The draw of Guerrero Negro is certainly not the food. Good thing you are full up on tacos and oysters! Yes, folks, the real draw of Guerrero Negro are the thousands of California Gray Whales (2,300 adult females this Spring!) who make the epic 6,000 mile trip south from Alaska to give birth in the warm, salty and shallow waters of Southern Baja (1,200 baby's, too!). And can you believe the mama will bring her babe the 6,000 miles back to Alaska, nursing all the while, without eating? I know!
This stunning landscape goes on for what will feel like eternity! Take it in, though, as it is truly unique. I can think of very few places which feel so beautifully foreign. You will pass through the valley and be no doubt ready to stretch out upon arriving in Guerrero Negro.
Both times I went whale watching here, I have stayed at Malarrimo. The folks here are kind and the rooms are clean. At around 40$, it is a fair deal. The wifi is a little spotty and you may encounter some large groups of people, but you are here for the whales, right? An added bonus of this spot is their tour of the lagoon which leaves from the hotel, is around 50$ (with a sack lunch) and the guides are knowledgable. We choose the 8 AM excursion as to have the rest of the day to get to Mulege.
Do be sure if you are not a Spanish speaker to let the guide know as to not miss any of the excellent facts about whales and the history of the area and salt mines. It is also worth noting the convenience of calling ahead to book both the room and the tour. This way, you will have no worries!
You will be taken by bus about 20 minutes out to the lagoon, passing through sand dunes and glistening salt pans, placed in a boat and sent out into the bay.
There is something so lovely about imagining these magnificent, just born creatures being hoisted to the surface (by their mother's midwife, no less) and taking the first breath of their long life. And you are there, too! Enjoy it!
The whales come here to give birth for two logical reasons: warm shallow waters (=no sharks or orcas) plus, the salty waters make the calves more buoyant.
When I first heard about this particular whale trip, I thought it seemed a little jacked up that one would be able to touch these creatures. Soon I realized the trust these mother whales place in we humans and the importance in her mind to properly socialize her young before the big trip North. There are so many whales in this bay, at certain times there is a chorus of spouting and splashing. Really take it in. I think it is wise to snap a few pictures and then put the camera away. This is one of those lucky moments in life too beautiful to be properly captured on film.
Still though, can you believe this actually happened? Me either. But it did!
Try your hardest to not be jealous of that other boat getting all that whale action.
And don't feel weird about totally digging that blast of whale breath in your face.
Now, I have heard the whales do not always approach the boat, so I'd hate to get your hopes up. That being said, on both of my visits, around mid to late March, we have enjoyed these close encounters. On our first trip, there were so many whales! At one point we had 5 or six mothers with babies surround our boat. On the second trip there were also lots of whales. They were a bit more timid in approaching, but still happily did.
It is amazing and overwhelming to be in the midst of these gentle giants. You won't be able to stop scanning the bay for a tail or spout or breach.
It is so magical and you will feel like you never want to leave, and yet, when they pass out the sack lunch, everyone will sit down and furiously devour (what else) a fish salad sandwich. Then it is time to sit back, sated in all ways, and prepare for the boat ride in.