Get Ready to Whale Watch in Baja!

Released on = December 12, 2006, 8:00 am

Press Release Author = Erick Laseca

Industry = International Trade

Press Release Summary = January through early April peak time to experience the
grandeur of the gray whale in Mexico

Press Release Body = Gray whales are 52 feet long and weigh 36 tons, yet are gentle
enough to touch. and Baja California's Pacific coast is the perfect place to
experience the thrill!

Every year in November, more than 10 thousand gray whales trade the freezing waters
of Alaska's Bering Sea for the warmth of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula.
Traveling along the Pacific coastline at top speeds of five mph and with pregnant
females in the lead, the whales take about four months to make the 10 thousand miles

Once the whales reach the Mexican coast, they mate, bask in soothing lagoons and
give birth, making January through early April the peak time to whale watch. During
these months, boat excursions are available all along Baja California, giving
tourists the chance to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural
environment, see the newborn calves and enjoy the blowhole water shows.

Gray whales are so friendly that on many occasions they swim right up to the boats
and even allow human contact. In early spring, the calves and their mothers are the
last to head back up north, and without the presence of the males, mothers are less
protective, often allowing their young to approach tour boats more freely.

Where to watch
Although a small percentage of whales, particularly those that are not giving birth,
make it as far south as Cabo San Lucas and the East Cape on the southern tip of the
Baja, most whale-watching takes place in three major lagoons all the coastline of
the Baja Peninsula.

Laguna Ojo de Liebre: Also known as Scammon's Lagoon, this body of water is located
half-way down the peninsula on the Pacific side in Guerrero Negro, about 440 miles
south of the border. It was the principal hunting lagoon used by commercial whale
hunters in the 19th century. Today tourists arrive to the lagoon by car, but a
national airport is also available for tourists flying in from other destinations in

Laguna San Ignacio: Located 100 miles south of Laguna Ojo de Liebre, access to this
site is mostly through charter air service from international airports such as San
Diego and Tijuana.

Bahia Magdalena (Magdalena Bay): This bay in becoming increasingly popular for
whale-watching due to its proximity to the La Paz and Loreto International airports.

How to get there
Tourists can arrive by charter plane and/or ground to the lagoons. Loreto's
International airport is the closest international airport to the lagoons, with
limited service provided by Aeromexico and Aero California. Baja California's
capital, La Paz, is located approximately halfway between Loreto and Cabo and its
larger airport offers more flight options.

Whale-watching options
Gray whale excursions comprise half-day or day trips, packages based out of
whale-watching camps, and cruise programs that allow tourists to sleep onboard
ships. There are various tour operators that specialize in whale-watching, including
some major ones below.

Baja Expeditions: Based in La Paz and one of the oldest and largest whale-watching
outfitters, Baja Expeditions service both the Magdalena Bay and San Ignacio lagoons.
It offers charter flights directly from San Diego to San Ignacio and five-day,
all-inclusive packages, including accommodations at the camps. It also offers
seven-day combined kayaking and whale-watching programs to Magdalena Bay, meeting at the La Paz International Airport. Programs run from February to end of March.

Baja Discovery Tours: Boasting more than 20 years experience, Baja Discovery Tours
it offers all-inclusive service from the San Diego International airport, including
ground service to Tijuana, charter service to San Ignacio and accommodations at the
San Ignacio camp. Five-day programs run from February to end of March.

Lindblad's Special Expeditions: This provider offers nine-day cruises featuring
whale-watching at Magdalena Bay along with other destinations and activities. Groups
meet in Los Cabos.

Miramar Adventures: Offers three-day excursions to the Ojo de Liebre lagoon.
Tourists arrive by car.

For those not interested in signing up for a whale-watching package, Puerto Lopez
Mateos or Puerto San Carlos at Magdalena Bay are quaint sleepy villages where boats
can be rented for US$50 a day, skipper included, and are located two hours by car
from the Loreto International Airport.

Gray whales aren't the only species to see while in Baja. Sea Kayak Adventures: also
offers kayaking/camping adventures out of Loreto on the Sea of Cortez, located on
the eastern side of the Baja Peninsula. Tourists can watch finback and blue whales,
along with dolphins, sea lions and exotic fish. Apart from paddling among islands,
additional activities include snorkeling and hiking up scenic canyons offering
breathtaking panoramas.

More on gray whales
Hunted for their oils, blubber and other valuable products, gray whales were once
victims of massive slaughters in the 1800s and early 20th century. The hunting
continued until the numbers were reduced to only a few hundred, and the whales were
subsequently placed on the endangered species list.

Thanks to an international protection agreement made among several countries in the
1940s, the whales' numbers have grown at an incredible rate. Today, more than 20,000
gray whales exist and although still protected, they were removed from the
endangered species list in 1975. Gray whales are among the oldest species of
mammals, inhabiting the Earth for about 30 million years.

About the Mexico Tourism Board
The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state
governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico's tourism
attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB is Mexico's
tourism promotion agency, and its participants include members of both the private
and public sectors. The MTB has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and
Latin America.

FOR PRESS ONLY: For additional ideas, help with a story or general travel and
tourism information about Mexico, please contact the MTB's North American Press Room
directly at 1-800-929-4555, by e-mail at, or
visit our press Web site at To access an online warehouse
of free, downloadable b-roll, visit

# # #

Erick Laseca
Mexico Tourism Board

Web Site =

Contact Details = Erick Laseca
Mexico Tourism Board

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