From November to May, humpback whale sightings are common–yet always special!–in the waters off of Riviera Nayarit. These gigantic cetaceans return annually to Mexico’s Pacific coastline after their long migration from the freezing waters of the North Pole and spend the winter playing in Nayarit’s subtropical waves.
During these four months, our Banderas Bay waters are filled with one of nature’s most astounding displays, where these majestic mammals come home to year after year for their mating and calving season.
They can be seen from the different coastal villages along the more than 186 miles of beaches in the Riviera Nayarit.
Whale sightings are one of the most popular tours for both locals and visitors, thanks to their mating rituals that include vocalizations, or “songs.” Humans can only hear part of these songs, as they aren’t able to hear the lowest of the whale frequencies. The rituals also include body slams by the males to impress the females and the most spectacular movements of all: the breaches.
An adult humpback whale can measure anywhere from 40 to 50+ feet in length and weigh between 30 and 40 tons. They breach throughout the year, but they do so much more in the wintertime, which is why these breathtaking jumps—when they practically clear the water with their enormous bodies—are more likely to be seen during their time in Banderas Bay.
As mere onlookers, it is our duty to respect their space and place ourselves in the hands of experts in order to see the whales. This is why the Riviera Nayarit Conventions and Visitors Bureau highly recommends its visitors to take tours that have been vetted by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat, by its acronym in Spanish).