Visiting Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos

While many Baja visitors are familiar with the magic of Magdalena Bay, very few reach this small seaside town on the northside of the bay. Situated against backwaters and mangroves channels, it’s best known for whale watching and fishing. Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos is quiet, simple and it has plenty of opportunity to explore the unique mag bay ecosystem.

Getting to Magdalena Bay in Baja Sur

Getting to this bay is half the battle as it doesn’t have an airport. Visitors can fly into Loreto and make a reasonably short two hour drive to town. La Paz is the other option and it’s more than three hours away. The remote nature of the area is part of the charm. 

While San Carlos is the more popular destination just to the south, both options are equally difficult to reach without a long drive from any airport. Overlanders and roadtrippers are the most likely crowd to arrive here but adventurous travelers can take a bus or rent a vehicle in Loreto, La Paz or even San Jose del Cabo.

Whale Watching in Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos

Whale season is the busy time of year in Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos. The location is a short boat ride to a major entry point for gray whales. During peak season, you can see hundreds of whales moving through the bay. 

The great thing about the location is the containment. It’s a single dock where a handful of operators work together. I went on a tour during peak season and it wasn’t crazy busy. The businesses were easy to navigate and the entire setup at the whale center is fantastic. You can also shop and dine right at the same location.

The Whale Center has restaurants on-site.

Where to Stay and Eat on Your Visit

Although it’s a small town, Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos has plenty of lodging options. There are several hotels catering to whale watchers and Mag Bay Outfitters has a lodge for anglers and adventure travelers. You can camp at the whale center parking lot as well.

I chose to camp at the parking lot while staging for a trip. It was super convenient and I was able to eat dinner at the restaurant. There was security and it was a quiet and safe night. This option is best for camper vans and RVers as it’s just a parking lot.  

While the restaurants at the whale center are great, they are far from the only game in town. There are only a few streets to drive or walk and you will find a handful of restaurants to try. I ate at one local, open-air style eatery and it was amazing. Go explore and you will find something delicious.

To cook your own crowd, go grocery shopping before visiting. There are a few places with vegetables and basic supplies around but you will certainly find more at the Leys store in Ciudad Insurgentes.

Is This a Destination for You?

Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos isn’t for everyone. It’s a small town without much in the way of entertainment. Personally, I love the place and enjoy the laid back lifestyle. The locals are always nice and the fishing is great if you have access to a boat or book a local charter.