About Us

Learn more about our story, our team, our commitment to sustainable tourism and answers to our most frequently asked questions.


Pure Baja Travels

Pure Baja Travels LLC is a family-owned business and our team brings more than 25 years of knowledge and experience while running and guiding trips in the Baja California Peninsula so you know you will have an amazing experience!

We lead whale watching trips with an emphasis in gray whales (future trips for different species in the making, stay tuned).

The Baja California Peninsula is an amazing place but, San Ignacio Lagoon will conquer your heart.

The Land, the people, the wildlife… but especially the friendly gray whales.

Come meet them, we’re waiting for you!

About José

José Sanchez, Owner and Operator

Being a native to Quintana Roo in the Yucatán Peninsula, it was natural for our family outings to involve camping, fishing, and snorkeling. Even my 84-year-old grandmother would come with us. We all absolutely love the outdoors.

In 1985 I moved to Baja to study marine biology at the best school in Latin America, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS).  After graduating, I joined a marine mammal program with the School for Field Studies where I fell in love with outdoor education.  Although I didn’t know it at the time, that experience would define the rest of my life. Thank you, School for Field Studies!

In a very organic way, I became a nature guide and started leading ecotourism trips in 1993. Who knew? I could share Mexico’s flora, fauna, and the outdoors at the same time. A dream come true!

Later, I was invited to take part in a nature guide training program by the RARE Center for Tropical Conservation in Baja. They gave me the opportunity to share my love for the peninsula with local guides, in the process, making lifelong friendships. Many of the participants completely stopped fishing to become guides and community leaders.  Bravo RARE Center!!

The past few years I have guided kayaking trips in Lake Superior and led trips in Baja, while raising a family. My beautiful wife, Elizabeth, and our son, Esteban, have shared this crazy guide life with me for many years. Although not being born in Baja, they feel the same love I have for this wonderful land. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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Where is San Ignacio Lagoon and how do I get there?

Located in Mexico, San Ignacio Lagoon is in the state of Baja California Sur. In the middle of the Baja Peninsula you will find the lagoon at the end of a very rough road, on the Pacific side.  You will arrive in the lagoon on a chartered flight starting at the Tijuana airport.

What type of food will be served?

Traditional Mexican meals will be served buffet style with locally sourced seafood and regional wine, along with Mexican beer and pop.

Three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – will be served in camp, along with a happy hour drink and appetizer. 

Special dietary restrictions can be accommodated.

What are the sleeping accommodations?

Geo dome tents are double occupancy. If single occupancy is desired there is an additional charge.

Mexican cots with a sleeping bag are provided as bedding.

Please bring your own liner for the sleeping bag.

What are the bathrooms like?

There will be one bathroom for 3 geo-domes to share.

The toilets are composting toilets. Sawdust, sourced from La Paz is deposited into the toilet. 

The sawdust aids in odor reduction and helps in the composting process.

Are there showers in camp?

Yes, there are 3 single-stall showers that have heated water throughout the day.

What is the weather like in San Ignacio Lagoon?

Weather conditions are variable in San Ignacio Lagoon through the whale watching season.

The mornings start cool (low 50’s) and usually warm up as the day advances (80-95 °F).  The evening cools down and wind usually starts again, lasting through the night (overnight low in the 50’s). 

Wind is always a factor in San Ignacio Lagoon. Basically you need to be prepared for two weather conditions: hot and dry and cold and wet.  Please be prepared to layer up or layer down.

What time zone is the lagoon?

Mountain Standard Time

Daylight savings in Mexico begins April 4, 2021.

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What is your refund / cancellation policy?

100% refund with 2 months notice prior to the trip (less $100 per person admin fees).

50% refund with 1 month written notice prior to the trip.

NO refund is given with less than one month’s written notice prior to the trip.

Separate terms apply to private group trips. (Please contact us for more information.)

Cancelled trips:  In the highly unlikely event that Pure Baja Travels has to cancel a trip, due to lack of participants or some other uncontrollable factor, we will give at least 1 month’s notice prior to the departure date. A full refund will be issued as well. 

Pure Baja Travels is not responsible for expenses incurred by trip members in preparation for the trip (Non-refundable airline tickets, personal gear bought for the trip, etc. )

Should I purchase travel insurance?

Pure Baja Travels strongly advises that you purchase travel insurance in case you suddenly need to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances.

Is the gratuity included?

Gratuity is not included in the cost of the trip. 

It is customary within the industry and a fair guideline is around 5-10% of the trip fee. 

Please allow your satisfaction with our service to be the best judge of how much you would like to tip. 

Gratuities are shared evenly amongst the entire crew.

What important documents should I bring?
  • Passport
  • Driver’s License or ID card (optional)
  • Trip insurance information
  • Tourist visa (No charge)
  • Cash
Do you have a packing list?

Yes!  You can download the packing list here.

Are there luggage restrictions?

There is a maximum of 30 pounds of luggage per passenger, including carry-on.

Are kids allowed and what is the minimum age recommended?

Kids are allowed. We have found that the minimum age of 8 years old is the most tolerant of the whale watching boat rides and outings.

That being said, parents know their children the best. You will know if your child is patient enough to be in a boat for an extended period of time.

Still have questions?

Feel free to contact us any time!


Pure Baja Travels strives to provide a sustainable travel experience.Our initiatives help protect the biosphere and offset our environmental foot print while in camp. Our camp is set up for a two-month season and then entirely dismantled and removed from the site. Our camp utilizes composting toilets, and solar energy. We staff camp with members of the local community whenever possible.

As part of our commitment to sustainable travel to help mitigate our carbon footprint, we are participating in a mangrove project with a local nursery that will be planting red mangroves to help reforest the shoreline.  

By practicing sustainable travel, we help ensure that the well-being of the local community and preservation of the natural environment will be viable for the future.

New for 2021!

We are now members of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.  Which means we adhere to their criteria for effective sustainability planning, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage and reducing negative impacts on the environment.

What are you waiting for?