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Whales of Guerrero Research Project

Volunteer to study humpback whales and several dolphin species in a little studied area of Mexico.

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Oceanic Society invites you to beautiful Barra de Potosí, Mexico to participate in the recently established Whales of Guerrero Research Project on a week-long volunteer vacation. As a citizen scientist with this program you will work alongside American and Mexican scientists and local fishermen to spot, identify, and make scientific observations of humpback whales and any of four species of dolphins found in the area. You may also encounter sea turtles, rays, seabirds, and other marine species while out on the water.

This region is an important part of the migration route for the northeastern Pacific population of humpback whales (the same whales that migrate up the coast of the western United States), and although the presence of whales has been documented in the area for years, there have been no formal studies of them until now.

Participants will come away from this trip with a wealth of knowledge about humpback whale behavior and biology as well as the unique experience of being a part of a truly pioneering project. Moreover, your participation supports conservation-relevant research and provides needed support to both the research program and the local community. Sign up today!

Trip Dates & Cost

2019: To be announced. Please contact us for information. Group limit 12.

* Single supplement $550. Trip prices do not include international airfare. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions. Guests may also opt for the extended 12-day program, lasting until February 6—please inquire for more information.


Katherina Audley is the founder and director of the Whales of Guerrero Project, an effort to study and protect humpback whales and support community development on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Fifteen years of marine mammal studies have brought her up close to whales, dolphins, and pinnipeds in Alaska,Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, and New Zealand. Katherina has worked in Bahía de Potosí, Mexico for the past 16 years.

Eric Ramos is a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center in new York City in the area of animal behavior and comparative psychology training. He has been working as a field researcher and trip leader with Oceanic Society since 2011, leading boat-based research trips with volunteers and students to gather data on the population of bottlenose dolphins at Turneffe Atoll, Belize.


Day 1: Arrive Barra de Potosi
You will arrive at the Zihuatanejo Ixtapa International Airport and be transferred to your hotel. We will have a brief discussion of the research project and introductions at dinner that evening.

Days 2-4: Whale and Dolphin Monitoring
During the week we will have full days out on the water with our primary objective to be assisting in the research on humpback whales and dolphins and documenting other marine life encountered. Depending on weather and sea conditions some time during these days may offer opportunities to dive, snorkel, kayak, hike, and relax on the beach*. Should sea turtle nests hatch during the week we will be invited to visit the Ayotcalli Field Camp, which protects turtle eggs from predation and shepherds newborn baby turtles to the sea as a night time activity.

Day 5: Tour of Laguna Valentin
Take a break from the open ocean to see marine wildlife from another vantage point– a visit to Laguna Valentin or to the project's land-based field station to learn about further conservation and research activities in the area. Today you will also have the opportunity to participate in the outreach and education component of our work by assisting with informational workshops at local libraries and schools, where children are learning about marine biology and the importance of biodiversity.

Days 6-7: Whale and Dolphin Monitoring
Two more full days on the water with our field research team to round out our data collection on humpback whales and other marine mammals in the region. We include a special goodbye dinner with the research team on the last day.

Day 8: Depart Barra de Potosi
You will be dropped off at Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa International Airport and fly home or continue to your next destination!


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.

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