DescriptionGuerrero Negro (geh-REH-roh NEH-groh) is located within the barren Vizcaíno Desert (Desierto Vizcaíno), just south of the Baja California Sur state border. The name, which means “black warrior” in Spanish, was the moniker of an American whaling ship wrecked at the entrance to nearby Scammon's Lagoon (Laguna Ojo de Liebre). Summer temperatures here are much cooler than in the interior of the peninsula due to the cold California Current, which extends north off the Pacific coast.
The area around Guerrero Negro is part of the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. Encompassing bays, lagoons, vast expanses of the Sonoran Desert and the rugged Sierra mountains, El Vizcaíno is an important breeding and wintering site for the California gray whale and also is home to four species of endangered sea turtle.
The easiest way to experience the whales up close is to take part in an organized trip from Guerrero Negro. Malarrimo Eco-Tours offers 4-hour excursions with English-speaking guides aboard a 23-foot outboard boat with a maximum of 10 passengers. In addition to the whales, marine birds, sea lions and dolphins can be seen. Van transportation to and from Scammon's Lagoon is included.
Warm clothing, a waterproof jacket or windbreaker, sunblock and rubber-soled shoes are recommended. Trips depart daily Dec. 15-Apr. 15 from the Malarrimo Restaurant and campground complex on Boulevard Zapata. Tour prices and reservations should be made several months in advance; phone (615) 157-0100.
An all-inclusive package excursion under the guidance of an experienced naturalist is significantly more expensive, but worth it if you want convenience and a complete experience. Most of these trips depart from San Diego and include transportation and accommodations. A representative package tour company is the environmentally oriented, San Diego-based Baja Expeditions, Inc.; phone (800) 843-6967 (from the United States).