Sayulita’s first pure whale watch and whale research company. We offer a non-invasive, environmentally conscious option for whale watching in Sayulita.
We use the whale watch boat as a platform to study the whales of the region. Our aim is to put Sayulita on the map for whale research. We respect and love whales, and want to share our knowledge and passion.
Our main guide is a zoologist who has worked with humpback whales in Mexico for 16 years, and has worked with the species in 11 different locations worldwide, on five different continents.
Our name “La Orca de Sayulita” originates from the Spanish words… OBSERVA (observe), RESPETA (respect), CONSERVA (conserve) and AYUDA (help).
We want to make sure that whale watching in Sayulita is of a high quality, respectful of both the animals and whale watching regulations, and that some of the money spent on whale watching goes back directly to help the whales.
We hope to inspire a passion within you, so that you go away to be life long ambassadors for humpback whales and other whale species !
We the Team
We are a group of biologists who are engaged in whale research at the international level. We work with true ocean men from Sayulita who have spent their lives on the sea. We also train young biologist/ocean lovers who want to start a career in whale research.
Nico (zoologist / guide)
Nico, our main guide, has worked with whales in Alaska, Australia, the Azores (Portugal), Canada, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, the Philippines, Mozambique, and 16 seasons in Mexico! She has a MSc in Marine Science and Management and a BSc in Zoology, and is a PhD student at Murdoch University (Western Australia) whilst still being involved in several other research projects worldwide. Her primary research focuses on investigating the risk of vessel collisions with humpback whales in Nayarit, Mexico and in trying to reduce the risk of this anthropogenic threat, and she helps run a new research project in El Salvador.
Additionally, Nico has a drone pilots licence, she is certified in marine first aid (RYA 2015), she is a qualified MMO and PAM for offshore industries, and speaks English, Spanish, and is trying to learn Portuguese. She is publishing research in international peer review journals, and has been featured in multiple articles in the main stream press, as well as being the invited scientist on an episode of BBC Blue Planet Live open the link,
Her passion for whales, sense of humor and knowledge has led her to be nominated for several tour guides awards, and although now focusing more on her research, is still our main guide and not ready to hang up the tour guide bandana yet! Happy to be out on the water everyday of the season, she has encountered many of the world’s rarest cetaceans, and is lucky enough to have had many incredible whale encounters including an afternoon with the famous albino humpback whale “Migaloo”.
Angel and CHINGALIN (Captains)
We are very lucky to have as our main captains Angel and Chingalin, two brothers who are some of Sayulita’s best and most renowned fisherman. Born and bred in Sayulita, they have spent their lives out on the ocean off the coast of the town, and know everything there is to know about the ocean and marine-life in the area; they are also pretty funny too!
Both experienced whale watching captains, with a special talent for spotting whales far away on the horizon that no one else can see, a great amount of the success of our tours is due to their knowledge, skill, personalities and enthusiasm
Esteban is an enthusiastic and charismatic Colombian biologist who has been working with whales in the scientific and tourist areas for six years. His first steps as a guide and researcher were made in Peru where he met Nico and then he started his own tourism and research platform in the isolated coasts of the Colombian Pacific, where he has worked in recent years. His biggest interests are the songs of the humpback whales and their cultural evolution.
Esteban currently leads and accompanies several projects of international alliances to study the cultural evolution of humpback whale songs, with the hope of discovering how whales learn their songs and what are the links of migration between the population of the Southeast Pacific and its populations surrounding. He has authored several publications in peer review journals and is working at the international level in acoustic research of humpback whales.
Originally from North Wales, Alice is joining the team as our operations manager and will also be guiding some tours. A biologist with a Bachelors of Science in Biology with honours, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, she is a fully qualified science teacher and a yoga teacher, and will be helping with the everyday running of the business as well as the research conducted on the whale watch trips
This year we are happy to welcome Adan to our team. Known locally for his talent for surf-hula. Originally from Aguas Calientes his love for the ocean led him to Sayulita. He is a skilled hula hoop artist which he has combined with his passion for the ocean and surfing. He has a dream of becoming more involved with whale research and we are delighted to help him do that. He is also one of the nicest people you can meet., and this year Adan will be both in the office and out on the ocean helping with all aspects of the business.
Jonny, originally from Ireland, has a passion for the natural world and for life! Since the age of 16 he has been working in oceans, river and mountains as a guide. After graduating university with an honours degree in adventure education he has worked in Indonesia, Europe and Mexico. He is a research assistant and guide for La Orca and with 8 years as an ocean lifeguard medic in the North Atlantic, and an infectious personality, Jonny is a brilliant tour guide and a valued edition to our team. He also is an avid surfer and has his own local surf company, www.sunsetsessions.com.
Emmanuel / Aaron
Our superstar “first mates”/”whale spotters”/”second skippers”. Cousins, and the sons of our captains, these two, having grown up in Sayulita, have the ocean in their blood. Their constant up beat attitude, work ethic and knowledge of the ocean make them a truly great and extremely valued addition to La Orca team (PS this photo was taken many years ago, but we love it!!!).
Marcel is our friendly Brazilian photographer and whale researcher. After climbing 5600m in the Andes snowy mountains, Marcel first went to the high seas in 2013 where he fell in love with marine mammals after seeing his first humpback whale in Abrolhos, on the Brazilian coast.
Since then he has spent five years dedicated to the study of cetaceans in Latin America. He has been in Ecuador for four years in a row collaborating on humpback whale research, one season in Chile in search of fin whales, a season in Peru. This will be his fifth season in Mexico, split between the great blue whales and the gentle grey whales in Baja California and the humpbacks whales and orcas of Sayulita. Marcel is currently focused on raising funds for small but relevant cetacean research and conservation projects off the Brazilian coast.
We are very happy to welcome Ali this year as a guide and intern to La Orca. A recent graduate in Marine Biology, Ali has a passion for the ocean and marine life. He is an avid surfer and has been a life guard for the RNLI on the southern beaches of the Uk for the last six years. He is also a very skilled photographer. He hopes to carve out a career in whale or shark research and we are very pleased to have him as part of the La Orca team this season. He will be working both out on the ocean and in maintaining our photo catalog and data.