Whale Watching Season
Whale Watching season in Banderas Bay and the Pacific Ocean near Puerto Vallarta officially begins December 8th and runs through the winter until March 23rd. Governmental regulations limit any Whale Watching tours to this time period. Large cetaceans, such as Humpback and Gray Whales, annually migrate over great distances from the cold waters in the Northern Pacific and the Bering Sea. Pods of these gargantuan creatures travel approximately six thousand miles to the temperate waters near Puerto Vallarta. These marine mammals head south to the warm waters off the Mexican coast in order to breed as well as give birth and nurse. Humpback Whales, the most predominant whale species in the waters near Puerto Vallarta, prefer to give birth to their calves in protected waters of Banderas Bay. The calves nurse and learn to survive in the sheltered waters of Bahia Banderas. Newborn calves weigh as much as one ton at birth. Adult Humpback Whales consume approximately a ton to a ton and a half of small fish and krill (tiny crustaceans) every day.
Humpback Whales and Gray Whales are not the only species that can be seen during the winter in Banderas Bay and the nearby Pacific. The Blue Whale, the Sperm Whale, the Bryde´s Whale, the Sei Whale, the Fin Whale, and the Orca may also be spotted. Orcas, or Killer Whales, are known to hunt in packs and sometimes even hunt other whale species.
While the whales migrate away from Banderas Bay in late March, other marine mammals can be seen year ’round, including Spinner Dolphins, Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins, Spotted Dolphins and Sea Lions.