Vacations are supposed to be relatively stress free, right? When you hear the word vacation, you likely envision vibrant blue and cloudless skies, the tropical sun kissing your skin ever so gently, warm weather embracing you, golden sand softly scratching your toes, a salty breeze caressing your hair, delicious meals with an unobstructed view of the ocean, and of course, a frozen margarita in hand. However, no matter what the TV ads say, vacations are rarely stress-free.
Weeks or months in advance, you scrambled to pick the perfect days for your vacation considering a million things ranging from your work schedule to the weather, the best prices on flights, and even where and with whom to leave your beloved dog, Max. A few days before your trip begins you face another stressful scenario: packing. How many days will we be at the beach? Will we go hiking anywhere? Will we go to any fancy restaurants? Do fancy restaurants in Cabo have a dress code? How hot does it get? Does it rain this time of year? What sort of tours should we book? What should we wear on these tours? What would Marie Kondo say if she was here watching me pack? She would look at me unimpressed. They don’t necessarily “spark joy”, but I truly do NEED flip flops in two different colors! Sorry, Marie.
The day before your trip you are already feeling taxed as you try to remember where your passport is while you try to check into your flight using your airline’s phone app. However, “ERROR – COULD NOT COMPLETE CHECK-IN” is all you get. Ugh, isn’t technology supposed to make life easier?
The next day, arriving at the airport is another wild situation. While you clamber your way through security as you try to figure out which gate you’re supposed to go to you feel like you´re ‘going up the brown creek without a paddle’. Nevertheless, you manage to board your flight on time. Phew. Cabo, here I come!
Once in Cabo, after checking into your resort, another question comes to mind: Besides eating, drinking, partying and lounging on the beach… “What else should we do?” WOOOOOSH! Did humpback whales come to mind? If your answer was no, they should.
As you may know, Cabo is a hub for magnificent sport fishing, for mouthwatering fish tacos, for miscellaneous shopping and for an unscrupulous nightlife. In fact, a short walk down Cabo’s marina is all it takes to be flooded by options in all four categories. However, there is one other major attraction in the area which, although fascinating, remains somewhat under the radar: Whale watching.
Cabo San Lucas, on the tip of the Baja Peninsula, is actually a major hotspot for observing migrating whales, in particular, humpback whales. Between the months of December and April, the chili pepper-shaped peninsula of Baja California acts as a major highway for these gigantic marine mammals, providing us with unparalleled opportunities to appreciate one of nature’s most splendid natural spectacles: their breeding and mating behaviors.
Amid all the stress of planning and preparing for your vacation, this is one experience that will likely turn out to be the complete opposite. Merely being in the presence of a 50 ft long humpback whale is both a humbling and serene experience. Actually, seeing humpback whales, whether for the first time or as an avid long-time watcher, leads to a jumble of emotions that are difficult to articulate (and no, not because of the margaritas you had before the tour). It is because the essence of whale watching lies in the unknown.
In spite of all of the research being conducted on humpback whales and what we know about their migration patterns and seasonal behaviors, it remains decidedly difficult to predict what sort of activity one is likely to see when whale watching. The whales could be cruising along and then gently roll into a dive to never be seen again, they could also be nowhere to be found and then jump clear out of the water a mere 200 ft from your boat. But that’s the point! Regardless of what you see, each experience is amazing because you never know what you might find out in the ocean. Even the most stoic observer has been caught gasping at the sight of a cloud of vapor suddenly rising from the surface of the water followed by the rolling tail of a diving humpback. When fortunate enough to witness other surface activity, such as a breach or a tail slap, reactions range from a collective “woah!” to uncontrollable laughter to the occasional whimper. And if you think seeing puppies is cute, imagine seeing baby humpback whales – already 12 ft long at birth – trying to mimic the behaviors of their immense mothers!
An encounter with humpback whales is just that magical. For a couple of hours it makes the stress of your vacation, and of your life, truly disappear. Among all of the other activities you can do while in Cabo, there is simply no comparison to the uniqueness, the mystery, the wonder, and above all, the surprising tranquility of a whale watching encounter. It’s all even more special when you remember that the whales you are seeing have traveled thousands upon thousands of miles to be at just the right spot, at just the right time, engaged in just the right behavior for you to witness that amazing moment.
Whale watching in Cabo is really the experience you didn’t know you needed. It will remind you not only of our humble place in the universe, but also of all that connects us to the ocean, and by extension, to nature. Hearing a humpback whale – as heavy as an 18-wheeler – break the surface to breathe air just like we do is sure to leave you struggling for words. Seeing up close that humpback whales have knobs with hair, just like we do, will leave you baffled. Remembering that these whales are also warm-blooded, just like us, will puzzle you. Observing these mesmerizing animals will give you stories to share, pictures to post, and most importantly, the wonderful experience of a lifetime.
While planning, preparing and executing your vacation is likely to have caused stress, we encourage you to participate in an activity that is sure to be the complete opposite. We invite you to take a break from the thumping music of Cabo’s party scene, from the fish and shrimp tacos, from the frozen margaritas, from the shopping, and even from the fishing (that’s right, we said it). Join a whale watching tour and experience first-hand why humpback whales have been favorites of whale watchers for decades. Come and be part of an experience that will connect you to the giant marine mammals that, just like you, embark on a journey to the perfect weather and beautiful scenery of Los Cabos.
What would Marie Kondo say if she were here? This one sparks joy. Surely, Marie. It truly does.