Baja, a long finger-like Mexican peninsula pointing out into the Pacific, is a playground for marine mammals. Numerous whale species, including blue whales, northern Pacific right whales, sperm whales, fin whales and humpbacks all frequent Baja’s warm waters, though the most commonly seen species here is the gray whale.
Every year, gray whales journey down the Pacific coastline from their summer haunts in the Arctic to the warm wintertime lagoons of Baja. Though these majestic creatures are physically impressive – they reach lengths of between 40 and 50 feet – it is their friendly personalities that have visitors smitten. It’s not unusual for calves and their mothers to approach boats of their own accord, often coming within touching distance.
What’s more, because of the sheer amount of shoreline in Baja (around 1,900 miles) and the limited number of boats (most of which carry a maximum of 10 passengers), you won’t have to fight for a view.
Watch playful gray whale calves surfacing in the Laguna San Ignacio
Listen out for the haunting “song” of humpback whales
Explore the cactus-dotted desert of the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve
Lie out under a palapa on the pristine beach of Tecolote
Be awed by the sight of gigantic blue whales, which can grow up to 100 feet, in the Sea of Cortez
In the artsy coastal village of Todos Santos, the 32-room Hotel San Cristóbal is pure eye-candy, with Instagram-worthy backdrops – think whitewashed exterior, wooden shutters, patterned tiles, colorful woven textiles and a smattering of cacti. The on-site restaurant offers a Mexican and Mediterranean-influenced menu, while the cocktail list incorporates small-batch mescals and tequilas.
The South American-style Estancia Uruguaya Parrilla Bar in La Paz is a carnivore’s dream. Order some empanadas to start then follow it up with prime cuts of meat cooked to perfection over the restaurant’s wood-fire grill.
Take a private charter cruise along the Baja coast, stopping to swim and snorkel with sea lions at Los Islotes, a series of rocky islets at the southern end of the Sea of Cortez.