I have now been on two trips with Charlie of Silver Shark Adventures and can't wait to go back again. In April of 2018, I roped a friend into going on the Gray Whale Adventure with me. We had such an amazing time, we almost immediately signed up for the Whale Shark Adventure that September. These have honestly been the most amazing and awe-inspiring trips I have ever been on.
Charlie, works really hard to make sure everyone has the best time possible. To that end, he will reach out in advance of the trip, discuss the plan and answer any questions you may have. Which definitely helped put me at ease, as I had never done a trip of this caliber before.
The 10 to 13-hour drive from Southern California to Bahia may be a deterrent to some, but the reward is in the journey.
Charlie’s intimate knowledge and passion for the wildlife and people of Bahia (and the surrounding areas) is unmatched. I can’t imagine trying to do this trip with anyone else. That he will only take small groups is so fantastic. It encourages a real sense of camaraderie and is just another testament to his respect for the animals and people of this area. You spend time as a part of the community and not as a gaggle of yahoos, descending upon a town and its inhabitants like a swarm of gnats.
Every day I woke like a child on Christmas morning (far earlier than I had on any other vacation), unsure of the day that lay before us, but knowing that it would be new and glorious. I would do my best to get up in time to soak in the gorgeous sunrise (which I highly recommend) and because nature is truly unpredictable, I would also prepare for the possibility, that the best thing to happen that day may be, spending the day with fantastic people in paradise.
After a light breakfast, we would head out on the boat for the day. Searching the horizon for signs of wildlife. Or waiting for Pancho to abruptly change course and head towards what would inevitably be another amazing encounter with one of the many animals that call this gorgeous place home.
Words can hardly do justice to the interactions I have had on these trips. The privilege of sharing the same space with these magnificent creatures is such a priceless gift. When a baby (still like 20 feet long) Gray Whale makes eye contact with you it will take your breath away. Swimming alongside a massive, yet graceful, Whale Shark will leave you searching for expletives you never knew you needed. The joy in hearing the resonance of a 70-foot Fin Whale inhaling right near our little panga (boat), before it disappears again beneath the surface. There are so many additional interactions which I have had the privilege of experiencing, I could go on for days. Sea lions, Blue Footed Boobies, Pelicans, Flying Fish, Devil Rays, the list goes on and on. But, one thing is for sure, the experiences you will have with Silver Shark Adventures will truly be unique and life-changing.
~Holly Mracek (Kittery, Maine)
"Everything you want is on the other side of
I was scared to go alone on this trip, to be driven from LAX to the middle of nowhere Mexico at 1:30 A.M. with people I didn't know, to explore a country that wasn't my home, with no cell phone service, to go to a hotel I didn't even know the name of (The swimming in the ocean with whale sharks part didn't phase me though lol) but WOW. Everything was MAGICAL. The souls I spent almost a week with, the nature and wildlife I saw in their habitat, the food (If you go to Mexico, have the chocolate milk by the way!), the landscapes. Everything was in tune.
Thank you, Charlie, for the amazing, life altering experiences. If you've always wanted to do this, stop thinking about it and just GO! You won't regret it. Charlie is warm, kind hearted, very knowledgeable about Bahia and the wildlife, and super accommodating to everyone's needs. I'm already planning my next trip.
P.S. Get the photo package. Having some footage of yourself swimming with whale sharks or sea lions is a must in my mind.
P.P.S. Charlie will answer any questions you have before your trip. No need to be like me and not know the name of the hotel you'll be staying in :) Enjoy!
~Ada Guillen (Orlando, Florida)
It was the best experience!!! Fantastic time. Everyone was wonderful! The people treated us like good friends, the food was terrific and the landscape is awe inspiring. Being next to the largest fish in the ocean is undescribable. I appreciated that everyone associated with Silver Shark was very mindful of caring for the environment. Thank you Charles (Silver Shark) for this outstanding adventure.
~Leslie Kantner (Centerville, Ohio)
In 2017 I was lucky enough to find Silver
Shark Adventures instagram! I couldn't believe the content I saw, when I saw the infamous orca video I knew that I had to go on one of Charlie's trips. Silver Shark Adventures was a newer
business and I really didn't have any idea what I was getting myself and my boyfriend into, all I knew was that I wanted to see the whale sharks.
We met Charlie before we finalized our decision to go on the trip. Charlie was awesome! He is so nice, caring, and so passionate! He will answer all of your questions and will ease any hesitations you may have about traveling to Mexico! After our meeting, I didn't have any hesitations about going on the trip.
My first trip was amazing, Charlie made sure that we had everything we needed throughout the entire trip. Bahia isn't a resort town, the hotel you will stay in isn't extravagant. BUT the town has character, and the people that live in Bahia de Los Angeles are so genuine and friendly.
My boyfriend and I went at the end of August in 2017, and the heat was miserable. We were on the water from 7:30am - 1:00pm for four days. Everyday was incredible. We swam with whale sharks everyday and with the sea lions on one of the last days. Charlie is so knowledgeable about all of the wildlife and always makes sure that the water is safe for everyone before jumping in!
I honestly didn't want to leave Bahia after the week I was there, it didn't matter that it was 100 F plus and so incredibly humid. Bahia has a special magic about it that is indescribable. I was so sad to leave, but I knew that I would be back!
I went back to Bahia that October 2017 to swim with the whale sharks again, and then in March 2018 to see the grey whales in Guerro Negro. My last two trips were all equally amazing experiences. If you're trying to decide which trip to take, don't, just go on both. They are both so different and equally as AMAZING!!!
Just one last thing, I feel like I need to give a forewarning, if you are looking for a luxury vacation, these trips are not for you. However, if you're looking for an adventure to a magical place don't question it. JUST GO! I can promise that it will be a once in a life time experience. I went on three different trips, and each was it's own unique experience. On every trip we had at least one, if not multiple, "Bucket List" experiences. I can talk about my experiences for hours, I just want anyone reading this review to take away one thing, you won't regret going on a trip with Charlie, just make sure you remember to bring a positive attitude , an open mind, and of course your favorite bikini!
~Alexis Elias (Los Angeles, California)
Silver Shark Adventures really takes care of you!! We swam with whale sharks and sea lions on this trip, what an adrenaline rush!! I loved every minute of it! Charlie is great tour guide and travel companion that we became “Familia”. Ruth who manages the hotel, Mike our cameraman and drone pilot and Pancho our boat captain treated us like familia. Charlie really takes care to the environment and the animals, treating them with respect and care. Swimming with the largest fish on the planet is mesmerizing. This is a trip I want to repeat again and again!
~Bill Hoying (Colombus, Ohio)
of your comfort zone and go on this trip!!! If you’re into “ once in a lifetime experiences” then this is the trip for you. Charles is an awesome guide and will show you things you never thought
The people in this small town are wonderful, friendly, and warm... you will feel like family.
So, unplug from your cell phones, take a journey you will never forget!!
~Jill Woods (Tipp City, Ohio)
You will walk away from this trip completely exhausted, emotionally and physically. Those are the best vacations. We couldn't wait to get to Bahia and it was everything we wanted and more. You aren't going for the resort life. It's rustic, simple, and absolutely incredible. Charlie is an amazing guide and gets just as excited seeing these animals as you do. If you want to live your life coloring outside the lines and see animals that you typically only see on BBC and NatGeo, take this trip. We already can't wait to go back.
~Michael Blazer (Memphis, Tennessee)
If you have ever thought about an eco adventure in an incomparable place, you must go on a trip with Silver Shark Adventures. Charles is so incredibly knowledgeable about the town of Bahia de Los Angeles and the creatures that call its waters home. And his connection to the town is something special.
~Ashford Carney Rosenberg (New Orleans, Louisiana)
I’ve now gone on two trips to Baja with Charlie. The first was in March 2016 to Guerrero Negro to see the Gray Whales and then to Bahia de Los Angeles for some whale watching. I had such an amazing time that I returned to Bahia with Charlie in August 2016, this time bringing along some friends, to swim with the whale sharks. The experiences that Silver Shark Adventures has to offer are incredible and should be at the top of any good bucket list. I had the opportunity to kiss a baby gray whale, swim with majestic whale sharks, have up close sightings of fin and humpback whales, hop in the water with playful sea lions, and so much more. Bahia is a magical place to visit and you’ll find no better tour guide than Charlie. He has years of experience visiting the area, established relationships with the locals, and extensive knowledge of the marine life. I’ve fallen in love with Bahia and can’t wait for my next trip with Silver Shark Adventures!
~Bridget DeCarlo (Los Angeles, California)
A trip to Bahia can only be described as magical.
The town is rustic with people that are genuine, hard working and kind. Charles was an amazing guide, his knowledge of the town and its people, the surrounding area, the waters and the sea life was enlightening. His love for all of it was obvious.
then there was the experiences, such as the gorgeous sunrises, the boat ride on the blue sea, the warm water and the beautiful surrounding landscape.
But all paled in comparison to the experience of seeing and swimming with the beautiful whale sharks and the playful sea lions. Swimming along side whale sharks as they gently glided through the water was an extraordinary experience. The next day we had the opportunity to swim with the sea lions, what a delight to be among them as they joyfully darted around us and "stared" us down.
It was hard to leave Bahia, it's hard to leave a truly magical place, but that's how you know it was a great vacation. Charles gave us a incredible experience and we are better for it.
~Melissa Wallstrom (Pasadena, California)
I recently joined Charles Harmer on a guided tour into a remote and beautiful part of Baja Mexico to swim with whale sharks, sea lions and go whale watching. Although I've traveled extensively through Mexico and Central America and have swam with whale sharks before, I was absolutely blown away. It was the experience of a lifetime. Professionalism, respect and knowledge of the marine world, and the intimacy with the animals themselves was way above and beyond anything I had ever experienced before. I can't recommend the experience enough. Now I'm hooked and can't wait to go back and do it again!
~Marie Tyler (Sedona, Arizona)
With his profound knowledge and love for the Sea of Cortez, Charles led us on a three day adventure of a lifetime. My wife and I viewed and photographed whale sharks, fin whales, turtles, dolphins, sea lions and numerous birds including nesting osprey and blue-footed boobies. Swimming with whale sharks and sea lions gave me a view into their world that I will treasure forever.
~Whit Meek (Sedona, Arizona)
One of the best experiences of my life. Swimming with the largest fish in the ocean is an extraordinary yet humbling experience. The feeling of pure bliss runs through your body when you first encounter these gentle giants and I'll never forget the times I got to swim right beside these big guys.
Some opportunities you can't pass and this is one of them. Do yourself a favor, treat yourself to one of the greatest experiences you'll ever have in your life. You won't regret it.
~Hrag Najarian (Davis, California)
I was very nervous about my trip to Bahia because it was my first time leaving the country and on top of that I was not feeling great the first day of our trip. Charles did a great job making me feel safe and comfortable on the drive down and once we arrived. Bahia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen or been too. Charles is full of knowledge and very passionate about whale sharks and marine life. Everyday I spent there was incredible. Swimming with whale sharks, sea lions and watching the beautiful sunrise every morning are all things I will truly never forget! I would highly recommend taking a trip with Charles to Bahia. Get up, get out and scratch it off your bucket list.
~Joel Jimenez (Los Angeles, CA)
Firstly, you describe the bay in the Sea of Cortez, Bahia de los Angeles as a kind of Mexican mini Gallapagos – in so far as the variety of birds and marine mammals that we encountered, almost entirely on our own, I would say I agree with you.
I don’t think words, photos or even video do it justice. As I walked along the beach one evening, there were all sorts of sea birds wading and picking their way along the shoreline which made it an audial and visual spectacle, a couple of mobular rays jumping out of the water, add the calmness of the water itself lapping onto the sand and rocks, clams squirting in a kind of chorus at low tide, terns diving into the shallows collecting tiny fish to take back to their nests, the odd osprey diving in and plucking out a massive fish almost the same size as itself and it trys to writhe and wriggle free as the osprey flies off with it held tenaciously wthin its talons.
The colours of the sea, the sky and the mountainous islands all around as the sun sets far to the west are a magical hue of blues and oranges on the horizon. Add to this the boat trips out to where a range of different seabirds are resting sunning themselves on the rocks majestically and as you get closer to the Californian seal colony, the cacophony of noise from the seals as the males warn their neighbours not to stray too close to their harems as they also sun themselves on the shallow outcrops above the water. The blows of the whales as they surface from feeding in the deeper water, passing pods of dolphin here and there along the way. The roar of a breaching whale occasionally in the distance.
Not only could you see the spouts of vapour but you can hear the deep breaths out and in as they refresh their massive lungs. The skill of the boat drivers as they position the boat to get closer but not so close or from the wrong angle that the whales just dive straight away but in such a way that the whales really do not seem to mind the boat getting right up close enough to see the barnacles and lice around the nostrils of these huge animals. It feels like you could reach out and touch them as they are only a few feet away. If you are standing up, you can see the whole size and length of the animal as it graciously swims along the surface when the sea is calm and clear.
Just as you describe them yourself, you can see their massive bodies especially the fin and humpback whales, as big as the dinosaurs that roamed the land millions of years ago. You said we could hope to see these creatures but never in my wildest dreams did I dare to think that we would get so close, see so many and that the waters would be so calm and clear. Such good views of the top fins and tail fins that you could even identify if it was the same whale as you had just seen or different ones.
Since those days spent on the boat with you, I have dreamt about little else than being there, vainly attempting to capture some of the magic and majesty of those beautiful and gentle creatures. I am forever endebted to you for persuading us to come to this place, taking my wife and I to view for ourselves the sights, sounds and experiences of this wonderful area. I knew we would never have had such a fantastic experience for the whole five days we were there, if we had not teamed up with you as our guide and driver. Thank you once again for a true experience of a lifetime.
Ok so there were some compromises, the food was very Mexican, the hotel was rather basic, the drive home was very long, but all made far more acceptable by having your company and thoughtfulness, your enthusiasm and passion to share it all. Your experience and care for the environment. Your skillful videos for a lasting memory to take home with us...Overall, it was just incredible.
~Clive Evans (England)
I started visiting Bahia many, many moons ago with Charles. Even then he had great knowledge of the area. If you want to go with someone who truly knows their stuff, then this guy is the man to see. This place is great for the sights, snorkeling, S.C.U.B.A., and the dark night sky. There are few other places on earth that the sky is truly without the pollution of light. I still remember being able to see the band that is the milky way.
~Joshua Brow (Los Angeles, California)