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Top 5 Things Puerto Vallarta Tourists Should Know About Upcoming Whale Watching Season

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Whale watching is one of the most popular activities for travelers in Puerto Vallarta, with the destination being regarded as one of the best in Mexico for spotting these gentle giants.

The whale watching season is due to start in just several weeks, lasting until late March.

A humpback whale jumping in the ocean in puerto vallarta

During that time, millions of travelers flock to Puerto Vallarta, allowing for endless opportunities to spot a number of whale species from shore or by booking a guided tour.

With a record number of visitors set to visit Puerto Vallarta this winter, here are 5 of the most important things travelers need to know about the upcoming whale-watching season.

This Is The Best Time To Spot Whales

a humpback whale jumping in the water in puerto vallarta

A number of whale species can be observed around the Pacific waters that surround Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit. Humpback whales and blue whales are just several of the massive species that flock to the Mexican Pacific between early December until late March.

However, the best time for whale watching can change slightly from one year to the next, with authorities enacting strict regulations during the season to ensure a high degree of environmental respect.

This year, the whale watching season is expected to start on December 8th. 


Whale watching in Puerto Vallarta ☀️

♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Consider These Tours For Your Next Whale-Watching Experience 

Although lucky travelers might catch a glimpse of the majestic humpback whale from the shores of Puerto Vallarta, a guided whale-watching tour makes for an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

A number of tour companies operate in the Puerto Vallarta area, with some being regarded as better than others. Eco Explorer is one of the most popular firms for first-timers as well as more experienced travelers.

Offering a range of nature excursions, the company is known for its knowledgeable guides and excellent environmental standards.

@vallartalife Whale Watching in #PuertoVallarta ♬ Cold Heart – PNAU Remix – Elton John & Dua Lipa

This 3-hour $89 per person tour is an excellent choice and departs daily at 9 a.m. during the season, although the company also offers more niche tours, including Mantra Ray excursions. 

Whale Watching Tours Are Strictly Regulated 

Many species of whales are endangered, meaning they face a great risk of becoming extinct. Fortunately, whale-watching tours in Puerto Vallarta are strongly regulated by local and state officials, affording licenses to companies that meet strict standards. 


Mom and baby whale in Puerto Vallarta.

♬ original sound – Gale Spaulding Haley

Before booking a tour, make sure to read traveler reviews and ensure that your tour company has the necessary licenses to operate safely. Some of the regulations in place include keeping a safe distance from whales and avoiding chasing them.

Look Out For These Species On Your Next Tour

Aside from the massive blue whales – which can measure up to 98 feet in length – and the more common humpback whale, travelers can also spot a number of other aquatic creatures on their whale-watching tour. 

@kriswiegs While in #puertovallarta we came upon HUNDREDS of spotted dolphins! It was truly a sight to see. #mexico #dolphins #spotteddolphins #fishing ♬ The Mighty Rio Grande – Concept – This Will Destroy You

The waters of the Bahía de Las Banderas (Banderas Bay) are a hotspot for all sorts of animal sightings. From the elegant bottlenose dolphin to giant manta rays, travelers are nearly guaranteed to see an aquatic mammal species on their next tour.

Book Early To Avoid Higher Fees And Fully Booked Tours

Now is the best time to book your next Puerto Vallarta whale-watching tour. With the city’s travel numbers expected to reach a new record in 2023, countless travelers are already booking their tours.

@wendysue42 This lucky Momma swam with dolphins 🐬 ❤️ #vallartaadventures #puertovallarta #princessdiscovery ♬ Pure Imagination – Kathleen

And with just a handful of top-rated and responsible companies offering whale-watching tours, it’s important to avoid last-minute bookings, which can come with higher prices and more restricted offerings.

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