Every year, Orcas, Humpback whales and California Gray whales migrate to the warm Pacific waters off the coast of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. These arduous journeys bring the magnificent marine mammals to “sanctuaries” situated in natural inlets off the shores of Baja California Sur.
The California Gray Whales was a species under threat; it was estimated that their numbers had diminished to less than 2,000. However, with a series of international authorities safeguarding them and a stellar effort by the Mexican government to protect these remarkable creatures, populations of the California Gray are recovering, and there are now estimated to be around 20,000 in existence. The whales leave their feeding waters off the shores of Alaska at the end of the summer and reappear off the coast of Mexico sometime during November each year.
They arrive to form courtship groups for mating or to bear the calves which were conceived the previous year. When the mating and births are complete, and the temperatures in the northern hemisphere begin to rise, the whales begin their journey north either pregnant, or with their newly born calves (around mid-March).
The whale watching season in Mexico is reasonably short, running from December to March each year. To see the whales, you need to take an organized boat trip operated by an experienced skipper who knows where the whales are and how to approach them. If you cannot take a boat ride, the best place to try and see whales from the shoreline is from the beaches near Todos Santos, Puerto Vallarta and the beaches facing south west near Cabo San Lucas.
Recognized as a substantial part of the ecotourism market, and an ever-growing financial resource for Mexico, whale watching tours have become great experiences that benefit the environment, the visitor and the local economy.