Guerrero Whale Research Expedition
Join our friends Whales of Guerrero on a trip to beautiful Barra de Potosi on Mexico's Pacific coast to participate in their humpback whale research project! You will work alongside scientists and fishermen to spot, identify, and make scientific observations of humpback whales and four species of dolphins. As a participant on this expedition you will have the chance to help scientists better understand the important humpback whale population that inhabits the area during the winter months. Our citizen scientists come away with a wealth of knowledge about humpback whale behavior and biology and the unique experience of being a part of a pioneering community-based research project.
During this expedition, participants will also have the opportunity to observe up to 250 species of birds in the lagoon and surrounding areas and visit nearby sea turtle nesting beaches to observe and help protect nests of olive ridley sea turtles and hopefully help release hatchlings to the ocean. In addition, we will explore six different nearby ecosystems that include mangrove forests, salt flats, and we’ll explore quaint local towns, sustainable farms, and more.
Date: The next trip is planned for early 2024. Please contact us at right to be alerted when the dates and prices are ready or to ask a question.
Includes: Most in-country transportation, accommodations, meals, activities, guides, airport pickup, and donations to whale and turtle conservation.
Excludes: Airfare to Mexico, personal items, and tips.
This trip is limited to 12 people maximum per trip.
Recommended minimum age is 10, under 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult.
* Please note: We give 100% refunds on any trips that we need to cancel and our cancellation fees (when travelers cancel) can be used on any future trip, no expiration or penalties, except for cancellations made within 60 days of travel when payments to local providers has already been completed. See our full terms and conditions.
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DAY 1: ARRIVE TO ZIHUATANEJO
Fly into Zihuatanejo International Airport (ZIH) and you will be greeted and transferred to Barra de Potosí (20 minute drive). Once situated, the group will meet for an orientation and group dinner. Overnight at Casa Don Pepe or similar (7 nights).
DAYS 2 - 7: WHALES & TURTLES
Over this week, you will spend up to 3 days on the water looking for whales and dolphins with the research team of US and Mexican biologists. You will help to identify individual humpback whales through photo ID of their flukes, which will be entered into a global database used by researchers. In addition to learning humpback whale fluke identification and hydro-acoustic recording techniques, you will assist with recording other key ecosystem data. During our marine survey work, we may also observe up to 16 other species of whales and dolphins (rough toothed dolphins are a common favorite), olive ridley sea turtles, mobulas, golden cow and spotted eagle rays, red-billed tropic birds, blue and brown footed boobies, frigate birds, and countless others.
Outside of the whale research, the group will participate in several other activities. There are several sea turtle nesting beaches a short distance from Barra de Potosí and we will spend a couple of evenings visiting these beaches to look for nesting olive ridley sea turtles and other species. If we’re lucky, we’ll also be able to go on a patrol and release hatchlings! We can also look for bats and crocodiles at night, visit a local animal shelter, tour a lagoon looking for birds, take cooking lessons and guided walking tours from local women, partake in a mini art show, and learn how salt is harvested and made, among other options. There will be 4 nightly talks given by the team members during this expedition as well.
DAY 8: RETURN HOME
Depart from Barra de Potosi with enough time to make your flight home from Zihuatanejo.
Is This Trip Right For Me?
This is a trip for true whale fanatics and people who love getting involved with local communities. You’ll be staying in a beautiful guest house run by a caring family that takes pride in their ability to keep guests comfortable. Barra de Potosi is located in the state of Guerrero, which currently has a US State Department travel warning due to violence in the state. However, the coastal area where we will be staying is not an area of concern. We will be staying in the coastal area accompanied and accompanied by local residents at all times.
We don’t guarantee wildlife interactions, but this trip is scheduled to take place at a time when historically humpback whales are calving and breeding and olive ridley turtles are hatching almost every day on the beach by our house. We will be conducting six-hour surveys on a 6-meter fishing panga with limited to no sun protection under the bright Mexican sun. Noseeums and mosquitos can nibble at your ankles at dawn and dusk and at times there are jellyfish. The sea conditions are generally quite calm. We do not go to sea when ocean conditions are rough, choosing instead to partake in other nature-oriented activities on land. Learn more about Whales of Guerrero here.