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April 19, 2024

Swim for the Whales 2024: Swimming with a Cause for the Conservation of Humpback Whales

The 2024 Swim for the Whales is more than a successful sporting event.  It is a feat of endurance, perseverance and environmental awareness to raise funds for the conservation of Humpback Whales in Mexico.

In 2023, open-water swimmer Stephanie Moreno Bending completed a 23-mile swim from Islas Marietas National Park to Los Arcos-Las Gemelas Beach, south of Puerto Vallarta, in just over 14 continuous hours.

More than 500,000 MXN pesos (around 30,000 USD) were raised for humpback whale conservation as a result of the Mexican swimmer's athletic feat.


In the 2024 “Vuelta a la Bahía de Banderas” (Around the Banderas Bay), the Mexican athlete Stephanie Moreno Bending has set out to go far beyond the previous challenge and is preparing to complete a 78-mile lap of the bay off the coast of Puerto Vallarta.

This means swimming the length and breadth of the Banderas Bay for six consecutive days in an unprecedented crossing.  The distance is almost four times greater than last year!

Route and Stages 

Nado por las Ballenas 2024 combines open water swimming in Puerto Vallarta, an ecological cause and the determined participation of a large multidisciplinary team of professionals in sports medicine, physical therapy, nutrition, oceanology, among many others who are providing invaluable support to Stephanie Moreno Bending. 

“Vuelta a la Bahía de Banderas” 2024 includes a 78-mile open water course.  The course is divided into six stages.  This will help promote the six micro destinations where Stephanie Montero Bending will be stopping to rest.

These stages are as follows:


For the the 2024 “Vuelta a la Bahía de Banderas”, the challenge goes beyond the grueling open water training that took place between January 7 and April 7, 2024, or the physical and mental endurance of Montero Bending—a medical doctor by profession with a postgraduate degree in Global Health.

In 2024, Stephanie Moreno Bending and her team of collaborators aim to raise at least one million MXN pesos (around 60,000 USD) to implement a comprehensive and preventive strategy that will contribute to the conservation of humpback whales in Mexico.

If the proposed fundraising goal is reached, the 2024 Banderas Bay Tour will fully support six specific environmental education and conservation projects:

  • Rescue of whales entangled in fishing nets
  • Salvage ghost nets left on the ocean floor that pose a threat to whales and other species
  • Monitoring whale watching to ensure that tourism operators respect the official whale watching distance
  • Implementing the "Bahía Cero" (zero plastic) campaign
  • Cultivation and monitoring of corals—a key project currently under development with the aim of replanting at least 1,000 coral fragments by 2024
  • Conducting environmental education campaigns in collaboration with the NGO Biólogos Marinos ORG and its project entitled "Mi bahía y yo" (My Bay and Me).


  • Mexican athlete, based in Mexico City
  • Medical Doctor, Master in Global Health with a focus on Environmental Health
  • Worked in Mexico City and Morelos in NGOs and Ministries of the Environment
  • Currently working on air quality, climate change and health projects in Latin America and the Caribbean with the Clean Air Institute.
  • Open water swimmer for 2 years and 5 months


  • Swimmer: Stephanie Moreno Bending (México)
  • May 20—26, 2024
  • Total Distance: 78-mile open water course
  • Distance per Stage: 20 km (average); 34 km (at the mouth of the Banderas Bay on the third day)
  • Stages: 6 in 6 consecutive days of open-water swimming.
  • More information on Facebook at: Nado por las ballenas 

Follow her journey and support this historic challenge on Facebook at: Nado por las Ballenas.

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