Visible from coastal areas
48310 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
NileGuide Expert tip:
Don't forget your camera and binoculars.
Winter visitors to Puerto Vallarta can count on two things – getting a great tan, and spotting a few humpback whales frolicking offshore. These magnificent creatures return to Puerto Vallata each year, drawn by its large, deep water bay and the perfect conditions it provides for breeding and calving. The "official" whale-watching season is December 8th through March 23rd, but whales don't use calendars, and it's not unusual to see a few of these great marine mammals for a few weeks before and after those dates. Whether you are walking along the Malecon or sipping a margarita at one of the charming cafes along the oceanfront, the chances are good you will see a couple of playful whales spouting and breaching against the horizon, so keep your binoculars handy. If you are afraid to leave it to chance, there are many whale-watching tours to choose from. At least one of the tours uses a light aircraft spotter plane to track the whales and then communicate the pod's location to the boat's captain. Many visitors choose a trip to the Marieta islands, one of the most beautiful marine reserves in the region, by renting a kayak or taking a boat cruise, which combines whale watching, swimming, snorkeling and bird watching. While out on the bay, you can also expect to see dolphins and sea turtles. Mexico has strict laws protecting wild life, so all whale-watching tours are licensed and regulated by the government.