Whales and dolphins of La Paz

The best way to see whales is to join a whale watching tour. While we have a chance to see humpback whales during our dive trips here in La Paz we also provide dedicated whale watching tours throughout the whale watching season. Humpback whales are not the only species visiting our waters, there are numerous other species of Whales and Dolphins that migrate through the Sea of Cortez. On our dive trips it is common to see dolphins and we are always on the lookout for the sign of whales and willing to go out of our way to catch a glimpse of these magnificent animals.

Baleen Whales

Baleen whales are typically larger than the toothed whales (there are some exceptions) and have very different feeding habits than their fish and squid eating cousins. They primarily feed on small pelagic crustaceans called zoo-plankton. Although each individual crustacean is very small, typically microscopic, they consume very large amounts of them each day, up to 4 tons in the case of the blue whale.

The baleen is a series of 270-400 fringed overlapping plates hanging from each side of the upper jaw, where teeth might otherwise be located. These plates consist of a fingernail-like material called keratin that frays out into fine hairs on the ends inside the mouth near the tongue. Baleen whales use this as a filter to capture small animals as they expel water out of the mouth through the baleen, leaving the small animals near or on the tongue where they can be swallowed. The most common baleen whale in La Paz is the Humpback whale, which frequents our waters from September through to April. We also have more infrequent sightings of blue whales, gray whales and the fin and sei whales. To learn more about these amazing animals click the links below.

 

Toothed Whales

Toothed whales have a single blow-hole (baleen whales have two) and teeth, anywhere from one in the case of the narwhal to over a hundred in some of the dolphin species. Toothed whales feed primarily on fish and squid which they sense with their sonar like abilities. In toothed whales the second blow-hole has evolved into an echo-location system with the same basic principles of sonar. Using this specialized organ called the "Melon" allows the animal to focus its vocalizations and sense objects around them. The waters of La Paz have a lot of dolphin species and there have been sightings of orcas in recent years.