Much like Magdalena Bay, San Ignacio Lagoon (Laguna San Ignacio) has become known for the whales that like to convene there. Laguna San Ignacio serves as primary calving ground for gray whales, and it is unique amongst Baja’s three lagoons visited by whales in that the lagoon remains all natural and undeveloped. From the months of December to April, visitors can find gray whales enjoying the shallow, protected waters as they mate, give birth, and feed their newborns.
More than whales seek out Laguna San Ignacio for shelter. The lagoon is known to host several types of sea turtles including the loggerhead, green, and olive ridley turtles. Occasionally, even the rarer hawksbill turtles find their way to its waters. Blue footed boobies and Pacific loons are also known to hang out on its shores, while brown pelicans are known to migrate down from the north to breed in the San Ignacio Lagoon region.
The lagoon itself is rather shallow for such large creatures, reaching only 7.5-13 feet (2-4 meters). The coastal lagoon is rather long, however, stretching 22 miles long; with that length, the whales have room to romp and nurture their young. One of the reasons this region is so nutrient rich, which the whales and other marine life enjoy, is because the lagoon represents the mangrove forest’s northern limit along the Pacific Ocean’s coastline. The coastal upwelling along the region combines with the mangrove and kelp forests to create an incredibly rich marine environment that supports a variety of marine life.
About 40 miles east of Laguna San Ignacio lies the town of San Ignacio. Much like its fellow lagoon, San Ignacio continues to be a tranquil retreat relatively untouched by some of Baja’s cosmopolitan tendencies. Dotted with date palms and citrus orchards, San Ignacio is an oasis that stands out against the cactus and volcanic rock surrounding it. The town itself is somnolent and continues to breathe of the past. The main part of town is situated around a traditional town square, and a Dominican church built in 1768 stands as one of the town’s primary attractions. Besides its outward beauty, the church gains some renown because it is constructed entirely out of the volcanic rock that dominates the surrounding landscape.