There’s a magical time of year when humpback whales from the north Pacific migrate to warmer waters between southern California and the west coast of Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is a great location to catch these majestic creatures. This seasonal migration takes place between December and March in the Bay of Banderas which becomes a temporary breeding ground to witness pods of whales having the time of their lives.
The Bay of Banderas is also home to a large group of bottlenose dolphins along with other species of dolphins like spinner dolphins and rough toothed dolphins. Out on the water you’re also likely to see giant mantas and marine turtles; and if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of some Orcas during their migration.
Puerto Vallarta is full of knowledgeable tour companies that will guide you on an experience of a lifetime in and around the bay. Here are a few that come highly recommended:
Wildlife Connection offers a variety of specialized tours, including some that allow close encounters with marine life in their natural habitats.
Vallarta Natours guides visitors in marine tours and land tours.
*Both tour companies often have a marine biologist onboard to offer deeper insight to your marine adventures.*
Puerto Vallarta Viking Fishing Charters specializing in deep sea and sport fishing, along with snorkeling and whale watching tours.
It was a dream of ours to go whale watching and Puerto Vallarta Viking Fishing Charters made it happen for us. We met our guides on Los Muertos Pier at 8am and sailed towards to north end of the bay to begin our 4-hour whale watching adventure. Fewer things are as astonishing as seeing your first whale…in it’s natural habitat. Seaworld won’t always cut the mustard.
We kept a safe distance as we observed single humpbacks, a mother with her calf, and a small pod of whales. After almost 3 hours at sea, our guides spotted a commotion in the distance. We really didn’t know what was going on or what to expect but they put the boat in high gear immediately. We raced over, passing 4 boats along the way, making us the first boat on the scene to discover that the resident group of bottlenose dolphins were in the middle of a feeding frenzy! It was hard to tell what we were looking at until we were almost upon it! Our skipper’s sharp eyes and quick reaction made for the most unexpected, but breathtaking experience we’ve ever had in the sea.
It’s an experience I would surely do again and would recommend without hesitation.
Check out our whale watching experience below and the dolphins that took our breath away: