San Ignacio Gray Whales Trip Report 2024 - Bluewater Dive Travel
San Ignacio Gray Whales Trip Report 2024

San Ignacio Gray Whales Trip Report 2024

San Ignacio Whale Watching Trip - March 2024

Interacting with Pacific Gray Whales

Words and Pictures by Tim Yeo

Camera Equipment Used: GoPro Hero 11 and iPhone 13 Pro Max

A Pacific gray whale in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico


Day 1

We convened at the SeeCreatures dive shop at 6:40am, and by 7:30am, we were en route on a bus to the private terminal at San Jose del Cabo airport. We divided into two groups of 12 and boarded a small charter flight for a 90-minute journey to San Ignacio Lagoon. The flight offered breathtaking views, as it not only traversed the mountains of Baja California Sur but also skimmed over narrow sections of the peninsula, allowing us to see the Pacific Ocean on the left and the Sea of Cortez on the right from our plane windows.


People pet a gray whale in San Ignacio, Mexico A Pacific gray whale in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico 


Upon arrival at the camp, we were promptly served lunch before embarking on our boats for the initial whale-watching session. The observation area was teeming with gray whales. Some of them were breaching and many of them were spy-hopping close to our boat. However, none of the whales came close enough for interactive encounters with our group.

If you want to get in the water with whales, read about where to swim with whales.


Pacific gray whales in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico People interact with Pacific gray whales in Mexico 


Following two 90-minute whale-watching sessions, separated by a 30-minute break on a beach, we returned to camp. The evening commenced with a cocktail hour at 5pm, followed by a marine life presentation at 6pm by one of the marine conservationists about the history of gray whales. After the presentation, we strolled over to the dinner tent for a 3-course dinner at 7pm.

Day 2

On the second day of our trip, breakfast was served at 7am, and by 7:45am, we were on our boat heading toward the observation area. It was a quiet session until the last 30 minutes when we encountered a mother and calf duo. The calf was notably curious, frequently coming close enough to the boat for all guests to touch it. Remarkably, one guest even succeeded in kissing the calf on its nose, all under the watchful eye of its mother, who stayed a few feet away.


People observe gray whales from a boat in San Ignacio, Mexico A gray whale in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico 


The second session of the morning was quieter, influenced by the outgoing tide that led the whales to venture deeper into the lagoon. Despite this, we observed numerous whales on the move, including some spy hopping and breaches.
We set out for our last session of the day after lunch. Although winds were anticipated to intensify, they remained just below the 16-knot threshold, which would have necessitated the closure of the lagoon for safety reasons. Consequently, it was a relatively calm day on the water in terms of whale interactions, yet we still observed a considerable number of whales throughout the lagoon.

People pet a Pacific gray whale in San Ignacio Lagoon Whale watching in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico. 


Following dinner, we returned to the tent housing the bar to grab more drinks. We put on our hoodies and beanies and spent a couple of hours lounging by the bonfire. Seated comfortably in the lounge chairs, we shared our experiences and reflected on the day's whale interactions.


Gray whale encounters in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico. People sit around a campfire in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico


Day 3

The initial morning session started off rather tranquil, but after 30 minutes, we encountered a mother and calf in the observation area. This duo approached all four boats in the vicinity, interacting with the passengers. We followed the pair to the lagoon's entrance, where we found at least six other whales frolicking in the water.
Directly after the break, during the second morning session, we swiftly came across a mother and her calf. The calf moved between the two adjacent boats, seeking attention and pets from the guests. 

A close up of a gray whale in San Ignacio Lagoon A gray whale calf approaches a boat in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico 


After lunch, we embarked on our final afternoon session. The wind made our journey to the observation area somewhat choppy, but the experience proved rewarding as we spent the latter half of the session following a couple of whales. These whales surfaced near us multiple times, which was exhilarating.

We paid our bills and checked out this evening as we had one last morning session planned before heading directly to the airstrip to catch our charter flight back to Cabo.
A close up of a whale eye in San Ignacio, Mexico People interact with gray whales in Mexico.

Day 4

This morning, after leaving our packed luggage at the front of the tent, we made our way to breakfast at 7am. By 7:45am, we were aboard the boat, setting out to the lagoon for our final whale-watching session of the trip. The winds were at their peak over the last four days, resulting in a rather choppy journey both to and from the lagoon. However, the whale-watching session we experienced this morning surpassed all previous outings. Approximately 30 minutes in, we encountered a serene mother whale and her playful calf. We spent an hour with them, during which the calf made several approaches to the boat, allowing everyone ample opportunity for a final touch and even a kiss before we had to depart for the airstrip.


A beach with rippled sand in Mexico. People on a whale watching boat in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico. 


The chance to interact closely with these majestic mammals on their terms was a truly enchanting experience. Witnessing a mother gray whale, so at ease with boats and humans that she would bring her weeks-old calf to meet us, was remarkable. It offered a profound lesson in coexistence, illustrating that these gentle giants have learned to see us not as foes but as friends.


People pose for a group photo aboard a whale watching boat in San Ignacio, Mexico. A Bluewater Travel group poses on a beach in San Ignacio, Mexico. 

 Learn more about the unforgettable Pacific gray whale experience in San Ignacio Lagoon.


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