About This Trip
- Learn alongside marine biologists as they conduct critical conservation research on whales and dolphins.
- Visit the mangrove-filled lagoon directly behind the village of Barra de Potosí, a nursery for hundreds of species of fish and birds including Roseate Spoonbills, boobies, White Pelicans, herons, and egrets.
- Connect with and support local artists, budding naturalists, responsible ecotour guides, and a community that prioritizes nature so that everyone can win through cooking classes, art fairs, nature walks, turtle hatchling patrols, visits to animal sanctuaries and more.
Oceanic Society is partnering with our friends at the non-profit SEE Turtles to lead two expeditions to beautiful Barra de Potosí on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Here you will spend a week immersing yourself in this region’s rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity and, as citizen scientists, work alongside the researchers of the non-profit Whales of Guerrero (a conservation project formerly sponsored by Oceanic Society). This will be our 6th year offering trips that support the conservation efforts of the community and researchers in Barra de Potosí.
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. Over this week, you will spend up to 3 days on the water looking for whales and dolphins with the Whales of Guerrero research team of U.S. and Mexican biologists and local fishermen to spot, identify, and make scientific observations of humpback whales and any of 13 species of dolphins found in the area. In addition to whales, we also regularly observe 4 species of sea turtles including the olive ridley, as well as 3 species of rays and over 250 species of birds at sea and in the surrounding lagoons, including Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks, Brown and Blue-footed Boobies, and Red-billed Tropicbirds. In addition to learning humpback whale fluke identification and hydro-acoustic recording techniques, you will also help record other key ecosystem data. 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 project.
Outside of the whale research, the group will participate in many 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 those 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.
Notes on Trip Costs
Pricing depends on total group size:
- 4 pax: $2,325 per person
- 5-6 pax: $2,150 per person
- 7+ pax: $1,995 per person
Trip cost includes:
- Lodging as listed in itinerary or equivalent
- Meals listed in itinerary
- Most in-country transportation
- Bilingual and expert guides
- Donations to whale and turtle conservation
Trip cost does not include:
- Airfare and airport transfers
- Alcoholic beverages
- Meals not shown in itinerary
- Gratuities to guides
- Optional sierra highlands visit to local sustainably-run coffee plantation will require an additional fee to be paid onsite
- Anything else not indicated in itinerary
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Founded in 1969, Oceanic Society is America’s oldest 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean conservation. As pioneers of “eco travel,” our expeditions have been designed to directly support our mission. They not only positively impact our travelers, but also the people, places, and wildlife we go to see. Your expedition costs include fees that support conservation and promote sustainable livelihoods in the communities we visit, and Oceanic Society's earnings are invested back into our global research and conservation programs. In 2019, we also established our Expedition Impact Fund (EIF) as a way to grow our impact. The fund is seeded annually with money earned from our expeditions, and supplemented by donations from Oceanic Society travelers. Through the EIF, we award grants to our partners for their on-the-ground efforts to protect ocean habitats and the wildlife and human communities that depend on them.
Dates & Prices
Note: "B, L, D" in the itinerary indicate which meals are included in the trip price: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner.
Day 1: Arrive Barra de Potosí
Fly into Zihuatanejo International Airport (ZIH) and transfer to Barra de Potosí (20 minute drive). Once situated, the group will meet for an orientation and group dinner. Overnight at Hacienda La Rusa or similar (D).
Days 2-7: Whale, Dolphin, and Turtle Monitoring
Over this week, you will spend up to 3 days on the water looking for whales and dolphins with the research team of U.S. 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, mobula rays, 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 may also 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. Weather and time allowing we may also have the opportunity for an optional excursion to visit the Sierra highlands and experience a local sustainably-run coffee plantation. (B,L)
Day 8: Depart Barra de Potosi
Depart from Barra de Potosi with enough time to make your flight home from Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa International Airport (B)
Our travelers will stay in a beautiful local villa with private rooms surrounded by verdant tropical gardens, multiple terraces, and patios featuring day beds and comfortable seating, as well as a common kitchen and dining room. Steps away from the ocean, there are also two swimming pools on the premises. Each room has a king bed, good quality bedding and mattress and a hot shower. All rooms have ceiling fans, personal safes, and mini-fridges. Regular maid service is provided. Breakfast is prepared by the warm, friendly staff each morning and coffee, tea, drinking water and fruit are provided 24/7.