SWIMMING WITH WHALE SHARKS AND SEA LIONS in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, is an unforgettable experience. The sea lions have a permanent colony off the coast of Isla Espíritu Santo, but the whale sharks are seasonal and come into the Sea of Cortez from the late fall until late spring—with November-February being the best time to go.

How to get there

Staying in La Paz will get you closest to your destination, but it’s also possible to stay in the Cabo San Lucas area and pick up transportation to your tour.

What to consider

  • As of 2015, private vessels are prohibited from visiting the whale shark area, but there are a lot of tour companies to choose from.
  • Whale sharks, the largest of the fish species, are plankton- eating gentle giants who are neither shark, nor whale.
  • The sea lions are curious, friendly and adorable; you’ll love swimming with them.
  • CaboTrek offers a variety of tours, from swimming with the sea lions to snorkeling with the whale sharks—they operate out of La Paz but offer pickup service from neighboring areas.
  • Espiritu Baja Tours runs smallish tours for snorkeling with sea lions and whale sharks.
  • Baja Airventures runs an all-inclusive 6-day tour which picks you up (by plane) from San Diego.
  • ROW Sea Kayak Adventures offers an immersive camping/kayaking excursion on Espiritu Santo, where the sea lion colony is located.
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