This was my first "camping" experience. It has the best location for seeing the whales and is the closest to the Lagoon.
THE CAMPSITE: Your tent is 10' x10 with 3 zip windows and a double zipped entry. The tent contains two single cots, two 2" pads, 2 sleeping bags, 2 single sheets with velcro to keep them in place, 2 pillows, 2 pillow cases, and 2 wool throws, a solar light to light your tent at night, and a large plastic tub to store food as well as the clothes that you want to wear the next day (the damp travels through the tent walls at night). The dust pan and brush are handy to keep the floor clean. Sand and grit WILL come in on your feet. There is also a shoe holder on the side wall to store your incidentals.
MEALS: Three GREAT meals and snacks during the day. Healthy food. Lots of vegetables and fruits, popcorn, fresh tortilla chips, chicken, FRESH fish, oysters, clams, and delicious Mexican specialties. All meals in the central tent which is the headquarters of operations, kitchen, dining room, game room, bar, coffee bar, charging central for your electronics, and site for presentations from the staff. The staff members eat with you.
COMFORT STATIONS: 3 outdoor toilets with a flushing mechanism, toilet paper, seats and lids, sanitizing liquid (5 star in my evaluation of third world country/remotely located restrooms); two hand washing stations consisting of Mexican ceramic basins, two large water containers (HOT and COLD), and two small mirrors; and four shower stalls for taking showers in the afternoon using 2 gallon bags of solar heated water with a small nozzle. There is a clothesline to dry out your wet things.
The BEST part: three days of two 90 minute panga trips to go out and pet the whales. You will see lots of Grey Whale mothers and babies. They come right up to the boat. My husband even got to pet one of the mother whales who made it very clear that she wanted to be petted. You will see them spy hopping and breaching.
WEATHER: We were there in the first week of April. It is windy every day. Not all day, but intermittently and from different directions. You will be glad if you have your wind/waterproof jacket and pants and water shoes. There wasn't a day that we didn't get wet, either from getting in and out of the boat or from the whales' breath. If it is windy or the water is choppy, the water may spray into the panga. I always wore two layers of shirts and long pants under my waterproof pants. It warms up during the day, but the fog can move in and out at all hours of the day and night. Bring layers, a hat with a brim, and LOTS of sunscreen. A wool cap and headlamp are useful for those night time outings to the toilet. If it is a full moon, you may want to bring a sleep mask because it is really bright through the white tent.
STAFF: The staff is just incredible, so friendly and helpful. Angie, the owner, runs things from state side; she is such a ball of energy and enthusiasm. Her arrangements are impeccable. Her wonderful crew in Baja: Pepe, the crew boss, has a great sense of humor, always explaining what we are going to do and how we are going to do it, with a smile. He is always looking out for the guests' safety and comfort and making sure that you have a good time. All questions are answered, including those that aren't asked. The Guides - very knowledgeable, answer any and all questions, make it fun, know the mother whales from previous seasons, make sure that you have a good whale experience, and they do great skits. The helpers at waterside guide the panga to a place where you can embark or debark (depending on the tide level), and they make sure that you get to and from the boat as well as on and off the boat safely. And they tote your luggage from the beach to the boat and back again. Glad to have them? You bet! The boat drivers are experts at finding and following the whales. They are the silent heroes of the day. They must follow the very stringent regulations that the Mexican government has set out for approaching the whales, approaching other boats that have whales around them, the number of passengers on the boat, the length of the trip, etc
The other guests: 2 families, assorted couples and friends from all over the US. We had three children ages 6-9. Oldest 81. We all got along famously because we all had an interest in nature and making sure the whales survive and thrive. We agreed that this trip was far beyond any of our expectations.
Extras: 1) tide pool walk. You will find shells with creatures in them, including octopus. Who knew?
2) kayaking in the mangroves. A nice kayak for about 30 minutes to see the birds. I missed the red spider in the leaves. Guides not only know the fish and other sea life, they know the birds too.
Imagine yourself in a chair on a sandy ledge above the beach... watching the whales play in the lagoon while the sun sets... with a friend and a cold Corona. Don't miss this trip. And when you come back, spread the word!
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