The 2013 Whale Shark Season has officially started in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula! Beginning May 15th and ending September 1st, whale sharks migrate from around the world to the warm, tropical waters of the Mexican-Caribbean Sea.
The start of the season is always highly anticipated because it means that adventurers have the opportunity to swim and snorkel with these giant creatures in their natural habitat. Although whale sharks are the largest fish in the world and grow to be over 40 feet in length and 15 tons heavy, they pose absolutely no threat to humans. They are slow moving, docil animals that feed mostly on plankton, completely harmless to those that join them for a swim.
The waters surrounding Isla Mujeres, Isla Holbox, and Isla Contoy are known to have some of the densest populations during this period. In 2011, Mexico recorded the largest aggregation of whales sharks ever, with more than 400 gathering in one place to feed!
If you’re thinking about swimming with whale sharks this year, here are some tips:
When: While May through September is the official season, the largest congregations are in July and August. The fifth annual Whale Shark Festival is scheduled to take place on Isla Mujeres, July 11-14, and will share local cuisine, music and raise awareness to environmental education and preservation of whale sharks.
Where: We recommend staying at Casa Sandra on Isla Holbox. This beautiful boutique hotel is located on a small island north of Cancún, where the Caribbean Sea converges with the Gulf of Mexico. It is part of a ecological reserve which provides nutrient-rich water that attract large gatherings of whale sharks.
Who: Anyone from a beginning swimmer to a professional snorkeler can join the adventure of wading with whale sharks.
How: Journey Yucatan (a brand of Journey Mexico) can provide you with a tour to swim with these amazing fish. We can arrange anything from a group tour to a private yacht encounter. For a full itinerary, check out our Swim With Whale Sharks and Visit Ancient Ruins Trip.