The small fishing village of Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos just might be one of Baja California Sur’s best kept secrets, thanks to its incredible natural attractions and wildlife spotting.
Located in northern Bahia de Magdalena, Adolfo Lopez Mateos is best known for whale watching, since grey whales find refuge here between December and April. Surrounded by blindingly white sand dunes frequented by migratory birds, a boat ride out into the bay is a fun way to explore the area, making the experience a popular day trip from Loreto and San Carlos which are less than a two hour drive away.
Most of the action centres around the port, which is marked by a pretty red and white lighthouse. In the off-season there’s hardly a soul to be seen, but it’s a different story during whale watching season when the marina is packed with tourists heading off into Magdalena Bay.
From deep sea fishing adventures to sunsets in the sand dunes, here are the best things to do in Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos.
Go whale watching
Whale watching is by far the most popular activity in Adolfo Lopez Mateos, and this is one of the best spots on the planet to see gigantic whales up close.
Most boat tours depart from the Embarcadero Ballenas port, and there are a number of operators there to choose from such as Magdalena Bay Whales and Garcia’s Tours which operate day trips into the bay as well as the sand dunes. Since Lopez Mateos is well away from busy tourist areas like Cabo or La Paz, there are usually only a few boats out at a time which makes for a more personal, tranquil experience.
It usually doesn’t take long to spot one of the massive creatures, as they hang out in the same area for months at a time while birthing and raising their young. Adult grey whales often come right up to the boats, and guests can pet their smooth backs which is an absolutely unforgettable experience.
While the whales understandably get most of the attention, sea lions and dolphins also frequent these waters.
Explore the sand dunes in Magdalena Bay
One of the most surreal features of this part of Baja is the blonde dunes surrounding Magdalena Bay. Ranging in size from only a few feet high to towering sand sculptures carved by wind, the scene is breathtaking at sunset.
The dunes are framed by mangroves that are home to the likes of rare birds like the Magnificent Frigatebird known for its vibrant red chest that puffs out during mating season, and coyotes can also be spotted seeking shade in the thick brush.
Go deep sea fishing
Another reason people make the trip out to Adolfo Lopez Mateos is for deep sea fishing, since the town is close to one of the world’s top fishing destinations, Ciuadad Insurgentes. Marlin and dorado frequent these waters, as well as sea bass, halibut, roosterfish grouper and yellowtail.
Where to stay in Adolfo Lopez Mateos
Hotel Mangrove Inn: The white, freestanding villas at Hotel Mangrove Inn look luxe; however the vibe here is decidedly laid-back and feels more like a group of guesthouses than a hotel since there aren’t many services.
The Mangrove has a fantastic location near town yet right on the beach, with easy water access for taking an afternoon dip or heading out on a boat ride. Be sure to head up their lookout tower, and enjoy happy hour cocktails as the sun goes down. Click here to book
Globe Guide explored Baja as a guest of Visit Baja California Sur. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles.
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