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“worth every penny”

Whale Watching Photo Safari by Vallarta Adventures
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A photo captures a single moment in time, and this specialized excursion is designed to capture the magical moment when you encounter wild dolphins and majestic humpback whales in the Bay of Banderas. The essence of the Whale Photo Safari is to find the wildlife and enjoy those precious moments when you can sit peacefully and watch the whales and dolphins play, breach, or just hang out.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed January 5, 2011

went on a whale-watching "whale safari photo" something-or-other. i never write reviews but wanted to for this one. it costs about $85 US through your hotel. get there at 8, wait in line to pay port tax ($2 or 15 pesos), then go to the right to the Vallarta booth. they will give you your tickets. use the bathroom before you board at 8:30, b/c there ain't no bano on the boat, which is a small rubber-type boat for about 30 people. my guide and captain, kimi and ramon, were wonderful. great tour, saw at least 30 whales and 5-6 dolphins (even a seal!). if i coud do it again, i might have tried to live in the moment and bough the photo CD from them at the end instead of trying to catch everythign on my digital camera. take sun protection but maybe also a jacket b/c of the wind. the guide was fantastic, obviously cares a great deal about whales and educating the public, and was very funny. they tried very hard to teach us and get us as close to whales without bothering them.

please don't be an obnoxious gringo and not leave these guys a tip, like most of the americanos and canadians and mexicans on my boat. i felt horrible that most people gave nothing--i was embarassed that gringos would act this way. these guys work really hard and summer (low season) is tough for them.

oh, worth taking a snack and having a big breakfast before hand. they did have water and snacks, but i would have been hungry if i hadn't gotten up early to eat.

if you go with this group you won't regret it. i think people were happy with cielito lindo too, though it looked like maybe more people on their boat?

Thank travelsnob2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"see whales"
in 31 reviews
"spotter plane"
in 15 reviews
"vallarta adventures"
in 54 reviews
"inflatable boat"
in 9 reviews
"mother and calf"
in 8 reviews
"captain ramon"
in 4 reviews
"dozen whales"
in 4 reviews
"zoom lens"
in 4 reviews
"tail slapping"
in 5 reviews
"great viewing"
in 3 reviews
"female guide"
in 3 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 22 reviews
"fabulous trip"
in 6 reviews
"marine biologist"
in 13 reviews
"spot whales"
in 4 reviews
"baby whale"
in 8 reviews
"whale season"
in 6 reviews

294 - 298 of 317 reviews

Reviewed March 25, 2010

We were at the end of the Whale watching season but we saw soooooo many whales!!! Nicki and the photographer and the captin of the boat were the very best!!! Nicki had been sick and so she had not got to see whales for 3 days. She made this trip such a learning trip and so exciting!!! I will go and hopefully Nicki will be there . Thanks to the whole crew. Loved it dont ever change it!!!

Thank diajs53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2010

Be careful when you book online, because they give you no information as to where you are supposed to embark, other than "Maritime Terminal," which is a huge area, one that is extremely difficult to navigate. In fact it is at Gate 9, but they don't tell you that... They just say to meet half an hour before boarding "in our office." Well, I looked up the Puerto Vallarta office and finally got made it there through a combination of bus and taxi. Only to have them tell us that it was at this other location. The woman working at the office desk was extremely rude. When we worried that we wouldn't get there in time she actually laughed at us (and not in a friendly way!) We were clearly upset and she just rolled her eyes and snapped at us. We asked if we could have a refund or switch to another day and she said no with a smirk, clearly taking pleasure in our predicament. She spoke very sharply to us and didn't offer any help. Another company would have phoned to their colleagues at the gate to say that we were on our way (the boat left fifteen minutes late anyway), or even brought us over their themselves. Not this company. And, I'm sorry, but for eighty-five bucks a person I expect better service and a nicer welcome.

We ended up making the boat, which was quite comfortable (well, during the first couple hours), and it allows you to see around you very well. The beginning of the tour seemed quite disorganized, we ended up swapping guides and no one told us why. Also, they said we were picking up four people from Nuevo Vallarta and then proceeded to cram in an additional twenty, so we were well beyond capacity.

We ran into about 6 or 7 whales right away and spent the next four hours following them around. They didn't do much but it was neat to be so close. I thought that the guide made some inappropriate jokes, including a rape joke, which I could hardly believe, so that detracted a bit from the experience.

I went with this company because they say on the website that they have guaranteed whale sightings because of their special plane that goes up and scouts. Well, I didn't see any plane, and I frankly don't believe there is one, and if you look closely on the website they actually say "of course we cannot guarantee a sighting" which is only natural, but... why say that you can??

One more comment: this is called a PHOTO safari because there is a photographer on board who documents the whole trip. You'd think that, once again, that eighty-five dollars would buy you a couple digital photos. But no. You have to shell out another thirty bucks for the CD.

All in all, I had a very bad experience with this company and wouldn't recommend them to anyone. The old adage "you get what you pay for" doesn't seem to apply here, because you really don't get much.

3  Thank v0yageuse2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2009

It was my first whale watch. So I am not an expert to judge which company is better. However, I doubt that any other whale watching company will offer you as much as Vallarta Adventure´s Whale Photo Safari ! Nicki the English guide was just perefect … very knowledgable and attentive. I learned more about whales today , than in all my lifetime.

We saw a whale fight with 5 to 6 whales, and two dolphins. - The dolphins were silly, they were hanging around for the show. – Our inflatable boat was fast and comfortable. It was also small enough so we could always listen to Nicki´s information and see 360 degree around us by simply turning around. The size of the boat also allows the captain to turn the boat and chase the whales immediately. We got to see a lot of actions. It was just a perfect day!

3  Thank tunz123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 25, 2018 via mobile
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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