Whale Watching Season at Its Best in Cabo
It is no secret that Los Cabos is a prime location for whale watching. This is due to the high diversity of cetaceans, give or take 32 species of them, that can be found in the waters of Baja California Sur, which is bordered on the west of the Pacific Ocean and on the east by the Gulf of California.
Every year in November, more than 20 thousand gray and humpbacks whales trade the freezing waters of Alaska’s Bering Sea for the warmth of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula Los Cabos is one of the main places to watch whales due it being located right at the entrance of the Sea of Cortez, so we have the opportunity to observe different types of whales. Cabo San Lucas is famous for its ample offer of several types of whale watching tours that run from December 15th until April 15th each year.
We had a conversation with Patrik Stedt, Chief Marketing Officer of Wild Cabo Tours, in which we asked him for some pointers regarding safety considerations that should be put in place when going on a whale watching tour. “Whale watching activity is regulated in Mexico, there are some basic rules that all services of whale watching need to follow in order to have permission from the government to do it”, said Patrik.
Patrik stated that using a life jacket, particularly if riding a small boat, is a must. Also, the maximum speed that should be observed when near to the whales is 2.5 miles per hour. There should be no sudden changes in directions of the boats, no diving and only authorized boats smaller than 30 feet at 180 feet for 30 minutes. Authorized boats larger than 30 feet should be at 240 feet for 30 minutes, and those boats waiting, and not authorized, should remain at 720 feet of the whales. We also asked Patrik how many whale watching visitors to Los Cabos are expected during the season. “More than 50,000 visitors, only in the area of Cabo San Lucas”, Patrik responded.
Those planning on going on a whale watching tour in Los Cabos can find relevant information at the Tourist information booth and visitors centers serving both Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo, all which provides tourists with helpful information about the area, including history, maps, and things to do. The Los Cabos Tourism Board can also be reached by phone by visitors wishing to speak directly to a customer service representative to have their travel questions addressed.
Patrik is convinced that Los Cabos is ready to meet the demands of the whale watching season as it pertains to vessels, accommodations, and such. “Whale watching excursions range from a few hours observation tours to half-day or full-day trips. There are various tour operators that specialize in whale-watching, Wild Cabo Tours being the leading one.
We also asked Patrik what else he thought that whale watching visitors look for in Los Cabos, besides boats and/or tour services. “Los Cabos is home to award-winning resorts, prime luxury real estate property, and culinary offerings considered some of the finest available anywhere. There is an ever-increasing growing list of championship golf courses, rejuvenating spas, and world-renowned sport fishing tournaments. Cabo San Lucas, known for its vitality and nightlife, offers a variety of attractions including the vibrant Marina.
Los Cabos also benefits economically, from the whale watching seasons. “In the beginning, the economic benefit for the local communities was scarce, because most trips to the breeding lagoons to watch whales were offered by American companies with all services included, like travel, lodging, and food, with little economic spill in the host communities. For such reason, the Mexican government during the eighties regulated the industry and forced tourism companies to use local pangas during the sighting, this situation generated sources of employment for the locals and gradually began to establish Mexican companies thanks to the growing demand of this market. Since then, Mexico has exploited some species of cetaceans as important ecotourism resources.
When we asked Patrik whether he had final recommendations for potential new visitors to Los Cabos that will be arriving for the first time to watch the whales, he responded: “There are three basic rules for whale watching: cause the minimum impact over the whales, be patient, and only go whale watching with boats or companies that have a whale watching permit.