About This Trip
- Learn alongside marine biologists as they conduct critical conservation research on the whales and dolphins in the region. See first-hand in the field how the use of drones assists in marine mammal research efforts.
- 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.
- Spend one day exploring the nearby city of Zihuatanejo / Ixtapa and another visiting the Sierra highlands and a local sustainably-run coffee plantation.
Oceanic Society invites you to beautiful Barra de Potosí on Mexico's Pacific coast to immerse yourself in this region's rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity and to participate in the Whales of Guerrero Research Project.
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. For 3-4 days, visitors will work alongside American and Mexican scientists and local fishermen to spot, identify, and make scientific observations of humpback whales and any of 13 species of dolphins found in the area. We also frequently observe olive ridley and three other species of sea turtles, mobulas, golden cow nosed and spotted eagle rays, Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks, egrets, cranes, herons, Brown and Blue-footed Boobies, and Red-billed Tropicbirds in their nesting sites. In addition to learning humpback whale fluke identification, the use of drones in field research, and hydro-acoustic recording techniques, you will also assist with recording 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 truly pioneering project.
We will also take time to explore the diverse surrounding ecosystems that include mangrove forests, salt flats, sea turtle nesting beaches, and sierra highlands, and we'll explore quaint local towns, sustainable farms, and more.
Notes on Trip Costs
At this time, there are no scheduled departures for this expedition.
Trip cost includes:
- Lodging as listed in itinerary or equivalent
- Meals listed in itinerary: (B=Breakfast/L=Lunch/D=Dinner)
- Transportation to all activities
- Bilingual and expert guides
- Meeting with some conservationists
Trip cost does not include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Meals not shown in itinerary
- Gratuities to guides
- Anything else not indicated above
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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 Potosi
Upon arrival into Zihuatanejo Ixtapa International Airport, we will transfer you to your hotel. This evening, there will be a brief orientation and welcome dinner. (D)
Days 2: Whale and Dolphin Monitoring
Today we will be out on the water with our primary objective to assist with research on humpback whales and dolphins and document other marine life encountered. In the evening, project director Katherina Audley will give a talk on the project's research and conservation work. (B, L)
Day 3: Tour Petatlán, Laguna Valentin, and the Soledad de Maciel Ruins
Following breakfast, we will visit the charming coastal city of Petatlán, which is known for its old church which houses the famous 17th century picture- the Sanctuary of the Padre Jesús de Petatlán. We will then take a boat ride to view birds at Laguna Valentin, a mangrove-filled lagoon, which is a nursery for hundreds of species of fish and birds including roseate spoonbills, boobies, white pelicans, herons, and egrets. In the afternoon, following lunch, we will visit the archeological site of Soledad de Maciel, locally known as “La Chole” where Mesoamerican ruins have been found. (B, L).
Day 4: Whale and Dolphin Study, Afternoon Community Workshop
Today, we will go out on the water again to study humpback whales and dolphins. This afternoon, we will go to a local library to work with children and teach them about science and conservation. This evening, we will have a lecture on dolphins, and give a presentation on our drone work. (B, L)
Day 5: Zihuatanejo, Local Markets and Sights
Following breakfast, we will visit the city of Zihuatanejo where we can pick up locally grown coffee, vanilla, tamarind, and coconut candy at the public market, learn about Mexican culture at local art shops, take a stroll along the pier, and have a bowl of pozole - a Guerrero tradition! (B, L)
Day 6: Whale and Dolphin Study, Village Art Show
We will spend the morning out on the water monitoring humpback whales and dolphins. This afternoon, we will attend a village art show where one can purchase locally crafted artesanias, “handicrafts.” (B, L)
Day 7: Sierra Highlands Coffee Plantation
Today, we will have a full day to explore the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, one of the world’s most diverse cloud forest reserves with thousands of plant and animal species. While here, we will visit a local coffee plantation where Arabica coffee beans are grown and produced. (B, L | optional activity at additional cost)
Day 8: Salt Flats and Turtle Refuge Camp
This morning we will visit a nearby town to have a breakfast birria, a spicy stew from the state of Jalisco. We will then take a tour of La Salinera, Guerrero’s salt flats. Four species of turtles nest on the beach where we will be working and living. This afternoon, we will volunteer at a local sea turtle rescue center and, if opportunity allows, we will release rehabilitated turtles back into the ocean. (B)
Day 9: Snorkeling and Lagoon Tour
On our final day, we will relax and snorkel the reefs of the nearby lagoon. Following lunch, we can relax by the pool or tour the village of Barra de Potosí one last time to pick up any souvenirs. This evening, we will have a farewell dinner and bonfire celebration. (B, D)
Day 10: Depart Barra de Potosi
You will be dropped off at Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa International Airport in time for your flight home. (B)
Our volunteers will stay in a local guest house with comfortable rooms surrounded by tall coconut palm trees and verdant tropical gardens. Each room has a shaded porch area, table and chairs. All rooms have ceiling fans and mini-fridges. The design of the rooms makes use of natural light sources and refreshing tropical breezes. Daily maid service is provided.