Wildlife locations

3 recommended wildlife locations. The species listed below are just a selection of those you may see.

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is a protected area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the winter season (October through to March), it hosts approximately 60 million monarch butterflies arriving at the end of an epic 4000 kilometre migration, from east of the Rocky Mountains.

  • Where: Michoacan state
  • Ideal for viewing: Monarch butterfly, Grey fox, Great horned owl, White-tailed deer, Long-tailed weasel
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Birdwatching

San Ignacio Lagoon

San Ignacio Lagoon is located in the Mexican province of Baja California and is one of the winter sanctuaries of the eastern Pacific grey whale. Here, males and females congregate looking for mates and newborn calves prepare themselves for the long journey north to their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic.

  • Where: West coast
  • Ideal for viewing: Grey whale, Cape pygmy owl, Harris hawk, Leatherback turtle, Olive ridley turtle
  • Excellent for: Whale watching, Birdwatching

Sea of Cortez

The Sea of Cortez (also known as the The Gulf of California) is a UNESCO World Heritage site that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is thought to be one of the most diverse seas on the planet with the widest variety of whales and dolphins, and nearly 900 species of fish.

  • Where: West coast
  • Ideal for viewing: Blue whale, Fin whale, Humpback whale, Whaleshark, Bryde’s whale
  • Excellent for: Whale watching, Dolphin watching

Wildlife trips

Mexico is a land of diverse landscapes and rich Mayan and Aztec history. The deserts, canyons, rainforests, stunning beaches and rich seas offer an abundance of wildlife spectacles in which to immerse yourself. From millions of migrating butterflies, to getting up close with huge and extremely friendly grey whales.

4 recommended trips. Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Whales and Birds in the Sea of Cortez

A leviathan adventure of a lifetime! Join expert Ian Rowlands on a 400-mile voyage around Baja California to witness the thrilling spectacle of grey whales in their calving lagoons. We visit at the best time of year to see them, amongst the other ocean giants - blue, fin and humpback whales.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 13 days

Voyage in the Sea of Cortez

Step aboard the Mechudo catamaran and sail the Sea of Cortez following the migratory paths of various whales, in the company of an on-board naturalist. Marine encounters may include blue whale, fin whale and bottlenose dolphin, and there is plenty of time activities such as snorkelling, birdwatching and hiking.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 9 days

The Festival of Whales

Join Mark Carwardine on a trip to Baja California’s Pacific Coast to celebrate the annual gathering of grey whales in their breeding grounds, in an extraordinary celebration of cetacean life. Close encounters with these friendly giants is arguably one of life's ultimate wildlife experiences.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 9 days

Monarch Butterflies & Grey Whale Migration

Combine two extraordinary wildlife events: witness hundreds of grey whales arriving at their breeding grounds in the warm waters of Baja and enjoy their inquisitive and playful antics; then observe millions of monarch butterflies filling the sky as they arrive in Mexico for their winter hibernation.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 9 days

When to go

There’s always something of interest, whatever the time of year, however winter is the best time to see grey whales and the gathering of the monarch butterflies.

Seasons

  • Winter-spring

    Oct to Mar: Millions of butterflies winter in the pine-oak forests of Morelia state, after migrating from east of the Rockies.
  • Winter

    Jan to Feb: After migrating south from the Arctic Sea, grey whales mate and calve in the warm, shallow lagoons off Baja California.

Wildlife events

  • Oct to Mar: Monarch butterflies in Morelia state's forests.
  • Jan to Feb: Grey whales winter in lagoons off Baja California.

Accommodation

Wildlife cruise vessels

1 recommended wildlife cruise vessel.

Mechudo

Mechudo is a small and exclusive catamaran, beautifully designed and a perfect size to offer great sailing opportunities around Baja. Its legendary name comes from a location near La Paz Bay where a pearl diver named Mechudo mysteriously disappeared after refusing to donate his beautiful pearl to the church.

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