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Pachico's Ecotours

Baja California Sur, Mexico
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Katee wrote a review Mar 2020
1 contribution
Pachico's Eco Tours not only hosts a truly amazing experience through kind, knowledgeable staff, amazing food, and cozy quarters, but they are consciously creating space to see the sights and interactions of a lifetime. I can't say enough about the experience.
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Date of experience: February 2020
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EnjoyLife wrote a review Apr 2019
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I recently returned from the Pachicos EcoTours (March 2019) and cannot imagine a better experience. From the first, Pachicos became our home away from home because of the exceptionally warm, kind and knowledgeable staff. The whale watching was outstanding, imagine a mother and baby gray whale coming to your boat for direct contact, a magical experience. The accommodations are lovely, clean and simple. Respect for the environment, the whales, and our comfort was profound. This is the original, local tour founded by the family of the man, Pachico Mayoral, who made the first friendly contact with the gray whales. Thank you for the adventure of a lifetime!
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Date of experience: March 2019
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Jan F wrote a review Mar 2019
7 contributions4 helpful votes
Pachico's Eco Camp was delightful. The cabins all had great views and were clean and nice. Loved the composting toilets and serious recycling there. The restaurant and bar was homey with the shell floor and local arts and crafts for sale. The people who live and work here are mostly family and all are super passionate about the whales and their environment. Ruby, Ranulfo and Victoria were all wonderful! But the whales stole the show every day!!!! To have a whale and her calf come right up to the side of your boat and let you touch them is magical. And when they blow water out their blow hole onto your face....well, there is nothing better...This was an experience of a lifetime. Highly recommended!!!!
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Date of experience: March 2019
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sioux100 wrote a review Mar 2019
Plantsville, CT41 contributions35 helpful votes
This camp has recently had a change in management, which now involves all of Pachico’s sons and daughters. They are updating the website and other information. You can find their other excellent reviews (5 stars) by searching “Pachicho’s Ecotours” on Trip Advisor. In the 1970’s, Pachico Mayoral was the first fisherman in the area to notice that gray whales were seeking contact with humans. He found they sought being stroked and played with. These creatures were considered “killer fish” based on their behaviors when hunted prior to a moratorium in the late 1940’s. He became a leader in protecting the whales and establishing environmentally responsible guidelines for interacting with them and conserving the land around the lagoons. You can see documentaries about him by Googling his name. Pachico himself founded this company, which is run by his daughters and sons since he passed away in 2013. We were thrilled that we ended up experiencing whale watching with this “first family” of whale watching and conservation. We stopped in Guerrero Negro, another whale watching area, a few days before and went on a watch with Mario’s Whale Watching Tours, and the experience was first rate. We had a mother and her calf approach the boat and linger to be pet and to play with the boat. Upon reaching the town of San Ignacio, we had a difficult time finding a similar tour lasting four or five hours. All of the websites I consulted were for tours out of eco-camps at the lagoons themselves (as opposed to from the town), and the sites had little information about costs (which is also true for Pachico’s), or else they cost many thousands of dollars for multiple days and included flights from the US and transfers from La Paz or Loreto. We decided to drive out to the lagoon and see for ourselves what was available. The drive is down an excellent paved road until the final 5.5 miles or so, when it reverts to a dirt road, rather poor, but easily though slowly passable with a compact rental car. The scenery is spectacular and changes with every turn of the road. At what seemed to be the end of the road, there was just a cluster of homes and one small store. When I asked the store proprietor in my very poor Spanish about tours, she took me to the door and motioned toward Pachico’s. She told me to see “Rubi.” We drove to Pachico’s and met Rubi right away. She is one of the best things about choosing to tour with this company! She is bright, flexible and efficient, possesses a wealth of information about whales, history, ecology and conservation, as well as being lots and lots of fun. She has worked in San Ignacio Lagoon in several of the camps and as a community organizer, so provides information about the local people and their developing village. Oh, and she speaks great English! We ended up booking a casita with full bath for several nights, receiving a discount because it was shoulder season (early February). The view of the lagoons and their encircling mountains takes your breath away. You could sit on the deck of the casita, or look through the bank of windows in your unit, for days. And the night stars are like nowhere else—bright and sharp in the cool night air. The casitas and clubhouse/dining area are all permanent buildings made of reclaimed wood and other environmentally sound materials. Many of the other eco camps in the area use tents for their lodgings and main buildings. I’ve read in a number of reviews that these tents can be drafty, so we appreciated how snug we were when the wind was blowing outside. This was shoulder season and the camp wasn’t busy, so the prices were rock bottom. The cost for two nights and days and one three hour whale watch trip, along with all of our meals and happy hour each day, came to about $400 US for the two of us. This has got to be one of the best deals on the planet, and it provided the highlight of our trip. Pachico’s is in a remote location, which is one of the things that makes it magical. Internet is spotty, and there is little formal “entertainment,” though there is always good conversation with knowledgeable people in the main cabin. It really makes you think about the privilege of being in a unique spot where nature is in charge. One of Pachico’s sons, Angel, was our guide for whale watching. Once we reached the lagoon, Angel stayed a bit away from the small cluster of pangas already there. Almost immediately, whales began swimming around our boat. Soon, a mother and calf came over to us and began brushing the side of the boat. Sure enough, she let us pet her and her baby, continuing to circle the boat and interact. Being so close to one of these gentle giants was a privilege we’ll never forget. If you have whale watched off of Cape Cod or elsewhere in the Northeast, you will be overwhelmed by the numbers of whales, their proximity, and their antics. Pachico’s also offers daily whale watching trips, for those not interested in staying on site. One tour is whale watching in the morning with lunch on a beach and an afternoon of exploring the mangroves and their abundant wildlife. Another offers an hour and a half with the whales, with lunch on the beach and a return to the whales in the afternoon. There are also three hour tours. A wonderful couple from southern California stayed while we were there. They are guides and boat captains for whale watching off the US coast and work with another Pachico son, Pancho. The clubhouse became not only the dining area but the place for long conversations about the day’s sightings and all manner of other things. We were sometimes joined by Rudolpho, another son, who has an impressive amount of knowledge of the whales and the area and Anselma, a daughter, who turned out to also be the proprietor of the store in the village! The CA couple went on a watch with Rudolpho and had a similarly fulfilling time of interaction with several whales and their young. They happened to know a worker/guide at one of the very expensive camps and stopped to visit with her. She said that company’s excursions had not resulted in whale encounters in the past few days, unlike our experiences. I feel strongly that the whales, who local fishermen such as Angel sometimes know by name, actually recognize the boats and their captains. It only makes sense to go out with people who descend from the whales’ first human “friend,” Pachico Mayoral. The maximum time with the whales is regulated by law and enforced by an officer on a boat on the lagoon, and is 1.5 hours. Pachico’s tours take about ½ hour to get to the ideal watching spot, but then have that same time with the whales. The scenery on the trips out and back from the lagoon, as well as the birds, sea lions and dolphins that accompany you, complete the embarrassment of natural riches that is San Ignacio. Don’t hesitate to book with these wonderful people. If you have questions, ask them. They are honest and fair, and will work with you to create a perfect and affordable trip that you will remember for a lifetime! You leave feeling like members of a wonderful family.
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Date of experience: February 2019
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Rebekah L wrote a review Apr 2018
4 contributions2 helpful votes
San Ignacio Lagoon is amazing and our experience here was fantastic. Small groups in boats, getting personal with whales, the birds and sea shells and whole experience went well. We rented a car in Loreto and drove over taking our time and seeing places along the way. About 5 1/2 hours of driving time but we stayed overnight near Mulege and looked around in the town of San Ignacio (dates are a specialty) and there is a museum .We had a 3 night package and I am glad we did because one day had winds that didn't allow us to go out. Lots of beautiful nature in this area. The Internet is not available at the camp so email and wait 3,4 or 5 days for a reply, very nice folks there.
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Date of experience: February 2018
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