During your stay at Villa Estrella, we highly recommend taking the opportunity to head out on a Nayarit whale watching excursion. This is an experience for all ages and is best enjoyed from mid-December through until the end of march. That said, you may be able to head out and spot these majestic mammals at any time of the year. Be sure to ask at the gate house regarding availability and local tour opportunities if you have not already booked yours ahead of your stay.
What Will You See on a Nayarit Whale Watching Excursion?
Every whale watching excursion in Nayarit is different. What you see while you are out on the water will depend on many different factors. For the best chance of seeing the largest number of whales, the best time to travel is from mid-December to the close of March. The reason is that it is during that time that many species of whales will head into Banderas Bay from the Pacific Ocean. They arrive for the warmer water during the winter months so they can feed, mate, and even give birth to their young.
Among the species that visit the region every year and that you may spot while on a whale watching excursion include:
- Blue whales
- California grey whales
- Humpback whales
- Orca (killer whales)
- Sperm whales
- Many different dolphin species
Low Impact Tours
If you’re booking your own whale watching excursion, make sure to focus on booking a low impact tour. That way, you can be certain that your presence in the water won’t be disruptive to the whales. You’ll head to the places where you’re most likely to be able to watch them, but you’ll do so respectfully without causing them stress.
Tours can vary in length, but the typical whale watching excursion will be up to 4 hours long. This will give you the best opportunity to find a great location to peacefully enjoy the presence of these marine mammals as they engage in various types of surface behaviors.
Among the best places to head out from Villa Estrella to see the local whales include:
- Punta Mita
- Nuevo Vallarta
- And all the way up to coast to San Blas
A Real Whale Watching Excursion Experience from a Villa Estrella Guest
Our whale watching excursion was the highlight of the trip and a life-long memory that seem to be part of daily life here at Villa Estrella.
Today we went whale watching. It was an experience of a lifetime.
Earlier this week we talked to Ismael who helped to set up the whole trip. We set out early morning (but not at an ungodly hour…we’re still on vacation after all). We went down to the water to load into the boat. We packed a backpack full of snacks and brought a little cooler full of drinks. As we set out on another gorgeous, sunny, Pacific morning, we could tell it would be a special day.
We passed some large fishing boats on the way out and our guide, fluent in English, gave us a commentary on fishing and the ecosystem that surrounded us. It didn’t take long at all for the excitement to begin; off to the left side of the boat, a pod of dolphins emerged from the water. In what seemed like hours but was probably minutes, we watched as they rose and sank, rose and sank in a primal, choreographed game.
Continuing on our trip, after having sufficiently taken in the dolphin display, we set out to find whales. I felt like a man on a mission – Captain Ahabish but without wanting to hurt anything. A quick note about our guide, he was awesome. His knowledge of the sea life and the history of the area was bar none. He was the best tour guide we’ve ever had. Back to the whale watching…. About a half hour after finding the dolphin pod, we saw some action in the distance. It was a mother and her calf. We approached with caution and kept a safe distance, but we were able to see so much detail on the animals. Humpback whales are such large, misshapen mammals yet so graceful in the water. We cut the motor and just listened as they surfaced and then submerged.
Their blowholes and the waves were the only sounds for about forty minutes. Then, they dove deep and that was the last we saw of the mother and her baby. Not long after the first whale encounter, we saw another whale on the horizon. By the time we caught up, we realized that this was an enormous whale. The guide, in all his wisdom, was amazed as he had never seen anything like it. You see, normally, the humpbacks would breach for a while and then dive deep for a long time, but this whale gave us a 2 hour show. The only reason we left was because we would run out of gas to get home. The display was amazing. The whale would go under for 10 minutes or so then explode out of the water in a dazzling show. At some points, he breached so close to the boat, we could see the barnacles on him (at least I think it was a him). He would slap his fins and roll. I’ve never had an experience like it. As we left him, still playing on the horizon, we waved ‘Bye’ and thanked our guide profusely.
Our whale watching excursion was the highlight of the trip and a life-long memory that seem to be part of daily life here at Villa Estrella. What a wonderful, magical place.
Written By Carl A., Villa Estrella Guest, January 2010