Swimming with whale sharks in the Yucatan Peninsula is a MUST for anyone looking for a huge encounter with nature. The ocean around the tip of the peninsula, near the islands of Holbox, Contoy and Isla Mujeres, is the destination of choice for hundreds of whale sharks each year between May and September. Their migration patterns are still a bit of a mystery, but we are thrilled that they return to us year after year to give us a chance to admire their beauty.
Whale sharks are enormous, they can reach lengths of up to 12 meters! Affectionately known as “dominos” for their spotted markings, they are beautiful and docile creatures. While their gigantic mouths may look intimidating, they only eat plankton and fish eggs, anything bigger than that gets spit right out. To have an encounter with whale sharks, one must take a small boat from Cancun, Holbox or Isla Mujeres to reach the open sea. The boat captains communicate with one another to find the pods, they are constantly on the move so one day to the next they don’t know where they will be. Your trip to find the whale sharks may take as little as one hour or up to two or more, but once you see the first dorsal fin, you will forget about how long it took you to get there.
There are tight regulations about how tourists may interact with the whale sharks. Only two people from a boat may be in the water with a shark. You are not permitted to touch the sharks or interfere with their movements in any way. You will be given instructions as to the best way to swim alongside these gentle giants, they may look slow but they are actually moving pretty quickly, be prepared to kick your fins like mad to keep up!
In the simplest of terms, this is an OUT OF THIS WORLD experience, one for the bucket list, an essential trip for anyone visiting the region during whale shark season. Hope you enjoy the Del Sol Photography photos of swimming with whale sharks, we can’t wait to get more!