You will certainly know it when you get to Guerrero Negro…it will probably be cold, windy, and there may even be some fog. Not your normal southern Baja weather. Guerrero Negro is one of those places that, if not for something very special, would get hardly any visitors. But, it seems that Guerrero Negro DOES have something extraordinary, indeed. From January through the middle of April, the magnificent gray whales come to give birth in the lagoons, close by.
To the west of Guerrero Negro is Laguna Guerrero Negro and to the south is Ojo de Liebre, more commonly known as Scammon’s Lagoon. These are the first lagoons that the magnificent gray whales have a chance to visit on their long, 6,000-mile journey from the Bering Sea to give birth to their cute, “little” 1,000-pound calves. There are other lagoons that attract the whales but Scammon’s Lagoon gets the largest concentration of these friendly giants.
Guerrero Negro gets very crowded during whale watching season. If you want to plan a whale-watching trip, you should make sure you have the necessary reservations made well in advance. At the very least, try to book your motel, in advance. You should usually be able to hustle up a whale watching tour, but if the motels are all full, there is nowhere close by to stay. The closest accommodations are a few motels in Vizcaíno, 50 miles to the south.
You would have to work at it to get lost in this town as there is only one main street. Here, you will find the majority of motels, restaurants, taco stands, tour operators, and what little shopping there is available. Towards the end of the main street are a Pemex station and the entrance to the salt works.
Attractions, other than the whales, in the Guerrero Negro area include the salt works and the incredible sand dunes of Dunas de Soledad, about six miles outside of town to the north.
You will notice that there are a lot of large nests on the power lines in and around Guerrero Negro. The mounts for the nests were specially built for the incredible Osprey (Sea Eagle), which is quite numerous in the area. The Ospreys then actually finish building the nests and this is where they have their babies.
The salt works are what monetarily sustain almost the entire population of Guerrero Negro. This is the largest evaporative salt production facility in the world. The operation produces close to six million tons of salt each year. There are thousands of evaporating ponds and the entire operation covers a total of over 65 square miles. Tours are available, if you are interested, inquire at your motel.
The Dunas de Soledad is a large area of ever-changing sand dunes, mostly devoid of any vegetation, that seems to mysteriously melt into the Pacific Ocean. This is an incredible sight and the dunes make for some outstanding photos, especially at dawn or dusk.
Note: Change your watch in Guerrero Negro (actually at the giant Eagle monument just north of town) which is on Mountain Standard Time. Going south: One hour ahead – Going north: One hour back.
About a mile north of Guerrero Negro lies the 28th parallel and the border of the two Baja states, Baja California (Norte) and Baja California Sur. There is an Army base, a Pemex station, and the 140-foot tall Eagle monument made out of steel that sits right on the parallel line. There is also an Immigration checkpoint (open sporadically) where you should have your tourist permit (FMTTV) to show, if not, they will sometimes issue one there. Across the street is an agricultural inspection station, they may want to look in your cooler. If you are traveling south, you will have to pay 10 pesos to have the bottom of your car sprayed, to keep any northern Baja insects out of southern Baja.