Whale Watching Holiday to Mexico – San Ignacio Lagoon

Tour Title: The Pacific Gray Whales of San Ignacio Lagoon

Tour Destination: Baja California Sur – Mexico

Tour Date: February 10th to 17th 2017

Tour Leader: Nic Slocum PhD FRGSAdolescent gray whale inspects the boat

The Pacific Gray Whales of San Ignacio Lagoon is a whale watching holiday like no other! San Ignacio Lagoon has earned, quite rightly, the accolade of being one of the finest whale watching destinations for experiencing the full repertoire of Pacific gray whale behaviour. Following a migration path that has been re-enacted over millions of years these giants of the sea spend three months nursing young in this protected lagoon before making the hazardous journey north along the Pacific coast of North America to their feeding grounds. San Ignacio Lagoon, set among the coastal desert landscapes of the northern part of Baja California Sur, is one of the birthplaces of the modern whale watching industry. The grandfather of whale watching in Baja, Pachico Mayoral, first encountered a so called “friendly” in this lagoon over 40 years ago. An adult Pacific gray whale approached Pachico’s  small Panga and with outstretched hand he stroked this barnacle encrusted animal and in an instant the gulf between whale and man was bridged forever. Close encounters between whale and visitor are a frequent occurrence today.

Gray whale tail flukeNic Slocum is your expert guide. Nic is a life-long conservationist and qualified zoologist with over 30 years experience in whale watching and marine conservation around the world. He has spent several seasons watching the Pacific gray whales in many locations along the Baja peninsular and has an excellent understanding of where to go and stay when encountering these unique animals. The Pacific gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) undertakes one of the longest migrations in the animal kingdom, a10,000 mile round trip each year. From feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas they travel down the Pacific seaboard of North America to the quiet and warm lagoons of Baja where they will calve and nurse their young. Reaching lengths of up to 50 feet and weighing up to 35 tonnes they are among the largest whales on the planet. Their gentleness and curiosity around boats is legendary.

Other Wildlife and the Unique Desert Landscapes…

In addition to whales, we can expect to encounter many unique bird species, dolphins and occasionally coyotes scavenging along the shoreline. The cactus fields and desert foliage are spectacular and the mangrove inlets of the lagoon teem with birds. Night herons, egrets, brown pelican and waders all feed and nest there. Binoculars and cameras are a must on this outstanding wildlife adventure.

Gray whale calf alongside panga

Talk to us directly…

For first-hand information on this tour please call Whales Worldwide on +353 86 120 0027. Alternatively email us at nic@whalesworldwide.com and we will be happy to call you at your convenience and take you through the holiday itinerary in detail.

Telephone : + 353 86 120 0027

Email: nic@whalesworldwide.com

Web: www.whalesworldwide.com

Baja California Sur, Mexico

Your Expert Guide…

Nic Slocum

Nic Slocum PhD FRGS

Nic Slocum has been watching whales from boats for 30 years, from humpbacks and fin whales in Ireland to southern right whales in Patagonia and Pacific gray whales in Mexico. He has been instrumental in putting together one of the most comprehensive codes of conduct for boat based human – whale interactions right down to the species level and is an established authority on the threats currently faced by this unique group of marine mammals.

Nic is an experienced naturalist and wildlife guide and is best known for his escorted tours taking enthusiasts out, both in Ireland and overseas, to view and photograph whales and dolphins. Nic has maintained a lifelong passion for the conservation of our wildlife and wild places and has appeared as an expert commentator on RTE, Channel 4 and ITV and is regularly called on to comment on national radio. A zoologist by training, Nic has published articles on conservation related issues in both regional and national newspapers.

Nic Slocum divides his time between West Cork, Ireland and other iconic whale watching destinations around the world. He is the director of Whale Watch West Cork which runs boat based tours to watch and photograph whales and dolphins off the coast of Southwest Ireland.

Nic is no stranger to adventure and leading groups to remote places on earth. In 1976 he led an expedition across the Sahara Desert to Central Africa and back which earned him Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society. Nic’s hard work ethic, and detailed knowledge of the species and the locations where they are found ensures his customers have a whale watching experience second to none.


Dates & Prices

The dates for The Gray Whales of San Ignacio Lagoon are from the 10th to 17th February 2017

The price for this ‘experience of a lifetime’ is:

€3,195 per person

(Please note this holiday is priced in Euros)

The Pacific Gray Whales of San Ignacio Lagoon wildlife adventure starts and finishes in Los Angeles, USA.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1. Having met in Los Angeles we make the short flight to Loreto in Mexico. Flying over the stunningly beautiful Baja peninsular we get our first sight of the azure waters of The Sea of Cortez or Gulf of California as it is sometimes referred to. We arrive early afternoon and settle into our hotel, the lovely La Mision Hotel on the waterfront.

Day 2. We take a boat trip to Coronado Island to visit the California fur seals and brown pelican colony on the island. We usually see dolphins on this trip. We stop on the island for lunch and have time to explore the stunning desert foliage and birdlife before returning to Loreto and our hotel.

Day 3. We make the transfer from Loreto to San Ignacio by road following the coastal road as far as Santa Rosalia. We then pass through the breath taking scenery of the central Baja plateau to San Ignacio before heading out to the lagoon which will be home for the next three days.

Day 4, 5 & 6. During these three days we take our daily boat trips out to see the Pacific gray whales. The full range of behaviours are seen during these tours interspersed with bird watching during the lunchtime stops in the mangrove inlets and sand dunes. We also get many opportunities to watch whales from the land as well as other desert wildlife.

Day 7. Making a stop in the little town of San Ignacio to look at the mission we then make our way back to Loreto and our hotel. We have time to do some last minute shopping in Loreto and have a last evening meal.

Day 8. We depart the lovely town of Loreto for Los Angeles getting our last glimpses of Baja as we fly out over the Sierra de la Giganta mountains. NB: This eight (8) day tour commences in Los Angeles and runs from Friday to Friday in February each year. Please note the daily itinerary may vary depending on prevailing sea conditions.


We stay in Loreto for the first two nights in La Mision Hotel, overlooking the Sea of Cortez and Carmen and Coronado Islands. We then travel north to our whale watching base on the edge of San Ignacio Lagoon where whales can be observed from the shoreline blowing and cavorting with their calves in the inner reaches of the lagoon. We spend three full days at this iconic destination staying in clean and comfortable Cabanas right on the lagoon shore with views to the mountains and across the distant sand dunes to the Pacific Ocean. We return to Loreto for one night at La Mision Hotel in Loreto before returning to Los Angeles.

Tour Add Ons

Trip Notes

What IS included:

  • Return flights from Los Angeles to Loreto.
  • All hotel accommodation in Loreto.
  • Return transfers to San Ignacio Lagoon.
  • All accommodation and food at San Ignacio Lagoon.
  • All boat tours from Loreto to Coronado Island including lunch.
  • All return transfers from the airport to our hotel.

What IS NOT included:

  • Return flights to Los Angeles
  • We don't include food while in Loreto as most customers like to do their own thing.
  • Personal purchases you may wish to make
  • Hotel accommodation in Los Angeles