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Puerto Vallarta Whale Watching

February 11, 2019 by Justin

Whale watching in Puerto Vallarta is extremely popular. There are a large number of whale watching tours competing for your business. It’s a popular activity because each year between 500 and 700 Humpback whales are sighted in Banderas Bay during their annual migration.

whale watching puerto vallarta

The Humpback whale migration route tends to follow a coastal route and can go a distance of 7000 kilometers. They return to Puerto Vallarta each winter for mating and calving. Because of the Humpback whale’s mating season, male whales follow the females and form a “heat run”. This creates a group of closely grouped whales and therefore creates good “viewing” as they jostle for position in the water.

The Banderas Bay offers good protection for female whales who are calving and nursing during winter. The Bay’s topographical profile has shallow protected areas making it an ideal location. Most new whale births happen in January during the later weeks of the whale watching season and are usually just mother and calf pairs at that stage.

Humpback whale calves can weight between 500 and 600 kilos and as much as 4 meters in length. In the beginning, they are a grey color before they go to a darker blue/black color from exposure to the sun.

When can you see whales in Puerto Vallarta?

From December to March each year.

What kind of whales are in Puerto Vallarta

Humpback whales and Bryde’s whales and on the rare occasion the Orca Killer whale and the false killer whale.

Why do Humpback whales make for quality and regular whale watching tours?

Humpback whales are well recognized for their amazing jumping or “breaching” out of the sea and flipper-slapping on the water surface. The theory is that the popularity of whale watching tours helps to raise the exposure of the entire population and contributes to their conservation. Additionally, by protecting the whales it has a knock-on effect and protects other species in their protected areas.

What do Humpback whales look like?

The humpback whale is the largest mammal on earth and weights as much as 30 metric tons and reaches a length of 50 feet. Can you imagine that jumping out of the sea in front of you? Even if you have never gone whale watching before, the Humpback is easily identifiable with long 5 meter pectoral fins and a bumpy head. The bumps on the humpbacks head are large hair follicles, thought to help the whale in a sensory capacity.

The Humpback whale song and behavior

Both female and male Humpback whales have songs but the most common complex song are vocalized by the male. Each song can last up to 20 minutes and some frequencies are audible and others inaudible. Many of the tour operators will have devices that allow you to listen to whale song.

Scientists are still unsure about the meaning and purpose of the whale song. Perhaps it’s to attract the opposite sex or a challenge to other males. Also, during their feeding season, humpback whales made different sounds to herd fish into “bubble nets”.

humpback whale bubble net

Humpback whale bubble net for herding fish

If you are interested in Puerto Vallarta whale watching, perhaps you would like to know more about Puerto Vallarta Snorkeling

If you liked this article please take a look at the Suite Marine definitive guide of things to do in Puerto Vallarta

for a long list of great activities in Puerto Vallarta.


At Suite Marine, we like to recommend Ocean Friendly whale watching tours

  • Choose a boat and date