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  • Photograph of Blue Whale

    A superb close-up of a Blue Whale by Dave Barnes.

    BAJA CALIFORNIA

    Best Wildlife in Baja California

    Mammals
    Blue, Humpback, Killer, Fin, Grey, Bryde's, (Northern) Minke and Short-finned Pilot Whales, Pacific White-sided, Bottlenose, and Short-beaked and Long-beaked Common Dolphins, Northern Elephant Seal, California Sealion and Guadeloupe Fur Seal. Also a chance of Sperm, Sei, Pygmy Killer and Dwarf Sperm Whales.

    Birds

    Baja Endemics
    Xantus's Hummingbird, Grey Thrasher and Belding's Yellowthroat, and, possibly, Baja/Cape (Northern) Pygmy Owl (hoskinsii), San Lucas (American) Robin (confinis) and Baird's (Yellow-eyed) Junco (bairdi).

    Near-endemics
    Black-vented Shearwater, Black and Least Storm Petrels, Yellow-footed Gull, Craveri's and Scripps's (Xantus's) Murrelets, Ridgway's (Clapper) Rail and California Gnatcatcher.

    Others
    Red-billed Tropicbird, Blue-footed and Masked Boobies, Magnificent Frigatebird, Greater Roadrunner and Elf Owl, as well as Clark's and Western Grebes, Pink-footed Shearwater, Brown Booby, Brown Pelican, Reddish Egret, Crested Caracara, shorebirds including Wandering Tattler, Heermann's Gull, Band-tailed Pigeon (vioscae without tail band), Burrowing Owl, Costa's Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Acorn (dark-eyed angustifrons) and Gila Woodpeckers, Gilded Flicker, Cassin's (lucasanus) and Grey Vireos, Vermilion Flycatcher, Western Scrub Jay, Verdin, Phainopepla, Pyrrhuloxia, Black-throated Sparrow and Scott's Oriole. Also a chance of Black-footed and Laysan Albatrosses, and Nazca Booby.

    Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    Coral Reef Fish. Also a chance of Whale, Hammerhead, Blue and Mako Sharks, Manta Ray, Olive Ridley Turtle, Striped Marlin, Sailfish and Sharpchin Flying Fish.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Baja California

    Best Times for Wildlife in Baja California

    The best time to visit Baja is February to early April, with the greatest numbers of cetaceans usually present in late March-early April.

    Recommended Books etc. for Baja California

    Whales, Dolphins and Seals: A Field Guide to the Marine Mammals of the World by H Shirihai. Helm, 2006.

    A Field Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America by S Howell and S Webb. OUP, 1995.

    A Field Guide to Mexican Birds by R Tory Peterson and E Chalif. Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

    Where to watch birds in Mexico by S Howell. Helm, 1999.

    Field Guide to the Birds of North America edited by J Dunn and J Alderfer. NGS, 2011 (Sixth Edition).

    Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America by K Kaufman. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

    The North American Bird Guide by D Sibley. Helm, 2014 (Second Edition).

    Mammals of North America by R W Kays and D E Wilson. PUP, 2009 (Second Edition).

    Mammals of North America by F A Reid. Peterson North American Field Guides, 2006 (Fourth Edition).


    Apps etc.


    National Geographic Birds: Field Guide to North America.

    The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America.

    Peterson Birds of North America.

    Audubon Birds - A Field Guide to North American Birds.

    iBird Ultimate Guide to Birds.

    Where to watch birds in Central America & the Caribbean by N Wheatley and D Brewer. Helm, 2001.

    Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in Central America? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author and David Brewer. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Baja California

    Many trip reports, some for Baja California, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Baja California. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Baja California' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Baja California

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Baja California

    Some Organized Tours to Baja California

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Baja California include the following.