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Touching Gray Whales in Magdalena Bay Mexico

We visited as a guest

If you’ve been following our family travel adventures, then you know how much we love to have unique and adventurous travel experiences. A couple of years ago, I heard about how during a short period out of the year, families can touch wild gray whales in Magdalena Bay, Mexico. That’s right – you can touch wild gray whales!!

I didn’t realize that Magdalena Bay was close to La Paz, Mexico until a friend of mine posted that it was whale season in Magdalena Bay on her Facebook page. The minute that she told me that Magdalena Bay was just a couple of hours drive from La Paz, I went online to book our airline tickets to visit La Paz to see the whales.

Why can you touch gray whales in Magdalena Bay and nowhere else in the world? It is the place where the mommy gray whales go to give birth to their babies. During the birthing process, the body sends endorphins to their brain that causes them to be very calm. Whales are one of the smartest animals in the ocean, and we witnessed it when we went to see them in Magdalena Bay. The whales are proud to show-off their new babies to humans visiting the bay and love to come up to the boats to be touched, rubbed, and even kissed!!

Before leaving for La Paz, we booked the tour with Choya Tours in La Paz. They came highly recommended, and they were one of the best tour companies that we have ever used.

The morning of the tour, we were picked-up from Costa Baja Resort & Spa at 6 am. We were greeted by a friendly driver, and our kids favorite tour guide – Alex. He explained the tour to us, and then welcomed us onto a plush bus that we would ride to Magdalena Bay. Our children looked out the window and watched the sun begin to rise over the beautiful turquoise waters in La Paz as we embarked on the adventure of a lifetime.

The drive took about 3.5 hours. I recommend packing some snacks for your children. The drive was comfortable, and my kids loved doing a little off-road adventure at one part of the road where they were doing construction. The driver was very cautious, and the safety of all the families on board the bus was clearly his #1 priority.

Along the way, we made a stop in Ciudad Constitución for breakfast at Restaurante La Botana. I was expecting a small continental breakfast, but we were served a delicious three-course meal. The staff was extremely attentive to my son’s food allergies and customized his breakfast to ensure he had a nutritious start to his day.

After breakfast, it was about a 45-minute drive to Magdalena Bay. The bus stopped, and Alex walked everyone to the tour desk to get on our life jackets. He then divided the group into smaller groups to go on different boats together. Since my children don’t speak Spanish well, he came on our boat to explain the whale migration patterns and to be available to answer any questions that we had in English.

The second that our boat left the dock, we were surrounded by female gray whales and their babies. There were whale spouts everywhere, and I was in awe of how many beautiful whales were together in such a small bay.

Then we approached a whale that wanted to be touched. As we got closer to the female whale, she lifted her baby out of the water, like she wanted to show it off to us. It felt like a dream. I couldn’t believe a whale was wanting to interact with humans – my heart was racing.

Alex told us to splash our hands in the water. It is a signal to the whales that we want to interact. Within seconds the whales were coming up to us to be touched and kissed. That’s right – my kids all kissed a female gray whale. What a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Tears were rolling down my cheeks as I watched my children interact with one of the most beautiful animals in the world in such a magical way. I was hitting the shutter on my camera so fast, trying to capture every second of my kid’s experience in Magdalena Bay.

Then it was my time. I handed the camera to my husband, and I put my hands in the water to kiss a whale. It took a little longer – Alex told us that the whales tend to come over to children more than adults. The minute that my children put their hands into the water next to mine, the baby gray whale emerged from the water, I wrapped my arms around it and gave it a kiss. It was the most amazing moment of my life.

We spent two hours on the water with the whales, and it felt like ten minutes. The time flew by so quickly. Then it was time to head back to the dock, and Alex bonded with my children while talking to them about the experience they just had.

When we returned to the harbor, we were able to use the clean restroom, and do a little souvenir shopping before leaving. Before returning to La Paz, we stopped at a restaurant for a late lunch at the Restaurant La Union. Our family enjoyed freshly grilled fish (chicken for the kids) while sipping on an ice cold bottle of Coca-Cola.

Then it was time to return home. Alex put on some movies for the children to watch on the bus, and spent a lot of time talking with them. It is rare to be on a tour with a guide who helps make the experience easier for parents by interacting with the children – he was amazing, and our kids can’t stop talking about him.

It was around 8 pm when we returned to La Paz. Instead of having the bus drop us off at the hotel, we got off at one of the other guests stops in downtown to have a late dinner in downtown La Paz.

Our tour to Magdalena Bay is one that will live long in our hearts forever. February is the best month to experience the whales in Magdalena Bay before they begin their migration towards Alaska. However, some say that you can see them from January through April.

Start planning your vacation now to La Paz to visit the gray whales in Magdalena Bay!!

I can’t wait to see the gray whales we kissed when they pass Orange County on their way to Alaska. I wonder if they will remember us?

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