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San Ignacio Lagoon is one of the winter sanctuaries of the eastern Pacific grey whale. Here, males and females congregate looking for mates, and newborn calves prepare themselves for the long journey north to their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic.

Located in the Mexican province of Baja California, the lagoon stretches sixteen miles into the desert and has a maximum width of five miles and is divided into three sections. The lagoon provides a perfect habitat for the eastern Pacific grey whale to breed and calve.

The upper lagoon is the shallowest part and known as the birthing area where pregnant females travel to in order to bear their young. At the middle lagoon, you find mothers traveling with their newborns, getting them ready to join the majority of the whales at the lower lagoon where the majority of the social behaviour occurs.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: grey whale, Cape pygmy owl, Harris hawk, leatherback turtle, olive ridley turtle
  • Where: West coast, Mexico

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Great Whales of Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Join Wildlife Worldwide founder Chris Breen on a voyage to Baja California’s spectacular Pacific coast. We visit at the best time of year to see blue, fin and humpback whales which congregate in Baja’s waters each winter, and witness the thrilling spectacle of grey whales in one of their warm water calving lagoons.

  • When to go: Jan-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,995 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Monarch Butterflies & Grey Whale Migration

Combine two extraordinary wildlife events: witness hundreds of grey whales arriving at their breeding grounds in the warm waters of Baja and enjoy their inquisitive and playful antics; then observe millions of monarch butterflies filling the sky as they arrive in Mexico for their winter hibernation.

  • When to go: Jan-Mar
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,195 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Cabanas San Ignacio

Sat on the shores of San Ignacio lagoon, these cabanas offer rustic yet comfortable wilderness accommodation in an outstanding location. Food is freshly prepared daily by the resident Mexican family, and a naturalist guide is on hand to talk about the lagoon's grey whale migration phenomenon.

Campo Ramon

This small and simple eco camp consists of a series of walk-in tents, situated very close to the grey whale’s breaching site. A beachside lounging area is equipped with hammocks, chairs and a camp fire, providing the perfect place to unwind under the stars, after an exhilarating day's whale watching.

Recommended cruise vessels:

Mechudo

Mechudo is a small and exclusive catamaran, beautifully designed and a perfect size to offer great sailing opportunities around Baja. Its legendary name comes from a location near La Paz Bay where a pearl diver named Mechudo mysteriously disappeared after refusing to donate his beautiful pearl to the church.

Searcher

Operating in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, the Searcher is a 28-metre vessel, skippered by a captain with over 30 years experience of sailing these waters. She has 14 air-conditioned cabins and is an ideal choice for exceptional whale watching opportunities and a quality natural history experience.