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2017-2018 Whale Watching Season Opens December 8

December 6, 2017

Each year from December to March, Banderas Bay and the waters off the coast of Vallarta-Nayarit offer some of the world's most spectacular whale watching. (Photo: Larry Bennett, Aspen Photo Art Gallery)

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - There are many ecological tours and exciting activities to enjoy in Vallarta-Nayarit, but nothing compares to the thrill of whale watching on Banderas Bay.

Each year in late November, hundreds of Humpback whales start arriving off the coast of Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit. Their annual migration from the cold waters of Alaska brings them as far down as the Bay of Banderas where they will procreate and raise their young in our warm waters, which offer some of the most spectacular whale watching opportunities in the world.

December 8th is the first official day of the 2017-2018 whale watching season in the Bay of Banderas and the waters off the coast of Vallarta-Nayarit, according to Roberto Rodríguez Medrano, the Nayarit delegate of SEMARNAT, Mexico's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

To ensure the protection and conservation of the Humpback whales in their natural habitat, all whale watching tour providers must obtain the appropriate authorization from SEMARNAT. "To be SEMARNAT authorized for this activity, whether the tour provider is a single vessel, a cooperative, or a company that requests several permits for several boats, every captain and crew member must take a preparation course every year," Rodríguez Medrano said.

These courses, which reiterate the official Mexican standard that regulates whale watching and inform guides of any modification to the rules, must be taken before each new season's whale watching flags and permits are issued.

The official whale watching flag for the 2017-2018 season is white on the top, has a green stripe in the middle and is gray on the bottom with a picture of a Whale in the middle.

Each authorized vessel is required to have a copy of their permit onboard and raise the whale watching flag. When you are offered a Puerto Vallarta whale watching trip, make sure the boat has the proper permit. This will ensure that you, your family and friends enjoy a safe whale watching experience, while helping to protect these gentle giants that call the Bay of Banderas "home" for a few months every year.