At Pachico's Eco Tours it is our goal to help you experience the spectacular whale watching San Ignacio Lagoon has to offer, complimented with information about the behavior of gray whales and their natural environment that comes from decades of experience. We maintain a respectful distance during our observation of the whales, allowing the whales to make the decision to be "truly friendly" and approach us. The lagoons waters are the winter breeding and calving grounds for the gray whales. Everyone at Pachico's Eco Tours feels the gray whales should be allowed to experience a peaceful environment and safe waters for nurturing their young.
A note about friendly whales.
Most tourists who make the magical journey to San Ignacio Lagoon for a multi-day adventure are appropriately rewarded with a "Friendly Whale" encounter - a chance to touch, pet, scratch, or otherwise make meaningful contact with a gray whale. However, Pachico's Eco Tours has a strict policy that we will not pursue, chase, or harass the whales to ensure a friendly encounter. It is completely up to the whales to decide when they want to approach us for an encounter. While we can guarantee people will see gray whales within a few yards (meters) of the boat, it is up to the whales to decide if they want to approach the boat to be petted, or otherwise interact with humans. San Ignacio Lagoon is the place with the highest percentage of "friendly" encounters and it is up to all of us to make sure we do everything we can to continue the tradition. Government regulations permit only two boats around one friendly whale, so we might see other boats with a "friendly" whale, but we might not necessarily have access to it. One of the wonderful things about Pachico's Eco Tours is that Pachico and his family have formed a relationship with the gray whales that spans forty plus years. It's possible the Mayoral's have spent more time watching and interacting with the gray whales than any other humans alive! None of the whale watching operations of San Ignacio Lagoon - Pachico's Eco Tours, included - can ever guarantee a "friendly" experience with a gray whale. However, our immediate family in San Ignacio Lagoon and our ever growing extended family of visitors from all over the world, can attest to the fact that there is nothing quite like a "friendly" experience with the Mayoral family of San Ignacio Lagoon and Pachico's Eco Tours. Visit once, visit twice… It truly never gets old! There is nothing like it in the world.
Our spacious eco-camp offers the perfect place to relax and unwind while visiting San Ignacio Lagoon!
Our spacious eco-camp offers the perfect place to relax and unwind while visiting San Ignacio Lagoon! Take some time to enjoy the intertidal zone, the walking trails, and exceptional views of the lagoon and the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve. Our camp has a beautiful shore walk! Our seven solar powered cabins are available for rent for one, two, or as many nights as you want to stay at the lagoon. All of our cabañas offer a wall of oversized windows to ensure you can enjoy the beauty of San Ignacio Lagoon - Even from bed! Take a nap, read a book, or just enjoy the breezes. All of our beach cabañas provide our guests with spectacular lagoon views and photo defying sunsets.
For our cabañas with shared bath, clean showers and composting bathrooms are shared and are located near the cabaña area.
All of our bathrooms, shared and private, are sawdust composting toilets. Here is what a recent reviewer wrote: "The composting eco-toilets are always a conversation starter. Their use of fresh sawdust, trucked in from nearby Santa Rosalia, is the secret to these totally odorless toilets!! In fact that fresh sawdust gives los banos a rather pleasant "woodshop" fragrance." We encourage you to google "Sawdust Composting Toilets" to learn more about these great systems for use when water is scarce or in areas with no traditional plumbing.
Camping is available with space for tents, truck campers, and RV's. Bring your own gear or rent tent packages from us!
Our cavernous Earthship Gathering Center serves as camp central for all visitors. Enjoy complementary coffee and tea while looking through our natural history library. Cold soda's, cervezas, wine, and mixed drinks are available for purchase and are included in our overnight packages. At breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner guests trade stories about whale encounters, desert surprises, and all things Baja. The chefs at Pachico's Eco Tours utilize fresh seafood and organic produce grown locally. We make every effort to accommodate special diets with advance notice.
Just as the kitchen is the place where people gather at a party, the Earthship Gathering Center in the hub of Pachico's Eco Tours. It attracts guests, visitors, and locals. It is a restaurant, group meeting point for whale watching trips, library, and a peaceful place to kick back and relax.
When it came time to design our main gathering center, we envisioned a space that utilized sustainable green design concepts. But, where do you go to research this type of building in Baja? We knew we wanted to use natural materials, as well as materials we could recycle as the building blocks of the structure. It was via the internet that we learned of a building process called Earthship biotecture.
In the summer of 2009, Jesus Mayoral made the long drive to visit the Earthship World Headquarters, in Taos, NM. The Earthship World Headquarters provided lots of ideas and advice that led to the beginning of this extraordinary process. We decided we wanted our building to be built utilizing aspects of the Earthship design principles, by architect Michael Reynolds. Upon returning to San Ignacio Lagoon, Jesus started a campaign to reduce the amount of waste going to the local landfill. Tires and other recyclable materials would be put to better use as materials for our Earthship gathering center. Additionally, a recycling center was created at Pachico's Eco Tours to start saving all the cans and bottles our guests would leave behind. Not only were we getting lots of materials for our Earthship, but the local landfill was receiving less waste. A winning situation for our camp, as well as the local community.
While the Earthship gathering center is still in the process of receiving the finishing touches, our guests are able to see all aspects of the building process. They are often amazed at what can be built with earth rammed tires, cans, bottles, and a little plaster. The Earthship gathering center is so much more than just a building - It has become a wonderful teaching tool for our guests, as well as the local community. Come on down and see it for yourself!
The boats Pachico's Eco Tours uses for gray whale watching in San Ignacio Lagoon are 22 feet long and hold a maximum of 10 passengers. Pachico's Eco Tours prefers to limit passengers in order to maximize comfort for the passengers, as well as make it easier to make contact with a friendly whale. Each boat carries every piece of safety equipment required by the Port Captain. All safety equipment is checked before every tour.
Pachico's boats are available daily through January, February, March and April. You can see from the photo at left and throughout this site that the small size of the boats allows us to be very close to the surface of the water - within petting distance, and ideal for photographs.
Just like anywhere else in the world, the weather in Baja can be somewhat unpredictable. With that, we have found that we do have a fairly predictable weather pattern throughout the gray whale watching season. Our guests often find themselves waking to a northwest wind of up to 25 knots (about 25 mph), calming down substantially by 10:30-11:00 am to a sustained mild blow from the southwest of 10 knots from 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm. As afternoon and evening approach, the winds dominate from the northwest again and this wind often makes our guests feel like retreating to the calm sanctuary of their windproof cabanas, or meet new friends in the Earthship Gathering Center. With this wind pattern, Pachico's Eco Tours tends to start our daily tours at 10:00 am, and return to camp (from our Full-Day tour) between 3:30-4:30pm. As our guests often encounter the extremes of temperature in the desert climate of San Ignacio Lagoon, a layered wardrobe is critical. Everybody reacts to temperature differently, so it is important to pack for your needs. The average guest will normally want to have very light apparel (shorts, t-shirt, sunhat, sunscreen) available for the hot days and heavier sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, and warm pants available in the evenings and at night. Sandals or shoes that can get wet are a must for getting in and out of the boats. Rain gear, or coats are a nice way to ensure you stay warm and dry on the way to and from viewing the gray whales. Please see our available packing list for a more in depth idea of what to bring to San Ignacio Lagoon.