I am trying to decide between 2 Princess whale watching tours in Cabo San Lucas. One is on a zodiac, the other is on a "whale watching vessel". Any idea what is the difference between the 2 and advice on which one might be better?
It all depends on your preferences. The Zodiac would be exciting because you are "in" the water with the whales. The vessel puts you up higher so you can see further away for spotting spouts. My preference is to have a higher comfort level than the zodiac offers (no restrooms or refreshments) and I've always opted for the boat versus the raft. I've heard that people really enjoy the zodiac experience if they have no medical issues like back problems or need to go to the restroom before the tour is over
There is no bathroom on the zodiacs; if that will be a problem, then the answer is obvious. The larger vessel can't get as close but the gov't limits the distance anyway, so they should be equal in that regard. You can also move about in the larger vessel - I get very stiff in a sitting position for a long time, so the zodiac is out for me!
We did the zodiac tour in January 2005. There were a couple of the bigger "vessels" out there as well.
I'm glad we did the zodiac, but it might not be everyone's bag of tea. Our guide was able to get us to whales very fast. If he saw a whale off in the distance, he opened up the engines and in no time we were very close to the whale. The larger vessels don't have that ability.
There will be a clear comfort difference between the two boats. On the zodiac you're sitting on the inflated side of the boat, about 18 inches above the water. And when you're flying across the water, sitting on air inflated rubber gets bumpy. The larger vessels are your typical 50 foot boats, 10 feet or so above the water line, with seats and restrooms etc. We were about as close to the whales as you could possibly get. I don't think you'd get that on the bigger boats.
We had an elderly couple on our tour. I'd guess they were in their low 70's. She was in a wheel chair and the boat crew had to carry her down to the zodiac. My first thought was "well, this is going to really put a damper on how he handles the boat." Nope. He was flying across the water at full speed, and that couple didn't stop smiling the whole trip.
BUT.... the people who were in the larger vessel also got some great photos of a whale breaching. We didn't see that. So some of it is just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
January to March you will see whales in either boat. I'll bet you'll have a good time in either boat. It's just a matter of how you want to get there and what you want to have available while you're out there.
We did the zodiac last January too and I am not exaggerating when I tell you it was one of the best experiences of my life! We too got VERY close ... hubby, who was riding backwards at the front of the zodiac fell onto the floor when a mother humpback expelled thru her blow hole right behind him ... hilarious! We probably saw 10-15 breaches too. Got excellent pictures and our guide also had some type of underwater microphone that allowed us to hear the whales "singing" to eachother through the boat's speaker system ... very cool. Also, on the way out to sea, you get VERY close to the sea lions for some more great pics. We had friends that went on a pirate ship to whale watch and then went again on a zodiac after hearing of our experience. Like the other posters said ... just depends on what you're comfortable with but if the potty isn't an issue I would recommend the zodiac hands down!