Swim With Whale Sharks in Cancun – All you need to Know
Are you planning a trip to Cancun and looking for an unforgettable experience? Swimming with whale sharks should be at the top of your things to list! From May to September, these gentle giants come to the Riviera Maya in droves, creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors.
Whale sharks may seem intimidating, but they are actually calm and welcoming creatures. They survive mainly on plankton, fish eggs, and small fish – not humans! Despite their massive size, they won’t harm you and the experience of swimming with them will leave a lasting impression.
With so much to experience in Cancun and whale sharks certainly being one of them, let’s dive a little deeper into the world of these majestic creatures.
Let’s talk about whale sharks – these massive creatures are the biggest in the ocean, measuring up to 18 to 32 feet long and weighing up to 20 tons! Even though their name includes “whale,” they’re actually sharks.
But don’t worry, these gentle giants won’t see you as a meal. They feed by filtering water filled with plankton and small organisms, then expelling the water to keep their food.
Best time to swim with the whale sharks in Cancun?
Swimming with whale sharks is an amazing experience that you shouldn’t miss out on. If you’re looking to do it in Cancun, there are some things you should know. The best time to swim with these magnificent creatures is from June to September, and you should book your tour in advance to avoid missing out.
Whale shark tours depart from several locations, including Cancun, Holbox, and Isla Mujeres. The tours start at 9am and include a full day of exploring the ocean, with a delicious lunch served onboard. Here’s what you need to know about each tour destination:
Booking a Whale shark tour from Cancun?
Experienced fishermen or conservationists oversee all whale shark tours in Cancun, ensuring both the safety of you and these majestic species. To book a tour, head to your hotel’s or resort reception desk or take advantage of one of the online services available.
What is the Cost of swimming with whale sharks in Cancun?
If you’re planning to join a small group tour, you can expect to pay around $140-$210 USD per person. On the other hand, if you want to go for a private boat ride, it’ll cost you approximately $750 USD
It’s important to note that the price of group tours can vary depending on what’s included. Some tours may come with breakfast, while others may require you to pay extra for transportation to and from your hotel. If you’re staying in Playa del Carmen or Tulum, you can expect to pay more for transport than if you’re staying in Cancun.
Swimming with whale sharks is a completely safe activity, as long as you follow the instructions of your tour guide. These gentle giants won’t harm you in any way, and their filter-feeding habits mean that they don’t even have large teeth! Of course, there are always inherent risks when snorkeling in the open sea, but as long as you listen to your tour guide’s safety advice and wear a life jacket, you should be fine.
Is it guaranteed that you will see the whale sharks?
While there’s no guarantee that you’ll see whale sharks on your tour, tour operators in Cancun have a strong understanding of the best places to spot them. You’re most likely to see them during their peak season, which is from July to August.
What is included with the Whale Shark tours in Cancun?
Typically, you’ll get all the necessary snorkeling gear, and some tours even include a continental breakfast before you depart. You can also expect a delicious beachside ceviche lunch at Isla Mujeres. Accommodation pickup and drop-off is often provided, but may come with an additional charge depending on where you’re staying.
Holbox Island is the original destination for whale shark tours and is still a top choice for many visitors. The island is also known for its bioluminescent waters, which create a stunning display of glittering stars at night.
If you want to book a whale shark tour, it’s best to do so directly with your hotel or hostel once you arrive on the island. You can also chat with local fishermen at the pier to find hidden gems and good deals. Just be sure to agree on what’s included before finalizing any arrangements.
Whale shark tours that depart from Isla Mujeres
If you’re staying in Isla Mujeres, there are also several trustworthy tour companies that offer whale shark tours. To ensure that you book a reliable tour, consider asking your hotel or resort’s reception desk for assistance. It’s important to only use reputable services and not trust strangers offering tours.
Tips for swimming with Whale Sharks
First, use biodegradable sunscreen to avoid harming the creatures or their habitat. Also, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and the whales at all times, as they can be unintentionally injured by contact with humans.
Although whale sharks are gentle creatures, it’s best to err on the side of caution to protect them. Remember to follow all instructions given by your tour guide to help preserve these endangered creatures for years to come.
It’s important to note that swimming with dangerous shark species is not safe or legal to do on your own. To ensure safety and preserve these beautiful creatures, authorized tour guides or services are required.
Whale sharks travel across vast distances without any pattern or consistency, making it impossible for individuals to locate them. However, experienced guides have connections within the industry that allow them to pinpoint the whales’ locations so that they can take you there.
Lastly, remember to follow the “no touching” rule when swimming with whale sharks. Even if you don’t intend to harm them, it can be disastrous for these impressive creatures. To guarantee that your swim with whale sharks will be among your most amazing experiences, stick to the recommendations and advice provided by your guide.
Where else can you swim with whale sharks in Mexico
Looking for an unforgettable winter adventure? Look no further than Baja California Sur, Mexico! During the winter months, this region is home to magnificent whale sharks that you can swim with.
Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced swimmer – you don’t need to be! This is an opportunity for everyone to witness one of nature’s most incredible creatures up close. While you’re there, take in the breathtaking beaches and explore the diverse marine life through snorkeling and diving.
Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?
I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:
🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!
✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.
🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.
🚙 CancunAirport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.
🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.
🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.
📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.
☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.
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