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Marine Places

Laguna San Ignacio

The Laguna San Ignacio is a coastal lagoon in northwestern Mexico best known as a sanctuary and breeding ground for Pacific gray whales. Latin America’s largest wildlife sanctuary, it is also an important feeding habitat for four endangered species of sea turtle. The lagoon, which is 25 miles (40 km) long and on average 6 miles (9 km) wide, receives only occasional inflows of fresh water, and its evaporative losses are high. Its salinity is therefore significantly higher at its head than at its mouth, where it connects to the sea. Apart from whale watching, the main human activities in the area are small-scale fisheries and oyster cultivation. In 1993, the lagoon was designated a World Heritage Site.

Whale watching

The Laguna San Ignacio is a popular whale-watching site. Between January and March, large numbers of gray whales can be found there. The whales, which often approach boats, use the upper part of the lagoon for giving birth, while the lower lagoon is where males and females look for mates. Females swim with their calves in the middle part of the lagoon.

Laguna San Ignaciozoom image
  • Pacific Ocean East
  • Type Hypersaline coastal lagoon
  • Area 140 square miles (360 square km)
  • Location On the Pacific coast of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico, southeast of Mexicali
Laguna San Ignacio habitat mapzoom image