Travelers visiting Cancun and the Riviera Maya can swim with whale sharks during their beach vacation in paradise, especially during the summer months. Now, summer is here and whale shark season is in full swing! So grab your snorkel gear and get ready for the ocean adventure of a lifetime.
Photo: Christian Jensen
From May through September, boat tours in Cancun and the Riviera Maya can take you to swim with whale sharks in the clear, open waters of the Caribbean Sea. On these tours, you’ll have the chance to snorkel alongside these stunning, enormous and gentle sharks during an experience you’ll never forget. Even children as young as three years old can go on some of these tours as a guide leads them along in the water, although its best for participants to be adequate swimmers and have some experience with snorkeling. The experience will be even better if you try to book your tour on a day with calm waters and ideal weather conditions. When you swim with whale sharks, always make sure to stay at least a few meters away, and never touch the animal; whale sharks are calm and gentle with divers and snorkelers, but they can get spooked by unexpected touching.
Whale sharks are among the most beautiful, mysterious and impressive creatures living in the ocean, and they can only be seen in a few parts of the world. Every summer, especially during July and August, large groups of these animals migrate to the waters near the islands of Isla Mujeres, Contoy and Holbox, located just north of Cancun and the Riviera Maya. The whale sharks are drawn to this region because of the warm tropical waters and rich plankton during this time of year, right where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean Sea.
Photo: Marcel Ekkel
Whale sharks are not whales; they are filter-feeding sharks whose diet includes plankton, krill and occasionally fish, and they’re completely harmless to humans. The name “whale” shark comes from their immense size and their filter-feeding lifestyle similar to the baleen whale. They’re also considered the largest known fish in the world! A swim with whale sharks is sure to take your breath away because they measure up to 40 feet, making them the gentle giants of the ocean. Whale sharks are easy to recognize due to their large size, the beautiful pattern of soft white spots and stripes all over their back, and their huge mouths that extend up to five feet when open. Because they feed mostly on krill and plankton, these animals generally swim near the surface at a slow speed, making it easy to swim with whale sharks during your snorkeling tour.
So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of whale shark season and swim with whale sharks this summer! Book your next summer vacation at an all inclusive Mexico beach resort in Cancun or the Riviera Maya so you can swim right next to one of the world’s biggest and most beautiful creatures.