A 280-square kilometer zone off the coast of Puerto Escondido has been designated a protected whale watching zone. This is the second designated zone after an area off the Mazunte coast. Lying between Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, the Mazunte zone was designated in 2015.
The humpbacks seen off the coasts of Puerto Escondido and Huatulco are from a population group originating in California/Oregon/Washington. To read more about the whales off of our coast and their migration, check out our story here.
The federal Secretariat of the Environment (Semarnat) declared the protected area working alongside the UMAR,or the Universidad del Mar, a dedicated marine biology university with branches in Huatulco, Puerto Escondido and Puerto Angel and the whale-watching cooperative Rosa delos Vientos (Compass Rose).
The declaration of the protected zone is a catalyst to the tourism sector on the coast. The zone creates more visibility but also stipulating the conditions of observation for local boaters and guides. The boat captains will also receive training to benefit from the research to learn to observe the whales.
Whales can be seen off the coast of Huatulco generally from mid-December through March. The majority of whales that can be observed are humpbacks. But blue whales, gray whales and orcas can also more rarely be seen.
The humpback is a favorite among whale watchers because of their spectacular movements of breeching (jumping out of the water) and slapping the surface.
Most noteworthy, humpbacks have the longest migratory voyage of any mammal. The whales commonly travel over 10,000 miles from feeding grounds in the north to calving grounds in subtropical or tropical waters.
The humpbacks passing through the waters off the coast of Huatulco belong to a distinct population segment classified as “threatened” by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). As a matter of fact, several population groups exist throughout the world in all major oceans.