1How do I reserve a tour?
Call us at our toll free number 888-546-2252 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave message and we will call you back. On request we can email general trip information, cancellation policies, and day-to- day trip itineraries. When you are ready to book a trip, we take credit cards over the phone for the deposits. We then email you a reservation packet with specific travel and trip information and also some reservation forms that we need to get back. We also email an invoice for the balance (less deposit paid). We ask for the balance to be paid by check or bank transfer. We do take credit card payments for the balance with an additional 4% credit card processing fee.
2Do you take credit cards for payment?
Yes. Our policy is to take credit cards for the initial deposit at no charge. We then request final payments by check. Credit cards are accepted for final payment with an additional processing fee.
3I do not have US bank account; can I pay via Pay Pal or wire transfer?
4When is my final payment due?
Final payment is due 90 days prior to your trip departure date.
5Is a gratuity included in my trip fee and is it expected?
Gratuities are not included in your trip fee. Crew gratuities are not mandatory, but they are customary. If you thought the service levels were deserving and the staff went "above and beyond", the crew would be appreciative of a generous gratuity. For your information, gratuities on these trips generally average 10% of the trip fee.
6Who do I give the gratuity to and how is it distributed?
A tip envelope along with a comment card will be provided at checkout or in your cabin. Please give your envelope to the camp manager. Gratuities are distributed evenly among the camp staff - many of whom you do not see on a regular basis such as our hard working kitchen staff.
7Can I write a check or pay in US dollars a gratuity?
8What is your cancellation policy?
Trips cancelled 90 days or more prior to departure are fully refundable. If 90 days or less, there are restrictions. Please call or email us for our terms and conditions.
Whale Camp Questions
1What is the season for Gray Whales at San Ignacio lagoon?
January through April.
2When is the best time to see the Gray Whales?
Anytime from early February through first week of April.
3This is a once in a lifetime trip for me, what is the very best time?
Really anytime from late January till even late April is excellent. We choose from early February till late March since that is really the bulk of the season when most of the whales and calves are at the lagoon.
4How many whales are in the lagoon?
Depending on when you come, there can be 100 to 350 whales at any given time within the lagoon.
5How close will I get to the whales?
This is the whales choice, but most of our guests will come face to face with the Gray Whales.
6Will I be able to pet a Gray Whale?
Often asked, and our reply is roughly 95% of our guests get to pet a Gray Whale on all of our trips lasting two or more days. Some guests are too busy taking photos though otherwise we might have 99%.
7Do the boats disturb the whales?
No, all of the boat drivers in the lagoon abide by strict rules that we have made and enforced amongst ourselves in order to allow close, yet safe encounters with the whales. The whales are the ones to make contact and it is always up to the whale if a close encounter is to occur - that said, some boat drivers are far better than others and we are very happy with our 25 plus years of experience.
8Do the whales ever get a break from the boats and whale watching?
Yes, whale watching hours are normally 8:00 am till 5:30 pm and there is only one area at the mouth of the lagoon that we allow boats and whale watching. The entire back and middle lagoon is off limits and a sanctuary for the whales and also an area where mothers give birth.
9How much time do we get to spend with the whales on each trip?
We spend approximately one hour and thirty minutes in the whale watching area on each trip, making the total boat ride from two hours to two and a half hours total time. We make two trips daily to the whale watching area and our time within the whale watching area is regulated by the Biosphere regulations.
10How far is the whale watching area from camp?
Our base camp is only a few minutes ride from the mouth of the lagoon and the designated whale watching area. We have a unique location that allows us a short boat ride to the whale watching area and a break from the wind.
11What key things make our different than other camps?
We added this because we have asked many returning guests to tell us what makes us different. The most common answers are: The protection of a cabin at night because the wind really howls at night; the mangrove estuary just in front of our camp; the friendly hospitality; the home-cooked meals; flushing toilets; solar electric in the cabins; the tide-pool walks; and the short boat ride to the whale watching area.
12Do you offer other activities besides whale watching?
Yes, because of our location - next to a mangrove estuary, we can kayak into the mangroves and see many species of nesting birds. We also have a very unique tidal flat with tide pools where our guides will lead you on a tide-pool exploration to see octopus gardens and their eggs and other tidal creatures - including a clam hunt if the tide is right.
13What is the minimum age requirement?
There are no minimum age requirements. Most children from ages 7 and up will have a great experience at camp.
14Can children participate on your trips?
Yes, we encourage you to offer this experience to your children. We offer discounts for children and it's an amazing introduction to the marine environment for them.
15Do you offer family, group and child discounts?
Yes, check with our office for the latest details for discounts.
16How many people are on a trip?
Typically on any given trip we have between 12 and 26 guests.
17What is the camp capacity?
Our camp's normal capacity is setup for 26 guests, however for special events and private groups/organizations, we can handle up to 40 guests.
18How many people are in a boat?
Typically we have six to eight guests on each boat.
19Is there a cell phone signal at camp?
Yes, at certain times of the day and when weather is good, we do have a cell signal and you can access it. You should call your carrier to get a Mexico plan during your stay if you plan to use your cell phone, otherwise you will not be able to use your phone.
20Is there Wheelchair access?
Yes, we offer cabins, restrooms and showers that have wheelchair access.
21I require assistance getting in and out of the boats is this possible?
Yes, we assist all of our guests not only getting in the boats, but also getting to the boats if you are not able to walk long distances.
22Do the cabins have electricity?
Yes, each cabin has its' own solar panel and 12 volt inverter and a 12 volt light inside. You can power small electronics such as your computer as well as charge batteries for just about any device you bring; camera, phone, rechargeable batteries, etc.
23Can I use a blow dryer at camp?
No, although our cabins have power in them, they can only power small electronics and battery chargers. Blow dryers and power tools require far too much power from our solar cabins.
24Do the cabins have bathrooms inside of them?
No, we are not permitted to have restrooms in our cabins due to the biosphere regulations. We are only permitted to have a restroom and bathroom with only one septic system.
25Are your restrooms out-houses or are they actual bathrooms?
Our restrooms are NOT out-houses. Each contains a full-size toilet, electricity, running water and flushing toilets. These are the same toilets you find on ships. Most important is we take great pride in our restrooms and the cleanliness of them.
26Are there hot showers with running water?
Yes, the camp has two solar and electric hot water on demand shower systems that have running water and an on demand shower head with pressurized hot water.
27Are there any dangerous or poisonous animals at camp?
Yes, but few you will ever see. There are sometimes scorpions under rocks or in the brush. Take precautions if turning over rocks or branches when walking around the camp.
28What sort of critters and animals are in the area?
You will often see coyotes at camp and honey bees around camp more than any other critters. Sometimes there can be flies and bees when the weather is hot and there is no wind.
29What about mosquitoes?
Not really. Mosquitoes are not usually an issue at camp this time of year.
30What about birds at the lagoon?
Bird watching at the lagoon is actually incredible. Typically you will see more than 40 species of birds around the camp. There are more, but this an average of what you will see from your doorstep. You will also notice we have a few nesting areas at camp setup for our resident Ospreys. Often you'll see the adults bringing back fish for their young.
31What should I expect for weather conditions?
Depending on the dates you are at camp and month, weather can vary dramatically. We'll supply you with a suggested packing list and typical weather patterns in your itinerary. Expect morning to be chilly and afternoons typically warm and then evenings getting cold again - typical desert weather during the winter here. You should always be prepared for wind at the lagoon and pacific.
32What are the temperatures throughout the day?
December thru February: daytime temperatures 60°F to 75°F; morning and evening temperatures 40°F to 60°F. March thru April: daytime temperatures 65°F to 80°F; morning and evening temperatures 45°F to 70°F.
33Should I bring cold weather clothing?
Yes, you want to be prepared for cold and warm conditions as well as splash resistant clothing when going out on the boats.
34Is the water warm and can I swim?
The water is typically around 55°F or 13°C. Most of our guests do not go for swims in the lagoon. Note that there are stingrays in the water.
35Should I expect rain at the lagoon during the winter?
No and yes. It's very rare that we have rain at the lagoon during the winter months. However it does rain occasionally and you need to be prepared.
36Is it safe to drink the water?
Yes, our drinking water comes from San Ignacio and the local drinking water company that treats all of our water via reverse osmosis, UV and filtration. Our water is clean and safe to drink.
37What about the water for showering and hand washing, is it safe to use?
Yes, all of our potable water at camp for cooking, showering and in the hand-washing stations comes from our local desalinization facility and is sea water converted to fresh water which is not only acceptable for household use, but drinking as well.
38Do you accommodate vegetarians and special diets?
Yes, we cook vegetarian meals on a daily basis and can accommodate most special diets. You need to inform us by notating on your reservation form any dietary needs or restrictions you have so that we are prepared for your arrival.
39So what's included at the dinner table?
It's all you can eat at camp. And always expect fresh home made tortillas, rice and beans with every meal. Our meals are varied throughout the day and usually consist of fruit, oatmeal, coffee and tea available by 6:00 am, followed up by a heavy breakfast; Lunch is typically a lite meal and followed up by a happy hour around 5:00 pm and then a heavy evening meal. Sodas, beer and wine are always available at no extra charge.
40What sort of food is served?
We serve authentic, and healthy meals at camp. We don't cook with lard or other animal products. Expect home made and healthy meals. Most of our meat comes from local ranches and our fresh fish is from the lagoon and our poultry from a local ranch as well. And expect plenty of homemade rice, beans and tortillas with just about every meal.
41Where does the trip begin?
Our trip begins in San Diego where we meet at a local hotel and departs for the airport just across the border.
42What airport does the charter flight depart from?
We fly from either Tijuana airport or Ensenada. We finalize our departure airport as we get closer to the season.
43Why don't you fly from an airport in San Diego?
In years past we flew from San Diego (pre September 11). Now crossing the border with our charter aircraft is just costly as well as there is just too much red tape Customs.
44Is the plane a certified and an FAA inspected aircraft?
Yes, our charter planes are all certified and commercial aircraft and are inspected on a regular basis and kept to Mexican FAA standards which are the same as US standards.
45Are your pilots experienced?
Yes, the charter operators and pilots employed have numerous years experience flying in Baja. This is a unique area in that it is very remote and our operators fly to islands off shore and land on short dirt runways. They therefore keep their aircraft in excellent condition beyond regulated standards due to the environments they fly in. Some of our pilots have flown for us over 20 years.
46Is it safe to cross the border into Tijuana and Baja, Mexico?
Absolutely! Contrary to what we hear in the press, Mexico and specifically Baja is undoubtedly safe and heavily visited by tourists. Over 41 million visitors cross the border each year (2006 statistics) at the San Ysidro (Tijuana/San Diego) border crossing; and Tijuana is the most visited city in the Western Hemisphere, second only to New York City. Additionally 300,000 people cross the border each day at the San Ysidro/San Diego border crossing, making it the busiest and most secure border crossing in the world.
47How do we get to the airport?
You will board our private charter vans or bus and are escorted by our guide that makes this trip twice a week with our guests.
48Who is our guide?
Your guide is local San Diego resident John Bock who has been leading the bus trips to the airport in Baja for several years. John is not only a well-seasoned Baja expert, experienced traveling throughout Baja, but is also an avid professional videographer working in Mexico and throughout the Americas.
49How long is the drive to the airport?
The drive is anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on which airport we are using this year. Tijuana: 45 minutes, Ensenada: 1.5 hours
50How long is the flight?
The flight is approximately two to two-and-a-half hours to the runway at San Ignacio Lagoon.
51Is food served on the bus ride or flight?
Yes, we bring a variety of snacks on the trip with us including water, fruit drinks and sodas. We recommend you have a hearty breakfast on the morning of travel as we only offer snacks on the bus ride to the airport and on the aircraft.
52Where do we get a tourist card?
We get this for each of our guests when we cross the border. Our guide will pay the fee for you when we cross the border.
53Where do we pay the Biosphere fees?
We pay this fee for you direct to the Biosphere at the end of our season. We pay for each guest and trip made on the boats to the park and our office has already charged this fee to you.
54How many people are on the trip?
Our trip sizes range from as few as four guests to as many as 16. An average trip size for our bus trips is 12.
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