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Late each calendar year, gray whales begin one of the longest migrations on the planet, swimming from their feeding grounds in the north Pacific to their breeding grounds in protected lagoons along the west coast of Baja California, Mexico. Here, they mate and give birth to their calves. From January to March, the whales are concentrated in the protected, shallow waters of San Ignacio lagoon, offering one of the best whale watching opportunities in the world. OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute has been hosting educational expeditions here for more than 30 years.
In 2022, we are pleased to offer a redesigned experience with all land-based accommodations for a group of 20 travelers. The trip fee of $5,000 per person includes a $1,000 tax-deductible donation to the MMI Graduate Student Fellowship Fund. Comfortable accommodations, group meals, learning through lectures and field trips, and one-of-a-kind encounters with spectacular animals in their wild and beautiful environments form the core of this trip.
We invite you to explore the photos and itinerary below for a glimpse of this extraordinary and memorable trip.
Your expedition will begin in Loreto, Mexico, a small and historic mission town along the east coast of Baja California. Accommodations in a comfortable hotel provide close access to daily marine mammal excursions in the Gulf of California and an in-depth exploration of Baja’s rich ecology. You will also have some free time to explore on your own.
Our group will travel overland by shuttle to San Ignacio Lagoon, on the western side of Baja California. Here we will stay at Campo Ramón in spacious geodome tents. This location allows intimate access to the protected lagoon, where gray whales breed and give birth to their young. An optional excursion through mangrove marsh channels will provide remarkable bird watching, guided by our expert naturalists.
Each day we will venture into the lagoon in small boats, operated by local guides, to search for gray whales. The lagoon is legendary for watching whale behavior — blowing, spy-hopping, and breaching — and especially for mother and calf pairs who sometimes approach small boats, at times so close we can reach over the side to touch them. (Get those cameras ready!)
We'll depart early from the lagoon to travel overland back to Loreto, stopping along the way to explore more birds and plants. We'll enjoy a final group dinner at the hotel before departing in the morning for the airport.