Imagine yourself watching 30 marlins striking at a sardine baitball. Marlins swimming under and besides you, speeding up to 50 mph to get the catch of the day! Sea lions come in to take turns and join the hunt. Sometimes other visitors such as sailfish, wahoo, dorado or tuna come join the feast.
Swimming with dolphins or orcas, whale watching and an occasional bryde’s whale appearing out of the blue and feeding on the entire baitball are also part of the surprises that Magdalena Bay can gift us with. Exploring sand dunes and mangroves looking for coyotes and bird watching is also an option.
On the Marlins Expedition we go offshore to look for pelagic marine life. We love that when we go out every day, we never know what we’re going to find. That is part of the magic of this expedition.
Magdalena Bay is located on the Pacific side of the Baja California Peninsula. The diversity of marine and coastal habitats of this area creates unique conditions that makes this place a hotspot for biodiversity.
It all starts with the little beings. The high content of plankton and oceanographic conditions attract sardine baitballs into the area of Magdalena Bay. During the months of October to December, the Striped Marlins take advantage of this aggregation and hunt the sardines, along with other predators like sea lions.
During our stay we have the option of staying in the small town of San Carlos, or go to an established camp in Magdalena Island, you choose!
We’ll pick you up at the airport and drive for 3-5 hours (depending on airport) to San Carlos, where we will be staying and having dinner the first night. A briefing about good practices, marlin behavior & biology, and safety will take place after dinner. The next days we’ll be waking up early and going offshore for 8-12 hours every day. We look for frigate birds who feed on the sardines to localize the baitballs, and we also use the radio to communicate with other captains to find the action.
Once we find the baitballs, we find the marlins and the action begins. You’ll hop in the water with your expert guide and enjoy being on first row for one of the most spectacular feeding events on Earth. Most of the action happens between the surface and 10 m, so you can snorkel and/or freedive to watch.
Oct 28 – Nov 2 – LAST SPOTS
Nov 4-10 – SOLD OUT
Nov 12-18 – SOLD OUT
Nov 23-26 – SOLD OUT
Dec 3-14 – SOLD OUT
You will be greeted by your guide at the airport. Transfer to San Carlos town (5h 30 min from Cabo or 3h from La Paz). Your guide will help you check in at the hotel. Then have an expedition briefing and dinner. Get ready for the next day!
Wake up early, have breakfast and get ready to have the adventure of your life! Once in the boat, you will make your way to the open ocean, where the magic happens. The captain and guide will be actively looking for action. Once they determine that there is a good bait ball to swim with, you will hop in the water and watch the amazing hunt. Days are usually 8-10 hours. Come back to shore just before sunset, rest, have dinner and repeat!
Have breakfast and get ready for group departure back to airport.
October to December
For our group expeditions we do 4 water days.
For private expeditions it can be any amount. We recommend having a minimum of 3 water days for higher probability of quality wildlife encounters. However, our favorite number of water days is 4 to 6. Email us to let us know how many days and how many people, and we’ll send you a quote.
Water temperature: 22-29ºC (71-85 F)
Visibility: 15-30m (49-100 ft)
Air temperature: 16-27°C (60-80 F)
Medium to high. We have long days offshore, sometimes with wind and waves. Baitballs can be dynamic, meaning they can move fast. We try to find static baitballs where activity level is lower, however it is not always the case.
Most of the action is from the surface to 10m, so there is no need for scuba or freediving certification. However it is a requirement to know how to swim and be comfortable with long days on the boat.
The most common are sardine or mackerel baitballs, striped marlin, sea lions, dolphins, turtles, skipjack tuna and sea birds (pelicans, frigate birds, cormorants, seagulls).
End of November to December we see humpback whales more often.
We occasionally see bryde’s whale feeding on baitball, mobulas and coyotes.
More rare sightings are orcas, sailfish, wahoo, dorado (mahi mahi), blue whale and tuna.
You can fly to La Paz airport (3 hour drive to San Carlos) or San José del Cabo airport (5 hour drive to San Carlos).