Where to swim with whale sharks

swimming with whale sharks

Discovering the Gentle Whale Shark

Where to swim with whale sharks? This amazin fish (Rhincodon typus), is known as the largest fish in the world and can reach up to 12 meters in length, commonly sighted in the oceans and warm tropical seas that characterize the region of the Yucatan Peninsula, mainly Quintana Roo.

Scientists use to believe that the whale shark species originated almost 60 million years ago. These large fish are usually considered, by those who study them, to be the friendliest giants of the ocean thanks to their peaceful nature and their diet of microscopic plankton and ocean nekton. Whale sharks inhabit the open ocean of the world’s tropical oceans and are rarely found in seas with temperatures below 21 °C (70 °F). They are classified as an endangered species.


The whale shark swimming season is one of the most visited in the Yucatan Peninsula and northern Mexico.
In Mexico, the places where you can see whale sharks are:

  • Bahía de Los Ángeles, Baja California
  • Bahía de La Paz, Baja California Sur
  • Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo
  • Puerto Juárez, Quintana Roo
  • Chiquilá, Quintana Roo
  • Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo
  • Cancún, Quintana Roo

Are whale sharks dangerours?

The whale shark, the largest fish in the sea at 12 meters or more, has a large menu to choose from. Their favorite food is plankton. They capture these tiny plants and animals, along with any small fish that pass by, with their colossal open mouths as they swim close to the surface of the water.

whale shark-isla-mujeres

The whale shark, like the second largest fish on the planet, the basking shark, is a filter feeder. To eat, it opens its huge jaws wide and sucks in whatever is nearby. It then closes its mouth, expelling and filtering the water through its gills. Whatever is left inside is swallowed by this giant shark.

Where do whale sharks live here?

Because they prefer warm waters, whale sharks are present in all tropical seas. They migrate each spring to the continental shelf off central west coast of Australia. Coral breeding on Ningaloo Reef, located in that area, provides whale sharks with an abundance of plankton.

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When to encounter Whale Sharks:

Being a fish that enjoys warm waters, it is not surprising that the whale shark sighting season in Mexico coincides with the beginning of the warmest time of the year between May and September, although in the north of the country they can be seen later in the year.

Can you swim with whale sharks in Cancun?

Swimming with sharks can be a dangerous activity if you do not take the proper precautions because they are animals whose behavior can be unpredictable in addition to the risks of swimming offshore.


The ideal way to avoid risks and prevent accidents, as well as disturbing or scaring the marine life, is to hire a whale shark swimming and whale shark watching tour with specialized local guides.
Despite its enormous size, the whale shark is a docile fish that sometimes allows divers to swim with them. They are currently on the list of vulnerable species. Despite this, they are still hunted in some parts of Asia, such as Taiwan and the Philippines.

The weight of the whale shark

The average weight of a whale shark is approximately 9 tons (20,000 lbs.).
Whale sharks are the heaviest fish in the entire ocean. Calculations of the average weight of whale sharks estimate a weight of (20,000 pounds). However, several larger specimens have been recorded. According to researchers’ measurements, the same whale shark mentioned in the previous answer weighed about 21.5 tons (47,000 pounds).

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Do whale sharks have teeth?

Whale sharks do have teeth – hundreds of them, in fact – but they are small and use them for filter-feeding.
Although whale sharks are indeed sharks, they are quite different from other sharks in several ways. Unlike most other sharks, whale sharks have their mouths on the front of their heads, rather than on the underside of their heads. Whale sharks also feed by filter-feeding (like whales, but not like most sharks). Their mouths contain 300 to 350 rows of small teeth and 10 pads that they use to filter their food.


How long does a whale shark live?

Whale sharks generally live 70 to 100 years.
Everything about whale sharks is huge – including their life expectancy. Whale sharks reach sexual maturity at the age of 30 and can live up to 100 years.

The Unforgettable experience:

Experience swimming alongside the largest fish on the planet on a whale shark snorkeling adventure, explore the Caribbean Sea in search of whale sharks in their own habitat while watching manta rays, dolphins and flying fish jumping and thriving along the way. From June to September, hundreds of whale sharks congregate on the north side of Isla Mujeres forming the largest congregation of whale sharks in the world. On this trip, you will have the opportunity to experience swimming with whale sharks… The thrill of diving so close to the biggest fish in the sea is something you will never forget!


Safety Guidelines for Swimming with whale sharks

  • Boats should approach the specimen from the rear and position themselves parallel to it.
  • Keep a distance of no less than five meters and respect the direction of the shark’s swim.
  • Enter the sea in a controlled manner, without splashing, making noise or aven
  • Never obstruct the shark’s path; do not swim in front of the shark.
  • Do not make physical contact, harm, injure or ride the shark.
  • Always swim with the whale shark under the supervision of a certified guide.

Do not forget that despite the precautions taken, there is always an inherent level of risk when swimming with whale sharks, a species considered relatively harmless and docile.

In conclusion, the whale shark is one of the most impressive animals in the world and, although it is a shark, it is also one of the most tame fish in the ocean. In fact, whale sharks are so tame that it is completely safe to swim alongside them.

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