Overview

Whale sharks are the true “gentle giants” of the oceans. The largest fish on the planet, these gentle beasts return yearly to the coast just off La Paz. Take a day to observe and snorkel whale sharks while accompanied by a local naturalist guide. La Paz is unique as a whale shark destination for its proximity to the whale shark observation zone and efforts undertaken by tour operators, regulatory agencies and civil society to responsibly manage this extraordinary experience. You’ll also visit Balandra Bay, a natural protected area with pristine beaches bordered by mangroves and the rugged beauty of the surrounding hills and desert. After a tasty lunch you can relax, explore short hikes, or snorkel the clear waters.

trips length:

5-7 hours


Price from:

US $560 private departures
US $115 per person shared departures


Available: Oct – Apr
Trip type: Small group (max 11) and private trips available
Departs from: La Paz, Todos Santos, Los Cabos


Dates:

Itinerary


We meet early in the morning for the short boat ride to the observation zone where the whale sharks come to feed (enquire for specific departure times). Along the way, your bilingual naturalist guide will brief you on whale shark ecology as well as regulations for snorkeling in the observation zone. If you are lucky and feeling adventurous, grab your snorkel and mask and, accompanied by your guide, get in the water to see the whale sharks up close. During peak holidays when boat activity increases, we will explore the surrounding area by boat as we wait for our turn to see these incredible creatures. The trip continues to Balandra Bay, for lunch and other activities before returning to La Paz. 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.

Optional add-ons

Ground transport and airport transfers

Lodging in La Paz

Day trip to Espíritu Santo island

Walking tour of La Paz

Included: Marine transportation to whale shark observation zone; Bilingual naturalist guide; Clean towels; Lunch, snacks and drinks (including beer); Snorkeling equipment (including wetsuits); Whale shark conservation fee and park entrance fee; Taxes and insurance.

Not included: Gratuities; services not included in trip description; ground transportation (available at additional cost).

ADDITIONAL TRIP DETAILS:

  • Trip typically departs at 8:15 from the tourist pier in downtown La Paz. Departures from RED marina and Costa Baja marina available. Enquire for special departure times and hotel pick-ups.
  • Trip typically lasts 5-7 hours. During peak visitation, trip may last longer.
  • All trips staffed by bilingual naturalist guide and a licensed captain.
  • Boats are outboard skiffs with full shade, seat cushions, and dry storage space.
  • Beginner/first time snorkelers are welcome, but must be able to swim to participate in snorkeling portion of trip.
  • Physical level: Light to medium including boat travel and snorkeling (optional)
  • Whale sharks are an endangered species and passengers will be briefed on regulations for snorkeling in the observation zone. Passengers not complying with regulations (eg. touching or grabbingwhale sharks) may be returned to shore and referred to proper authorities.
  • Upon receipt of payment, RED will request specific passenger information and will provide departure specific information and packing list.
  • Private itineraries available, enquire for Outdoor Team Building, event coordination and additional options.

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.

Trip Impact

Reducing our footprint

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.

Traveling Roots and whale shark ambassadors –Raising awareness with local youth

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.

Preserving endangered sea turtles in Magdalena Bay

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.

Building local economy

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.

Strengthening individuals families and microenterprises in rural communities

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.

Reforestation in the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve

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.

trips length:

5-7 hours


Price from:

US $560 private departures
US $115 per person shared departures


Available: Oct – Apr
Trip type: Small group (max 11) and private trips available
Departs from: La Paz, Todos Santos, Los Cabos


Dates:

Term, Payment & Aditional info.

Packing & luggage

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.

  • hat
  • sunglasses
  • long sleeve shirt for sun protection
  • bathing suit
  • long pants and shorts
  • sturdy shoes for walking/hiking and old tennis shoes or water friendly sandals
  • a windbreaker or other warm layer as it gets chilly when the wind picks up and the sun goes down
  • water bottle. Please bring your own water bottle, metal or plastic preferred
  • dry bag or ziploc is handy to keep valuables dry but not necessary
  • any personal medication you need
  • waterproof sunblock
  • did we mention to bring a water bottle?
  • cash for a post-trip ice cream or to tip your guide and captain (optional)
  • if you have a camera bring it! Also bring a case or bag to keep the sand and water out
  • a good attitude. Weather changes, food tastes different, speaking Spanish is harder than you remembered. Roll with it and have a good time!

trips length:

5-7 hours


Price from:

US $560 private departures
US $115 per person shared departures


Available: Oct – Apr
Trip type: Small group (max 11) and private trips available
Departs from: La Paz, Todos Santos, Los Cabos


Dates:


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