Every year gray whales migrate more than 10,000 miles between their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic and the coastal lagoons of the southern Baja peninsula. Laguna San Ignacio in Baja California Sur, Mexico is one of 3 lagoons on the southwest coast of Baja that are the winter home of the gray whale. The whales use these protected, shallow, warm waters as calving nurseries.

Enjoy the whale’s mysterious spy-hops and majestic breaches from shore, and venture out among them with our naturalist guides in the comfort of sturdy 22-foot Mexican fishing pangas, piloted by our experienced local boatmen.

In addition to whale watching, this fragile and very special ecosystem offers many other sights and sounds..unspoiled shell-strewn beaches, waterfowl-rich estuaries, fossil-laden shores, spectacular birdwatching and night skies filled with stars.

Itinerary for 5-day whale watching trip

San Diego to San Ignacio

We will meet you at the Courtyard by Marriott, located in San Diego’s Old Town for an 9:00 AM departure. We will transfer across the border in our comfortable motor coach for a short drive to the Tijuana Airport. Your private charter flight will depart at about 1:00 PM and arrive in San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California, Mexico, in time for a short excursion of the inner lagoon area, before boarding the boats for the 20-minute ride to our base camp on Rocky Point. Following camp orientation, relax and watch the whales bask offshore. Then enjoy your first camp dinner and hopefully one of those perfect lagoon sunsets.

Whale Watching Camp

You have now joined the gray whales at their winter calving and mating grounds. Our boats await each day, just steps from our camp, to take you out among the whales, which are often just offshore. We’ll explore the various and unique lagoon ecosystems… a striking stage for the spectacle of whale-watching. While on the point, walk the shoreline and beaches… tidepool… photograph the birdlife… kayak in the mangroves… or just sit back and absorb the ancient unbroken rhythms of the lagoon and its splendid wildlife. After watching the sunsets fill the lagoon with colors…enjoy good food, camp comforts, and amiable conversation. Natural history discussions and programs, led by our naturalists, are also a part of each day. Starry nights invite sleep to the sound of whales…a sound you’ll never forget.

Whale-Watching Camp - San Diego

After a hearty camp breakfast and a final walk and farewell to the whales, we’ll board the boats and travel back to the inner lagoon, for the mid-morning charter flight to Tijuana. We will then transfer across the border by bus and return to the hotel mid- to late-afternoon.


Bus transfer between San Diego and Tijuana; roundtrip charter air between Tijuana and San Ignacio; all Baja ground transportation and transfers; all boating excursions; four nights accommodations at our tent Whale Camp; all meals and beverages at Whale Camp (11); lunches enroute (2); all Mexican taxes, fees and permits [Vizcaino Biosphere fee (“Conservation Passport”), Mexico tourist card, airport taxes]; experienced Baja hosts and guides; small groups to assure personalized experience.

Not Included

Tips to camp staff, personal items, trip / travel insurance, hotel in San Diego

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Our Rocky Point (Punta Piedra) Camp is situated on a low bluff overlooking the observation area where all the action is, and offers incredible opportunities to view these gentle giants 24 hours a day.

Permitted by the Mexican government, our low-impact, sustainable “safari style” tent camp lies on a low shoreline bluff adjacent to the largest concentration of whales in San Ignacio Lagoon. You can actually watch the whales from your tent door!

Are you ready for the experience of a lifetime?

Join us on an amazing adventure to Laguna San Ignacio where you will get to witness the magestic gray whales, breathtaking scenery and more!

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Here are some of the frequently asked questions our customers inquire about. If you are in need of further information feel free to contact us by phone or email.

Frequently Asked Questions

The whales migrate to the Baja lagoons as early as January and stay well into the month of April, thereby offering months of spectacular whale watching. There are no “better” or “worse” weeks to watch whales and all of our trip dates reflect prime time whale-watching. That being said, we are watching wild animals, which make this experience particularly exciting as well as unpredictable. Typically, more whales congregate in the lagoon during the months of January and February to mate and give birth. In March and April the numbers of whales decrease, since most males and juveniles have left the lagoon, leaving mostly moms and babies. However, there are still plenty of whales!


Since San Ignacio is such a remote location, your journey to and from the lagoon is an adventure in itself! We will travel by land, air and sea. Transfer days are the first and last days of your trip. We will meet at the departure hotel and transport you via private bus to the border (about a 20 minute drive), where we’ll process your Tourist Cards and clear customs. This process can take about an hour start to finish, just depends on group size, other tourist traffic at the border, etc. We then drive across Tijuana, sight-seeing along the way, to the charter terminal at the Tijuana Airport (approx 30 minutes). Here we wait for the returning group.

Your 2-½ hr. flight to San Ignacio is aboard turbo-prop, 14-passenger Cessna caravans, which will take you over the majestic Baja Peninsula. You’ll have a bird’s-eye view of scenic coastlines, deserts and mountains, arriving at the lagoon mid afternoon. After a short van ride to the lagoon shore, you will board the pangas (whale watch boats) for an exhilarating, 20-minute ride to our campsite on Rocky Point. Upon arrival it’s time to relax! Before dinner, grab a drink, settle in and enjoy the sights from shore.

Guest tents (approx. 10’x10’) are equipped with two sturdy beds with mattresses, linens, blankets, pillows/cases. All linens are freshly laundered and changed between groups. In each tent there is a storage box to put items in and/or to use as a bedside table, a hanging organizer with storage pockets, and also a solar flashlight and solar lantern. We have three bathroom structures, yes technically outhouses, BUT… they contain ceramic RV toilets with a foot- pedal flush. We utilize an underground marine septic system, so the bathrooms are very clean and located close to the tents. Two enclosed bathing structures enable you to shower from solar water bags.

We have a main dining and activity tent where we have all meals and informal evening discussions led by camp naturalists.


Yes! We ask you to inform us of any special dietary restrictions/preferences (vegetarian, food allergies, gluten free etc.) on your trip application form, and in most cases we are able to accommodate. It is very important that you provide us with dietary information before arriving at whale camp. Recently we have had people list no restrictions on their forms, then upon arrival tell us they are a vegetarian or prefer gluten free, etc. We shop and plan for meals based on the information you provide, so please help make our job easier (and keep our fabulous kitchen goddesses happy) by providing accurate information ahead of time. GRACIAS!

We have a wide array of beverages, including beer and wine, for no additional charge. Purified drinking water, coffee, tea and soft drinks are always available. We have tequila for margaritas and some other hard liquor, but do not provide a full service bar. You are permitted to bring your own wine/liquor (within reason!) if you have a favorite you’d like to enjoy while at camp.

Although your trip takes you to “sunny Mexico”, you are going to be camping in the desert in winter, just off the Pacific Ocean. Temperatures have an average variance of twenty to thirty degrees. February and March temperatures can range from the low-50’s F at night to the mid 80’s in the day (it can creep into the 90’s without wind on occasion). Mornings and evenings can be chilly and moist. Wind is a constant factor and can kick up over 40mph on occasion. Please keep in mind while packing, that 70 degrees with wind will feel like 60 in the boats, and overnight 50 degrees can feel like 40. See the suggested personal items list in our trip information booklet to assist with packing.

Costs are included on five-day trips. You will need money for tipping (see below), and any whale-watching merchandise, or souvenirs you may decide to purchase. There is no need to exchange dollars for pesos. We do accept checks for tips and/or souvenirs/apparel in our “Baja Boutique”.

Tipping is obviously voluntary. Some groups have organized and presented a group tip, but most contribute individually. Tips generally range from $20-$30 per guest per day. Envelopes and a tip box will be made available the evening before trip departure. Tips are divided equally among all camp staff (guides, cooks, boatmen). Gratuities should reflect your satisfaction of the staff’s performance.

Swimming is not allowed during whale-watching season in San Ignacio Lagoon. We do offer kayaking in the mangroves behind camp. You may get wet getting in and out of the kayaks/water. Depending upon the weather, a swimsuit might come in handy.

Lots! You can walk the fossilized shoreline, explore tide pools, go for a run, take a siesta in your tent, or relax in a chair on the bluff and watch the whales and birds offshore. You can go kayaking in the mangroves, play bocce ball, volleyball, board games, or card games (Uno Loco is a lively camp favorite not to be missed). And for the readers, we have a well-stocked library with books about whales, other marine life, and the natural history of Baja California.


We do have a charging station in the main tent (US style electrical receptacles,110 volt), but our camp operates entirely on solar power. While the sun shines brightly most days, it is always better to be safe and avoid disappointment… bring extra batteries!

Unless you have an international cell phone plan, your mobile phone will probably not work at camp. Baja Discovery staff has a Mexican cell phone, which can be used for guest emergencies or special circumstances. There is no Internet or Wi-Fi at whale camp and we discourage guests from bringing laptops (this is vacation!). Kindles, iPads, etc. are fine to bring along for reading.

We “usually” get back to the hotel anywhere between 2pm and 4pm. We cannot predict the weather or border crossing times, and if there are any significant delays it could be later than that. Please keep this in mind if you are planning to fly out of San Diego the same day. We strongly recommend booking flights after 6PM.

The $500 deposit is refundable minus a $50 handling fee until you have signed and returned the application and waiver forms, which you have 30 days to review. We try to be as flexible as possible with deposit refunds. Final balance is due 60 days prior to departure. No money may be refunded within 30 days of departure. We highly recommend trip cancellation insurance, and include information on this in your first packet.