The best time for whale watching in Puerto Vallarta? Throughout the 2014 Puerto Vallarta whale watching season we expect to encounter different whale activity, so the answer depends on what you hope to see! To decide what is the best time for whale watching in Puerto Vallarta for yourself, please keep reading. Our guidelines for the best time for whale watching tours in Puerto Vallarta have been taken from over 9 years of observations by our lead Marine Biologist, Elisa.
The Puerto Vallarta Humpback Whales return from their summer feeding grounds along the Pacific coast (from California to Alaska) to the Sea of Cortez beginning in November of every year. By the start of the official Puerto Vallarta whale watching season, December 8th, the population of Humpback whales in the Bay of Banderas in Puerto Vallarta all but guarantees multiple whale encounters on every tour. In fact our head Guide – Elisa – has seen whales on over 99% of the tours she has led!
Time of day does not affect the whales activity level:
We are often asked ‘What is the best time of the day for whale watching in Puerto Vallarta?’. From years of experience and thousands of trips to encounter the whales of Puerto Vallarta we can assure you that there is no correlation between time of day and a greater level of whale activity (like breaching, mating groups, mating displays, etc). The only correlation we have found is that the day following a full moon the seas and the whales display lowered activity levels. The whales are known to sing their hearts out on full moon evenings, maybe this tires them out?!
Whales do not have normal day/night bio-rythms like people. Whales and dolphins sleep (by alternately turning off half of their brain) when they need ‘sleep’ – not necessarily during the night time. Likewise, their activity level does not follow the standard day/night schedule either.
Time of the day does make a difference in the tour conditions:
- 8:30am ~ Typically the calmest seas of the day, dress in layers, it can be cool but will warm up
- 1:00pm ~ We may get late morning wind/waves, warm temperatures to cooling off
Time of the year during the Puerto Vallarta whale watching season does make a difference:
During the beginning of the Puerto Vallarta whale watching season we typically encounter only adult Humpback whales. At this time of the whale watching season there are new whales arriving every day, males and females. Typically early in the season we see more females that are not pregnant and males Humpbacks competing for the females attention – in the hopes of mating. Once a female has mated and knows she is pregnant, she often leaves the area.
By January we typically start to see new born baby Humpbacks whales. This is really wonderful! When the baby whales are young, they struggle to swim, but soon learn and gain strength. As January moves into February we start to see baby Humpbacks becoming stronger and more active. So if you want to see happy, active baby Humpback whales in Puerto Vallarta, we recommend visiting us in February and March.
Every few days the Marine Mammal Dynamic Changes:
What we have also found is that heightened levels of whale activity tends to grow and wane every few days. In other words, we have noticed there will be 2 or 3 days of intense whale activity followed by a couple of days of relaxed whales. This has been observed to coincide with the arrival (more activity) and departure (less activity) of small groups of male Humpback Whales looking for female whales that are receptive to mating.
So what we suggest is, that if you hope to see a wondrous level of whale activity (breaching, mating competitions, baby Humpbacks), make at least 2 whale watching tours, several days apart, perhaps at different times. Several reservations a couple of days apart, ensure you of the best opportunity to see whales leaping from the ocean, frolicking baby whales or witness the intensity of whale mating groups.
We have several whale encounter ‘Hot Spots’ but cannot visit all of them on each tour. For guests making multiple outings with us we endeavor to show our guests something new on each tour. Book online and save 20% on small group Puerto Vallarta whale watching tours. You can also choose a Puerto Vallarta private boat whale watching tour.
We hope that these recommendations for deciding on the best time for Whale Watching Puerto Vallarta helps give you a better understanding of what to expect when joining Whale Watch Vallarta’s Marine Biologist/Naturalist Guides for some whale watching tours. No matter when you decide to join us, we are sure that our staff passion for the whales of Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico you will find infectious. We absolutely love encountering whales and always aim to show our guests the best time whale watching in Puerto Vallarta.Share