Types of Dolphins in the Bay of Banderas

Discover the types of dolphins you can find in the Bay of Banderas, Puerto Vallarta. Learn more about these intelligent and adorable sea mammals!

Swimming with dolphins is one of the most rewarding interactions people can have with nature. These intelligent, gentle and adorable sea mammals give kisses, rides and laughs to those who wade into their waters. While there are many species of dolphins, here are some of the most common you’ll see on trips to the Bay of Banderas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.


Bottlenose Dolphin

Tursiops truncatus

• AKA: Common Bottlenose Dolphin
• Length: 120-168in (3-4.3m)
• Weight: approx. 330-1,400 lbs (150-635kg)
• Where found: In coastal and continental shelf waters and in tropical and temperate zones around the globe.
• One of the friendliest species, bottlenose dolphins are known to team up with local fisherman to fish and approach small boats just to say hello.


Spinner dolphins

Stenella longirostris Orientalis

• AKA: Long snout, Rollover
• Length: 47-83in (1.2-2.13m)
• Weight: 45-75lbs (20-34kg)
• Where found: In tropical or warm temperate waters of Mexico, from Chiapas to Northern Sinaloa.
• Like Olympic high-divers, these dolphins like to jump and spin as many times as possible before hitting the water, sometimes achieving up to 7 full rotations in a single jump.


Killer Whale

Orcinus orca

• AKA: Orca, Wolves of the Sea
• Length: 192-312in (4.9-7.9m)
• Weight: 3,000-12,000lbs (1360-5440kg)
• Where Found: Coastal waters and open ocean from the Artic to Antarctica.
• These bus-size carnivores can swim up to 30 miles (48km) per hour and hunt with their families by herding fish into a bubble and then gobbling them up.


False Killer Whale

Pseudorca crassidens

• AKA: False Orca
• Length: 1156-228in (4-6m)
• Weight: 2,200-4850lbs (1,000-2,200kg)
• Where Found: Temperate and tropical open ocean waters worldwide, especially around islands.
• While different in size, shape and color, False Killer Whales are sometimes mistaken for Killer Whales when breeching. They are social creatures and do not shy away from boats.


Rough-Toothed Dolphin

Steno Bredanensis

• AKA: Slope head
• Length: 83-112in (2.1-2.8m)
• Weight: 200-340lbs (90-154kg)
• Where Found: Tropical and warm deep offshore waters around the globe.
• These dolphins have pointed, stream-lined faces with pale pink beaks that make them look reptilian. You may spot them swimming shoulder-to-shoulder with others of their species.


Pantropical Spotted Dolphin

Stenella attenuata

• AKA: White Spotted Dolphin, Bridled Dolphin
• Length: 60-96in (1.7-2.4m)
• Weight: 200-255lbs (90-115kg)
• Where Found: Offshore and inshore in tropical and warm temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
• These dolphins can be found near schools of Yellowfin Tuna. They are energetic, fast swimmers who jump impressively out of the water and making huge splashes.


If you take a dolphin tour in Puerto Vallarta, chances are you’ll be swimming with Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins. But that doesn’t mean you can’t catch a glimpse of these other species swimming in the waters around Mexico.

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