Baja Whalewatching Tour
Departing from San Diego, California
Arriving to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Join our 12-day tour to whalewatch for up to a dozen different species: gray, blue, fin, sperm, and humpback whales, and several kinds of dolphins along the Pacific side of Baja California, plus an extension into the rich waters of the Sea of Cortez where even more whales and wildlife are abundant. Explore offshore islands for birding and photography and snorkel with tropical reef fish.
San Diego to Cabo San Lucas
Travel to San Diego, California. Board Searcher at Fisherman’s Landing by 8 p.m. for passenger orientation. Depart at 10 p.m.
Islas Todos Santos
Stop at Ensenada harbor for Mexican Customs and Immigration clearance. Cruise along Todos Santos islands to view nesting seabirds, rocky reef and cliff life, and harbor seal adults and pups. Whalewatch during the afternoon for migrating gray whales, dolphins, and seabirds aboard Searcher.
Laguna San Ignacio
Here we anchor among the gray whales and make this famous lagoon our home for two days. Whalewatch from smaller boats, called pangas, and see eye-to-eye with the whales. Observe mother gray whales care for their calves, and marvel at the power and grace of breaching and spyhopping whales. Explore pristine beaches for shells, blooming plants, and tidal animals and observe feeding birds in the mangrove channels.
Offshore Cabo San Lucas
Cruise to Gorda Banks where humpback whales gather. Humpback whales are very acrobatic–spectacular to observe, photograph, and listen to with our underwater microphone.
Isla San José
Searcher will arrive at the first stop in the Sea of Cortez for sunrise at the spectacular red sandstone cliffs of Punta Colorado. We’ll take a skiff ride into a cave and along the cliffs for up-close views of nesting brown and blue-footed boobies, pelicans, yellow-footed gulls, osprey and white-throated swifts. Then we’ll take a desert plant and bird walk through an arroyo formed by the scenic red cliffs. After our hike, we can enjoy snorkeling to view tropical fish in the reefs and sandy coves underwater. For the afternoon, we’ll have plenty of time to whale watch for blue whales, fin whales and sperm whales, as well as the large pods of bottlenose dolphins that frequent this area. NOTE: If the Whale Shark Encounter is offered on this day, the remaining itinerary may be re-ordered.
Isla Santa Catalina
This island is famous for the 12-foot “wavy” barrel cactus and other desert plants that grow along the canyon, where an early morning walk is an enjoyable option. Bird life is abundant and we should see and hear cardinals, Gila woodpeckers, ravens, and verdin. Also famous residents are the rare endemic Santa Catalina rattleless rattlesnake and the more abundant emerald-tailed lizards.
There will be snorkeling opportunities at this island, where the shallow reefs are home to many species of fish, sea stars, sea fans, and more marine life. Again we’ll spend time aboard Searcher for the afternoon whalewatching in this productive area.
Isla San Jose/Islas Los Islotes
Make a stop at one of Baja California’s best locations for mangroves, birds and scenery. Then we travel to Los Islotes, two islets and underwater rocky reefs used by sea lions as haul-out sites. Skiff rides around the islets give great views of the sea lions, fishes and invertebrates along the reefs, and nesting boobies and other birds. Or dive in for some great snorkeling. Then there’s time to whale watch offshore for Baja’s blue whales, fin whales, and other whales.
Cabo San Lucas
Disembark Searcher in Cabo San Lucas early morning. Transfer to Los Cabos (also called San Jose del Cabo) airport for return flight connections or downtown for hotel stay in Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo (recommended) on your own. Arrange for a flight out after 12 noon.
Mike started birding at an early age in northeast England. He now works with travel outfitter, BirdQuest, and has travelled very widely in search of birds, visiting no less than six continents.
MEALS INCLUDED: All meals (and beverages) from breakfast on Day 2 through breakfast on Day 12.
TRAVEL NOT INCLUDED: Ground and air transport to San Diego (Fisherman’s Landing where Searcher is docked) on Day 1 and return from Cabo San Lucas on Day 12.
SAFETY NOTE: Because safety is our primary concern, we reserve the right to restrict passenger activities, if necessary. Please watch instructional boarding videos in the Searcher Safety link for information on necessary physical abilities for this tour.
SNORKEL/SWIMMING NOTE: There are both beach- and skiff-entry locations on the itinerary. Please see Searcher Safety for videos to illustrate both. The Whale Shark Encounter is an optional snorkel/swimming activity. Please review the details here: Whale Shark Encounter.
Itineraries and schedules subject to change based on weather conditions, wildlife opportunities, Captain’s discretion, and the uncertainties operating within foreign preserve guidelines.