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.

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July, 2021
We had an amazing honeymoon thanks to Rutopia in Mexico
We had an amazing honeymoon thanks to Rutopia & Jorge. Initially I had just contacted them to get some ideas about my trip, but I ended up booking our trip to Mexico with Rutopia, after a lot of back-and-forth planning with Jorge. We wanted to visit and see both cultural/historical/gastronomical/vacation places in Mexico and our trip made that happen. Our hotels were excellent. Our drivers and guides were always on time. The activities were fun and informative. Couldn't ask for more. We did not encounter any problems, we did not have to pay any extra money for an activity either. Everything went perfectly well. Special thanks to Angel who was our guide in Merida and Chichen Itza.
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Catherine T.

Enero, 2020
Perfect trip for a woman in Mexico
The Mexican Eco company Rutopia is excellent. As a solo female traveller, I was very pleased with the custom itinerary planned for me by Sibila. All of my requests were fulfilled, from urban tours and decent, clean hotels in CDMX to horseback riding, hikes and cooking lessons in beautiful Guanajuato. All drivers and guides were professional , knowledgable and arrived on time. I was very reassured by Melina from Rutopia, a warm and and very diligent person who checked in with me every step of the way both before my trip and during my days in Colonial Mexico. I heartily recommend this company as a reliable source for trip planning in Mexico.
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Diciembre-Enero, 2020
Super easy way to plan a great trip Mexico
Jorge and Melina did a great job and I was very happy with my trip. On very short notice during the high season, Jorge put together a perfect itinerary. I hate to plan and Jorge took all the work out of it. He put together a good balance of the big, can’t miss sites and activities that were a little more off the beaten track. Jorge helpfully worked with me to adjust the itinerary to meet my interests, and in hindsight, I only wish I had gotten more involved. Every tour they arranged was fun and worthwhile with knowledgeable and professional guides and comfortable transportation. During my travels, Melina kept close tabs on me to make sure things were going smoothly. The few times I sent her a message, she quickly responded and she would check in on me every couple days when I hadn’t been in touch.
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My husband and I had the best vacation of our lives while visiting Oaxaca, Mérida, Valladolid and Puerto Morelos in México. Vanessa helped us tailor the trip and then Marisol coordinated the final details. Anita, from Rutopía, was always responsive to our questions and concerns while we were in México. In Oaxaca, Alex, our guide from Etnoturismo, made sure we fell in love with that city. And we did indeed. The colors, the food, the people are just amazing and have a special place in our hearts. The guide we got for Chichén Itzá, Juan, was very knowledgable and took great photos of us. The hotels chosen by our local specialists were breathtaking. We wouldn't have been able to plan such a wonderful vacation without their help. Muchas gracias!
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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, 2021
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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July, 2021
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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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Ai

Septiembre, 2020
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I have traveled twice with Rutopía (family trips) and both have been wonderful experiences. Places of enormous beauty and biocultural richness, impossible to get to know in conventional tourism. Best of all: the hosts! Lovely people who know and love their cultures and territories and know how to transmit it with affection, pride and a great sense of hospitality. Undoubtedly, we will travel with them many more times!
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Noviembre, 2020
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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

Marzo, 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

Abril, 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

Septiembre, 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

Marzo, 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

Marzo, 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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