whale watching excursions are in open fiberglass 22-foot motorized boats called “pangas” that hold a maximum of six passengers each, plus a guide and driver. Each panga is equipped with life jackets, radio, first aid kit, and piloted by an experienced, government-licensed Mexican “pangero” who will allow us safe and proximate viewing of the California Gray Whale.

Can I kayak with grey whales?

No kayaks or private boats are allowed in the nursery lagoons of Baja’s Pacific Coast including San Ignacio. Only licensed Mexican whale watching boats are allowed in the lagoons when the whales are present.

Are there any physical requirements?

It is important to understand that this is a camping trip and we want to be sure that you are prepared, both mentally and physically, for the challenges it will present, and have clear expectations about the trip. During the day, we'll spend two hour sessions on the water in motorized skiffs (called pangas) whale watching. While whale watching from a boat is not strenuous and the water is usually calm, the bay can be choppy when it is windy, so if you are susceptible to seasickness, bring medicine or whatever you need. The hiking could best be described as leisurely. We do require that anyone over 70 or with any health or weight concerns consult us before signing up to make sure you are up to fully participating.

What is whale camp like? Are there toilets and showers at camp?

A roomy full-height wall tent with two cots, night stand, rectangular sleeping bag with clean sheet, small pillow, and comfortable self-inflating pad are provided for your convenience at camp. There is also a washroom tent with a portable toilet. We recommend packing biodegradable shower wipes to freshen up with as there is no fresh water at whale camp.

What common space is available?

We have a spacious 30’ wide dome tent that serves as an evening gathering space if it’s too cool or rainy outside (rare) or just a place to get out of the sun during the day.  There are also miles of beach and sand dunes to explore!

How big are the tents at whale camp?

Our tents are 8’ x 12’ and about 7’ tall.  They are made of canvas and have a nice big window on one side.  They are equipped with cots, comfortable sleeping pads, sleeping bags and pillows.

What gear do I need?

Sea Kayak Adventures will provide you with a detailed packing list prior to your trip. We provide all of the necessary camping, paddling and snorkeling equipment, which you will need to fully enjoy your adventure. If you are interested in more specific information, check out our general Baja packing list here! If you have any questions, or need help deciding what to bring, you can call or e-mail one of our friendly Adventure Consultants at any time for some extra advice!

Who will my guides be?

We know your Guide will make the biggest difference on your trip! Which is why we pride ourselves on employing only the best local guides for all of the incredible locations that we visit. Part of this is to support our eco-tourism efforts, but we also believe that there is no better way to experience a new destination than through they eyes of a local! We find talented and skilled local guides, train and certify them, and provide a positive and consistent source of income to them and their families. Most of our guides are with us for the long-term, despite the seasonal nature of the industry.

What kind of food will I eat? Do you accommodate dietary restrictions?

Our renowned wilderness meals are prepared daily by our guides using local, fresh, healthy ingredients. In Baja you can expect an authentic dining experience, with savory dishes like chiles rellenos, tostadas, ceviche, and chicken mole. We even serve delicious desserts like brownies and pineapple upside-down cake! Each morning, we serve up freshly brewed coffee or tea. Throughout the day we provide an abundance of local fruits, vegetables, and other snacks. Wine and mixed drinks are served with hors d’oeuvres each evening for happy hour.

We do our best to accommodate special dietary requests, working within the parameters of the destinations in which we operate. If you have a very strict diet, we recommend packing extra snacks that you know you can eat.

How many guests per tour?

To keep our group size small and our impact minimal, we typically limit our tours to 14 people or less. Our standard minimum to confirm a departure is 4 guests for our Magdalena Bay whale watching tour.

Is there a single supplement fee for solo travelers?

 Solo travelers will typically have their own tent at whale camp, at no additional cost.  However, we are unable to guarantee individual tents at whale camp due to limited tent capacity.  If you are asked to share a tent at our whale camp, rest assured that tents are very spacious, full-height canvas wall tents, with two cots and plenty of room to stand and maneuver around your tent-mate without difficulty.

What’s the weather like in Baja?

Please check out this great website Weather Underground for temperature averages in Baja.

Where can I store my luggage while I’m on your tour?

You can leave your luggage at your hotel while you are on tour. We recommend getting a luggage lock if you are leaving any electronics in the bags. We’ve never had any issues with guests leaving their bags at the hotel but it’s always better to be safe just in case. Please confirm this with your hotel at check in.

Is there a deposit required? Is my deposit refundable?

A deposit of $500 per person is required within 10 days of your reservation to hold your spaces. If the tour you are signing up for is a confirmed departure your deposit is non-refundable. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance to protect your vacation investment. US residents may purchase travel insurance directly through ROW Sea Kayak Adventures offered by Travel Insured International.

What is your cancellation policy?

If you find it necessary to cancel your trip, you should notify ROW Sea Kayak Adventures in writing, by e-mail or fax immediately. If written cancellation is received (call to verify) before the final balance is due, you will be given a refund less the amount of deposit. Deposits are not refundable. If cancellations are made on or after the final due date, no money will be refunded. If you are unable to go on the trip, you are welcome to find a replacement for yourself. Please understand that once you've signed up, we are unable to sell your reserved space to other individuals or groups. Therefore, we regret that we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies. For this reason we strongly recommend you consider purchasing a Travel Protection Plan to protect your vacation investment.

When is payment in full due?

Full payment is due 60 days prior to the launch date, as indicated on your invoice. Due to the high demand for these trips, please be sure to pay your balance on time so as to not jeopardize your reservation. Your final payment must be paid by check or bank draft in US funds.  Alternatively, you may pay your final balance with a credit card, but a 3% administrative fee will be added.

Custom or Private

You love this itinerary but want to change it a bit to make it perfect for you?  Or, are you wanting to simply make it private?  Either way, we can do it!

Fill out this quick form to begin a custom or private adventure of a lifetime:

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