Gray Whales and Whale Sharks Baja Marine Adventure with Tam Warner Minton
Experience two of the Earth’s most charismatic marine species, gray whales, and whale sharks. From the majestic setting of RED’s gray whale eco camp in Magdalena Bay, you will observe up close the magnificent gray whales that come to these protected waters to mate and calve. Magdalena Bay is home to a staggering number of marine mammals, aviary species, lush mangrove canals and towering sand dunes. Across the narrow peninsula on the Gulf of California, named the “world’s aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau, you’ll visit Espíritu Santo island, teeming with sea life and home to resident sea lions that you can observe up close from the water. You’ll also have the chance to snorkel with the mystical whale sharks, the gentle giants that gather just outside the Bay of La Paz.
You will be joined on this trip by Tam Warner Minton, author of the children’s book All Fish Faces, photographer, and citizen science advocate. You will experience regional cuisine with gourmet flair, and your expert naturalist guides will give you a local’s eye into the region’s culture and natural history.
$2,200 per person
Your driver will be waiting for you at Los Cabos International Airport to take you on the scenic drive from San Jose del Cabo to your hotel in La Paz (2.5 hours). RED staff and Tam, will be waiting to assist with your hotel check-in and to answer any questions you might have. You will meet the rest of your group and your naturalist guide at dinner. Rest up tomorrow your adventure begins! Meals included today: Dinner Lodging: Hotel Catedral
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel early in the morning, and transport you to the marina to try on your snorkeling gear and wetsuit. We will then head out on the water for the short trip to the whale shark observation zone. On the way out of the bay, your guide will brief you on whale shark ecology and regulations for snorkeling. You’ll have the chance to get in the water accompanied by your guide to snorkel alongside one of these marvelous creatures. During peak holidays when observation activity increases, we will explore the surrounding area by boat as we wait for our turn to see these incredible animals. The trip continues to Balandra Bay, a natural protected area and home to pristine beaches, mangroves, and stunning scenery. Here we’ll have a tasty lunch (dietary restrictions taken into account), explore the nature trails, snorkel in the crystal water and relax and unwind before heading back to La Paz. La Paz is unique as a whale shark destination for its proximity to the observation zone and efforts undertaken by tour operators, regulatory agencies and civil society to responsibly manage this extraordinary experience. During peak holidays when boat activity increases, we may flip the itinerary and explore Balandra Bay and the surrounding area before entering into the whale shark observation zone. Meals included today: Breakfast, Lunch Lodging: Hotel Catedral
Depart from La Paz early in the morning en route to Magdalena Bay, jewel of the Pacific and home to a staggering number of migratory and marine birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals including the migratory gray whales. We will stop at one of our favorite local ranchos for a snack and a hearty cup of cowboy coffee. Arriving to Magdalena Bay we will head out on the water for the short trip to our secluded island camp, searching for whales along the way. After happy hour, chat with your guide to learn about the natural history of the region. RED’s eco-camp is designed to provide maximum comfort in balance with our natural settings. Our canvas tents stand 6’6” tall, and have a private shaded porch area. Mattresses are raised and comfortable sheets and bedding will make you feel right at home. Our shower tent boasts wooden flooring and a traditional ladle shower with hot water available upon request. Bathrooms consist of odorless composting toilets. Meals included today: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Lodging: RED Basecamp
After a good night’s rest wake up and enjoy a delicious breakfast at camp. Wake up early to watch the fishermen conservationists prepare their sea turtle monitoring nets. Today we will learn more about the gray whales, their incredible migration, and the importance of Magdalena Bay for breeding and calving to these magnificent creatures. We will head out in pangas (outboard skiffs) to look for gray whales. Friendly whales often approach the boats, and the mothers are known to push the young calves closer, which can make for an incredible interaction between two species. Meals included today: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Lodging: RED Basecamp
In the morning wake up to take in the spectacular sunrise one more time. After breakfast we will bid farewell to our hosts and head out in the search for whales. Make sure your camera is handy to capture images of these magnificent giants. After a picnic lunch on a secluded barrier island, we start back for La Paz where the journey concludes. B/L Meals included today: Breakfast, Lunch Lodging: Hotel Catedral
After breakfast we will head to RED´s office for the boat ride to Espíritu Santo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a natural paradise that will amaze you with breathtaking island scenery and rich marine life. Jump in the water to snorkel with the sea lions and observe tropical fish. Afterwards, your captain will seek out a secluded beach for a tasty lunch and time to relax or explore this unique place before heading back to La Paz in time for dinner. Meals included today: Breakfast, Lunch Lodging: Hotel Catedral
After breakfast, your driver will be waiting outside the hotel lobby to transport you to the Los Cabos International Airport. Meals included today: Breakfast
Included: Round trip ground transportation between SJD airport and La Paz; round trip ground transportation between RED camp and La Paz; all meals and beverages as specified in itinerary; bilingual naturalist guide with WFR certification; double occupancy lodging in hotel (La Paz) and RED tent camp; 3 whale watching excursions; all park entrance fees; whale shark and Espíritu Santo activities as described in the itinerary; snorkeling equipment and wetsuits; all taxes.
Not included: Airline flights and any transportation not described in the itinerary; any meals and activities not described in the itinerary; gratuities.
ADDITIONAL TRIP DETAILS:
Red is a hybrid organization that provides world class natural and cultural adventures that benefit conservation and community development. RED provides capacity building to rural communities in Natural Protected Areas throughout Mexico and supports regional models of sustainable tourism development.
RED’s zero-waste goal for day trips and itineraries in our gray whale camp helps us minimize our environmental impact. We have eliminated single use plastic from our operations. Lunch and snacks are sourced from local providers focusing on fresh versus packaged food. Recyclables are separated onsite and transferred to a processing facility and all organic waste is composted.
We can’t appreciate what we don’t know first hand. RED provides scholarships to underserved local youth to visit Espíritu Santo and to snorkel with whale sharks with a goal to foster stewardship and to promote equal access for all to the natural wonders that make La Paz such a unique destination.
RED works with Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias to recruit, train and employ fisher conservationists, creating sustainable employment alternatives, funding the monitoring, and in the process generating important data about the health and movement of sea turtle populations. By putting the monitoring in the hands of local fishermen RED and funding the participation of students from surrounding communities in sea turtle monitoring, RED is helping to create local stewards of Magdalena Bay’s natural resources.
RED designs its operational model to include local residents in its operations, whether as microenterprises, or directly as individuals, helping to diversify incomes while providing training and skills building through RED’s capacity building programs.
RED’s co-founders founded an independent, nonprofit arm, Red de Turismo Sustentable y Desarrollo Social AC,using our tourism expertise to create a micro-enterprise training program that benefits budding family enterprises throughout Mexico.
The Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere reserve is a natural paradise, boasting natural springs, oak trees, and one of the peninsula’s premiere spots for biodiversity. Mining, uncontrolled grazing and logging hasten desertification, threatening habitat and the natural process that makes this Reserve one of the principal water resources in the region. Working with CONANP and local rancheros, RED created a tourism based program focused on reforestation and soil restoration, along the way providing training and sustainable livelihoods.
$2,200 per person
You probably have everything you need for your upcoming trip with RED Travel México, so don’t worry about rushing out to buy the latest high tech gear. If you don’t, you can probably borrow it. That said, there are a few essential items that you should bring with you. We recommend bringing a medium sized duffel bag or suitcase and a small daypack. Pack for cold and hot as we get drastic temperature swings and wind and a setting sun can turn a hot day into a cold night quickly in the desert.
Please contact us regarding your specific itinerary.
Almost an Island by Bruce Berger will transport you to the Baja California Peninsula
Log of the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Oasis of Stone, a coffee table book with pictures by Miguel Ángel de la Cueva and text by Bruce Berger
An Expeditionto the Guaycura nation of the Californias, James Arraj, available online at:
While cellular service is widely available throughout the Baja California Sur, some destinations on your itinerary may not have cellular service. Please check with your cellular provider to verify if your phone and plan will work in Mexico.
La Paz has a great and growing food scene that ranges from street food to high-end fusion cuisine. Once you have purchased a trip, feel free to contact us for recommendations.
All travelers must comply with communicated protocols and regulations regarding activities within natural protected areas and interactions with wildlife. We reserve the right to terminate services for travelers not complying with regulations regarding wildlife and natural protected areas.
Tipping guide: How much gratuity do you recommend for the following staff:
Tips are very important to staff working in the tourism industries. While RED prides itself on paying staff competitive wages with benefits, others in the industry earn very low wages.
Tourism work is very seasonal. Tips make up an important part of income for anyone involved in the tourism industry in Mexico. Tips are always optional, but we encourage our travelers to tip generously when they are deserved. The below is a guideline for day trips. For multi-day
itineraries, we will provide more information.
12% and up. We recommend you tip as you would back home.
Porter at hotels:
10-20 pesos per bag
Cleaning staff at hotels:
50-100 pesos per night
Tips for drivers are not required but definitely appreciated.
50-100 pesos per transfer or per day
Guides and boat captains
300-1000 pesos per guide/boat captain is a standard range. RED guides and boat captains split tips evenly.
You need a valid passport to enter and exit Mexico. Contact your local embassy, or consulate or for more information.
We will make all efforts to adhere to the itinerary described on this website and in your travel packet, but we may modify the itinerary due to wind, weather, and other factors. The safety and enjoyment of our travelers are our top priorities. Please see our terms and conditions for more information. We do not guarantee wildlife sightings, interaction or behavior. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Illegal drug use is prohibited on RED trips. Marijuana is illegal in Mexico. Depending on your itinerary, alcohol may be provided in moderation during your trip. RED guides and staff are instructed to withhold alcohol from guests appearing inebriated. Abusive behavior is never acceptable. Abuse of RED staff or 3rd party providers may result in termination of your trip.
All passengers are required to fill out a Personal Information form to provide us with necessary information. All passengers are required to fill out a waiver of liability.
Mexico uses 120V/60Hz 15A polarized power. The socket type can be “A” (2 pin, ungrounded) or “B” (three pin, grounded).
Experiencing new tastes is an important part of traveling. Our pre-trip information forms request that you provide us with any dietary restrictions or preferences so that we can take them into account during your visit.
Some of our itineraries operate in relatively remote areas, more than one hour from a major hospital. Please take this into account when assessing your ability to participate in one of our trips, and when filling out your personal information form. While our guides and staff are trained in advanced first aid, they are legally prohibited from administering medication.
We highly recommend all travelers purchase travelers insurance.
Please refer to your trip information packet for 24 hour emergency contact information.
You can write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our office phone is +52.612.122.6057
There are three international airports in the state of Baja California Sur:
Los Cabos International Airport (SJD)
La Paz International Airport (LAP)
Loreto International Airport (LTO)
RED operates a range of light adventures available in the itineraries included on this website and our brochures. Adventure travel activities, particularly water-based activities, inherently include a level of danger and excitement. RED provides trained guides to enhance the enjoyment factor while encouraging safe practices. Passengers are expected to follow guides instructions at all times and take particular care during any water based activities.
The downtown area of La Paz is generally safe during both day and night, but visitors are encouraged to exercise good judgement, and take precautions including traveling by licensed taxi, and walking accompanied. Uniformed tourist police are distributed throughout the downtown area and are trained to assist travelers.
Demonstrations and Protests – Demonstrations and protests do not form any part of RED itineraries. Passengers are discouraged from participating in protests and demonstrations while in Mexico as their participation may be illegal, as well as unsafe. If you find yourself in or near a protest or demonstration we recommend you leave.
Payment terms for single tour shared departures
Deposits and payment of balance
Refund policy for cancellation by passenger for single tour shared departures
Payment terms for private and multi-day departures
Deposits and payment of balance
Refund policy for cancellation by passenger for private and multi-day departures
Itinerary changes and cancellations made by RED Travel México
Adventure travel is dependent upon many factors including but not limited to weather and environmental factors. In the case that RED is unable to operate the planned itinerary due to wind, climatological conditions, force majeure or factors out of RED’s control, we will modify the itinerary and provide no refund. If RED is unable to operate the itinerary due to mechanical, staffing or other, internal operational factors which we cannot resolve in a reasonable window of time, we will provide a full refund.
Inclusions and Exclusions
Please refer to your specific itinerary or trip packet for what is included in your trip.
Accommodations are double occupancy unless otherwise noted in your itinerary/trip packet. We are happy to provide single occupancy accommodations by request, based on availability and payment of fee to be defined on a case by case basis.
Refusal and Termination of Service
RED Travel México reserves the right to terminate service due to:
$2,200 per person