San Ignacio Lagoon: A Whale-Watching haven where Community and Conservation Thrive

The whale-watching activity with Gray whales in Baja California Sur began in this enchanting lagoon back in 1968, following an unforgettable encounter between the fisherman Pachico Mayoral and his friend Luis and a curious gray whale that approached their boat. News quickly spread within the fishing community about the whales’ curiosity, and by 1972, families gradually started running whale-watching operations.

One of the aspects we truly appreciate about working with our local captains is that they possess not only the skills to navigate the pangas (boats) but have also acquired a deep understanding of the gray whales. They have mastered the whales’ movements in relation to the tides, their various locations throughout the day, their activities, and whether they genuinely seek interaction or not. This knowledge has been accumulated over decades. The captains in San Ignacio are naturalists by nature, and they have even identified individual whales that have been visiting the lagoon for years, such as ‘Maclovio,’ ‘Valentina,’ or ‘El Loco,’ among other distinctive ones.

We take immense pride in having highly experienced captains like Chavalo on our crew, who has been involved in this activity for over 30 years and has been recognized three times by the community as the best captain in the lagoon for his adherence to good practices in whale watching within the sanctuary. Chavalo’s son, Tito, is also following in his footsteps and is now part of our crew.

When you visit the lagoon, you will instantly feel at home. Some of our crew members are close relatives; we have siblings and parents working as captains, guides, and stewards. The rest of us have been embraced as part of their family. The family atmosphere extends to the water as well. It is not uncommon to spot the uncle or cousin of your captain in another boat, also engaged in their work. Consequently, there is a strong bond between the guides and captains in the lagoon.

We wholeheartedly promote respect, not only for the wildlife we encounter but also for one another. This is why San Ignacio Lagoon has become one of the most beloved places to observe whales in Baja. It is the sense of community, the reverence for nature, and the deep connection we foster that make it truly special.

Our staff at San Ignacio Lagoon

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