Info on Magdalena Bay, Baja?

I am thinking about a February trip to the Pacific lagoons of Baja, specifically the Magdalena Bay area. I was thinking of: 1) putting in at Lopez Mateos; 2) paddling north in the channel to Isla Magdalena; 3) paddling back south to the San Carlos area; 4)doing a full or partial circumnavigation of Mag Bay and 5) taking out at San Carlos. Allowing roughly 6 days.

Feb. is when the gray whales are there and I know that there are restrictions in where kayakers can and cannot go. However, I have been able to get only partial and sometimes conflicting information about specifically what’s permitted and what’s not.

Has anyone paddled there when the whales are there (Jan- Mar) and can you provide some more specific information about the restrictions? For example, is it ok to paddle around Mag Bay as long as you hug the coast and don’t do any crossings of the Bay? Is it ok to cross the western mouth of Mag Bay? Any restrictions on paddling in the channel northwards from Lopez Mateos?

I’d appreciate any info and advice. Thanks,


There are several outfitters that have operations in the area. Call them up and see what kind of tours they offer. Unless you have been to Baja on the pacific side a lot, you will probably want to go with an organized group your first time. Learn the ropes, go back on your own later.

Kayakers are not allowed in any of the
coastal lagunas while the whales are in town. The pangeros are licensed during that time. You might find one who will transport you through the lagoon to the coast, but you cannot paddle in the lagoons.

Not only can’t you paddle
there during the whale season, but the number of Pangas in each area is limited.

The Mexican gov’t has a lot more restrictions on whale watching than the US does. That’s one of the reasons that many Mexican citizens get upset when we refer to Laguna Ojo de Libre as Scammon’s Lagoon.

Scammon was a NORTH American WHALER and the Mexican gov’t has protected whales for a much longer time than the US Gov’t has. Seems a bit arrogant to name a lagoon after somebody who was in Mexico to kill the whales.

another kudos to Mexico
The northern elephant seals were wiped out in the US. But a colony survived on some islands off of Mexico. Once America started protecting them, this colony was able to expand and recolonize many areas on the CA coast.