The Mexican Pacific is so warm during the winter months that it doesn’t only attract all sorts of snowbirds flocking here to steal a few more days of summer, but the wisest of mammals on earth, the mighty grey whales, choose these warm waters to bear their offspring every winter. Without a doubt, whale-watching is one of the favorite winter pastimes along the Pacific Coast, mainly in the touristic hotspots of Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos. From November until March, whale-watching becomes a staple in any tour of the bay, although there are specifically designed tours to get the best shots such as the one organized by Puerto Vallarta Adventures: Whale-watching guaranteed from December 20th until March 8th!
Lucky as it might be, I happened to spot a whale during a snorkeling trip to Los Arcos and Las Animas. On our way back the captain on board was making everybody dance at the tacky music pumping out of the loudspeakers. Mind you, we all have had a few (watered) drinks by then, and this was indeed showing in the moves of some Canadian ladies. Suddenly the boat came to a halt, and we were told there was a whale close by. Everyone pointed their cameras and phones in that direction, full of expectation. Not a minute had gone by when the youngest one came up for air… then the mother whale showed us her back, made a turn and submerged again! We waited for another ten, maybe fifteen minutes for a great appearance but we only had a few more glimpses. I guess if you are looking for a big shot, you are better off with an organized sea safari. My whale experience truly made my day because I wasn’t even expecting it, being mid-March already.
There are other places that are ideal for whale-watching in the coast of Jalisco and Nayarit such as Rincon de Guayabitos and the Marietas Islands. The islands get daily vessels filled with visitors who come to enjoy the best snorkeling amidst tropical fish in the Bay, and one of these tours may accidentally bring you into contact with dolphins and whales during the next few months. Baja California has a great spot for whale-watching in the Todos Santos Bay in the Ensenada municipality. South of the Sea of Cortez, the best spots in Baja California Sur for whale-spotting are Bahia Magdalena, Bahia Santa Maria and Magdalena Island in the Comondu municipality, the National Park Cabo-Pulmo, San Jose del Cabo, and the Wildlife Conservation Area in Cabo San Lucas.
I want to be around Puerto Vallarta for as long as the Pacific offers this winter show. When you live surrounded by this amount of wildlife, you feel with certainty that you are in the right place at the right time. Nothing is as reassuring as watching the wisest of mammals playing in the bay with their little ones every winter. Well, perhaps the sight of the eagles circling above the Sierra Madre.
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