Laguna San Ignacio

Along with Laguna Ojo de Liebre and Bahía Magdalena, Laguna San Ignacio is one of the major winter whale-watching sites on Baja's Pacific coast, with probably the highest concentration of 'friendly' whales of any location. For a general discussion of whale-watching in Baja, see p46.

Whale-watching excursions take place from December 15 to April 15, but whales are most abundant in January, February and March. During other seasons, the area has outstanding bird-watching in the stunted mangroves and at offshore Isla Pelícanos, where hundreds of ospreys and as many as 5000 cormorants nest; landing on the island is prohibited, but pangas may approach it. Sea kayaking is allowed but only in the mangroves, not in the main lagoon.


There are basically two ways to take a whale-watching boat ride on the lagoon: by joining a tour, or by driving to the lagoon and negotiating with the pangueros themselves. The pangueros are the only people licensed to take people out on the lagoon. They charge a flat rate of US$40 per person; either you pay it or the tour operator pays it. Operators in San Ignacio charge about US$60 per person, but that includes the two hour ride to the lagoon and - usually - lunch and a knowledgeable, English-speaking guide (though the pangueros speak some English). Boat excursions last about three hours. International operators charge more, take care of almost everything and generally have highly qualified guides.


Camping at the fish camps costs US$5 to US$10, and there are opportunities for free camping elsewhere around the lagoon.

Kuyima (% 154-0070; Based in San Ignacio, Kuyima operates a spotless whale-watching camp with solar shower bags and clean flush toilets. Cabañas cost about US$165 per night per person, and include all meals and the whale-watching boat excursion. A four-day/three-night package costs US$495. Tent spaces and RV sites cost US$10 for up to four people. Reservations are required for the cabañas. Kuyima's cozy solar-powered dining room has whale and natural history videos, as well as a library of natural history books. Meals are available to nonguests in the excellent restaurant (mains US$7 to US$10), open from 6am to 10pm.


The road from San Ignacio has deteriorated in recent years; most passenger cars need at least two hours to cover the 65km (40 miles) to La Fridera fish camp (assuming no rain has fallen recently) without wrecking their suspension. The first half of the road from the village is spine-wrenching washboard, but the second half is notably better.

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