Mexico’s tropical vacation destination of Punta Mita offers a luxury getaway with a fabulous climate all year long, but its most comfortable weather may be enjoyed from late December to the end of March. That’s fantastic news for those who want to treat their friends and family to a truly incredible humpback whale-watching experience because these amazing giants of the sea call the waters surrounding Punta Mita home during these months. The official humpback whale-watching season begins on Dec. 15, and it runs straight through March 31. The local captains know exactly where to take you to ensure that you see the whales without disturbing their natural movements and behaviors, and as an added bonus, killer whales (orca whales) are also often seen in the area during these months.
A Brief History of the Humpback Whale
The fact that you have the opportunity to view the humpback whale in its natural habitat is practically a miracle because they were high on the endangered list back in 1988. Commercial whalers nearly wiped them out between the 17th and 20th centuries for their meat, oil and baleen, which is the whale’s jawbone that humans used to make such items as buggy whips, backscratchers, corset stays, crinoline petticoats and parasol ribs. Thanks to the large-scale ban on commercial whaling, humpback whales have made an amazing comeback in their numbers.
Humpback Whale Facts
These enormous creatures aren’t like other whales, and you’ll definitely want to catch a glimpse of them after you learn more. Check out these fun facts.
- Giants of the Sea: While the humpback whale is by no means the largest species of whale, they are still an impressive sight at up to 52 feet for the females and 46 feet for the males. Either sex may weigh in at as much as 44 tons.
- Pack Hunters: That may be a phrase that you’d more likely associate with wolves, but these whales work together to catch all of the fish that they want to eat. This hunting technique is known as bubble-net fishing, and the whales group up and swim in circles around schools of fish. As they swim, they all blow bubbles that encase the fish into a tight ball for easy consumption. They also graze on plankton and krill whenever it’s available.
- Unique Characteristics: Unlike most other species of whale, the humpback whale has two blowholes on the top of their head instead of just one. Each humpback whale also possesses a truly unique tail, and no two whale tails are exactly alike.
- Entertainers of the Deep: Humpback whales actually do sing, and it’s a beautiful sound. This is most often heard during mating season as a part of their mating ritual, but it’s also believed to be used as a way that they communicate with each other and perhaps other sea creatures. It can be heard for several miles beneath the water.
The Migration of the Humpback Whales
Many mammals migrate, but humpback whales hold the record for the longest migration journey of any creature on this planet. They swim a bit over a whopping 3,100 miles, and the many pods of males and females go on this adventure together. During the summer months, humpback whales that are found in the North Pacific spend their time feeding off the coast of California and all the way down to Alaska. In the autumn, they begin their migration to the warmer tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean in Mexico where they’ll spend the winter either giving birth or choosing mates and breeding. Once spring arrives, they’ll head back out once again.
Humpback Whales in Punta Mita Waters
During the time of the migration that brings the humpback whales to the waters that surround Punta Mita, you may see the mothers caring for their young in the clear waters of the “nursery” area. The newborn humpback calves are adorable but not exactly small as they are typically born at 20-feet long and weigh around 2 tons. They nurse for a full six months, so you’re sure to see dozens along with their protective mothers, who almost always have a fin touching their young as they swim together. You may also expect to see a great many males of breeding age showing off for the girls with great leaps out of the sea and much slapping of their tails on the water as well as large groups of whales swimming along next to the boats enjoying the comfortable temperature of the water. These are just a few of our best tour companies that offer exceptional whale-watching tours.
Punta Mita Adventures
This trusted company is unique in that it utilizes a spotter plane that communicates with the boat captains about the current location of the whale pods. This makes the possibility of a sighting extremely high, and there are several types of whale-watching tours to choose from. Most all of the tours last about 3 hours and are available for those age 6 and up. Snacks, bottled water and hydrophones are included, and these allow you to hear the whale’s song beneath the water. You may choose from these tours or something more personalized at your request.
- Whale Photo Safari: This is the tour that you want if you’re traveling with an all-adult group as it is not recommended for children. You’re likely to see many whales during this special tour and have the opportunity to capture photos of a lifetime.
- Las Marietas Eco Discovery: Another great opportunity to see the whales, this tour offers a comfortable family experience. You’ll visit the waters around the Marieta Islands, which are fully protected and brimming with sea life.
- Sailing With Whales: A lovely experience for the family, this tour allows you to watch the whales swim alongside the boat. Please note that the whales are faster than the boats, so they may move away from the boats at any time.
Punta Mita Expeditions
A marine biologist guides this whale-watching adventure, so you can be sure of learning a lot about these whales and having all of your questions answered. It’s fun for all ages, and you’ll be taken into Banderas Bay where the whales and dolphins typically gather in great numbers. The tour is 3 hours long, and you’ll be able to hear the whales sing through the hydrophone. Crew members will be taking photos of your group and your reactions to the whales throughout the tour.
Punta Mita Charters
The tours that this company offer are often a good choice for those with young children as they run only 40 minutes long. The captains are very knowledgeable and provide a great tour, and you may choose from two boats that carry up to 10 people and come with one motor or two.
Plan Your Punta Mita Stay Today
Here at Exceptional Stays, we have a wonderful selection of luxury Punta Mita villas for rent available during whale-watching season. You may choose a vacation residence that sits right on the beach or just a short walk to the beach or the golf course, and you’ll discover wonderful services and amenities that include a full staff, a private swimming pool, a game room and an in-home gym. Contact us today, and we’ll assist you in choosing the perfect vacation home, and we’ll be happy to arrange your whale-watching tour as well.