The Best Whale Watching Spots in Mexico

Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) tail flukes. Baja, Mexico, magdalena bay
Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) tail flukes. Baja, Mexico, magdalena bay | © Brandon Cole Marine Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Mónica Ramírez López

Every year gray, blue and humpback whales beautify the Mexican Pacific Coast from Baja California to Oaxaca, attracting thousands of tourists whose only aim is to admire them. Here are the main spots to see whales in Mexico.
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Bahia de Banderas

Watch the humpback whales in Bahia de Banderas every year from December to March. This bay is nestled between the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, so Puerto Vallarta is a good point of departure. As these mighty whales reach 14 meters in length, it is possible to see them from the beach while they’re jumping in the sea, but there’s nothing compared to getting a closer view. A tour is advisable, since the agencies are constantly monitoring the whale sighting spots and know exactly where to go. You will see dolphins along the way, so get on board and enjoy a photo safari.

Cabo San Lucas

Looking for the right conditions for mating, the gray whales swim along Los Cabos in Baja California from January to April. There are different options of transportation, from a standard boat to a luxury trimaran. For a better view, a boat with a glass bottom will help you get a fuller view of these animals. Relax during the ride by watching the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, and photograph the sea lions and exotic birds along the way.

Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos, Magdalena Bay

The curious gray whales of Magdalena Bay often approach whale-watching boats

From Canada and the Arctic waters, gray whales arrive at this fisherman’s village located at the north end of Magdalena Bay. Before your trip, you might want to enjoy the attractions of the area, so make your way to the pier, take a tour the mangroves, and enjoy walking in the white sands and watching the birds on Magdalena Island. Every year the International Festival of the Gray Whale is celebrated, with cultural, gastronomic, and artistic activities. It is worth staying a couple of days in one one of the cozy rustic hotels in López Mateos.

Nayarit

The Islas Marietas, Banderas Bay, Nayarit, Mexico.

There are two spots in Nayarit: Sayulita and Rincon de Guayabitos. From November to April, hit Sayulita and watch the humpback whales peeking out and jumping between the waves. When you arrive back on land, take time for sightseeing in this little town – it is charming and has that hippie surfer style and colors everywhere. A little further north, from December until the end of March, the whales swim by the coast of Rincon de Guayabitos, which is only a 30-minute drive from Sayulita, so if you want a second whale watching site and another destination to visit, this is the place.

Reserve of the Biosphere El Vizcaino

Nestled in the zone that divides North and South Baja California, El Vizcaino is one of the biggest protected areas of the world. This area has welcomed 2,500 gray whales. Due to its importance for the reproduction and nurturing of whales, El Vizcaino Whale Sanctuary has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1993. In the biosphere, there are lagoons, desert dunes, beaches, mangroves, and islands. Thus, it’s a good idea to venture out from the comfort of your resort and visit El Vizcaino (before your trip, visit the Tourism Office of the area to get a permit).

Mazatlan

Every year, thousands of humpback whales leave Alaska, Oregon, and Canada to swim more than 5,000 km to reproduce and give birth in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. From December to March, it is possible to see 11 different species of these enormous whales. The Mazatlan-Teacapan zone carries out activities for humpback whales. During boat tours, it’s possible to observe dolphins, sea lions, and even killer whales. Mazatlan also has a stunning beach, so take a few days to soak up the sun and visit the “Old Mazatlan,” the Malecon and Isla de la Piedra.

Loreto Bay

Blue whale watching in baja california Mexico, loreto

The impressive blue whale is the biggest whale in the world, reaching 30 meters in length and weighing 120 tons. Every winter they swim along Baja California, and it’s possible to see them from January to April near the south, in Loreto Bay. These whales take deep dives, so you might have to wait to see them, but when they come up to breathe it’s an amazing spectacle (that can even happen very close to your boat!). A tour in a glass-bottom boat can give you an even better look.

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