Whales, probably the most huge creatures on the planet, are naturally migratory. Through the summer season months, they feed in chilly northern waters, whereas in winter months they head south to heat climate breeding grounds, typically touring huge distances to take action. The longest whale migration ever tracked was famous in 2011, when a grey whale dubbed Varvara traveled a spherical journey from Sakhalin Island in Russia to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, overlaying greater than 14,000 miles in complete. As a result of Los Cabos, dwelling to cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, is greater than only a resort vacation spot: it’s a significant wintertime vacation spot for a number of species of whale.
When is whale watching season in Los Cabos?
Whale watching season in Los Cabos formally runs from December 15 to April 15; that is the timeframe throughout which tour operators can legally supply whale watching excursions. The whales arrive at any time when they like, after all, and the primary sightings typically happen in early to mid-November.
Absolutely the peak of the season, nonetheless, happens from January to March. So, if you happen to’re planning a visit and whale watching is a most well-liked exercise, that is the optimum time to go to. Native tour operators can’t assure whale sightings, however this three-month interval is when they’re probably to be frequent and spectacular.
Which whale species are probably the most generally sighted in Los Cabos?
The Baja California peninsula usually and Los Cabos particularly are premier breeding locations for a lot of sorts of whales. Eight main whale species could be noticed in Los Cabos every winter, though not all breed throughout the municipality’s waters. Grey whales like Varvara, for example, sometimes breed in Baja California Sur’s coastal areas like Magdalena Bay and the San Ignacio and Ojo de Liebre lagoons. However grey whales, identical to blue, bryde, fin, humpback, minke, orca and sei whales, can nonetheless be seen having fun with the winter waters of Los Cabos, one thing they’ve in frequent with U.S. and Canadian snowbirds.
Humpbacks specifically are the celebs of whale watching season in Los Cabos. Not solely are they probably the most generally seen whale species in native waters, however these large cetaceans – which may weigh as much as 80,000 kilos – like to breach, lifting their our bodies out of the water and splashing down with magnificent impact. Amazingly, this maneuver is only one of a number of photogenic behaviors for which humpbacks are well-known. Spyhopping, for instance, is one other humpback specialty: The whales casually carry their heads out of the water to solid a curious eye on the environment, watching those that are watching them. There’s additionally tail slapping, often known as lob tailing, by which humpbacks smack their huge flukes, 18 ft vast in some adults, in opposition to the ocean floor.
Humpbacks are additionally famous for his or her haunting songs. Nobody is aware of why they “sing” these songs, which, in essence, are advanced sound patterns that can be utilized to speak inside their pod – sure, a language. Through the breeding season, for instance, males sing an equivalent mating tune to courted females. These songs, actually, probably helped to save lots of the species from extinction when a 1970 album produced by American bioacoustician Roger Payne, “Songs of the Humpback Whale,” turned an surprising hit. Humpback numbers have rebounded considerably since, however Mexico’s humpback inhabitants remains to be listed as “threatened” by the U.S. Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
What are the authorized protections for whales in Mexico?
One of the vital generally advised jokes by native tour operators is that the whales born in Mexico are Mexican residents. That’s not true, after all, however whales do take pleasure in authorized protections whereas they’re inside nationwide waters. The proximity to whales with which boats can carry their passengers, for instance, is regulated by legislation. Boats with a whale watching allow, a class that features virtually each business vessel in Los Cabos, are allowed – relying on their dimension – to get as shut as 60 to 80 meters (roughly 200 to 250 ft).
The protection of passengers is taken into consideration with these strictures. However so, too, is the security of the whales. Because of this, tour operators are additionally cautioned in opposition to any exercise which may negatively affect the whales. This consists of accelerating too quick of their neighborhood, breaking apart massive teams, or following them for too lengthy.
Are excursions the one strategy to see whales?
Whales could be noticed from just about each coastal vantage in Los Cabos, together with seashores, resorts, eating places, and golf programs. These sightings are apt to be from a prolonged distance, nonetheless, and are usually short-lived. Excursions are advisable for individuals who need to see whales up shut.
Most often, the smaller and quicker the boat, the nearer you’re prone to get to whales and the longer you’ll be able to keep inside photo-taking distance. However guests to Los Cabos can select from a wide range of boat sorts that provide whale watching excursions, from zippy Zodiacs and inflexible inflatables to catamarans and even luxurious yachts. Every tour sort affords a unique expertise, and morning, afternoon and sundown excursions are generally obtainable. Some boats deal with getting near whales, whereas others prioritize consolation, foods and drinks choices and a easy trip. Most depart from the Cabo San Lucas Marina.
Prices differ, naturally, relying on the kind of tour chosen. Small boat excursions are sometimes lower than $100 per individual – typically with decrease charges for teenagers – though extra amenity-laden outings can boast costs north of that mark. Sailboat and luxurious yacht excursions, in contrast, are costlier, typically prohibitively so within the latter occasion.
What tour sorts supply the most effective expertise?
The reply to this query is dependent upon private desire. There are only some excursions in Los Cabos, nonetheless, which can be outfitted with hydrophones, an absolute necessity for individuals who’d not solely wish to see the whales however hear their distinctive songs as nicely.
Zodiac boats, that are small, maneuverable and suited to fast adjustments in route, usually supply the most effective likelihood to rise up near whales. These 24-foot open-air inflatables can accommodate as much as 15 visitors per tour.
Chris Sands is the Cabo San Lucas native skilled for the USA At this time journey web site 10 Finest, author of Fodor’s Los Cabos journey guidebook, and a contributor to quite a few web sites and publications, together with Tasting Desk, Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, Forbes Journey Information, Porthole Cruise, Cabo Dwelling and Mexico Information Each day. His specialty is travel-related content material and life-style options targeted on meals, wine and golf.