Animal Encounters in Baja, Mexico

Playful Pups, Big Fish and Bigger Whales

Big, bigger or biggest? In the Sea of Cortez, marine life comes in all three sizes. You don't have to be a risk taker to get in the water, as there's no danger of becoming lunch for an animal ten times your size—though a young sea lion might take a playful nip at the tip of your swim fins. For the memory of a lifetime, you can slip overboard for a swim with the biggest fish in the sea, or hold position while a curious gray whale calf approaches your boat, closely followed by its attentive 40-ton mother.

Highlights

  • Best for: Everyone, with amazing animal encounters
  • Best season to visit: Year round
  • Weather: Winter and spring air temperatures in the Socorro islands range from 70 degrees to the low 80s, with frequent sunshine. Similar surface conditions are found at Guadalupe Island in late summer and fall

Things to Do

Baja Information

Animal Interactions in Baja Overview

The most reliable whale shark swims take place near a point of land some ten miles from the port of La Paz. Visits to the Sea lion colonies near Isla Partida begin with a longer boat ride of 20-some miles, making it an all-day trip. Gray whale encounters take place in  Magdalena Bay, in the sheltered water on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula.

Animal Interactions in Baja Tips

It's easy to keep up with a slow-moving whale shark, but you'll never outswim a nimble sea lion pup. A better strategy is to wait and let the animals approach you, as they are naturally curious and often playful. Gray whale encounters follow strict guidelines for engagement, but when the animals approach voluntarily, it's acceptable to make touch contact.​

Best Places for Animal Interactions in Baja

Year-round encounters with large colonies of curious California brown sea lions take place around the shores of Los Islotes.  Near La Paz, snorkelers can slip into the water to swim with huge but harmless whale sharks. Each winter, gray whales return to the shelter of Magdalena Bay, providing a rare chance for up-close encounters.

What to Pack for Animal Interactions in Baja

Bring or rent a wetsuit for winter swims, as waters in the Sea of Cortez can drop to 70 degrees or below. For longer boat rides, fill a compact and water-resistant day pack with sundries such as sunscreen, towels, and possibly a dry change of clothing. Ask about sea conditions for longer trips to coastal islands and include motion-sickness meds if needed.

Specials

Animal Interactions

Nautilus Belle Amie

GUADALUPE ISLAND, GREAT WHITE SHARKS The Nautilus Belle Amie offers 5-night itineraries to Guadalupe Island for encounters with great white sharks for both divers and non divers, every year from late July through early November. Rates include an ensuite double/twin cabin, 3 days of cage diving with great white sharks (including submersible cage diving for certified divers), all meals including soft drinks, national marine park and port fees. These trips sell out quickly so contact us to confirm current availability.
Read More

From $3,250 per person double occupancy

Book Now
Animal Interactions

Nautilus Explorer

GUADALUPE ISLAND, GREAT WHITE SHARKS The Nautilus Explorer offers 5-night itineraries to Guadalupe Island for cage encounters for both divers and non divers with great white sharks every year from late July through early November. Rates include an ensuite double/twin cabin, 3 days of cage diving with great white sharks (including submersible cage diving for certified divers), all meals including soft drinks, national marine park and port fees. These trips sell out quickly so contact us to confirm current availability.
Read More

From $3,250 per person double occupancy

Book Now
Animal Interactions

Solmar V

GUADALUPE ISLAND, MEXICO, GREAT WHITE SHARKS The Solmar V offers 4-night itineraries from Aug-Oct to Guadalupe Island including 3 full days of cage encounters for both divers and non divers with great white sharks (including a submersible cage for certified divers). Trip also includes an ensuite stateroom, all meals, snacks and beverages including soft drinks, beer and wine with dinner, roundtrip transfers between San Diego and Ensenada, port fees, and taxes. Contact us for current availability as these trips do sell out quickly.
Read More

From $3,591per person double occupancy

Book Now

Packages

Animal Interactions

Club Cantamar Resort and Sports Centre

LA PAZ - 7 night package includes breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Options to add on Snorkeling and Animal Interaction tours.
Read More

Book Now
Animal Interactions

Hotel La Concha Beach Club Resort

7 night package includes hotel tax and service charges. Additional add ons available for Whale Shark and Sea Lion snorkels and Grey Whale Watching.
Read More

Book Now

Resorts

Animal Interactions

Club Cantamar Resort and Sports Centre

LA PAZ - Club Cantamar, located along the coast of the Sea of Cortéz, is the result of 23 years of continued operation and management by the Aguilar family. Today, Club Cantamar features a top notch marina facility and an impressive fleet of dive boats providing easy access to the incredible sites in the Sea of Cortez. The 50-room beach resort was built by divers, for divers - including a recompression chamber on-site, gear lockers, swim-up bar, and great food served in a seaside restaurant, while still having plenty for non divers including Whale Shark encounters, whale watching and snorkeling with Sea Lions.
Read More

See Packages & Learn More
Animal Interactions

Hotel La Concha Beach Club Resort

Located just 10 minutes away from downtown La Paz, La Concha Beach Resort has a peaceful and mellow atmosphere in front of the Sea of Cortez. Facilities include beach, swimming pool, restaurant, watersports facility and spa.
Read More

See Packages & Learn More

Liveaboards

Animal Interactions

Nautilus Belle Amie

The Nautilus Belle Amie offers itineraries to two of the world's best destinations for diving with big animals - the Socorro Islands for diving with giant mantas and whale sharks, and Guadalupe Island for cage encounters with great white sharks for divers and non divers. Click below for more information on 5 night Guadelupe Great White Departures. These trips sell out quickly so contact us to confirm current availability. See separate listing for 8-night Socorro itineraries.
Read More

See Packages & Learn More
Animal Interactions

Nautilus Explorer

This luxury liveaboard specializes in pampering small groups of divers on diving expeditions to some of the most exciting big animal destinations on Earth. Experiences include cage encounters with great white sharks for both divers and non divers in clear blue water of Guadalupe Island and intimate encounters with giant mantas of Socorro Island. Longer itineraries include the Sea of Cortez for encounters with sea lions or whale sharks. Click below for more information on 5-night Great White Guadelupe Itineraries. These trips sell out quickly so contact us to confirm current availability. See separate listing for 8-night Socorro itineraries.
Read More

See Packages & Learn More
Animal Interactions

Solmar V

This luxury liveaboard provides optimal diving year-round visiting the fabled Socorro Islands, Sea of Cortez and Guadalupe Island where divers experience some of the best animal encounter on the planet while being pampered by a friendly and professional staff. Click below for more information on 4-night Guadeloupe Island Great White Shark Itineraries. Contact us for current availability as these trips do sell out quickly. See separate listing for 8- night Socorro Itineraries.
Read More

See Packages & Learn More

Passport and/or Visa Requirements

Entry Requirements: All U.S. citizens are required to present a valid passport. Visas are not required for stays of less than 180 days.

Exit Requirements: All persons leaving Baja, pay a Government Departure Tax of approximately USD $45, which should be included in your International ticket.

Immunizations

Vaccinations are not required for entry into Mexico. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at Health Information for Travelers to Mexico.

Culture and Customs

There are two distinctly contrasting social facets to the Baja Peninsula—one traditional, the other international. Most visitors know the vacation pleasures of the cape, where sun worship and nightly celebrations set the tone, and the party never stops. This is one of North America's favorite getaway destinations, home to every manner of indulgence and recreation. But venture beyond the cantinas and shops of Cabo San Lucas, and the posh resorts and golf courses of San Jose Del Cabo and you will discover a very different side of this sunny land. Here. the traditional culture of Baja is shaped by the region's remoteness, arid landscape and ties to the sea. These factors have forged a people who mix proud self-reliance with a spirit of cooperation and generosity. Here, in coastal cities such as La Paz and quite fishing towns, strangers quickly become amigos, the small details of life are celebrated each day, and even hardships are met with a smile and a shrug. Glimpses of this lifestyle are revealed with a walk along the Malecon in La Paz. Here, families gather in the evening to enjoy cool sea breezes, which may carry the sounds of music from the town bandstand and the scent of fresh-grilled fish or lobster offered from a street vendor’s cart.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electricity in Mexico is 120 volts, 60 cycles, no adapter will be needed for U.S. visitors. The country code or Mexico is 52. Check with your mobile provider for long distance plans and costs. Internet service is available at many hotels, restaurants and shops.

Water Quality

Most restaurants and bars in tourist locations use purified water. Outside of resorts, be cautious with ice in drinks or vegetables which have been washed in tap water. Bottled water is available for purchase and is recommended for drinking and brushing your teeth.

Language & Currency

Spanish is the official language of Mexico, but English is widely spoken in the populated areas. The local currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN). Merchants and businesses are no longer allowed to change U.S. dollars to pesos. That may be done at a currency exchange office. U.S. Credit Cards are widely accepted for purchases in stores and restaurants.

Time

Baja is on Mountain Time and observes Daylight Savings Time. Baja is 7 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-7 GMT during Mountain Standard Time or MST) and 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-6 GMT during Mountain Daylight Time or MDT).

Location, Size and Population

Baja is the northernmost and westernmost of the 31 states of Mexico. It has an area of over 27,000 square miles or approximately 3.5% of the total land mass of Mexico. The mainland portion of the state has the Pacific Ocean to the west, California to the north and the Gulf of California to the East.

The population of Baja is 3.32 Million (2015).