The legal season for the Whale Shark encounter is October 1st through April 30th. Since Conanp, the National Park Service, took control of the whale shark feeding zone, the area has been late in opening, and then closed early twice. The 2022-2023 season may open on time, however in an abundance of caution, we are not taking online bookings until after 21 October. We will accept bookings via email and phone for earlier dates, but only with your understanding of the situation. If it does not open on time we will provide cruise alternatives or a refund.
We provide the PREMIER whale shark tour of its kind! Enjoy an outstanding ALL-INCLUSIVE cruise, on a large and spacious sailing catamaran, and snorkel with the largest fish in the world! As time permits, we also visit the sea lions of San Rafaelito to swim with these wonderfully friendly dogs of the sea.
A sailing cruise of approximately 4.5 to 5 hours includes savory chef-prepared meals, a skilled and educated crew, and typically a marine biologist as snorkel leader, along with certified whale shark guide(s). We provide one or more snorkel boats, bottled water, beer, sodas, an open bar, private bathrooms, freshwater showers, laundered towels, and all the equipment needed including wetsuits. We even provide reef-friendly sunscreen!
The whale shark filters surface water for microscopic plankton, which allows us to swim beside these rare and gentle giants. Baja Whale Shark in Cabo and La Paz, provides an outstanding ALL INCLUSIVE yacht cruise, on a catamaran day trip, to snorkel with the largest fish in the world, the whale sharks in La Paz. A Baja Whale Shark excursion includes transportation from the Cabo areas to La Paz and back. It is truly a lifetime experience to swim with the Whale Sharks in La Paz and our friendly sea lions at the San Rafaelito colony.
Large and spacious sailing catamaran
Inside air conditioning
Full array of safety equipment
Powered snorkel boats with stainless ladders
Portable seats, layout cushions, and pillows
Comfortable indoor and outdoor seating and lay-out areas
2 complete bathrooms with showers
Swim steps and stainless ladder for easy access to water
Inside/Outside bluetooth speaker system fom music
Your tour with Baja Whale Shark typically includes ground transportation from the Cabo area to the La Paz whale shark location, and back. On board our private sailing catamaran you will enjoy a light breakfast of fruit, yogurt and pastries as you set sail for the whale shark in La Paz. After the captain’s orientation, your hostess and snorkel leader, usually a marine biologist, will share valuable information on the Sea of Cortez and pertinent details pertaining to whale shark snorkeling.
When the first whale sharks are spotted, guests will board one of our companion tour boats, in order to get up close and personal with these large and magnificent creatures. Boarding ladders allow access to and from the water. Your snorkel leader will typically enter the water first to assist guests as needed. Every guest wanting to swim or snorkel alongside a whale shark will be encouraged to do so, but it is not required. Fresh water showers are immediately available when re-boarding, as are fresh laundered towels, shampoo, soaps, etc.
Once everyone has had their own personal experience with a whale shark, a delicious lunch of several prepared dishes will be served. Also included throughout the day are snacks, chips, salsas, guacamole, soft drinks, beer, bottled water, ice, and an OPEN BAR. Weather, and time-permitting, the sails will be raised for a dramatic return cruise to the resort at Marina Palmira where guests will board our private ground transportation for their return trip to Cabo.
Normally, your driver will stop at the mythological Hotel California, made famous by the Eagles popular song of the same name, after which you will be returned to your pick-up location.
Fruits and vegetables are purchased fresh each day, as are chicken and beef. They are prepared on board in various ways, along with multiple side dishes. Snorkel gear, flotation vests, dive boats, beach towels, layout mattresses, cushions and pillows, are all included. (It is illegal to use our kayaks, paddle boards, or scuba equipment with whale sharks.)
The season for whale sharks in La Paz normally runs from October through April. Baja Charters has successfully operated the premier whale shark tour for ten years with a perfect track record of locating them, subject to weather closures and governmental regulations. It is important to note that we are operating in the open sea and subject to shifting rules by governmental agencies. Once approved into the whale shark swimming area, it takes from fifteen minutes to an hour, and sometimes longer, to find these wonderful creatures.
Swimming with whale sharks is a bucket list item for many. Once plentiful in the oceans of the world, the whale sharks are considered an endangered species and receive staunch protection under international and Mexican law. While it is legal to swim with them as they feed, strict rules are enforced.
Whale sharks grow to 40 feet and longer. They weight more than 20 tons and normally have a lifespan of more than 100 years. The whale sharks found in Baja are typically considered teenagers, about 20-30 years old, and 25-30 feet long. To put that in perspective, consider these teens are the length of a small school bus with mouths as wide as a car.
The whale shark is migratory. They are known to be deep divers, but every year they feed right along the surface in the Bay of La Paz. Commonly known as the Gulf of California, the Sea of Cortez stretches 700 miles, although the gentle giants are known to only feed near the middle of the spit of land that extends out in front of La Paz, known as the Mogote. Topography shows a drop off in the Mogote changing the depth from 6-10 feet in the shallows to a quick drop of 22-33 feet. The currents caused by this shelf in the ocean floor results in the common ocean phenomenon called plankton blooms, which are large concentrations of phytoplankton, microscopic plants that float in the upper, sunlit layers of the water.
The Whale Shark is indeed a shark, but don’t worry, it doesn’t want to eat you or me. Like a whale, they are filter feeders, straining tiny food like krill or plankton through about ten filtering pads that cover the entrance of their throats. Two methods of feeding exist – the ram filtration, in which the animal forces water into its mouth as it swims, or suction feeding, in which volumes of water are sucked into the mouth. Both methods utilize the filter pads to separate food from water, expelling the latter through the gills, this means dinner time.
Snorkeling with whale sharks is a safe and fun activity, and following the directions of the snorkel leader/dive master, will be one you aren’t likely to forget.
Don’t forget: you present far more danger to the fish than the fish does to you. Lotions or sunscreens can create a life-threatening infection on their slick sensitive skin so it is imperative not to touch them. As they move slowly and docilely nearby, it may be difficult to resist this urge, but it’s important to do our part in keeping their numbers from declining.
Typically, guests are picked up directly from the lobby entrance of their hotel or resort, but not always. Depending on a number of factors, guests may be requested to meet ground transport in a central location.
We are generally able to provide pick-ups from most locations around Cabo San Lucas, the Corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, and on the way to La Paz through Pescadero and Todos Santos.
There is a ground transportation surcharge for pickups in Los Barriles, La Ribera and La Ventana for groups of less than five persons.
Returning guests receive a 10% discount. If you prefer to drive directly to our sailing catamaran, there is plenty of safe parking in Marina Palmira. Click on: Contact Us. Scroll to: Yacht Location.There is a $30 discount per guest, that drives on their own. If you are calling or emailing, be sure to tell us if you are a returning guest.
The normal time to drive from the greater Cabo area to La Paz is about two hours, including a stop on the way over in Pescadero for coffee, restroom break, etc. After your Whale Shark encounter, on the return trip from La Paz, we stop at the Hotel California (of the Eagles Mythology), for restroom access, drinks, and brief shopping.
Pick-up time is approximately 6:00 AM. You will receive an email the day prior to your departure, to confirm a more precise pick-up time for the next day. The whale shark feeding zone has been taken over by CONANP, Mexico’s National Park System. Changes in guest pick-up times, and dock departure times, are subject to change based on directives from CONANP.
Semarnat, the environmental agency of Mexico, and Conanp, the National Park system, restrict the number of swimmers in the water with a single whale shark to five. The time limit in the whale shark feeding zone per reservation entry is 3 hours.
The winds and waves of the Cabo area are rarely an indication of winds and waves in La Paz. The sea around the whale shark feeding zone, is usually swimmable. Much more so than the Cabo area. However, that can change without notice. We are careful to exam wind and wave predictions daily, but wave heights and wind forecasts are frequently wrong.
Some guests want extra protection in the colder months, where the air temperature gets down into the mid 70’s F. We have wetsuits and shorties available for free, in all adult sizes for both women and men. We also have private hot water showers and fresh clean towels for when you exit the water.
Large and spacious sailing catamaran
Captain, Chef, Certified Guide
Chef prepared meals
Typically, a marine biologist as hostess
Snorkel gear in various sizes
Sodas and Beer
Unlimited Open Bar
Bracelets for natural protected parks
is a non-profit, conservation and educational program focused on the restoration of reefs and mangroves in the Sea of Cortez. This is a volunteer organization with NO PAID personal. Each month, RNAM coordinates, directs, and participates in cleaning beaches, reefs, sea lion colonies, and mangroves. Volunteer marine biologists, divers, surfers, kayakers, paddle board enthusiasts and ocean lovers of every type, participate in these projects. Baja Cat is a RNAM sponsoring partner, providing funding, resources and personal, in support of these worthy projects.
In 1995, an underwater national park was formed by the Mexican government at the request of the fishing families of the tiny village of Cabo Pulmo. Since then, no fishing or anchoring has been allowed. The reef sprung back to life in an amazing way. Fish returned, spawned, and grew to maturity in huge numbers, along with turtles, dolphins, sea lions, and sharks. Coral and sea life have become incredibly abundant. In addition to the fee Baja Charters pays to the National Park for every guest who visits with us, we also make a donation to the Cabo Pulmo Welcome Center for reef preservation for each of our customers.
Baja Charters is a contributing partner to the Leave No Trace association, and actively promotes its outdoor ethics programs.
Environmental education. In addition to “hands-on” clean up, RNAM, provides marine science educational instruction in schools throughout Baja Sur. Recently, over 1,000 students were taught how to preserve habitat and reduce pollution in a single month. Baja Charters provides resources and direct experiential interaction for teachers and professors supporting environmental instruction and hosts an annual all day private charter for the top-performing 25 educators in this area.
Project AWARE is a global movement for ocean protection powered by a community of adventurers. We connect the passion for ocean adventure with the purpose of marine conservation to create lasting change. Baja Charters has adopted a snorkel and dive site for continual clean-up and preservation.
Los Cabos Humane Society rescues and finds homes for dogs and cats. Don't buy, adopt!
Private Charters and Shared Tours
Baja Charters provides PREMIER Private Charters, and the top-rated Shared Tours in our area. Five-star rated we are NOT a typical tour company. We provide a private yacht experience with first class service and amenities. No one does it like we do for anything close to our prices.
Guests are able to visit beautiful, isolated locations that are experienced by only the fortunate few. We provide ALL INCLUSIVE cruising to remote coves and beaches in the Gulf of California, known outside the US as the Sea of Cortez. This area is famously known as the World’s Aquarium, dubbed so by the famous oceanographer Jacque Cousteau. According to Nature.Org, the inside Sea of Cortez is the second most biologically diverse marine environment on the planet. An intimate cruise features snorkeling with sea lions, an array of tropical fish over shallow tropical reefs, swimming with whale sharks in season, strolling remote beaches, exploring, paddle boarding, kayaking, scuba, etc.
Baja Charters provides quality chef-prepared meals on board with an open bar, served by a skilled and educated crew. A marine biologist is typically on board as hostess and snorkel leader. Everything is included: snorkel gear, wet suits, kayaks, and paddleboards, along with an assist boat for getting up close to sea life in its natural environment. Reef-friendly sunscreen, bottled water, beer, sodas, and a variety of snacks are all provided, along with private bathrooms, fresh towels, and private showers. Join us, for the Experience of a Lifetime.
Baja Charters Office - La Paz
Captains Sunset Bar
(Located on Marina Palmira, directly in front of the yachts, a part of the Marine Waterfront Hotel)
214-974-0501 (English Only)
(52) 624-128-5666 (Spanish, English, German)
(52) 612-152-9940 (English Only)
Captains Sunset Bar and Restaurant & Dock 5
Baja Charters owns and operates Captains Sunset Bar, which is located at the Marine Waterfront Hotel, directly on the water at Dock 5, Marina Palmira, La Paz.
Captains is where we meet just prior to departing on a private charter or shared excursion activity.
Driving Instructions From Cabo to La Paz
Coming from anywhere along the Cabo corridor, the easiest way to Marina Palmira is to take Highway 1 to Todos Santos. Go around Todos Santos via the Bypass road and continue on to La Paz. If you are coming from Los Barriles, take the road to La Paz, it will merge into the main road coming from Cabo.
When you reach La Paz, continue on the main road. It’s a few miles to downtown. Keep going and turn left at 5 February. Proceed straight towards the bay. At the last signal turn right. You are now on Alvaro Obregon, the road along the bay, which in about a mile will run parallel to the beach and bay. This area is known as the Malecon. (The "Malecon," in any Spanish-speaking country, means roughly: the esplanade along the water’s edge.)
Continue along the beach road about two miles passing through the remarkable waterfront area, until you see Marina Palmira on your left. At this point, the road has just divided into four lanes. Take the first turn across the green bicycle lane in the middle of the road. If you miss the turn, go slightly past the marina and take the one-lane turnaround and head back to the first entry area. There are three entries into the marina. The first one you come to is the closest to the boat. Technically, you can go into any of them, park and walk to the dock, but it is quicker to go back to the first entry area and double back, park in front of the Marine Waterfront Hotel, and walk straight through their complex to Captains Marina Bar. (It takes less than a minute.) It is directly across from the Dock 5 gate. Captains’ Marina Bar, is a Baja Charters facility where we meet with guests before boarding.
The parking is free in front of the hotel and at the south end of the marina. All the parking around the marina is safe and well protected.
Charter our most popular yacht! And it's popular for a reason. Boasting a ton of space to hang out, both indoors and outdoors, Baja Cat, let's you breathe! Come play, explore, or just sit back and take it all in!