The Best Whale Watching Tours in Cabo San Lucas: Honest Review
Looking for the best whale watching tour in Cabo San Luca? you have landed in the right place.
In December 2022 I went back to Cabo just to see the whales and I ended up with the best possible tour available in Los Cabo. In this post, I will tell you all about it plus a few other different options.
I will also share everything you need to know to enjoy this Cabo whale tour fully.
Whales and dolphins have become now my new obsession and I made it my mission to visit places in the world where to see whales and dolphins and at the same time make sure I choose companies that are eco-friendly and are not invasive in their approach to these graceful creatures.
In this post, you will find all the information you need about whale-watching in Cabo and I share my incredible experience so that you can do the same!
🐳 Ready to book your whale-watching tour?🐳
I took a tour with CaboTrek, and I can’t recommend them enough.
The group was small enough for us to have lots of room on the spacious boat so that we could move around and get a great view of the whales.
The guide, Andrea, was a marine biologist not only very knowledgeable and passionate about whales but very kind and friendly and shared a lot of interesting information about the whale’s behavior and best practices.
Also, their boats have a toilet, which may come in handy, as lateral seats, and space up front, for better views.
You can book now to save your seat, as they book fast, knowing that you can cancel up to 24 hours before the tour and get a full refund. ➡️ Clik here to book the whale tour in Cabo
Please Note: I was not paid by this company to write a review nor they offered me a complimentary tour. I paid full price for this tour out of my own pocket, and the review I am sharing here is completely unbiased.
In fact, I am not the only one who was happy with this tour. Whale watching tour with Cabo Trek has 520 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ reviews, which says a lot. 👉 read more reviews.
The tour was excellent. The guide was very knowledgeable. We saw a lot of whales and I would highly recommend this trip.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Naomi_C, Jan 2023
Would you like to learn more about whale watching in Cabo?
Let’s dive in. Here below you can find more detailed info on these incredible creatures, you will learn why Cabo San Lucas is one of the best destinations for whale watching and lots of practical tips and things to know before booking a whale tour.
Whale Watching in Cabo San Lucas
Located at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas is one of the most popular high-end beach destinations in Mexico. Not many know that Los Cabos is also one of the top spots for whale watching in Mexico.
In fact, every winter, many different species of whales arrive here from the Alaska water after a very long journey to breed and give birth.
It’s not rare to see these spectacular creatures from the beach around Los Cabos but if you want to admire them at a closer distance and watch them breaching and slapping, you can do that too, by joining one of the available tours.
It is very important to respect the whale’s natural behavior and this is why it is our responsibility to choose the right company that follows the established rules put in place by the Mexican government to protect this spectacular animal and respects the environment.
Cabo Trek prides itself on being “the FIRST ecotourism company in Mexico to obtain the official recognition of “Responsible Whale Watching Operator” assigned by the World Cetacean Alliance.“
This is another reason why I highly recommend their tours.
What kind of whales you will find in Cabo?
You can find many different species of whales in the waters around Cabo, including humpback whales, grey whales, blue whales, sperm whales, and even magnificent orcas (killer whales).
However, from Los Cabos, it is more common to see humpback whales than others and tours are available from Cabo San Lucas and Cabo Pulmo.
It is important to mention that sometimes you can see humpback whales in Cabo while you are out on the boat for another tour.
In fact, I saw humpback whales during a snorkeling tour where we were looking for Mobula rays (which are mainly seen in the summer, though).
We didn’t see the Mobula rays but we saw an incredible show of humpback whales slapping their tail and head relatively close to our boat.
If you are out on a boat for whatever reason, the captain and the guide are usually on the lookout for any wildlife activity regardless of the purpose of your trip.
So even if you are not on a whale-watching tour but they see a whale they will stop and let you watch them, which is really cool.
It’s also fascinating to see how locals get excited every time they see a whale even though they see them every day. I would be like that too. Whale encounters just never get boring.
From Cabo San Lucas you can join whale tours for other types of whales. Cabo Trek has other equally highly-rated tours to see the gray whales and whale sharks.
The first one is a two-day tour to see the grey whales in Magdalena Bay. If you want to see the whale sharks instead, you can join their whale shark tour which is just a day trip from Cabo San Lucas.
If you are not planning a road trip in Baja California where you can go to the above-mentioned destinations by yourself, I would recommend joining these tours with CaboTrek. Click on the above links to read more about the tours.
Whale season in Cabo
Whale season in Cabo varies by type of whale. They all get to Cabo in winter but you can see them in different location and in different months.
Humpback whales can be seen in the waters off Cabo San Lucas from December to April. This is when they migrate to the area to breed and give birth.
The best time to see humpback whales in Cabo can vary from year to year, as the timing of the whale migration can be influenced by a number of factors, including water temperature, food availability, and other environmental conditions.
The peak season for humpback whale watching in Cabo is January to March, when the greatest number of whales are typically in the area.
However, this year I was told that they have been seeing whales since November. Regardless, Whale watching tours are always available from December 15th up to April 15th.
The best time to see whales in Cabo
Even though you can spot whales from mid-November, only by mid-December the population of Humpback Whales in Cabo can see a great level of activity in the waters near Cabo San Lucas.
Late December and early January is the best time to see newborn baby Humpback whales, while from early February to the end of the season in April, the baby Humpback Whales become more active and energetic.
In March and April, groups of adult Humpback Whales may also be seen migrating north.
Unlike Humpback whales, the majority of Gray whale mating, birthing, and nursing activity occur further north, in places like Magdalena Bay. Gray whales are less common in Cabo San Lucas compared to Humpback whales.
When is the best time of the day to see whales?
There is no precise time of the day to see the whale as the local professionals who watch them every day didn’t find that they follow a particular pattern or daily habits.
The good news is that, although it cannot be 100% sure that you will see a whale during a tour, it’s very likely you do. If one or many, you cannot be sure.
Also, the boat captains from different companies, scattered around the coast of Cabo, will talk to each other and the one who sees some activity will notify the others. And that further increases the chance for you to see them.
QUICK NOTE – Please note that being the whales in their natural environment tour operators cannot guarantee that you will see the whale and therefore in the remote case that you won’t see them there is no refund.
One thing that is certain is that the sea in the morning is calmer, so if you easily suffer from seasickness you may want to get out in the first turn, usually around 9 am.
March and April are the windiest months so you may find the sea rougher but it is also more likely that you will be rewarded with more whale activities.
If you stay a few days in Los Cabos, and you really want to make sure you see whales and all their performances, such as tail slapping or breaching, which is even more spectacular, I would suggest you book 2 or 3 tours on different days, which increases the chances for you to see them and their spectacular shows.
The best whale-watching tour in Cabo San Luca
➡️ Humpback Whale Watching in Cabo San Lucas with Cabo Trek
As I mentioned before, in my opinion, the best whale-watching tour in Cabo is the one organized by Cabotrek. Not that I tried them all, but I just don’t think you can beat the tour I did with them. Here are the reasons why.
✅ The guide, Andrea, was very knowledgeable and professional, but also very friendly and passionate about the whales and the best environmentally friendly practices. She shared a lot of interesting information about the whale’s behavior and what to do to respect their routine.
✅ We had a small boat which has a capacity of 16 people but we were only 8 and in general they accept a maximum number of 12 participants. So we had a lot of room to move around and each of us could get a great spot to watch the whales.
✅ The price is reasonable if you consider that you will find group tours from 75 to 120 USD per person, Cabo trek price is right in the middle.
✅ They speak English! Both the guide and the captain speak English. So if Spanish is not your forte, you don’t have to worry about it.
✅ You can choose between 8 am, 11 am or 2.30 pm trip. And you also have the option to choose a private tour where you will be on the boat with your party only. Just follow the same link here below and select the private trip.
✅ They have 520 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Reviews !!
Great trip! Wonderful guides/staff!
Our guide was extremely experienced and knowledgeable. We had an excellent time and saw several whales.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Denise_J, Jan 2023
How does it work?
After you book your tour on Viator, (Click here to do that), you will receive an email with a meeting time and a link to google map to make it easier for you to find the meeting point, which is in their office in the Marina, usually, 20 minutes before the tour starts.
Your assigned guide will meet you there and take you to the boat, which is at about 5 minute’s walk from there. You can use the nearby restrooms (very clean) before getting on the boat. However, there is a small toilet on the boat for emergencies.
Tour Cancellation policy
Another cool thing about this whale-watching tour in Cabo San Lucas is that you can cancel 24 hours before the tour starts if anything happens. They will refund you fully.
For later cancellations, you may want to consider getting travel insurance, which includes coverage in case of cancellations of travel plans due to reasons that are included in the policy.
Get a SafetyWing insurance free quote here⤵️
Other whale-watching tours in Cabo San Lucas
If you want to try different tours on different types of boats you can do that too, as Cabo San Lucas is pretty much a marine destination, which means that you will find all sorts of boat tours in different boats, sailing boats, catamarans, or even zodiac.
I personally don’t like this type of tour in the zodiac. I have seen them while I was on the Cabotrek boat, as you can see from the pictures I took. Since I love photography going on a zodiac is not ideal.
Once you get your own seat and you can’t move and you may end up in the middle one which is not the best position to take pictures. However, if you are not into photography and you don’t really care, it could be another option. I saw different positive reviews on those tours done with Cabo Adventures as well.
Catamarans are also an option. Here below I will share the top tours in Los Cabos for each boat.
➡️ Whale Watching, The Famous Arch, and Fast Boat Tour in Los Cabos 🐳
This tour is on a Zodiac with Cabo Adventures – 183 4.5 ⭐️ Reviews
If you compare it to the CaboTrek tour mentioned above, this company has a few complaints about the pickup and the organization in general. Also, this tour lasts 2 hours only vs the 2h 30 minutes of the tour with CaboTrek tour. In fact, they have 6 hours per day while Cabo Trek has only 3.
To be fair this tour with Cabo Adventure also receive good reviews as well, like the one below.
Veery good day out whale watching, picked up on time and a very good informative trip out to see whales breaching in the coast just of off the beach⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Colin_C, Feb 2020
Once you book your tour on Viator, just make sure you communicate directly with the tour company and confirm the pickup point or the tour departure in order to avoid misunderstandings. Or just take care your own transfer so you won’t miss the tour.
➡️ Luxury Catamaran Whale Watching Cabo San Lucas 🐳
If you prefer catamarans rather than small boats, this tour is for you. It’s also organized by Cabo Adventure and it highly rated with 324 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Reviews
The only cons of this tour, in my personal opinion, is that there are too many people on board. But the catamaran is quite big so you should be able to find your space to watch the whales and photograph them.
The tour includes drinks and snacks and last 2 hrs and 30 minutes.
There is a pickup and drop-off service available for a small extra fee.
Fun tour in Cabo!
Boat was really nice and clean. Staff was great, nice drinks and snacks. Saw lots of whales! We also missed our pickup and they rescheduled us for another day. That was really nice!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Shelly_F, Dec 2022
Private boat tour Cabo san Lucas
If you are interested in a private tour, that would be the best way to go, as you have the boat all for yourself and your party and you have all the space you want to move around and see the whales better.
Especially for photographers, or anyone who loves the peace and comfort of a private tour, this is the best choice.
➡️ Cabo Private Whale Watching Tour – Incl FREE photos & Whale Sightings Guarantee
38 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Reviews
This private tour is offered by Whale Watch Cabo another reputable company in Cabo San Lucas.
The cost starts from 369 USD per person (minimum 2 people) and it decreases with additional passengers. So if you travel with a party of 4 people, you will pay 200 USD each, if you are 6 you will pay $149.83 each, and so on.
There are three daily departure times that you can choose from, 8.30, 12, and 3 pm, depending on availability. It’s advisable to book a couple of days in advance at least.
The tour last 2hrs and 30 minutes and it’s guided by a marine biologist. Guests will also receive complimentary pictures at the end of the tour.
An English and Spanish-speaking marine biologist and photographer guide will do their best to spot whales and dolphins and take great pictures for you to take home.
If you cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time you get a full refund!
Amazing whale encounter
This trip was amazing, so up close and personal with the whales and sea lions, the tour guide and boat captain were great! Highly recommend this your.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Dana_N, Dec 2022
Where to see whales in Baja California
In Baja California, there are specific areas where it’s easier to see a specific kind of whale. From Cabo San Lucas you can easily go and visit the gray whales in Bahia Magdalena or the whale sharks in la Paz bay where they usually go breed and give birth as well.
Naturally, all types of whales are everywhere in the sea of Cortez and on the Pacific coast along the Baja Peninsula. However, the places that I am mentioning in this post are locations where you have a better chance to see them and therefore where tours will take you.
Gray whales in Baja California
You can see gray whales further north on the Pacific Coast of Baja California Sur, in Magdalena Bay, Puerto Chale, Adolfo Lopez Mateos, San Carlos, and San Ignacio.
I speak about it in more detail in my guide on whale watching in Mexico. So If you are renting a car and going on your own you should definitely check it out.
If you are staying in Cabo, and you don’t feel like renting a car, you can join an amazing two-day tour organized by CaboTrek.
They will take you to the village of Adolfo Lopez Mateos, about 4 hour’s drive from Cabo, where you will be able to enjoy 2 whale-watching tours and stay in a cozy Guest House, included in the package. ►BOOK IT HERE
Where to swim with Whale Sharks from Los Cabos
You can go and swim with whale sharks in La Paz from Los Cabos, as there are tours that will take you on a day trip, and include transportation boat tours, and equipment.
Swimming with Whale Sharks is another incredible experience but it needs to be done with companies that follow all the established rules to respect and protect them. Cabotrek will take you there as well. ►BOOK YOUR TOUR HERE
Where to see blue whales from Cabo San Lucas
It’s difficult to spot blue whales in Cabo. To see the blue whales in Baja California you will need to drive all the way up north to Loreto, one of my favorite Magic Towns in Mexico.
You just need to book a tour with a local travel agent in Loreto that costs around 130 – 150 USD and it will take you to a specific area where the Blue whales hang out.
They are the biggest animal alive and it’s amazing watching them coming on the surface to breath and diving back down when they show their huge tails.
As a plus for this tour, you will likely see a pod of dolphins swimming along the boat on your way to the whales. It was one of the best tours I have done in Baja California Sur.
Also, the blue whales are around from January through the end of March, sometimes until the beginning of April but I wouldn’t risk it.
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any tours that take you to Loreto also because it must be at least a 3-day tour.
Regardless I would recommend spending 4 or 5 days there as there are many things to do and see. If you don’t drive no worries, you can get the public bus Aguila from Cabo San Lucas to Loreto and book tours with local agencies from there. It just takes forever but you’ll eventually get there. 🤣
Otherwise book your car on Discovercars, where you can compare prices and see what’s the best deal for you. If you are unsure, you can read my Discover Cars review post.
Discover Cars: the best Car rental searching platform
When It comes to renting a car in Mexico I always recommend the Discover Cars platform where you can compare prices among different car rentals and then decide which one is best for you.
Whale-watching best practices
So now that you know which tour to book to have the best whale-watching experience in Cabo, you should learn a little bit about whale-watching best practices.
Although your guide will share more information during the tour, I just want to give you the heads-up on a couple of things.
► Drones are not allowed to be used during whale watching tours, for many reasons, especially because many people tend to fly the drone too low and besides disturbing the whale, it can end up in the water. Whales can jump very high when they breach and their blow can get to your drone and take it down, hurting the whale before getting lost in the sea.
► Can I swim with whales? It’s not allowed to swim with whales because their behavior is unpredictable and they can unintentionally hurt you when they move. And it’s also illegal.
► Can I dive with whales? for the same reason mentioned above it’s prohibited to dive with whales. That’s different if you encounter a whale while you are diving (I wished it happened to me) but you can only dive in authorized sites with certified dive shops.
► It is also not allowed to feed or touch them – as physical contact can transmit harmful diseases and feeding them can make them sick or reliant on humans for food. (this doesn’t aply for grey whales which are the one coming towards the boat to get petted)
► Using sonar, a device that uses sound waves to locate submarines and whales, is also prohibited.
► Whale watching at night is only allowed for scientific purposes and with permission from SEMARNAT (Secretaria del Medio Ambiente).
► Needless to say, but I will say it anyway, just in case, please do not throw garbage or any waste overboard at any time (not even the organic stuff because they simply don’t belong there)!
► Boats cannot get too close to the whales unless it’s the whale swimming close to the boat. Usually, when the boat captain sees some movements at a distance, he speeds up in order to get closer to the whale to allow you to see them.
However they still have to respect a certain distance and they cannot by any means position the boat in front of the whales so that they don’t get in their way, or disrupt their natural behaviour or block their route.
The same applies when you swim with whale sharks. You can swim close to them on the side or behind, keeping a certain distance, but you cannot swim in front of them. And I am sure you wouldn’t really want to do that!🤭
What to bring on a whale-watching excursion
When you are going on a whale watching tour in Cabo you need to consider that it is most likely to get cold, no matter what time of the day you are going out.
It’s winter in Cabo and, although the climate is generally pleasant, it can get cold when you are out on the boat.
So you can wear your shorts and flip flops, but make sure you bring a thick jacket or dress in layer with a sweater and a windbreaker. Also, don’t forget to put on sunscreen and sunglasses and maybe a baseball hat that doesn’t fly away.
Bring a camera because those are moments that you will want to photograph and take with you.
Additionally, remember some cash for the tip. And you are good to go 🙂
Whale watching Los Cabos Frequently Asked Questions
When is whale watching season in Cabo San Lucas?
Whale watching season in Cabo San Lucas is from December 15th through April 15th.
What is the best month to see whales in Cabo San Lucas?
It’s always the best month to see whales however if you want to see the calves you should go mid January to February. The second half of February is when the most of activity is taking place.
Where can I watch whales in Cabo?
There are dedicated areas where boats from certified companies are allowed to look for whales. In reality, it’s easy to see whales from the beach sometimes, or if you are staying in a beachfront hotel in Cabo, make sure you ask for a higher floor and stay on the lookout from your balcony.
Is whale watching better in Cabo or Puerto Vallarta?
I haven’t been whale watching in Puerto Vallarta yet but it is also a renowned destination for whale watching and around March and April lots of humpback whales put up a show in Bandera bay.
It’s very easy to see them either by tour or from your hotel balcony. Sometimes they get there earlier, like during this season.
In Puerto Vallarta you can also swim with dolphins in the wild, which is the only way I would agree to swim with them. That is from April through December only, though.
However if I have to choose between Cabo and Puerto Vallarta to do whale watching I would choose Cabo, no doubt.
Why are most beaches in Cabo not swimmable?
This is not totally accurate, as the majority of the beaches in Cabo are swimmable because they are located in protected bays.
However, on some occasions and in some months, currents are stronger and therefore it’s advisable not to swim. The best part is that the majority of the beaches like Santa Maria or Medano beach have a beach guards warning people when it’s not possible to swim.
Having said that, Medano beach is the most swimmable beach of all while Playa Monumentos is the best beach in Los Cabo for surfers
When should I avoid Cabo?
Never. Cabo is a great destination all year round. You just need to know what to expect when you visit. In my post on the best time to visit Los Cabos I cover every month weather, events and things to do, so that you can decide accordingly.
Is los Cabos or Cancun better?
Whether it’s Los Cabos better than Cancun or vice versa is difficult to say. It depends on what kind of vacation you are looking for and if you are fond of a specific activity that you find in one destination or the other.
For example to swim with the whale sharks in Cancun you must be there from mid-June through mid-August. To see the whales in Cabo from mid-December to mid-April.
The high season is the same for both destinations and so are the shoulder and low seasons less crowded and with lower prices.
Cabo is cooler at night because of the desertic climate, while summers are very hot in both destinations, Cancun is more humid in the summer but it still gets cooler at night.
I found Cabo more walkable as the downtown area is prettier than Cancun’s downtown and close to the marina so you can walk around easily and you can get the public busses to the beaches along the Corridor area if you don’t have a car, although I suggest you should rent one.
Finally, Cabo is more expensive than Cancun overall, but you can find cheap accommodations and local eateries in both destinations in case you are traveling on a budget.
Is Los Cabos safer than Cancun?
Both destination are relatively safe although some kind of common sense is required if you want to avoid getting into trouble. So things like avoiding overdrinking or looking for drugs (let alone use them), not flaunt your riches are necessary actions to prevent unpleasant situations, among others.
In my guides about Cancun Safety and Cabo safety I will cover the whole topic in details.
If you are traveling solo to Cancun or Cabo, you don’t have to worry. Just mind your surroundings and also follow the same safety tips I suggested above. Also make sure you don’t walk in isolated roads at night.
Best Whale Watching Tours in Cabo San Lucas: Final Thoughts
I hope this post was helpful for you learn more about whales in Cabo. Whatever tour you decide to join, take the best vibes with you and enjoy the views of these spectacular creatures of the sea.
Isabella, author, editor, and founder
A passionate traveler and photographer, in love with life and adventures, Isabella is the founder and editor of Letstraveltomexico where she shares her love for Mexico, a fascinating country that she’s proud to call home. When she’s not exploring a new place you will find Isabella in a cafe, writing on this blog, or on her other sites Boundless Roads, Mexico Cenotes and Ruins and Letstraveltocancun.com where she loves to share her travels on and off the beaten path in Mexico and around the world.