Laguna San Ignacio

Laguna San Ignacio is one of Baja’s primary winter sanctuaries for the Pacific Grey Whale. In this protected lagoon, young females give birth to their calves between December to April and prepare them for the long journey to the northern waters in summer. Here you can “pet,” kiss and even hug the gentle giants. It is truly an experience nobody should miss.

The lagoon is located in the Mulege Municipality of Baja California Sur about 35 miles (60 km) southwest of the beautiful date oasis of San Ignacio. 

The road is not easy to navigate and requires 4×4 in parts, making it a quieter, and less-visited gem in Baja if you can get there. A paved road is in the works, so things are bound to get better soon, for what it’s worth. 

Laguna San Ignacio is huge. It stretches about 15 miles (25 km) into the desert and has a maximum width of around 5 miles (8 km). 

Remarkably, the grey whales have essentially divided the lagoon into three sections. In the first section, there is the shallow part which acts as the birthing area for pregnant whales. The middle part is where mothers prepare their calves for the long journey to the north. 

And in the last part of the lower lagoon, the grey whales socialize extensively with each other.

Laguna San Ignacio is also a UNESCO world heritage and a UN biosphere reserve for migratory birds. It is the only undeveloped lagoon in Baja and you have to book a tour or make advance reservations to reach your destination. 

Most of the lagoon’s permanent inhabitants are fishermen who are permitted to fish the waters all the way up until the whales begin to arrive. As the grey whales are protected, all fishing shuts down and the fishermen convert their services and boats into whale-watching tours.

In addition to grey whales, the Laguna San Ignacio is a feeding ground for endangered and elusive Pronghorn Antelope and four species of sea turtles. There are numerous Bottlenose dolphin pods and California sea lion colonies scattered throughout the lagoon as well. 

Moreover, you will find many birds, including herons, ospreys, and white egrets feating on the bountiful fish populations in the lagoon. On some occasions, you will also see some coyotes exploring the cactus-studded desert.

Whale Watching Camps in Laguna San Ignacio

Laguna San Ignacio is not very developed and only a handful of whale-watching organizations, nearly all dubbed “eco” in nature, have set up seasonal camps along the southeastern edge of the lagoon. 

Because the road in is so difficult, most offer private transportation and on-site accommodations to make the trip out to the lagoon more worthwhile.  

There are a few excellent whale-watching camps in Laguna San Ignacio. The camps provide comfortable and eco-friendly accommodations and arrange whale-watching trips. Moreover, the experts also help you learn more about the local wildlife and history.

Here are the best whale-watching camps in Laguna San Ignacio.

Antonio’s Ecotours

Antonio’s Ecotours is a family-run camp that offers rustic, but comfortable accommodations on the shore of the lagoon. One of the region’s whale-watching pioneers, Antonio is a hospitable host who, along with his wife “Yaki” go out of their way to share their home with you and ensure your stay is as memorable as it can be. 

Camp in rustic cabins, eat freshly caught and prepared seafood and enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunsets during your stay.

Baja Expeditions

Baja Expeditions is one of the best and oldest Whale watching camps in Laguna San Ignacio. It was established 50 years ago, and now they are a leader in eco-adventures throughout Baja. Baja Expeditions have some of the most luxurious tents. 

And they have flexible tour plans with an average of three whale watching sessions per day. Moreover, they also give naturalist presentations every morning to increase your knowledge about whales and local wildlife.

MAS Luxury Wilderness Escapes

MAS Luxury is another excellent whale-watching camp. They have great food with all the luxury amenities, including hot showers, comfortable beds, clean bathrooms, a sitting area and exceptional service. 

They also offer multiple whale watching sessions daily. And you can also opt between hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and visiting the nearby salt flats.