Magdalena Bay

Located along the Pacific coast of the Baja California Peninsula, this bay is a unique wildlife hotspot. From whales to sea turtles, dolphins and birds and many others, it is a near-perfect wildlife habitat. It is home to the largest wetlands on the peninsula and one of the most important in North America. The area is made up of mangroves, barrier beaches, and sand dune islands.


Gray Whales: The star of the show in the bay. Known as the “friendly gray whales,’ these are the only whales known to exhibit social behavior, by approaching boats to interact with, and sometimes even be touched by, people. Scientists are not sure why they do this, though some hypothesize that the mothers do it to help socialize their calves, which they sometimes push to boats to “meet” people. This is the southernmost part of their range, where they mate and calve, and then migrate up the Mexico, US, and Canada West Coast up to Alaska.

Sea Turtles: The bay is home primarily to two species of sea turtles, black turtles (a sub-species of green turtles) and hawksbill turtles. The black turtles migrate from mainland Mexico, including Colola Beach, to feed and grow in this area. The Grupo Tortuguero, in partnership with RED Travel Mexico, are conducting a decades-long research study on the turtles in this area. They catch them in nets to study and release, and this information helps to learn about the health of this population. In addition, loggerhead and olive ridley turtles are occasionally found inside the bay, around the mouth, and offshore Pacific ocean.

Other Wildlife: For bird life, there is a breeding colony of magnificent frigates, the southernmost breeding site for bald eagles, and a large nesting colony of California brown pelicans. It and one of the largest California sea lion colonies on the Pacific coast of the peninsula. Bottlenose dolphins are abundant here as well.

Our Magdalena Bay Whale Watching & Sea Turtle Expedition

We bring groups to visit this beautiful place, staying in a tent camp on an island near the town of Lopez Mateos. During the day, we head out in boats to see the “friendly gray whales” who at times approach the boats to say hello and be touched. In addition, we partner with local conservation group Grupo Tortuguero to do sea turtle research, catching green turtles in the bay to study and release. Learn more about our Baja Ocean Wildlife Expedition.

magdalena bay whale watching

about see turtles

SEE Turtles is an award-winning conservation non-profit that supports efforts to protect these animals around the world. We have saved millions of hatchlings through our Billion Baby Turtles program, work to end demand for tortoiseshell products through our Too Rare To Wear campaign, and connect people with sea turtle projects through our Conservation Tours. Learn more about SEE Turtles.

To learn more about Magdalena Bay, contact us.