This post is a little bit late. If you are familiar with Whale Shark season in Mexico, it runs from June 1 to September 1. This year we decided it was time to get on the tour and actually be a visitor for the day, a visitor to the Gulf of Mexico and the breeding ground so of the whale sharks. Was it a good decision? One of the best decisions we have made for months. What a great trip, what a joy, what an adventure and really, what an incredible experience swimming with the Whale Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico
It is fortuitous that the Whale Shark tour is a snorkel tour, as we don’t scuba dive. That is next on the Caribbean bucket list of things to do in our spare time. But lets focus on these incredible, huge, massive fish that are more gentle than my grandmother. Wow! Really WOW! We have never seen anything like this in real life. One of us has seen whale sharks in at aquariums, and that was impressive, but seeing themup close and personal! Double WOW!
I have to say the tour company was attentive, on time, kind and informative. It is nice being a visitor and not have to work. This perspective also shows us what your experience is really like so that we can provide great recommendations for your vacation. On purpose we never tell anyone who we are. This is a useful strategy when we tour through Mexico so that we do not receive any special treatment. We want to experience the tour as it is presented, not as it is presented to a VIP client. Everyone on this tour was treated to like a VIP! Everyone was special, everyone was accommodated and everyone left happy. How could you not be happy when you see 65 whale sharks in front of you! Really….
This tour starts with a pick up at 7 am and you are off to Cancun where you will have a briefing, hop in a boat and then be whisked off to the Gulf of Mexico. The briefing explains all eco guides for the trip, what to expect, how to swim with the whale sharks and a great explanation as to who the whale sharks are and why they are in the Gulf of Mexico.
It is about an hour to the first whale shark siting. The travel time will depend on which month you are on the tour as the whale sharks move their position throughout the summer. Once you see the whale sharks, you will be instructed to suit up and get ready to swim. Only 2 people are allowed in the water at a time with the guide. The less people in the water the less scared the Whale Shark is, not the humans the whale sharks. You are encouraged to swim super fast so that you can see the whale shark up close, but no touching and no riding the whale sharks.
After about 2.5 hours of swimming you really can not swim any longer. Everyone is tired and we are taken to Isla Mujueres for lunch on the beach or in the boat, a snorkel in the Caribbean so you can see the difference in water quality and visibility, and after an hour or so you are taken back to Cancun for the van ride home.
We give a thumbs up for the educational aspect of this tour, the sustainability practices used in this tour, the knowledgeable guides and the care taken to all of the guests. Lunch was good but we were starved so it would have been nice to have a greater variety of food so we could eat more. 🙂
Snorkeling equipment is supplied, but we do like our own stuff, which we brought. We also were tipped off about bringing wetsuits which are considered a flotation device. Good move as we did not have to wear our life jackets which get in the way of fast swimming. Bring a towel, biodegradable sunscreen, a snack and your bathing suit. That is it unless you want a hat and a long sleeve shirt for more sun protection.If you have a camera or smart phone great, if you have an underwater camera even better. The guide will take a photo with your camera if you have one.
We were back at 4 pm and ready for a beer for sure. We sat at Carboncitos and looked down 4th street admiring the beach, the ocean and our day!!! What a great, great day! we will be back for more in 2013 that is for sure! If you are super excited start trip planning now for 2013!