This past February, my husband and I had the extraordinary opportunity to visit Magdalena Bay for a once-in-a-lifetime whale experience. Although we've been to Los Cabos several times, and have enjoyed seeing whales in a variety of circumstances, we had certainly never experienced anything like this before.

Touching baby gray whale Cabo

The journey began at 7:00 a.m., when we were picked up and taken to the airport, where we boarded a small, twelve-person propeller plane – not my favorite way to travel, but it made the all-day drive into a one-and-one-half-hour flight. Flying low over the mountains, we saw landscape we had never encountered in all of our years visiting Los Cabos. I noticed square patches of lush green that we learned were organic farms, many of which grow produce for Whole Foods. We landed on a dirt air strip that was part of a cannery and also a place where fishermen brought their catch to be packaged and sent off. From there we hopped on a bus en route to the Bay.

Once we were fitted with life jackets, we boarded simple twenty-two-foot boats that were totally bare save for wooden slats and a motor. We were off. And within three minutes, we were in the middle of an otherwise calm surface rippling with underwater activity. The captain turned the engine off and we were still, floating in the water. He asked us to put our hands into the water. We did. And then we were suddenly surrounded by enormous mammals that, above all, wanted to play. Baby gray whales. Mama gray whales. And everyone wanted to show off. Babies wanted to show off their acrobatics. Mamas wanted to show off their babies. And they certainly were curious about us. Several of them came right up and rubbed up against us, even looking into our eyes. We could almost hug them. I loved every minute of it. I had never seen such graceful, peaceful, inquisitive, marvelous animals, and there was no doubt in my mind that we were actually communicating.

Gray Whale Los Cabos

On the way back from the boat ride, back to the airport, we stopped at a private home for a simple, authentic seafood lunch prepared by a Mexican family and enjoyed at a table large enough to accommodate all of us. It was terrific. Both my husband and I were impressed by how safe we felt at every step of the way. The government has committed to making this an organized, safe adventure, and it shows.

Without Quintess, we never could have had this experience. Not only was the trip carefully recommended by one of our favorite Hosts, Prem (who knows how much I love whales), it was then meticulously arranged by our other favorite Host, Lola. We were careful to schedule the trip in February, when we knew the gray whales would be feeding and birthing in the warm, shallow waters of Magdalena Bay before making the three-month journey back up to Alaska. If it weren't for our Hosts' suggestions and skillful arrangements, we never would have had the opportunity to see these huge mammals up close; to feel their wonderful, gentle heads and to have them look us right in the eyes. And it perhaps goes without saying that our whale adventure was infinitely enhanced by our beautiful Quintess accommodations, as well as our delightful Host, Lola, who made us feel like she really wanted to do whatever it was we asked of her throughout the trip. She is an absolute gem.

Now I just have to convince my husband to go on a Quintess Beyond safari, where perhaps we can interact with a few elephants...

Rick and Mary Ann Pearson are members of the Quintess Collection.