Every year, hundreds of whales migrate in search of the warmer Pacific Ocean waters of the Banderas Bay, on the shores of Riviera Nayarit, to feed, mate or give birth. This whale watching season (December 2020 – March 2021) promises to be one of the best and below outlines the five top reasons travelers should visit Riviera Nayarit before mid-spring to catch a glimpse of the gentle giants of the ocean.
1-Nurture by nature: As stress levels are on the rise, many have turned to nature to boost their mood and cope with the uncertain times. In fact, research shows that exposure to nature lowers blood pressure and heart rate, relieves muscle tension, and decreases the production of stress hormones. Insider tip: For a full-on natural experience, combine a whale watching tour with another activity; Riviera Nayarit has plenty of options. Nayarit Adventures offers an hour-long whale sighting trip followed by two hours of snorkeling at Isla Coral.
2-Silence is golden: As the world came to a halt in 2020 the oceans went quiet. With virtually no cruise ships and drastically reduced trans-Pacific cargo operations, scientists agree that whales have been thriving without human interference and are more likely to travel in bigger groups and be more social. Insider tip: When choosing a whale watching tour, opt for the ones with smaller vessels as they produce less noise and minimum disruption to whales. Bahia Sailing Tours is a great alternative, as they use a large sailboat that can accommodate bigger groups but is still quiet enough to not disturb whales.
3-More splash for your cash: While the most popular whale watching sightings are humpback whales, Banderas Bay will offer plenty of opportunities to spot blue whales, sperm whales California grey whales, orcas, and many species of dolphins. Insider tip: Go for a tour that has a marine biologist or other scientist as a guide. Punta Mita Adventures, for example, has Whale Watching Photo Safaris led by marine mammal experts who can provide knowledge and insight, and answer any questions travelers may have.
4-Support whale conservation: Riviera Nayarit’s whale watching providers play an important role in conservation and awareness efforts. Their teams take part in yearly education programs with the local community, help monitor migration patterns and many companies donate part of their earnings to research and conservation efforts. Insider tip: ECOBAC is the main non-profit operating in the Banderas Bay, devoted mainly to research and conservation of whales. Ask the tour operator if they contribute to ECOBAC to learn more.