San Ignacio Lagoon

whale watching in san ignacio lagoon, mexico

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san ignacio lagoon HIGHLIGHTS

Whale watching in San Ignacio Lagoon is one of the most unforgettable experiences for divers and non-divers alike. A primary mating and calving ground for gray whales, San Ignacio is the perfect off-grid destination for a unique family holiday, or as an add-on to a dive vacation in La Paz, a liveaboard trip to Socorro, or the Sea of Cortez.


INTRO TO san ignacio lagoon, mexico 

San Ignacio Lagoon is a remote area located on the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico. This protected area offers highly regulated whale watching tours for visitors to observe and safely interact with the majestic gray whales in their natural habitat. The whales in this region are known for their inquisitive nature, often approaching boats for up close interaction with humans.

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While off the beaten track, San Ignacio Lagoon is easily accessible from most major hubs in the US and provides some of the most rewarding whale encounters in the world. Massive congregations of hundreds of gray whales are found in the lagoon during peak season, making it the most reliable place in the world to see the Pacific gray whale. 

Interested in diving in Baja California, Mexico? Check out liveaboards in Socorro and contact us to find the best option for you!

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san ignacio whale watching INFORMATION

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San ignacio pacific gray whales 

Offering some of the most spectacular interactions between humans and Pacific gray whales, this is the obvious highlight of San Ignacio. Visitors can also spot a variety of bird species, although it is unlikely that they will want to take their eyes off the massive 40-ton whales and their adorable calves.

The Pacific gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) is a species of baleen whale known for its annual migration along the western coast of North America. They travel the longest migrations of any mammal, between the arctic and Baja California, Mexico. Pacific gray whales reach massive lengths of up to 46 feet and have an estimated lifespan of 50-70 years. Each gray whale has a pair of blowholes on the top of their head used to breathe, and a series of baleen plates in their mouths (instead of teeth), used to filter small prey from the water. Gray whales have unique identification patterns of rough skin patches called “callosities”.

Friendly and curious creatures, gray whales are known to seek out human interaction and can be seen breaching, tail-slapping, and spy hopping - popping their heads out of the water to scan their surroundings. There is no shortage of interesting behaviors to witness during a gray whale watching tour in San Ignacio lagoon.

Interested in more spectacular whale encounters? Read about swimming with humpback whales in Moorea, French Polynesia here

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BEST TIME TO visit san ignacio lagoon

San Ignacio whale watching tours run during the season with the greatest number of whales present from January through April, with the peak season being mid-January to mid-March. Air temperatures range from 59-72°F (15-22°C), so it’s best to dress in layers appropriate for the climate. For divers visiting Baja California for scuba diving during these months, a trip to San Ignacio to interact with gray whales is an excellent addition to make a bucket list holiday even more unforgettable. 

Read the recap of our 2023 San Ignacio whale watching trip here!



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HOW TO GET TO san ignacio lAgoon, mexico

To get to San Ignacio is to fly into San Jose del Cabo International Airport (SJD), which services regular international flights from multiple US cities and domestic flights from cities throughout Mexico. From there, the package includes a 2-hour scenic private charter flight from the private terminal of SJD to San Ignacio. 


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HOW TO whale watch in san ignacio lagoon 

Most operators run tours from their own eco-lodge or camping establishments near San Ignacio Lagoon, and it’s best to select a multi-day package for the most opportunities to interact with these gentle giants.  

Divers can make the most of their trip to Baja California, Mexico by combining a whale watching package in San Ignacio with scuba diving trips to La Paz or liveaboard vacations to Socorro or Sea of Cortez. With some of the best scuba diving in the world available off the coast of Baja California, scuba divers should plan to visit at least one of these areas during their holiday.


OTHER THINGS TO DO IN san ignacio lagoon

Aside from the whale watching tours, visitors to San Ignacio Lagoon can enjoy the remote natural landscape from sunrise to sunset and the incredible stargazing opportunities at night. Additional activities available depend on the accommodation, but may include kayaking, paddleboarding, and other onsite amenities.


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  • Currency: Mexican Peso

    Language: The official language is Spanish, but English is widely spoken.

    Main Airport Code: SJD

    Time Zone: Mexican Pacific Standard Time (GMT-7)

    Electricity: 127 V 60 Hz



Reviews (1)


Wow! This is one of the best places in the world to interact with whales. Gray whales migrate into the bay every year to mate, and give birth and guests can pet them and kiss them. We were not chasing the whales. We simply motored next to them, cut the engine, and they chose to swim over to us and stick their heads out of the water looking to interact with us. This is a great trip for the whole family. We are not allowed in the water so non-divers can enjoy this trip as much as divers.

Visited on 04/2023 - Submitted on 05/24/2023


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