WHALE SHARK TOUR
Looking for experience on Isla Mujeres like no other? Well, look no further swimming with the biggest fish in the world, The Whale Sharks is what you want to put on top of your bucket list.
SEASON: May 17th - Sept 17th
CAPACITY: 10 Guest *Max Per Boat
DURATION: 6 Hours
SERVICE: Everyday 7:00AM
FOOD & Drink: Ceviche & Sandwiches
BEVERAGES: Water & Soda Included
LOCATION: Isla Mujeres, Mexico
MEET UP: Marina Bartolome
$150 PER PERSON
In this tour, you will explore and ignite your body senses, seeing and swimming next to the whale sharks in the Caribbean. This will be an experience you will never forget! Swimming with the whale sharks is only aloud in Whale Shark season, Season starts at May 15- September 15 Make sure you book your tour upfront to have availability because the demand is high with a limited aloud per day. A boat may only take up to 10 people.
After a 45 minutes boat ride (depending on their location, it can be longer) you jump in the water with a lifejacket (mandatory), 2 persons at the time plus a certified guide, you can swim with the Whale Sharks and often you see Manta Rays as well. When you are lucky you can see dolphins in the same area. You jump in for a swim more than once. (depending on the amount of Whale Sharks and the number of people (max 10) on board.
The boat returns to Isla Mujeres. The next stop is Playa Norte where you can chill or swim while the crew and captain makes fresh fish ceviche for you.
Imagine the breeze on your face as the coastline fades out of sight, the morning sun warming your smile as you set off on a new adventure to see some of the most interesting creatures in the world: Whale Sharks!… Everyone on the boat is excited, and the good vibes are palpable as you coast through the water with your new friends, the trained captain, and crew. Beside the boat, flying fish defy gravity, leaping out of the confines of the sea, their mystic wings sparkling in the Caribbean rays. Your eyes stay on the water, and the trained gazes of the crew help you spot dolphins and sea turtles in the distance.
You feel your anticipation grow as you see a small smattering of boats off in the distance, knowing you’re close. The captain and crew wave at their seafaring comrades as you kill the engine and drift closer. The crew members explain in detail all of the safety procedures, both for you and the gentle giants that are slurping plankton off the surface. As they have no natural predators, they’re an easy-going bunch and don’t much mind the tiny humans swimming about with their cameras and wide-eyed fascination. You’re reminded not to wear sunscreen so as to not damage the wildlife or get icky chemicals into the whale sharks’ breakfast and are handed life jackets to keep you buoyant and visible so your dedicated team can make sure you enjoy every minute of your experience, without a care in the world.
The first whale shark approaches your boat, and the captain greets it by name! As each whale shark sports a distinct pattern of spots and stripes, and some come back every year, many of the island’s sailors have learned to recognize them, and even given them endearing nicknames like El Gallo (The Rooster, due to a cut fin that resembles a rooster’s wattle)!
You patiently wait your turn as everybody gets suited up and divided into pairs (only two swimmers at a time so as to be respectful to the deepsea diners). The certified guide makes the signal, and you leap into the water, the cool kiss of the sea a welcome relief from the sultry summer air. As the bubbles dissipate around you, you can finally truly see the spectacular sight of the ocean’s largest fish, swimming peacefully, periodically opening and closing their mouths as they filter feed. You wonder how old the creature next to you is, as the guide explained these beautiful fish (yep, fish! Despite the misnomer, they are neither whales nor sharks) can live up to 100 years! Despite the slow movements of the whale shark, you swim and swim to stay next to it (keeping your hands to yourself! These gentle giants have a delicate mucus layer on their skin which protects them from parasites and bacteria and helps with respiratory functions, so any physical contact with them may damage the protective layer and cause the animal great harm). The whale shark’s massive size means that even though they look like they’re taking a leisurely swim, one wag of their half-moon shaped tail propels them pretty far, pretty fast!
As you swim back to the boat, tuckered out from so much excitement and exercise, you glance below you, noticing how the sunlight streams through the water, and… What’s that?! Manta rays! Today’s your lucky day! Sometimes, the paths of the manta ray migration and the whale shark aggregation cross, and lucky explorers may get to see both of these wild creatures in one day! The massive (and harmless) manta rays are even known to perform a type of dance during their voyage where they leap out of the water, either to get rid of parasites and suckerfish or to communicate with other manta rays who might have gotten separated from the school. Their pectoral fins almost appear wing-like as they gracefully jump in and out of the sea.
You approach the boat, and the conscientious crew member extends a hand down, helping you into the vessel, where you settle down in the shade of the canopy to have a drink and a snack with your fellow wildlife lovers. You all exchange perspectives and stories in animated chirps, laughing and reveling at the moment as you head back to land, forever changed, humbled, marveled by the magic of the sea.
You close your eyes, taking in the sounds and sensations, and before you know it, you’ve reached Isla Mujeres’ local treasure: Playa Norte (North Beach). Vast expanses of glittering white sand and tall, lush palm trees dot the shore. The water is crystal clear, glowing turquoise in the sunshine. The captain anchors down behind the buoys, a short distance from the beach, and begins to prepare the fisherman’s delight, the isleño delicacy: ceviche, a delicious mix of land and sea that consists of fresh-caught fish diced with crisp onions, cilantro, tomato, lime juice, salt, and whatever other seasonings the captain prefers.
The combination of the soft fish and the crunchy vegetables served with Mexican tostada tortilla chips is exactly what you need after your beautiful morning in the sea, salt, and sun. Satisfied and smiling, the captain brings you back to the dock from which you embarked and shakes your hand as you set off on another, a new adventure.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE TRIP
mask, snorkel, fins, lifejacket
Drinks (Water & Sodas)
Foot (Fruit, Sandwiches, Ceviche)
WHAT TO WEAR & BRING?
Wear (biodegradable) sunscreen and or a rashguard (link to shop).
wear a hat and sunglasses. Bring a towel and your underwater camera if you have, or rent one for the trip!
WHAT IS THE TRIP LIKE
We leave early morning and we will go and search for the whale sharks. On a good day, we see hundreds! In pairs of two, you take several turns with a guide and swim with these Big Fish! Once done, we return to paradise and anchor on the #1 beach from Mexico and enjoy a swim and some fresh ceviche.
- Frequently Asked Questions -
Q. Do We Always See Whale Sharks?
A. Whale Sharks are living at the open sea, so sometimes it is a bit of a search but that is all in the fun! We can not guarantee you will see them but in more than 90% of the tours we take out, you will see them and swim with them.
Q. Do You Feed The Whalesharks?
A. No in comparison with other Whale Shark encounters in the world, we do not feed them. They feed themselves with plankton and fish eggs, they float on the surface and that is why the whale sharks are at the surface as well, scooping up the foot and filtering it in their wide mouth.
Q. How Big Are The Whale Sharks?
A. A small Whale Shark is 18 feet a big one is 40 feet and then all the sizes in between.
Q. Can The Whale Sharks Hurt Me?
A. Nobody gets hurt by the whale shark but we can hurt the whale shark that is why there are rules of no touching the Whale Shark and keep a bit distance so we can enjoy the Whale Shark and the Whale Shark can enjoy his natural space.
Q. Why Is There No Afternoon Trip Possible?
A. Whale Sharks feed themselves in the morning, in the afternoon they go down deep so there will be a low chance of seeing them in the afternoon.
Fun Fact To Know: The spots on the whale sharks are all unique like fingerprints on humans.