Guerrero Whale Research Expedition
Join the American Cetacean Society-Los Angeles Chapter on a trip to beautiful Barra de Potosi on Mexico's Pacific coast to participate in the Whales of Guerrero 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.
2020 Dates: Jan 14 - 21
Price: $2,395 per person
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.
Group size is limited to 12. Minimum group size to confirm the trip is 8.
Recommended minimum age is 10, under 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult.
Meals will be delicious Mexican staples with some opportunities to try something new. Some dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advance notice.
Contact Us To:
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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 4 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, the use of drones in field research, and hydro-acoustic recording techniques, you will assist with recording other key ecosystem data. During our marine survey work, we also frequently 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 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 and handicrafts lessons from local women, partake in a mini art show, and learn how salt is harvested and made, among other options.
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.