Whale shark season is coming: snorkel alongside gentle giants
Want to swim with whale sharks in Cancun? The season is approaching…
The biggest fish in the ocean are coming to the shores of Cancun, and we couldn’t be more excited! The whale shark snorkel season commences the beginning of June and runs until mid-September. During this time you will have the opportunity to snorkel beside these gentle giants.
What makes whale sharks so magical?
Whale sharks are the biggest filter feeders in the ocean. They average in length between 5-10metres/15-30ft (the largest one ever recorded was 18m/60ft!). Despite their grand size they are known for being docile creatures, posing no threat to humans. They swim slowly, moving around 3 miles per hour and can be found in tropical waters all over the world. They come to the shores of Cancun/Isla Mujeres between June and September to feed on plankton/tiny fish which are abundant during the summer months.
How the tour operates:
The whale shark snorkel tours meet early in the morning. If travelling from Cancun you will be taken to a pier to catch the boat to the whale shark point, travel time is around 45-50 mins depending on sea conditions. The boats are generally small, consisting of around 10 people maximum. Full snorkel-gear is obligatory (mask, snorkel, fins and a life-jacket), all of which will be provided on the boat. If you have your own gear you may bring it with you.
Protecting the whale sharks is a priority. In order to not overcrowd them, each small group will hop into the water with a professional guide for an allocated time (around 10 minutes). Each small group on the boat will able to jump into the water to swim with the sharks several times.
The boat will remain in the whale shark area for up to 3 hours. Keep your eyes peeled because it's possible to spot dolphins, turtles and manta rays too!
You are then transported back to the pier in Cancun where you can catch a ride back to your hotel or elsewhere - whichever you have prior planned!
Some additional considerations:
Be prepared for a longer day - the travel time can be long from your hotel to the whale shark snorkel point, you will get up early and it's possible you won't get back until around 4/5pm. Consider this if travelling with small children.
No sunscreen - regular sunscreen is poisonous to marine life and is banned from the tours. Please opt for a reef-safe sunscreen OR wear a rash guard/hat to protect yourself from sun exposure.
Sea sickness - the ride out to the whale shark snorkel point is long and the seas are not always calm! Better to be on the safe and take precautions beforehand. This can be in the form of anti-seasickness pills, ginger tea or tablets or pressure point bracelets.
Follow the guide - make sure to always follow the instructions of the guide. Their priority is to keep you and the whale sharks safe, so actively listen to their advice to optimise your experience.
Tip your crew - tips are customary in Mexico. The crew work hard to give you the best possible experience, so remember to bring some cash (dollars or pesos) to show them your appreciation!