Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Magdalena BayMagdalena Bay, the largest bay in Baja California Sur, sits near La Paz and is a seasonal haven for the gray whale. Gray whales, which reach up to about 50 feet in length and can live about 70 years in the wild, travel here in the winter to mate. A common sight in the waters off a whale-watching vessel is a mother gray with her calf—an encounter that travelers will never forget. Most of the whale watching tours are run by fishermen who ply their regular trade in other seasons and whose families have been making a living from the sea for generations, although the focus of their work has shifted today towards conserving the sea's resources rather than exploiting them.
While the whales are the stars of the show at Magdalena Bay, the area’s beautiful and wild mangrove swamps are also winter homes for migrating birds like Brant geese and about 100 other species. The area also has a burgeoning eco-tourist industry aiming to transform the area into a hub for sea-turtle conservation.