Whale watching season has formally begun in Baja California Sur with the sighting of whales at Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos in the municipality of Comondu in late December of 2015.
The sightings line up exactly with whale watching season that has been legally marked out by SEMARNAT, the federal Department of Environment and Natural Resources. This is the time of year when tourist service providers can legally throw their vessels to the sea, hoping these great mammals will attract tourists to the area.
The official whale-watching season for 2016 runs from January 1st until April 30th. However, it is usually the second part of February when the greatest number of whales can be appreciated in the waters of BCS.
Without a doubt, one of the greatest spectacles in the state is the arrival of thousands of gray whales. These mammals migrate from the Arctic to Baja California to feed and give birth.
Officials are estimating that there will be up to 1200 to 1300 whales by the end of February, which is good news for tourism. Whale watching season usually brings in about 10,000 tourists to the area and officials hope that this season will be much the same.
Tourist service providers concede that although January 1st marked the official start to whale watching season, the majority of tourists arrive in late January and the month of February.
In the state of Baja California Sur, there are four major areas for whale sightings: Laguna Ojo de Liebre, Guerrero Negro, Laguna de San Ignacio and Magdalena Bay.
La Laguna Ojo de Libre, for example, is located near the community of Guerrero Negro and Laguna de San Ignacio is located half way up the BCS peninsula, around 770 kilometers north of La Paz and 760 kilometers south of Tijuana. Both communities area located in the municipality of Mulege.
Whale watching is also possible from Puerto San Carlos and Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos in the municipality of Comondu. Both communities are much closer to La Paz and therefore receive the majority of tourists. Those communities are located about 215 kilometers from the state capital.
In an agreement between all tourist service providers, tours are generally about 3 hours long and the prices range from 450 pesos to 700 pesos per person. It all depends where the tour was bought and if the tourist is a national or foreigner.
The gray whale and her habitat have been protected by law in the Official Mexican Norm NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010.