The waters off the coast of La Paz have been delighting tourists even more lately. The Baja California town is currently experiencing one of its best seasons ever for gray whale watching, according to the town’s mayor, Milena Quiroga.
There She Blows!
According to La Paz Mayor Milena Quiroga, tourists have spotted more than 200 California gray whales off the coast of the Puerto Chale region of La Paz. That was a larger number than what was typically expected at this point in the gray whale watching season.
In January, the Puerto Chale region of La Paz actually achieved a new record for a month in the whale watching season, with 70 California gray whales spotted by tourists.
Traditionally the whale watching season is now at the tail end of the peak season, which starts in December and closes out in March. So there is still plenty of time to experience an exciting California gray whale-watching adventure.
Whales, including gray and humpback varieties, can actually be spotted off the coast of Baja California from mid-December all the way through April. Although, the total number of whales spotted are lower in the off-peak part of the whale-watching season.
The California Gray Whale
While not as well known as their whale-watching cousin, humpback whales, California gray whales are actually more common off the coast of Baja California.
They typically migrate from breeding grounds in Alaska to warmer water feeding grounds in Baja California. California gray whales actually have the longest migration pattern of any mammal, with the exception of humans.
Many tourists actually enjoy California gray whale watching off the coast of Puerto Chale because the animals are actually naturally curious about boats, and it is easier to get closer to observe them in the water.
California gray whales typically average around 40 feet in length and can weigh as much as 60,000 pounds. They have been known to grow to as long as about 50 feet, or about the size of the largest school buses, weighing more than 90,000 pounds.
They are easily identifiable by the gray and white patches on their skin, which gives them their “gray whale” name.
Tourist Demand Increasing
At the beginning of February, more than 2,000 tourists have already taken a California gray whale-watching adventure in Puerto Chale. That was unusually high for that early in the Baja California gray whale watching season.
Because of the record numbers of California gray whales, local officials in the La Paz region have actually increased their goal for tourists taking a whale-watching excursion to more than 20,000 by the season end in April.
The tourist demand for California gray whale watching tours this season is expected to have an economic impact of more than last year’s amount of $2 million pesos in Baja California.
Puerto Chale accounts for 65% of the regional visitor traffic during the entire California gray whale watching season in Baja California.
How To Book a Tour
A number of tour operators offer one and two-day California gray whale-watching excursions. The price for a shared tour runs from $90 to $190 for a six-hour tour.
Commercial gray whale watching tours allow guests to choose their location for whale watching and even include snacks, bottled water, and even souvenir photos to remember the trip. Some commercial tours even guarantee that visitors will see a whale on their journey.
Other whale-watching companies offer multiple-day tours, including tent-style accommodations on the beach and all-inclusive meals. There are options for gray whale watching adventures from two to seven days, some of which actually leave from San Diego.
A seven-day luxury California gray whale-watching adventure from San Diego to the Baja California coast was recently spotted at $4,000 per person as an all-inclusive adventure.
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