whale watching cabo san lucas

Sitting right at the southern tip of Baja, Cabo San Lucas is a whale watching paradise! Every winter, a great migration culminates in Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, turning the region into a the perfect destination whale lovers. The diversity is unmatched, attracting 8 of the 11 total whale species to Mexican waters each year. 

Whale watching is a massive industry for business in Cabo San Lucas, so you must do your research and choose a company that follows ecotourism practices. One of my personal favorites is Dive Ninja Expeditions due to their knowledgeable team and dedication to education. I even took their Whale Defender course last year and learned a lot about these remarkable creatures!

Whale Watching Conditions

The weather conditions for whale watching are generally calmer in the morning. If you easily get seasick or simply prefer a smoother ride on the water, early morning tours are your best option. The whales usually congregate in the morning, so you have a good chance of sightings. If you can go with the flow of a bumpier ride, a good time to catch peak whale activity is in the late morning or early afternoon. The winds tend to pick up as the day goes on. As always, choose the option that is best for you, because being seasick will leave you with a less than desirable lasting memory.

Humpback Whales

Humpback Whales gather in huge numbers during the season and put on the most joyous show for whale watching tours. Although their playful antics can be seen from the shore, the best encounters occur from the boat. The closer proximity allows you to see details of their enormous bodies and cute faces. Despite their huge stature, they leap out of the water in full breach, flopping back into the sea with a huge splash. You can grab the perfect whale-tail picture before they slap the surface, also known as lobtailing.

The humpback is a baleen whale, supporting its giant body on tiny microorganisms. Humpbacks are also known as the singers of the sea. Although the precise function of these songs is still debated, the songs appear to have a roll in attracting partners, attracting other groups of whales, and locating other whale populations.

Grey Whales

Grey whales reproduce and give birth in the lagoons along the pacific coast of Baja. Each year, they make the long trip down to Baja, avoiding the cold waters in their Alaskan summer homes. The birthing season is from December to February, making the new year the best time to see newborns when you join one of the local grey whale tours in Baja. But sometimes you can even spot them cruising along the coast in Cabo. Last season I seen one right off Medano Beach!  Not only are these newborns tiny compared to their 40-foot-long mothers, but they’ll also be darker in color. The ‘grey’ of their namesake comes from the parasites that attach to adult whales’ skin, resulting in a perceived lighter color body. At the end of the season, the animals make the trek back north, some with new babies whom they protect fiercely during the journey and others newly pregnant.

The grey whale is a filter feeder, which means it is one of the many baleen-bearing whale species. Baleens are plates that take the place of teeth, which allow the whales to filter seawater and eat plankton, microorganisms, or seaweed.

whale watching cabo san lucas

Other Whale Sightings in Cabo San Lucas

While enjoying a whale watching tour in Cabo San Lucas, you may be lucky enough to spot other species who make Los Cabos their winter homes. The largest animal in the world is the Blue Whale, and their giant shadow or rolling body may just sneak up on your boat. Their impressive size will make you gawk as they cruise by. These creatures are not known for hanging around, but getting even the quickest glimpse of them will leave a mark. Other large species of whales in the Los Cabos region include fin whales, which are second in length to the blue whale. They are also slender, making them wickedly fast. Orcas can also cruise through the area hunting sea lions, seals, mobula rays, and even young whale calves.

Protecting Our Whale Friends

Regardless of what you see during your whale watching trip in Cabo San Lucas, the experience is sure to leave an impact and spark your interest in learning more about them. There is something mysterious and magical about these large mammals that travel thousands of miles every single year. Seeing them now is particularly special since many species were once on the brink of extinction. Strict environmental regulations have allowed some of these creatures to bounce back from the horrors of the whale hunting era that ended only a half a century ago. One important tip, is to really look into the operator you choose for your tour. While many claim to be eco tours or doing sustainable & good whale watching practices this isn’t always the case. Choose an operator like Dive Ninja Expeditions that has a proven track record in marine conservation & sustainable tourism. Not only that, you’ll be happy to learn that they donate a percentage of your ticket price to help further marine research & conservation in Los Cabos & Baja. Their guides also collect vital information about the whales during the tours that is shared with local whale scientists.