FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

The safety of our guests is our first priority. It is important to remember that these trips take place in a wilderness environment, far from hospital services. Involvement in activities like wildlife viewing from the pangas, hiking and exploring in natural environments contains inherent risks. If at any time you have concerns about your own safety, please advise the expedition leader. Participation in all activities is voluntary.

What should I bring?

Along with the usual things you might travel with, here is a list of additional items:
– wool hat/ball cap  
– long underwear
– Ziploc bag for camera
– T-shirts
– base layer clothing
– water bottle
– shorts
– bathing suit
– sun block / lip balm
– fleece jacket
– bath / beach towel
– hand sanitizer
– wind breaker jacket
– waterproof shoes
– sm. pack of Kleenex
– light adventure pants
– daypack
– small flashlight
– light hiking shoes / boots
– sunglasses
– hand towel
– lightweight synthetic or down jacket

* We recommend a closed toe water/aqua shoe (NOT sandals, flip flops, crocks or Keens) for use while accessing and walking on the beach. These are an important item for beach combing or light hiking to prevent cactus or porcupine fish spines getting trapped between your foot and your sandals.

How remote is the area we will be exploring?

Depending on the area being explored Magdalena Bay,  is a 2.5 – 4 hour drive from La Paz. In the event of a medical emergency a 50 minute drive to the closest town of Constitucion. Once out on the water, it might take up to  30 – 40 minutes to arrive at the gray whale area. 

How do we address seasickness?

We do not anticipate anyone experiencing seasickness while visiting the whale lagoons.
However, if you suffer with motion sickness, at times you may experience symptoms while in the pangas on the lagoon. We recommend bringing Sea Bands or a non-drowsy form of Gravol (Dramamine). Gravol has a ginger based pill that works very effectively without making you drowsy. Please check with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Do I need to be in great shape for the trip?

Our trips are designed for everyone; we accommodate all levels of experience and abilities. Most of our participants have limited experience snorkeling and boating. Our expeditions are not considered strenuous or physically demanding, and a high level of fitness is not required. You can, however, anticipate a few hours of exercise each day. All we ask is that you embrace the adventure with an open mind and are able to have fun with it during the trip.

What level of hiking are we to expect?

The hiking you can anticipate is of a novice level. There may be a hill or two but that’s as difficult as it gets. Because the rock formations are dry and brittle, the areas that may look challenging are off limits due to safety reasons. The second factor to keep in mind is the intensity of the sun during most of the day – we keep the hiking short (2 hrs) and effective. The areas we will be hiking are across the sand dunes, along the island trails and beachcombing.

Gray Whales of Magdalena Bay

On Day 2 of the expedition anticipate a 6:00 am departure. Upon arrival we will begin the first of three days of whale watching and exploring the flora and fauna of the lagoon. Anticipate 3 sessions of gray whale watching, as well as hiking, exploring the sand dunes and beachcombing. For the duration of the camp stay we will be living in the company of the gray whales experiencing their life in the lagoons.

Mag Bay is located on the Pacific side of the Baja and is therefore subject to the winds off the Pacific Ocean. It can get very cool, even though we are in Mexico, and therefore we recommend layering your clothing. What to wear? A wind-breaker jacket, fleece, base layer, t-shirt and long pants or pants you can convert into shorts. Hat and sunglasses are a must for any day on the water. Keep in mind you will be in the whale lagoon without access to land for up to three hours. It is better to have extra layers of clothing and peel them off than to not have enough clothing and be cold for the duration of the time in the lagoon.

We recommend bringing a small backpack with extra waterproof clothing, hand towel and Ziploc bag to protect your camera from the light salt water spray from the movement of the panga and the blow of the whales. Salt water can be very damaging to cameras.

The cook creates fresh local dishes including seafood from the bay, and fresh meats, fruits and vegetables from the local farmers. Beverages include water, pop, juice, and beer. If you would like any alcohol beverages outside of the above please let us know at least one week in advance.

The pangas (boats) used for whale encounters are 28’ with a max. capacity of 6 passengers. Pangas are equipped with VHF or handheld radio, lifejackets and additional safety gear as required by law.

Will we be snorkeling at any time?

The areas we are visiting are the winter mating/birthing lagoons of the Pacific gray whales. Magdalena Bay is highly protected and snorkeling in the bay is not permitted during this time.

If you would like to extend your stay so that you may have the opportunity to snorkel, may we recommend some of our day trips out of La Paz to include:
– Espiritu Santo Island Tour
– Snorkel with Whale Sharks Tour 

Expedition Gratuity

During your time with us the naturalists, drivers, cooks, etc. work very hard to ensure our guests are happy, healthy and safe for the duration of the trip. In appreciation for their services, it is customary for clients to leave a gratuity. The suggested gratuity amount is 10 – 15% of the trip cost. 

 

In Closing… No warranties, representations, terms or conditions apply to any program unless expressly stated in the Expedition Brochure, Participant Information Form, and the www.panterra.com website.

Panterra reserves the right to increase the program fee equal to and in the event of a US/Canadian/Pesos currency change of more than 10%. Panterra does not take responsibility for any events beyond its’ control. If you have any questions concerning the program or do not understand any of the written information please contact our office at info@panterra.com or 1-800-665-6639, Canada or the US.