Self-Drive: Whale watching in Baja – blue, grays and humpbacks (12D/11N)

Whale watching Magdalena Bay

Explore Baja California Sur at your own pace and get to experience close encounters with at least 3 types of whales on this incredible self-drive adventure exploring all the way from Cabo to San Ignacio Lagoon.

Gray whales, blue whales, humpback whales, San Javier mission, Loreto, La Paz, San Ignacio Lagoon, Los Cabos area, Cabo Pulmo, whale watching, cultural interaction, bird watching, star gazing.

Perfect for:
Nature lovers, small families, adventure travelers,

Departure City:
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Departure from Los Cabos or Loreto available upon request.

January to April

12 days / 11 nights

Day 1 – Arrival to La Paz
RED staff will greet you at the airport to help you retrieve your car, give you maps and information for your trip, and point you to your hotel. You are free to explore downtown or rest and relax. Tomorrow your search for whales begins.

Accommodation: downtown La Paz

Day 2 – La Paz to Loreto
Depart to Loreto along the scenic highway 1 that heads out of La Paz and north. You’ll head up out of town and away from the Bay of La Paz, and the focus changes from sea to desert. If you missed breakfast there are plenty of roadside cafes to stop for coffee, burritos, or even a hearty bistec ranchero. You may feel the air cool as you head closer to the Pacific side, and may even spot the peaks of Magdalena Island in the distance.

After Ciudad Constitución, you will climb up and into the Sierra La Giganta range, the charismatic mountain range that towers above the Gulf of California. There will be ample opportunities to stop and take in the scenic views. Your day’s journey comes to an end as you arrive at Loreto, the historic first capital of the Californias. Stroll along the seaside boardwalk, and through the colonial plaza where you can enjoy some of Loreto’s fine restaurants.

Drive length: 4 hours – 360 km
Accommodation: Loreto historical center

Day 3 – Blue whales
Today you will head out on the waters of Loreto Bay Marine Park, first to visit one of its protected islands, spotting wildlife along the way. Make sure your camera is at the ready because from here you will search for the blue whale, the largest mammal to ever inhabit the Earth. After a full day on the water you will return to Loreto. Rest up, the journey continues tomorrow.

Accommodation: Loreto downtown

Day 4 – San Javier Mission and Santa Rosalia
On your way out of Loreto this morning, you’ll head up to San Javier, one the first and most picturesque missions on the Peninsula. As you walk around the orchards and inside the building, you will be amazed on how well preserved it is. Continue on up the coast to Santa Rosalia, this quaint coastal town with French inspired buildings and a church designed by Gustav Eiffel over 130 years ago.

Drive length: 3.5 hours – 260 km
Accommodation: Mulegé – Santa Rosalia

Day 5 San Ignacio Lagoon – In the search of gray whales
After some hot bread in the most famous bakery on the Baja California peninsula, head up the coast, crossing the narrow spine of the Sierra de Guadalupe and down towards to the Pacific coast. You’ll arrive at the sleepy town of San Ignacio to stretch your legs and have a bite to eat. Continue through town and out across the salt flats to the desolate but beautiful, other-planetary landscape of San Ignacio Lagoon where your hosts await you at the whale camp. Head out for an afternoon whale watching session and then take in the sunset and relax while you are way off the grid.

Drive length: 2.5 hours – 200 km
Accommodation: Cabañas or camping options available

Day 6 Gray whale watching
Wake up early for breakfast and climb aboard the panga again to meet the gray whales in the lagoon. After lunch you will drive back to Loreto where you will stay the night.

Drive length: 5 hours – 500 km
Accommodation: Loreto historical downtown

Day 7 Todos Santos
After breakfast continue south, but instead of heading to La Paz, this time you will take the highway to the Pacific, arriving at historic Todos Santos. Explore Todos Santos bohemian life, or if you prefer to take a hike enjoy a beautiful sunset after an easy coastal outing at Punta Lobos where you can probably spot the gray whales from the cliffs. Take your pick of a variety of superb restaurants.

Drive length: 5 hours – 480 km
Accommodation: Todos Santos

Day 8 Humpback whales
Take an easy drive down the coast to San José del Cabo. Here you will depart in search of the humpback whales who will wow you with their powerful breaches and tail slaps.

Drive length: 1.5 hours – 150 km
Accommodation: San José del Cabo

Day 9 Cabo Pulmo National Park
Depart early in the morning to visit Cabo Pulmo National Park, where you can take a snorkeling tour or enjoy the coastal trail. You may see some whales in the distance.

Drive length: 1.5 hours – 150 km
Accommodation: Cabo Pulmo

Day 10 La Paz
Enjoy a relaxed morning in Cabo Pulmo, whenever you feel ready head back to La Paz

Drive length: 2.5 hours – 180 km
Accommodation: Downtown La Paz

Day 11 Espiritu Santo Island
Visit Espiritu Santo Island UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to clear turquoise water, multitudes of fish species, and resident sea lions. This earthly paradise is less than one hour away from La Paz. The land and seascapes, along with the marine life will keep you and yours in awe.

Drive length: 2.5 hours – 180 km
Accommodation: Downtown La Paz

Day 12 Departure

Head to the airport with enough time to return the car and begin the journey back home.

Date Availability Comments
Departures available upon request. Contact us for more information or to plan your customized adventure.

Price:  Starting at $2,230. Contact us for more information.

Rental car, hotels accommodation as stated in the itinerary, Espíritu Santo Island day tour, blue whale + Coronado Island expedition, humpback whale expedition, gray whale expedition, map, RED’s Travel Guide customized to your journey with special points of interest, contacts, and much more.

Meals, other activities than the ones mentioned above, tips and other personal expenses



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