Sea of Cortez Tours: Diving with Orcas

Orca Liveaboard Adventure in the Sea of Cortez

Why a Sea of Cortez orca expedition
with Nautilus?

  • Orcas in the Sea of Cortez  uniquely seek out human interaction above and below the surface.
  • Orcas are present from January onwards with peak sightings in July and August.
  • These adventures are not just about orcas but depending on the season, blue, finback, sperm and pilot whales and getting in the water with massive schools of mobula rays, huge pods of dolphins, whale sharks and of course, super playful sea lions.
  • Our own Cessna 182 spotter airplane combined with 50 years of Baja operating experience gives you the best chance of prime encounters.
Sea of Cortez Tours: Diving with Mobulas

Experience the thrill of orca interaction in the Sea of Cortez on our luxury liveaboard expeditions.

Multiple pods of orcas (killer whales) visit the Sea of Cortez every spring and summer. Unlike almost anywhere else in the world, these magnificent apex predators choose to interact with us. Orcas are present year-round, but sightings increase significantly starting in January, peaking in July and August, with up to 20 days of orca sightings each month. Our spotter airplane and crew are in the air 4 to 5 days a week during in-season, giving us a unique “eye in the sky” for our 2 best hotspots—or orca cafes, as we call them—at Cerralvo Island and Isla San Jose. While orcas have favorite spots, they can be found almost anywhere.

During this season, you’ll also witness the joyful spectacle of jumping and flying mobula rays, which are residents of the Sea of Cortez. Massive schools of mobulas, ranging from 4 to 5 feet, gather from the end of March through early July. Getting in the water with one of these massive schools is a truly special experience. Our Sea of Cortez liveaboard expeditions offer the best opportunity for orca encounters, along with huge aggregations of mobula rays, large groups of dolphin, whale sharks, finback, blue sperm and pilot whales and super playful sea lions depending on the season. 

These trips are perfect for scuba divers, snorkelers and free divers with a note to our scuba diving friends that big animal encounters are on snorkel but we will make sure you get some morning or late afternoon diving in as well at some of favourite Sea of cortez dive sites.

Join us and experience the magic of orcas in the Sea of Cortez. Book your Sea of Cortez liveaboard holiday.

See what our guests have said about Orca Liveaboard Adventure in the Sea of Cortez!

May 2024

“Dreams came true today. Orcas, Mobulas and a fantastic Pelican… Five or six Orcas. A big male with a monster Dorsal and a big little baby…”

June 2023

“We saw a big scholl of munkianas and one black manta swam undern me like 4 feet below me. It was just a little juvenile.”

May 2024

“Today we saw Orcas, Dolphins. Two species of dolphins. Huge school of Mobulas”

What Makes Us Different


Safety First

The cornerstones of everything we do: safety, excellence in guest experience, happy staff, and happy crew.


Guest Excellence

Excellence in guest experience is all about you. Our focus is to ensure that you as our guest are safe and able to enjoy your vacation to the highest level.


Animal encounters

We provide the best opportunities for encounters, which are always conducted with the utmost respect and only on the animals’ own terms. It’s entirely their choice to swim over and check us out.

Frequently Asked Questions


How much experience do I need?
This trip is for everybody! This trip is primarily snorkeling and freediving. There is an opportunity to do night dives with the mobulas.

Is the diving from the big boat or skiffs?
We take a maximum of 12 guests on Nautilus Gallant Lady expeditions. All guests can comfortably fit on our 32-foot, high-speed ‘zodiak style’ skiff. With twin 250 hp engines, we are able to speed around in excess of 35 mph to get you in the right place at just the right time, onto the large squadrons of mobulas. We’ll go out for a few hours, splash in the water, come back, have lunch, and repeat in the afternoon!

How many dives will I do?
Please keep in mind, this is primarily a snorkeling and freediving trip. There will be an opportunity for 3-4 dives total during the trip, including a night dive. The majority of the trip will be spent in the water seeking the incredible experience the mobulas will bring us.

I am a diver, why would I want to go on a snorkeling trip?
While we are typically all about scuba diving, the best way to interact with the mobulas is by snorkeling or freediving.

Are the boats camera friendly?
Of course! We are one of three authorized Backscatter photo centres in the world. We offer a complementary photo workshop at 1 pm. before every departure for those meeting us in Cabo.


What airport do I fly into?
SJD Los Cabos International for both commercial airlines and private aircraft.

When should I fly in?
These trips are planned around the guests having the option of flying in and going straight to SeeCreatures to check in and then board the ship later that day. We recommend flying in several days early to take full advantage of our hospitality and all the neat stuff that we offer as pre-trip extensions.

What do I need to pack?
Personal toiletries. Dive gear (or travel light and use our rental gear!) Summer wear, noting that nights can sometimes be chilly which makes a sweater or f leece jacket a good addition. Sunscreen (reef-safe sunscreen will be available onboard with our compliments). Towels and bed linen are provided onboard.

What wetsuit should I bring?
The Sea of Cortez is warming up. In May it is in the mid-70°F range, and it just gets warmer from there. We recommend a 5mm wetsuit and a hooded vest, or a 7mm wetsuit and a hooded vest.

What to Expect

Will we see orcas on these trips?
Maybe. We hope so. The iconic creature on these adventures is the orca, also known as the killer whale. The sight of those sleek black dorsal fins slicing through the water when the orcas make an appearance is truly unforgettable. With a combined experience of over 80 years between Baja Expeditions and Nautilus, we have had the privilege of respectfully interacting with these magnificent creatures, from the chilly waters of Alaska to Roca Partida and Socorro Island further south. Any interaction is always done in full compliance with the laws of Mexico.

Are orcas guaranteed?
No. We are confident that you will have great encounters with schools of mobula rays, California sea lions, mega pods of bottlenose dolphins, and much more. We will be on the lookout for sperm whales, fin whales, pseudorcas, pilot whales, Risso’s dolphins, and the super-acrobatic spinner dolphins. We find whale sharks on almost every trip. You can be sure that when we receive reports of any sightings, we will check them out as soon as possible with our spotter airplane, dispatch our fast boats in that direction, and if needed, travel overnight on your liveaboard to position ourselves where we think the orcas will be the next day.

When will we be able to get in the water?
Most snorkelling and freediving will be done either from our 32-foot-high speed aluminum hulled “zodiac style” RHIB or even from the large water level platform at the stern (that’s the back end) of your yacht. You can count on a couple of evening snorkels in a quiet bay with underwater lights and, hopefully, swarming mobulas. But you can spend as much time as you want in the water.