Whale Watching in Cabo
Located on the southernmost land in the Baja California peninsula are the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, which together are known as Los Cabos in the state of Baja California Sur, Mexico. Los Cabos spreads across many miles of this Mexican state, from the Sea of Cortez on the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. This beautiful area is a huge population destination of tourists with vistas of both the Sierra Laguna Mountains and the Baja Sur deserts. They join the sapphire Sea of Cortez. One of the popular reasons for visiting is whale watching in Cabo.
Why Do Whales Come to Los Cabos?
Whale watching in Los Cabos is possible each winter because these large cetaceans, primarily the Gray and Humpback Whales, migrate annually to procreate in these warmer Mexican coastal waters then stay to birth and rear their calves here. These mammoth mammals travel in pods from Alaska’s icy northern Pacific waters some 6,000 plus miles away. It is the only population of Gray Whales on earth that makes this annual trip, but eight of the world’s eleven whale species are also spotted during whale season in Los Cabos.
Humpback Whales also winter in the warm waters of Magdalena Bay. The Gray and Humpback Whales prefer the relatively shallow waters in the protected lagoons and coves of the Bay and along the coast for birthing and rearing their calves. In the shelter of these warm coves, the babies nurse and grow until they have doubled their approximately 1,500-pound birth weight. Here their mothers also teach and let them practice basic ocean life survival skills. Since Gray Whales prefer to bottom feed, they also love the shallower waters because they can filter feed from the seafloor on the many small crustaceans there. While whale watching in Baja, viewers also see Minke, Blue, Bryde, Sei, Fin, and even (occasionally) Orcas, but Gray and Humpback Whales are often seen.
When is Whale Season?
Whales migrate to winter in warmer ocean waters. Therefore, the whale season in Cabo begins in December and continues until the end of March. Some whales begin to arrive as early as November, but the tours refrain from starting until December in order not to frighten them as they arrive in the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez.
Whale watching season officially begins in December and closes at the end of March, although some whales stay on into early April. January and February are the best months in which to have the best guarantee of spotting whales. During these two months, nine out of every ten tours spot whales.
What is the Best Way to Watch the Whales?
Making reservations to go on one of the locally available whale watching tours is the best way to enjoy whale season in Cabo San Lucas. From the tranquil and authentically Mexican town of San Jose del Cabo or active or adventurous Cabo San Lucas on the other end of the Corridor, there is a variety of them available. There are options for all tastes, from a two-hour tour on a catamaran or luxury pontoon boat to a cruise on a classic pirate sailboat. Boats are also available for private all-day rental as well.
What Are Some of the Whale Watching Tours Available?
Many companies offer ocean tours for whale watching in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Many of these companies also offer other types of ocean tours as well. Let’s take a look at four of these services.
Cabo Escape takes watchers out on a twin level power catamaran. Cabo Escape is one of the few companies that guarantee you will see whales. While cruising around the Arch and out to sea, they serve a breakfast of scrambled eggs, waffles, beans, Chilaquiles, and toast, as well as Bloody Marys and Mimosas. The tour lasts two hours and is offered only in the morning. A knowledgeable marine naturalist is along to share whale and other marine lore with cruisers. Due to their high-booking volume, it is recommended that you contact them well in advance of the winter season to schedule your tour.
Cabo Legend offers the Whales and Tales Los Cabos tour on an over 100-foot long brig pirate sailboat. They allow you to encounter the whales the way early pirates did when arriving in the Baja region. Their guides will provide interesting information on how Baja was discovered and pirate activity here and provide hands-on activities for visitors’ participation. Meanwhile, the crew provides a full Mexican breakfast and fresh fruit, and an open bar for their guests. Tours begin at nine in the morning and last two hours.
Caborey has been offering cruises for whale watching in San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas for over fifty years. Their tri-level 144-foot long catamaran allows plenty of viewing opportunities and space to take great photographs of the whales as they lift themselves out of the water and crash back down, in addition to offering breakfast and an open bar during their two and a half hour tour.
Rancho Tours allow you to enjoy the Sea of Cortez’s blue waters on their luxury pontoon rides. Their tours depart at ten in the morning and one o’clock or half after two in the afternoons and last approximately two hours. Sodas and bottled water are served. Shuttle service from your hotel is offered as part of the ticket price if you desire to meet the cruise at the originating dock.
CaboTrek takes you in a panga, which grants you faster and closer access to the whales and more personalized service with a whale expert aboard.
These companies offer friendly and gracious service, informative and bilingual guides, and views of the beautiful Los Cabos’ coastlines and beaches. Watchers usually spot not only whales but dolphins and other marine animals as well. Before booking any cruise, consider purchasing the Los Cabos Passport Card to enable you to stretch your vacation dollars by getting a 50% off and 2×1 in a wide variety of activities, restaurants, and services. This savings card is valid for up to six people. It can be used many times, assuring you quickly get your investment money from the card while taking advantage of large price reductions on restaurants and activities.