Whale Watching in Banderas Bay

by Craig Zabransky on January 13, 2011

In January visitors to Puerto Vallarta can watch the humpback whales in Banderas Bay.  In a season that begins on December 8th and runs through March 23rd, whales can be even spotted from the shore some days. But for those desiring a closer look, numerous tour companies can bring you with in a few yards (or meters) to these magnificent mammals.

Migrating thousands of miles from the arctic oceans, the whales come to breed, give birth and educate their young calves. We watch them breach. Researchers still debate the reason, but no one  argues about its majesty. Actually, the humpback species breaches with the most frequency making sightings all the more special. Magical in fact. Plus, such movements make them easy to spot, track and enable us to get real close.

Regulations limit the boat size and amount of passenger to maintain sustainability, so if interested on your trip to Puerto Vallarta, we recommend booking early. Some tour companies include:

  • Ocean Friendly. Offers a 4 to 5 hour tour departing at 9am from the Marine terminal that includes a lunch. The tour costs $95 adult / $75 child.
  • Vallarta_Adventures. Offers a 4 hour tour departing twice daily from the Marine terminal at 8:30am and 1pm and Nuevo Vallarta at 8am and 1:30pm. They also offer a whale-spotting guarantee based upon the use of its spotter plane. A tour costs $85 adult / $60 child.
  • Ecotours. Offers a 3 and 1/2-hour tour departing twice daily at 8am and 1pm from the Marine terminal. The tour includes light snacks and an expert biologist lecture before departure. It costs $80 adult / $65 child.

Regardless what tour company you book – we recommend you bring a sunglasses, sun block, a hat, windbreaker, camera or video recorder (batteries charged and loads of “film”) and binoculars if you have them. Also, arrive 30 minutes prior to your departure time and expect to pay a 10 pesos entrance fee (federal tax) for access to the pier.

A whale sighting is a great memory of any trip to Puerto Vallarta, but as beautiful as the creatures are, what I respect most is their intelligence. Traveling from the cold arctic temperatures, they return every winter to visit Puerto Vallarta. Not a bad idea at all.

Photo by: Whit Welles via Wikipedia

Craig travels around the world to write tales of travel aimed to encourage and inspire others to take and make adventure in their life. And after calling Mexico home for over a year, it secured a special place in his heart. He continues to return often and often considers it his second home. You can find more of his travels on his Stay Adventurous site and follow him on his Twitter: @stayadventurous..
Craig Zabransky
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