January 5, 2010
One of my favorite excursions in Puerto Vallarta was whale watching. In the winter months Puerto Vallarta’s bay turns in to a perfect breeding ground for humpback whales. They can easily be seen playing in the water, fighting each other, spouting water, and if your lucky you may even get to hear one sing. My dad and I went with Eco Tours which I highly recommend. They are a conservation based tour group and they are conducting research on the whale population and you can help them by taking pictures of the various whale’s tails which are all unique and can be used to identify individual whales. They are of course wild animals and sightings can never be guaranteed, but this time of the year you should get some great views. We saw seven individual whales, including an adorable baby, a few dolphins, and got the chance to listen by hydrophone to a male sing for about 15 minutes. We took the morning tour, which I also recommend, you have to get up early because it starts at 8am, but it is so worth it. The whales are more active in the morning and the light is great for photos. Eco Tours starts with a 30 minute lecture, which I usually find really boring, but I found to be helpful and informative this time, also our biologist guide, Astrid, was nice, funny and very smart. After the lecture the group, which consisted of about 10 people, made our way onto the zodiac and headed out to sea- the whole tour lasts about 4 hours (30 minute lecture, 3.5 hours at sea.) The drivers are great and can spot a whale way in the distance and zoom off really fast- the trip is not for those afraid of speed or those who get easily sea sick, there is a lot of zooming and bobbing about. Our driver was also a specialist on sea turtles and spotted two for us and talked to us about them, one turtle was fast asleep with a bird perched on his back, and when he heard us he woke up and shooed the bird away, it was really fun to watch. You also get to see some great sea birds- pelicans, gulls, terns, we even saw a flock of blue-footed boobies.
My Tips and Tricks for this trip-