Richelieu Rock is a seamount rising from the seafloor and its home to a huge amount of sea life. There are two summits and around these schooling fish are abundant.
Point Lobos is a jewel among the State Parks for the whole family with four accessible wheelchair trails.
The park opens throughout the year at 8 a.m. but closes before sunset to protect the wildlife and to avoid disturbance (like deer, foxes, bobcats, and owls). Camping is not permitted. Clearer skies, warmest average temps and the best moths without fog are September and October followed by April and May during the harbor seal pupping season.
Crowds in Summer
This magnificent and popular State Reserve is located close to Carmel on HW 1. Point Lobos is a year-round destination and super busy during summer and especially at weekends. Limited parking within the reserve; 150 cars only. At weekends and especially Sundays during summer it’s advisable to arrive before 9 a.m. or later in the afternoon. Otherwise, you have to line up or park your car outside on the shoulder and walk in.
If possible visit the reserve mid-week. However, Point Lobos is also much loved by school classes due to the many opportunities to experience and learn about nature and wildlife. The foundation supports schools with transportation and offers adventure programmes for 8 to 12 years old youth in summer which fills up soon.
It’s a moderate cool coastal climate. The average temperature ranges from about 55 to 65°F / 13-18 °C year-round. Spring is sunny and cool before the foggy summer season starts with fog until the afternoon. Fog banks emerge from the cold water (around 50 °F / 10°C) and the warm coastal air to condense into fog. Fall (September to November) is the sunniest time of the year although evenings are more chilly. During the winter mist and showers occur between November to March.
- Harbor Seal Pupping Season
From March until June you may spot harbor seals giving birth to a puppy at China Cove. It’s amazing that the new-borns start to swim just 20 minutes later. The best months to witness this spectacle are April and May.
- Southern Sea Otters
They may be spotted offshore in the kelp beds during calm days. On windy days they are more often found in protected coves. They are living in waters with a temp between 35°F and 60°F / 1,5°C up to 15,5°C. This is important for their constant body temp of almost 100 °F / 37°C. They mate and give birth in the sea throughout the year with a peak of pupping from January to March, fewer from August to October.
- They can be spotted throughout the year. Perfect spots to observe whales are South Point and Sea Lion Point.
Grey whales are most commonly seen from late December to January and again from March until early May.
Humpbacks are frequently seen from March until December.
- Minke whales are sometimes spotted from January until April. They migrate in larger numbers but due to their smaller seize often missed.
- Blue whales are sometimes spotted in summer.
- Orcas; three different species of orcas can be found. The transient orcas feed on mammals, therefore, frequently seen when gray whales migrate with their calves their preferred prey. They can also be spotted at other times of the year hunting seals, porpoise, and dolphins. The resident orcas feed on fish especially salmon and always stay in the same area. Nowadays resident orcas from Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca can be found around Monterey. The offshore orcas are mostly seen during winter feeding on squid, fish and even sharks.
- Sea Lions
The sea lion population is much smaller in late spring and summer due to migration to the south for mating.
Spring and summer is the nesting season. The bird island trail is great to spot lots of birds in the morning or late afternoon. Two cormorant species can be found year-round; nesting on rocks offshore from March to August. We spotted several birds like the scrub jay and dark-eyed junco.
The wildflower season in spring; California Poppies, Douglas Iris, lilac Ceanothus and many more
A permit is required, and reservations can be made up two months in advance. 15 diving teams always two divers are allowed to dive at Whalers Cove and Bluefish Cove each day. Some caves are accessible in calm seas. Diving map of Point Lobos State Reserve
Where to Stay (bookmark the links)
Unfortunately, there isn't any campground or accommodation offered inside the reserve. The best-located hotel is the Hyatt Carmel Highlands with spectacular views. Nearby is the popular town of Carmel with a vast variety of hotels and lodges. An alternative and half an hour drive is Salinas. We'd chosen the Super 8 Salinas where breakfast is included.
Rathlin Island lays at the top of Northern Ireland, in the Atlantic Ocean at the entrance of the Irish Sea. It's a Special Area of Conservation and has a lot of seabirds living on its cliffs.
Diving is possible all year round, but the best periode is the end of summer until the middle of oktober.
Bunaken is famous for its underwater wild life. You are able to spot more fish species during one dive than living in the Caribbean Sea incl. the famous mandarin fish.
Bunaken is a whole year desitination.
Best months are May to September (the dry season). Wet season from November to February. It has a little affect to the visibility.
Peak season July and August which is higher priced and fully booked.
Dolphin and whale watching is offered in July and August.
It is a popular and great reef for snorkeling and diving. You can rent the equipment for snorkeling and diving at the entrance. They have nice and experienced guides.
Avoid cruise ship days. It's completely crowded. If you can't avoid go early not later than 9 a.m. or in the afternoon. Sea is calmer in the morning. Of course best with sunlight. April and May higher chance for sea turtles.
The dry season last from December until April/May. Cruise ship season last until late March. Rainy season from June until November with the possibilities of hurricanes and flash floods. The driest month is March and the wettest is August.
Anse Chastanet beach is one of the best diving and snorkeling spots in the Caribbean.
It is less busy in the morning and afternoon. We spotted more fish in the morning. Avoid midday too many snorkelers arriving by boat.
Climate and Crowds
Best months are during the dry season from December until May. Driest months are February to May. Day temperature always around 30 C°/ 86°F. Most sunshine in March. The rainy season lasts from June to November with the possibilities of hurricanes and flash floods. Wettest month is September. Minimum water temperature is 27 C°/ 81°F It's more crowded during the dry season, expect higher rates and crowds from mid-December to March. April and May rates decrease and "fewer" tourists except for Easter.