By Rosemary McClure
10:30 AM EDT, September 17, 2013
Just in time for the annual migration of California gray whales, La Paz, near the southern tip of Baja California, has beefed up its fleet of whale-watching tours.
Seven outfitters are now available, including Fun-Azul Fleet, which kicked off new eco-tourism dive trips.An estimated 18,000 California gray whales, which spend the summer months in the Bering Sea, migrate south in the fall, ending up in the quiet lagoons of Baja California to spend the winter. The 12,000-mile round trip may be the longest migration of any mammal on Earth.
La Paz is a favorite point of departure to the most popular whale-watching destinations because it has a variety of trip operators and options. The city's annual Grey Whale Festival, which takes place in early February, includes concerts, traditional cuisine and whale-watching expeditions.
Tourists can choose half- or full-day trips on small boats called pangas, longer excursions from base camps and overnight cruises. As many as 300 whales can be present on any given day during the mating and calving season. The sweet-tempered and curious gray whales often approach boats.
Major tour operators include:
Choya Tours offers half-day excursions to Magdalena Bay to visit migrating grays.
Red Sustainable Travel offers beach camping options and visits turtle nesting grounds.
Aventuras Mexico Profundo offers half-day excursions to Magadalena Bay.
Sea Quest Expeditions offers sea-kayaking tours to Magdalena Bay ranging from four to six days.
Fun Baja offers one- and two-day whale-watching adventures.
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