Whale Watching Season Has Begun In BCS



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Whale watching season has formally begun in Baja California Sur with the sighting of at least 30 whales at the Ojo de Liebre lagoon.

Isabel Gonzalez, the Director of the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, said that as of December 3rd of this year, the first whale had been spotted at the Ojo de Liebre lagoon and as of last week, 30 whales have been reported including 7 calves that have just been born.

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 runs from December 15th until April 15th.  However, it is usually the second part of February when the greatest number of whales can be appreciated in the waters of BCS.

“We have just a few whales in the waters now as they have just started to arrive. They have arrived early this year.  December 3rd is early as the whales usually start arriving a week or two after that. It looks like it is going to be a good year. We are estimating that there will be up to 1200 to 1300 whales by the end of February,” she said.

The 2012-2013 whale watching season brought in around 10,000 tourists to the area and they are hoping that this season will be much the same.

Tourist service providers concede that although the 15th marked the official start to whale watching season, the majority of tourists arrive in January and February.

In the case of Laguna de San Ignacio, tourist service providers have reported that there are only about 4 whales in the area but people have already been out in the area looking for tours. They said tours are available but that sightings may be difficult but possible.

La Laguna Ojo de Libre 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.

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.

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.

The gray whale and her habitat have been protected by law in the Official Mexican Norm NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010.

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