The Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez are home
to blue whales, the largest living creatures on earth, as well as
to humpback, sperm, finback, minke, gray, and killer whales.
Whale watching began in California
in the mid-1950s. Supporters praise this type of tourism as a 'non-consumptive
use' of whales with recreational, educational and scientific dimensions.
Local communities can benefit economically from tourism revenues.
The animals migrate from the chilly Arctic to the
Pacific coast of mainland Mexico and Baja California.
Traveling along the Pacific coastline at top speeds
of five mph and with pregnant females in the lead, the whales take
about four months to make the 10 thousand miles roundtrip. Once
the whales reach the Mexican coast, they mate, bask in soothing
lagoons and give birth, making January through early April the peak
time to whale watch.
In Baja California whale-watching takes place in three lagoons:
Laguna Ojo de Liebre: Also known as Scammon's Lagoon,
this body of water is located half-way down the peninsula on the
Pacific side in Guerrero Negro, about 440 miles south of the border.
It was the principal hunting lagoon used by commercial whale hunters
in the 19th century. Today tourists arrive to the lagoon by car,
but a national airport is also available for tourists flying in
from other destinations in Mexico.
Laguna San Ignacio: Located 100 miles south of Laguna
Ojo de Liebre, access to this site is mostly through charter air
service from international airports such as San
Diego and Tijuana.
Bahia Magdalena (Magdalena Bay): This bay in becoming
increasingly popular for whale-watching due to its proximity to
the La Paz and Loreto airports.
On the Pacific coast, whales frequent the bays of Nayarit and Jalisco.
Regular tours are offered in Puerto