A Whale of a Shark: Swimming with Gentle Giants in Baja Mexico

  • Gentle Giants

    Each year from late summer through October, a natural marine phenomenon takes place in the calm waters surrounding the town of Bahia de los Angeles in Baja Mexico’s Gulf of California: the arrival of the whale sharks. Despite their huge size and fearsome name, these “sharks” are as placid as gold fish and spend their days gently feeding on the abundant plankton found in the rich waters of the bay, all the while tolerating the attention of enthralled snorkelers swimming by their side.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona: Baja AirVentures

  • Seeing Eye to Eye

    Swimming next to a gentle, massive whale shark is often described by those who have done it as a true "bucket list" experience.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona: BajaAirVentures

  • Half the Fun is Getting There

    While you can drive the 350 miles by car from the U.S. border to Bahia de los Angeles, by far the easiest and most scenic way to reach the town is with an air tour company. Nothing quite compares to seeing the mountains and beaches of the Baja Peninsula from the seat of a small aircraft–an adventure in itself!

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona: Baja Air Ventures

  • "Glamping" at Its Best

    Imagine a pristine beach, an hour away via boat from Bahia de los Angeles, with yurts that offer all the comforts of home....and glorious nature at your front door. The Las Animas Eco-Lodge is a glamper’s dream. 

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona: Baja AirVentures

  • The "Other" Galapagos

    This area of Baja California is known as the "other" Galapagos. Why? The regions share much of the same flora, fauna and topography: blue- and yellow-footed booby birds, magnificent frigates, stunning cacti, black lava beaches, countless sea lions, Sally-Llghtfoot crabs, manta rays, sea turtles and many other species of plants and animals. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Sea Lions Rule

    As they do in the Galapagos Islands, sea lions rule the landscape in the Gulf of California. Their vocals and antics are quite entertaining, and they aren’t bothered in the slightest by curious snorkelers paddling around in the surf for a closer look.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Life's A Beach

    The Las Animas Eco-Lodge's pristine beach is right out of a photo montage for the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” The warm, crystal-clear blue water is perfect for aquatic activities. Afterwards, enjoy a mid-afternoon siesta on the white sandy beach.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Desert Blooms

    Even though a swim with a whale shark is a tough act to follow, there are many more exciting daily adventures to enjoy. One of the most popular tours is a nature walk through the desert landscape surrounding the Animas Eco-Lodge, where guides point out rare and unusual flora along the paths.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Surf to Table

    Paired with fresh margaritas, clam ceviche is a hit during the Animas Eco-Lodge's daily happy hour. Fresh fish pulled from the surf each morning is also a part of the lunch and dinner options at the lodge, as is delicious homemade Mexican cuisine.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Click Away

    There are endless photo opportunities on the daily excursion boat ride from the lodge to the whale shark bay at Bahia de los Angeles. Curious dolphins love to follow the boat and whale sightings are also common along the route. 

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Ring Side Seat

    Even if you don't feel comfortable or capable of jumping into the water to swim with the sharks, you'll definitely be able to admire them at close range from the excursion boat. Photo opportunities are endless, as the whale sharks display no fear and glide calmly right next to the boats as they feed.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Rekindle Romance

    With no signs of humanity around you, it’s easy to connect with nature and let the stress of your daily lives dissipate with each gentle wave rolling onto the shore. It’s the perfect place to fuel–or rekindle–romance.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Nature's Playground

    All sorts of water activities are available to the guests at the lodge. Sail, swim, snorkel or paddle board through the calm bay just steps from your yurt. Grab a kayak and explore the many coves–teeming with crabs, sea birds, and colorful fish–that line the rugged shoreline.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Bay Watch

    The beautiful landscape of Baja's Gulf of California is breathtaking in its own right. Add a massive whale shark to the view, and you’ve got a visitor experience you will not soon forget.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Sweet Dreams

    Once the sun dips behind the mountains, you can look forward to a night sky of amazing clarity. Without any man-made lights to mar its glory, the sky appears as a jet-black globe peppered with twinkling stars and constellations that will take your breath away. 

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona