Swimming alongside the largest fish in the sea is one of the ultimate bucket-list experiences. Lucky, then, that there are a handful of destinations around Mexico where in-season sightings of whale sharks are most certainly guaranteed.
From the many things to do in Todos Santos, to the quiet Sea of Cortez bordering towns of La Paz and Los Cabos, towards the tip of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, where the small island of Holbox remains largely untouched by tourism. Mexico’s islands and coastal towns are ripe with whale shark adventure during the months of June through September, when they congregate in the tropical oceans of the Caribbean.
When snorkeling with whale sharks, their presence is hard to ignore, since they average 40 feet long and weigh in around 15 tons. They are gentle, docile and unafraid, and allow snorkelers to swim close enough to observe the checkerboard pattern of pale yellow dots and stripes covering their thick gray skin.
Arguably the most majestic of Mexican animals, the whale shark population is considered to be of vulnerable status, due to their short life span and lethargic growth. Although plenty of countries participate in conservation efforts to protect them, they remain under threat as they are continually hunted. Be sure to keep a respectful distance from the gentle giants, resisting the urge to touch them or to use any flash photography when snorkeling or diving alongside them.