Laguna San Ignacio

One of the winter sanctuaries of Pacific gray whales, the laguna is located 37 miles from San Ignacio on the pacific coast. From Guerrero Negro take Mex 1 south about 71 miles (see Mex 1 to San Ignacio), pavement  ends about 10 to 15 miles before camp sites, the dirt road over the salt flats is covered with gravel, it is OK for a sturdy passenger cars.

It is recommended that one go to San Ignaciio to connect with guides.

 

 

The lagoon is stretches sixteen miles inland, with a width up to five miles. A community of less than 100 local residents depend on fishing and eco-tourism as their primary means of support. During the winter months, Jan-April, fishermen transform into whale watching guides.

The lagoon can be explored by kayak; although most would feel more comfortable with guides on their skiffs, called pangas, who know the whales. Many of these guides have been providing whale watching trips for 25 plus years. There is no fishing on whale watching trips and the whales are familiar with the boats. It is not unusual for the males to arras females even with babies in the mating season, which is not good news from the point of view of whale watchers as the moms and babies run away, most social interaction between males and females take place in the lower section of the lagoon and birth of baby whales takes place in the upper section.


Watch Destination Baja on PBS. See more from Saving the Ocean.

March is after the mating season and moms will bring their babies to the pangas who seem to enjoy being touched. The calves are playful and like to roll, jump and play, they stay near their moms but are curious and friendly. The friendly behavior is also displayed by the adults – the behavior is contagious and has resulted in the gray whales being called the world's friendliest whales.

The March 22, 2013 census of whales in the lagoon counted 95 calves and 102 adults; through the season it is estimated few thousand whales pass through the lagoon; it is estimated that about 10 percent are friendly, (approach boats or are willing to be touched). In addition to whales the lagoon in a haven for sea turtles and many birds. Unique cabana accommodations are available on the edge of the lagoon.

Pachico's Eco Tours may be the most know guide by whale watchers in San Ignacio. Seen on: NBC, Readers Digest, Ocean Oasis IMAX film, New York Times, National Geographic’s Intelligent Traveler Blog, Eye of the Whale, and Featured on PBS: Saving The Ocean with Carl Safina.

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