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The Ultimate Guide to do Whale Watching in Mexico

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All you need to know about the best whale watching spots in Mexico

Can you find whales in Mexico?

Mexico’s cultural richness never ceases to amaze us and the incredible whales that visit us every year are no exception. These gigantic mammals start arriving on the beaches of Mexico in November and stay with us until the end of March. An excellente destination for whale watching. 

Humpback whale – André Estevez
Did you know that Mexico is the fifth most megadiverse country in the world? 

Around our coasts, if you are lucky and go out to sea with your eyes wide open, you can find some of the following species, depending on the region you travel to.

  • The world’s largest animal, the blue whale
  • The famous gray whale
  • Giant humpback whales with their calves
  • Cachalote  whale
  • Finback whales 
  • The whale shark 

 

Are you planning to visit Mexico? Tell us your trip ideas, and we will design a unique smooth trip for you and your family.

Whale watching in Mexico is undoubtedly one of those experiences that take your breath away. It is truly a natural spectacle worth preserving, and for this, it is necessary to practice sustainable and responsible tourism. 

Before starting with this guide, where I will share with you the best spots in Mexico for whale watching, you must take into account the following:

Recommendations to avoid endangering the whales

  1. When contracting a tourist service, verify that the boat in which you are going to take the tour has an identifying flag. This guarantees that the operator has permission to work from Semarnat.
  2. If during your tour you detect any irregularity, take a photo or video, write down the name of the boat and its registration number, as well as the day and place. With the information, file a report with the Federal Attorney’s Office for Environmental Protection (Profepa).

When is the whale watching season in Mexico and its different regions?

The whale watching season begins at the end of November and ends in March. At the end of the summer, the whales leave the cold waters of the Alaskan coasts behind and make a journey to the warm Mexican beaches. 

There is no exact date as to when the whales reappear off the coast of the Baja California peninsula; some of them continue to the Pacific Coast. However, in November, there are already records of them. Some of the whales migrate to Mexican waters, where they mate and begin to nurse their babies. They stay with us in Mexico throughout December, January, and February. 

And in early March, they begin their return to northern waters.

GoLaPaz

Where can I go whale watching in Mexico?

Baja California 

El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve 

Located between the Mar de Cortés and the Pacific Ocean, the El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve has been recognized for promoting responsible tourism by welcoming the incredible gray whale every year. This mammal measures between 11 and 15 meters, weighing around 30 tons.

Here’s another fact: in 1993, UNESCO declared El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve a World Natural Heritage Site. 

Gray whale – GoLaPaz
Loreto Bay

Sailing to Loreto Bay National Park allows you to witness a blue whale swim. This majestic animal weighs up to 180 tons and can reach a length of 30 meters. Not for nothing is it the largest animal in the world!

Blue whale – OCEANA
Puerto Adolfo López Mateos – Magdalena Bay

In the municipality of Comondú, located in this coastal spot where hundreds of gray whales arrive. From Canada and the Arctic waters, these whales swim to complete their reproductive cycle. 

When you go out to sea in search of whales, don’t forget also to watch the migratory and local birds that fly over the islands of Santo Domingo and Magdalena. 

– Guille Pozzi
Todos Santos Bay

In the northwest corner of Baja California, near the city of Ensenada is Todos Santos Bay. Without a doubt, it is an increbible place for whale watching, especially for the gray whale. In addition, during your expedition, you will probably have the opportunity to observe dolphins, sea lions, and endemic birds. 

*Don’t get confused with the town of Todos Santos, which is just south of the peninsula. An incredible place for surfing but not so much for whale watching. 

Cabo San Lucas

The gray whale and the humpback whale come to one of the most vibrant cities in Baja California. Cabo San Lucas receives tourists searching for comfortable stays, gastronomy, fun, and adventure throughout the year. Starting in December, expeditions begin searching for these docile and curious whales, who come to the Sea of Cortez in search of warm waters. 

Humpback whale – Abraham Gutiérrez
– Vivek Kumar

Pacific Coast

Sinaloa, Mazatlan

Tourists not only come to this destination to enjoy its exquisite gastronomy. It is also a great spot in Mexico for whale watching, the most popular humpback whales. Among them, the most popular are the humpback whales. Can you believe that their heart can weigh more than 200 kg?

 Nayarit 

In Sayulita, Rincón de los Guayabitos and Banderas Bay, humpback whales put on great shows. They start to show themselves in the waves, and suddenly they make big jumps in the middle of the ocean. 

Sayulita is a 40-minute drive from Banderas Bay and is, without a doubt, a town you must visit. Between colors and good vibes, crazy sunsets await you. 

– Stefanie Klenner
– Chase Dekker

Riviera Maya 

The whale shark is not a whale? 

Whale shark – Lachlan Ross

The answer is no; it is not a whale. This shark is the largest fish in the world, reaching 18 meters in length. Remember that whales are mammals, not fish. 

From May to September, there are great experiences in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. Whether in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Holbox, Isla Contoy, and Isla Mujeres, thousands of tourists visit us to have the opportunity to swim with them.

Today, it is a species threatened by tourism, so be sure to follow these recommendations: 

  1. When you are underwater and encounter one, do not try to touch it. 
  2. Keep a minimum distance of 2 meters 
  3. Use biodegradable sunscreen 
  4. Carry out the activity in places that have the appropriate permits
– Elianne Dip

Looking for whale watching in Mexico? Let us know your travel ideas, and we will design a unique and hassle-free trip for you.

 Last few tips 

What to wear for whale watching?

Generally, the temperature in the open sea can be lower than that of the coast. Bring a light jacket to keep you warm, a raincoat and extra clothes in case you get wet. 

Breakfast before going out to sea? 

Definitely yes. In addition to decreasing the likelihood of seasickness, the experience is more enjoyable without a stomach growling with hunger. But, of course, you could also bring a lunch in case you get hungry on the way.

Tips for dizziness 

The first thing you should know is that if you get seasick, nothing happens. It is very common and boat captains are used to it. But to avoid it, I recommend you to take medicine for seasickness. 

Be careful: take it before starting the excursion because it is less likely to work while you are in the water. 

Camera and binoculars

If you have them, don’t hesitate to bring them. Make sure you have an extra battery and an empty memory card because I promise you will take hundreds of pictures. On the other hand, I also invite you to enjoy the experience, feel the imposing presence of these wonderful mammals and just sit and watch them.

Cap, sunglasses, and sunscreen 

When we go on the boat feeling the fresh wind from the sea, we forget the intense sun rays on our skin. So don’t hesitate to take with you a cap or hat to cover your face, sunglasses and sunscreen all over your body. 

Let’s take the leap to a conscious lifestyle and use biodegradable sunscreen. Here I recommend these three Mexican sunscreen brands that take care of the planet.

Gray whale – Nautilus

Travel to Mexico and catch up with the whales on their migratory journey of more than 20 thousand kilometers. Make your next travel experience in Mexico something special and unique at the best whale-watching spots.

More than 1500 travelers, 5 stars in Tripadvisor

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travelers

Victoria O.

September, 2022
Two Weeks in Mexico
Seamless transfers, excellent hotels particularly in Mexico city and Puebla, combined with various cultural and food tours. Particular highlights were the cultural/food tours in Mexico city and Puebla (also including the anthropology museum in Mexico city), and the rural tours in Oaxaca where we visited textile workshops, mescal producers and participated in a cooking class using traditional equipment. Also, although we didn't need it, the on call remote assistance was reassuring. I would definitely recommend Rutopia.
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Kris S.

April, 2022
Enjoyed using Rutopia
Enjoyed using Rutopia (Marisol and Melina) to plan my trip to Mexico. Marisol helped me figure out the best options fand booked everything. Melina was my in country support. Rutopia (the company through Kim Kim) is great and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to take the burden out of vacation planning. My son and I truly enjoyed the trip knowing everything was taken care of and we just had to have fun. Thanks!
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Melissa W.

July, 2022
Adventures in the Yucatán!
Such an amazing time in the Yucatán! Between floating in the mangroves to visiting Chichén Itzá to spending a whole day on the beach in El Cuyo, I couldn’t have planned a better trip without their help. Thank you so much for an unforgettable birthday vacation!! Simply amazing! Don’t think twice about having them help you plan your next vacation!
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Cat839

April, 2022
Great experience with this agency, totally recommend!
Great experience with this agency. Our tour in Mexico was perfect and organised with great passion and precision. Special thanks to Mel (our direct contact during the trip) for being super responsive and to Jorge Barbosa (our tour guide in Mexico City). Totally recommend this tour operator!
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Sue G

June, 2022
Mayan Site Tour in Yucatan Penninsula Mexico
Rutopia did an outstanding job with the arrangement and execution of a 9 day tour of Mayan sites in the Yucatan peninsula. We provided Rutopia with the general parameters of the trip we wanted and they suggested an itinerary. After our approval, they set up the hotels, transportation within Mexico, and site tours. The hotels were good quality, and all of the drivers and tour guides showed up on time. We were very impressed with the quality of the tour guides and learned a lot on the trip. Jorge handled setting up the itinerary, and Melina handled the execution of the trip and was readily available via WhatsApp throughout the trip for any questions or issues. Melina was particularly helpful in changing our transportation arrangements to the airport at the last minute per our request. I would recommend Rutopia and would use them again for future trips.
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Varadarajan

July, 2022
Fantastic Will do it again
My wife and I had a fantastic holiday in Mexico thanks to Marisol, Ana, Teresa and their colleagues & partners. The entire itinerary and arrangements were put together in less than 4 days. What we really liked about Marisol & her team was that they were only a message or a phone call away for any query/suggestion, etc. The trip was bespoke to the extent that Rutopia had kept in mind about our interests, food habits & executed bookings, tours. They were also very flexible in catering to last minute changes/requests. The team took upon them to ensure that our entire trip was comfortable & safe by taking care of even small stuff that one normally finds out post getting to a place. We would definitely like to use their services again!!
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Elena R.

April, 2022
A literally perfect trip to the Yucatan peninsula
Tom and I knew we wanted to go to Mexico. We knew we wanted a little bit of culture, some wildlife, and maybe a splash in the ocean. That's it. With the vague and minimal information we gave them, Rutopia was able to put together a perfect trip for us. We had a flawless itinerary. It's so clear that Rutopia really cares about the communities (animals and humans) in Mexico. Everything we did and everywhere we stayed felt like they were helping us experience Mexico as authentically and respectfully as possible. It's almost impossible to pick a highlight, but top of the list has to be the day we shared with Enrique, a Mayan host who was unbelievably generous with us. He shared the community gardens, including history and background about the families that live in Nuevo Durango and other nearby communities. He showed us the neighborhood cenotes, Punta Laguna, Uma Nojoch Keej (a wildlife reserve), and more. We picked and prepared the plants as Enrique and his wife Blanca showed us the best way to cook them (and rescued us when we were pricked by the nopales!). We saw howler monkeys and spider monkeys in the wild which was very cool. That had to be the very best day, but every day was amazing. Sian Ka'an reserve was lovely, the Mayan ruins were spectacular, the snorkeling in Puerto Morelos was fabulous, the bicycle cenote tour was jaw'droppingly gorgeous. I'm waxing superlative but it really all was like a dream. Beyond the activities, the scheduling and pace was perfect for us. We felt like we really made the most of our six days, but with enough downtime to explore and enjoy at our leisure. From picking up our car at the airport to finding our accommodation, the logistics were very smooth at every interaction. Special shoutout to Melina who pretty much instantly helped us when we had any questions about the trip. We've never used a travel planning service like this before. But after this trip, we'll never go back to the old way!
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David

July, 2022
Journey to Mexico City, Cholula and Cuetzalan
We had a wonderful time. We started out in Mexico City with a 2 day tour filled with museums, food, and beautiful sights. We then went on to Cholula to experience the culture in a smaller town, see a local market, and eat traditional food. We finished the tour in a small town called Cuetzalan, where most people speak an indigenous language. All of our guides were great. Thank you for a memorable vacation!
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DaniEla

March, 2022
Just wonderful!
We had an amazing trip excellent organized by Jorge and supervised by Melina from Rutopia. We spent 10 days in Mexico, starting in Ciudad de Mexico where we visited the amazing Teotihuacan and then we flew to Yucatan for the amazing sites of Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Ek Balam, Tulum, Merida, Valladolid and the great Island Holbox. The trip was perfectly organized, the hotels were very good, and the guides were carefully chosen. We highly recommend Rutopia and especially Jorge!
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Bikø J

November, 2021
Chiapas, Neri and her family
I traveled to Chiapas for an ecotourism experience with Rutopia and I liked it very much, the team responds very quickly to all questions and accompany the traveler throughout the experience, I missed my flight and they were very flexible to accommodate the entire itinerary, My destination was the lakes of Tziscao, where I was received by Neri with his family in very nice cabins next to a lake with incredible views and a magnificent tranquility, with them you make experiences of beekeeping and coffee and tours to nearby lakes, Montebello is a must! 100% recommended.
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Alexhcros1500

March, 2021
Super local agency
We have worked with Rutopia for several tours in Mexico in the Yucatán and Chiapas and we have never been disappointed. Authentic experiences, with locals, in magical places and off the beaten tourist track. Our contact Marisol was always super available and responsive, understanding and anticipating our desires. And she speaks very good French. I highly recommend Rutopia!
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Mikel D

April, 2021
The best moment lived in Mexico
We were traveling as a group of friends with nothing organized. We like to improvise and be able to find alternative plans to the conventional tourist routes. We arrived in Puerto Escondido - Mexico's paradise - and started looking for options. A Mexican friend recommended us to contact Rutopia and we did. We explained our way of traveling - which they quickly understood - and in a few hours they came to us with a perfect selection of activities. We chose one of them and the next day we found ourselves galloping through beautiful hills, crossing a small lagoon in canoes, bathing on an unspoiled beach at sunset and sipping freshly picked coconuts with some mezcal. We had dinner in the only hut on the beach, eating fish that had been caught that day from the lagoon. Then we went to see the luminescence of the placton with paddle canoes until we were surprised by one of the biggest and reddest moons I have ever seen in my life. We ended up sleeping in bamboo huts a few meters from the waves. There were no more than 5 huts on the miles of beach that we could see. And at ALL times with an exquisite treatment - sympathy, kindness and attention. This is just one of the plans we booked with Rutopia, which definitely changed the course of our trip. Without a doubt, I would repeat this experience in any place I would like to visit in Mexico. Viva Mexico!
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Claudia A

September, 2020
Super organization, great accommodations and nice team
The trip was perfectly organized, we were always exclusive or in very small groups and had freedom to do our own activities. All accommodations were fantastic and sustainable, the food almost always local and very good, we could always fill our Rutopia water bottles and travel as plastic free as possible. We were met at the airport and had assistance getting a rental car. After that, we traveled independently but had our fixed dates and reservations with Rutopia. It was the perfect mix!
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pascalrichard0304

March, 2020
Circuit in Yucatan
Discovering wonderful and surprising sites, Mayan communities with an unforgettable welcome, breathtaking landscapes, a very pleasant climate in the middle of March...and smiling people! A big thank you to Rutopia and his team for the elaboration of this ideal circuit, alternating nature, city life, simplicity and comfort. Thanks to Mélina for the follow-up during our trip. We don't speak Spanish well enough, and we appreciated having a French-speaking contact person who could be reached if necessary. We still have a lot to discover and hope to come back very soon, and with Rutopia without hesitation!
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Sabrina N

March, 2020
Perfect
For those who don't like to manage logistics like hotels, rental cars, activities. And above all, to have someone who speaks fluent French that we can reach at any time for the unexpected... You are in the right place! Thank you to Chloe for the preparation of our trip, to Melina our Ariadne's thread and Teresa for her welcome and help at the arrival and departure. A big thank you to Enrique and Blanca from Nuevo-Durango for their welcome, their smiles, their family, a lot of emotions at the time to leave you. Thanks to Mémo for your teaching of Mexican customs (Sian Ka'an) The Yucatan is a magnificent region. And the population is very pleasant. Only downside Holbox... Too much dust, too much smell of fuel oil, too much tourist. I will keep in memory these wonderful moments!
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