Are there sharks in Banderas Bay?

Banderas Bay, located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, is a stunning and diverse ecosystem that is home to a wide variety of marine life. Among the fascinating creatures that inhabit its waters, sharks play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of this marine ecosystem. In this exploration of sharks in Banderas Bay, we’ll delve into the different shark species found in the region, their ecological significance, and the conservation efforts aimed at preserving these majestic creatures.

Banderas Bay, encompassing Puerto Vallarta and its surrounding areas, boasts a rich marine environment characterized by warm waters, abundant marine life, and diverse underwater landscapes. These conditions create an ideal habitat for several shark species, each contributing to the intricate web of life in the bay.

One of the most iconic shark species found in Banderas Bay is the bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas). Known for its adaptability to both saltwater and freshwater environments, the bull shark is often spotted in estuaries and rivers, making Banderas Bay an ideal location for their presence. These powerful predators play a crucial role in controlling the populations of other marine species, ensuring the health and balance of the ecosystem.

Silky Shark in Banderas Bay

Another notable shark species in Banderas Bay is the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis). Recognizable by its sleek appearance and slender body, the silky shark is a pelagic species that roams the open ocean. Banderas Bay’s proximity to deep waters allows these sharks to thrive, and they are frequently encountered by divers exploring the bay’s underwater wonders.

In addition to the bull shark and silky shark, other shark species inhabit the bay, including the blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) and the nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum). Each species has its unique characteristics and ecological role, contributing to the overall biodiversity of Banderas Bay.

Whale SharkOne shark species that is a not so rare visitor in the bay is the Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus), a harmless plankton-feeding shark, the largest fish in the ocean.

Despite the importance of sharks in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems, they face various threats, including overfishing, habitat degradation, and climate change. Overfishing, driven by the demand for shark fins and other shark products, poses a significant threat to shark populations worldwide. Banderas Bay is not immune to these pressures, and conservation efforts are essential to protect the sharks that call this bay home.

There’s a myth that you’ll find stating that the dolphins patrol the mouth of the Bay (quite a large one too) and kill any trespassing predator sharks to protect their young… yeah sure. Obviously, this “solution” to the mystery is too “Spielbergy” to be right (who would add a few ETs and UFOs and then shoot the movie).

More reasonable and believable is the theory that states that the sharks in the bay have been over-exploited, and their population has never recovered. We must remember that Puerto Vallarta went through a shark-fin exporting period in the 1930s and ’40s where they ended up on the tables of Chinese Restaurants in the USA. During the Second World War, it was shark liver oil, that was used as a nutritional supplement (read more of PV’s history).

Want to read more about the different sharks species living in Banderas Bay?  Here is a link to a local real estate agent that has experience in the area of Sharks in Banderas Bay.


Timothy Real Estate Group

Here is a great read on Sharks in Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay from our friends at

Puerto Vallarta website