Whale Watching in Puerto Vallarta
One of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta is seeing the majestic Humpback Whales each winter season. They migrate from the arctic to breed and reproduce in the sheltered coasts of our bay. We make sure to never miss this amazing event, so we have compiled this list with everything you need to know about whale watching in Puerto Vallarta.
What kind of Whales are in Puerto Vallarta?
In late fall, Humpback Whales begin their annual migratory route to their winter breeding and calving grounds in the warmer tropical waters of Mexico. Their total migration route extends to about 5000 km (3000 mi). This makes it one of the longest journeys of any mammal on the planet! Also, the Humpback Whales are a protected species so if you take a whale watching tour, no touching or feeding is allowed.
Whale Watching Season in Puerto Vallarta
Season: December – March
Whale watching season is between December and March each year. These gentle giants can be seen breaching out of the water as parents instruct their baby calves in the ways of the watery world. Each year, between 300 and 500 Humpback Whales are registered in the area. In other words, if you go during the right season you are almost guaranteed to see them!
It is very common to see the whales breaching, where they launch themselves out of the water. You will also see the young calves playing around in the deep waters of Banderas Bay while they playfully splash their mothers. It is an unforgettable experience that everyone should see in the winter season in Puerto Vallarta or Nuevo Vallarta.
Best Time for Whale Watching in Puerto Vallarta
Most tour companies offer either 8:30 AM or 1:00 PM excursions. The sea is usually calmer earlier in the morning so that is definitely a plus, especially if you are prone to getting seasick. Regarding the number of whales you will see, the exact time probably doesn’t make much of a difference.
The tour companies always know where they are and how to find them. They all have walkie-talkies and keep each other in the loop every time whales pop up in the bay. Also, if your hotel room has an ocean view you can probably see them out your window in the morning, so make sure to pack some binoculars!
Best Whale Watching Tours
These are our favorite whale watching tour companies. All their services can be chartered from Puerto Vallarta or Nuevo Vallarta. Otherwise, if you are in Bucerias, La Cruz, or Punta Mita it is probably easier to simply go to the marina in La Cruz and ask around. Someone will easily point you in the right direction to get a very affordable private boat to see the whales. Also, all vessels are required to have a copy of their tour permit onboard and they need to be flying a special whale watching flag.
This is the biggest and most professional tour company in the bay, but their tours can get pricey. We highly recommend the Rhythms of the Night tour! Discover zip lines, scuba diving, snorkeling, ATV tours, and more.
Named ‘Best Tour Guide’ by Vallarta Tribune in 2018 & 2019, they specialize in Marietas Island expeditions, whale watching, or sport fishing.
Off the Grid Tours
Skip the tour from corporate companies and go with Javier for a more personalized experience. Very knowledgeable about the entire Banderas Bay area and all the best attractions. For example, they are great for hiking, snorkeling, and Marieta Island tours.