Mulegé, México, April 1 2021: Like every other country, Mexico’s tourism has taken a bashing thanks to the pandemic. The current drop in infections coupled with the arrival of the migratory giant gray whale to the shores of Baja in California peninsula, means a welcome respite for visitors in a country with the third-highest global death-toll.
This species of the mammal, which weighs over 30-tons, is 15-metre long and makes an annual migration from Alaska to the warmer waters in Northwest Mexico to mate, is unique eye-candy for tourists. Mexico is one of the few destinations that did not require a negative COVID test even as the pandemic raged at its peak making it the 3rd most-visited country in 2020.The limit on non-essential activities however, put a damper on things.
The start of the January-April tourist season saw a gradual lifting of the restrictions. Local tour operators say they managed to limit laying-off workers and hope to eventually pay-off debts if the gradual easing continues. It’s also fortunate that 1,500 to 1,700 whales have been seen to arrive in the El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, a good sign, for once they too were endangered, but the numbers have rebounded strongly since the 19th-century.
The eastern North Pacific is home to the only definitely surviving breeding population, with an estimated size of up to around 27,000 gray whales. And one of the best places to see them is in the lagoons off Baja California where they congregate in winter away from predators like killer whales, offering an unforgettable experience.
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