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Searcher Natural History Tours | Whale & Dolphin Watching

Cruise with the whales, dolphins, seals, and birds of Baja California's Pacific coast and Sea of Cortez with Searcher Natural History Tours.

You'll hike on Mexico's protected and remote islands, snorkel with colorful reef fish and sea lions, explore mangroves and beaches, and seek out ten different species of whales and dolphins during our 8- to 12-day adventures.


January • February • March • April



Vessel types

Live-aboard boat

Times and prices

$3750 per person 2011 Dates Jan 23-Feb 3 Feb 7-18 Feb 22-March 5 March 24-April 4 April 8-20

About our skippers and naturalist guides

We hire two professional marine life naturalists for each of our tours. Their backgrounds vary -- researchers, rangers, science writers, biologists, university professors, and nature photographers. What they share in common is that they are marine life experts, conversant in marine mammals, birds, habitats, and ecology and knowledgable about the little-visited islands and their unique blooming cacti, plants, reptiles, birds, and fishes and invertebrates in the snorkeling spots. But maybe most importantly, they personable and eager to share their love of Baja's wild places with others.


Scenic backdrop to encounters

We frequently

Watch whales and dolphins

Baleen Whales

Blue Whale • Bryde's Whale • Fin Whale • Gray Whale • Humpback Whale

Toothed Whales

Killer Whale / Orca • Short-finned Pilot Whale • Sperm Whale

Ocean Dolphins

Bottlenose Dolphin • Long-beaked Common Dolphin • Short-beaked Common Dolphin

Other wildlife and points of interest

California sea lions, Harbor seals, Northern elephant seals, Guadalupe fur seals, many species of bird

2838 Garrison Street
Town / City
San Diego
State / County
Zip / Postcode
Lisa Bagnall
whale soup
Traveled: 2011-02-21, Reviewed: 2011-11-13
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
I have done quite a bit whale watching but I had never seen a blue whale until my unforgettable trip on the Searcher. Seeing my first blue reduced me to tears but this was not to be the only sighting - we had 25 encounters with blues! This trip provides amazing experiences every day - there is the obvious whale watching ( we were lucky enough to see fin, blue, humpback, sperm, brudes and of course greys), then you may see sharks, turtles, rays, a huge variety of sea birds, listen to humpback whales singing, trips into the magroves, snorkeling, swimming with sea lions, cuddling a grey whale, walks on the peninsula, viewing bioluminescence and catching krill! What more could you expect from a wildlife holiday. The crew and Captain Art are so committed to your every need - from helping you get safely into the skiffs, to assisting those that feel poorly when it gets rough, to providing great food and of course showing great respect for and sharing knowledge about the spectacular wildlife. On the final evening of the trip we were asked to share our highlight with the rest of the group - I really struggled to pick one as there were magical experiences every single day.
I have always said that the world is such a big place with so many places to visit and so much to see that I would not return to somewhere that I had visited before - this may not be the case for Baja as the Searcher may well be calling me back sometime!
Bec Hanley
Trip of a lifetime
Traveled: 2011-02-22, Reviewed: 2011-11-08
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
This is probably the best holiday I've ever had. Let's get the (minor) negatives out of the way first. The boat is cramped, and woudn't be suitable for anyone who doesn't like being in small spaces or needs loads of exercise, long showers or a lot of privacy. And the weather can be rough - we had points on our trip where a lot of the group were seasick. But everything else about this trip is absolutely fantastic. Capatin Art and the crew are completely committed to ethical whale watching and they make sure they pass this on to everyone at the start of the trip. They have at least one naturalist on board who gives talks and is available pretty much all day to explain what you're seeing, answer questions etc, but all of the crew are also enthusiastic whale and wildlife watchers and really get into the spirit of it. We learned a lot without it seeming like we were being talked at. The crew were prepared to detour to watch a whale but they always maintained a respectful distance.
Seeing and interacting with the 'friendly' grey whales' was an immense privilege and definitely the best wildlife experience I have ever had. But we also saw and heard a variety of other whales (including LOTS of blue whales). I would definitely go back, and definitely go back with Art and the Searcher.
Sally Walton
It's addictive!
Traveled: 2010-03-20, Reviewed: 2011-08-26
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
With this amazing trip you live on the boat for 10 days. It sails down the Mexican coast from San Diego round into the Sea of Cortez, which is honestly one of the most magical places on earth. We have done this trip twice and will undoubtedly be back. Of course a major highlight is mooring in San Ignacio Lagoon and stroking the friendly grey whales. The Searcher is one of the few boats which has a licence to moor in the lagoon. On both occasions we had a large grey whale rubbing against the anchor rope to get rid of her barnacles. We have seen thousands of dolphins, sperm whales, humpback whales, blue whales, a minke whale, an orca, and all kinds of sea creatures. You stop at magical islands en route, with huge cacti, close encounters with elephant seals, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, trips in small boats through the mangroves, and snorkelling. And you get to swim with sealions. These are close encounters with no other boats around. The Searcher holds about 20 passengers, and Capt Art and the crew spend the whole time just looking for whales. They are very knowledgeable and the trip is completely ethical. The boat is a little cramped, and the sea can get quite rough. So take your anti-seasickness medication, don't expect any luxury and enjoy one of the best trips on the planet. The food is great, the crew are great, and it's really friendly. Most passengers are on their 4th or 5th trip. It gets under your skin.
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2013 Responsible Whale Watch Partnership:Click here to read more about the partnership