Whale sharks are among the largest sharks in the world, their size makes them among the largest fish in the ocean. Unlike some sharks, it is truly peaceful and beautiful. Many divers would like to swim in the ocean as close as possible to this majestic shark.
So here is a non-exhaustive list of the best places where you can swim and dive with the whale shark. You have 3 possibilities:
- Swim with them
- Diving with them
- Snorkel it means that you will be able to dive freely around the whale sharks
In addition, swimming 🏊♀️ with sharks in a responsibly organized manner can help save them. How can it help? It's extremely easy, ecotourism can make sharks very attractive to local communities who will want to protect them, which will be much more interesting than shark fin soup.
Besides, many shark areas are considered endangered or in extinction according to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) because of overfishing and mainly shark finning. It is a fishing technique that consists of cutting off the fins of sharks still alive and throwing them back into the sea. So, if you are looking for a thrill or you are a shark fan, please yourself and organize your trip to the best spots in the world to swim with whale sharks.
1 - WOLF AND DARWIN ISLANDS, GALAPAGOS
It is an unforgettable experience for divers from all over the world. Considered as the most beautiful spots in the world, the wolf islands and Darwin are 2 volcanic ridges surrounded by rock walls. Inhabited by thousands of birds and protected by the Galapagos National Park. The water here is warmer than in the other islands. From June to November the water temperature and the weather gets a little colder. The plankton starts to multiply which attracts whale sharks and a wide variety of other fish.🐠
The diving is magnificent, to be so close to this giant shark of more 50 feet long. It is really an incredible experience to do, it is a place appreciated by many divers.
Season: June to December
2 - SOCORRO ISLAND, MEXICO
SOCORRO is one of the 4 volcanic 🌋 islands located off the coast of Mexico, 240 miles from capo san Lucas, they are called revillagigedo islands. Socorro has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2016. It is one of the best destinations to see whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, dolphins and oceanic manta rays which have been frequenting its waters since more than 20 years and allows itself to be approached by divers.
The water is very blue and the temperature changes according to the month and ranges from 20 to 27 degrees. Between May and December you can often see whale sharks and between November and December you can see humpback whales and giant manta rays. A favorite spot for divers says Tim Yeo, manager and travel agent. It is nevertheless a spot for experienced divers with a minimum of 50 certified dives and a CMASS or PADI AOWD level required. because there are lot of currents 🌊, to keep calm face to certain species and depths that vary between 20 and 30 meters.
Season: May to December
3 - ISLA MUJERES, MEXICO
Located 7,45 miles from the Yucatan Peninsula, Isla Mujeres is ideal for divers who want to snorkel with whale sharks. It is in this spot that you are practically 100% sure to swim up close with this beautiful fish totally harmless to humans. The sea is a paradisiacal clear blue.
Moreover, the organizers are extremely serious and everything is perfectly regulated. The number of people who can enter into the water is limited as well as the distance between the divers and Sthe animal in order to protect the fish and divers. It is a regulation for the good of all and in accordance with the regulations realized by scuba 🤿 clubs such as the Phocea Mexico diving center which has experienced snorkeling guides and an excellent boat captain 🛳️ as many divers testify, according to Audrey (French review).
Moreover, the plankton-rich waters and tuna eggs attract a large amount of whale sharks to this place in a completely natural way, contrary to some place that have understood the importance of ecotourism (financially) feed the fishes to attract tourists who unfortunately do not respect the safety rules and can even climb on the sharks to do selfie.🤳
Season: mid-May to mid-September
Swim or Snorkel
4 - LA PAZ, MEXICO
Mexico is one of the top 17 mega-diverse countries with the highest bio-diversity. The bay of the Paz is a reliable spot to swim with whale sharks in autumn as well as in winter. Entirely in the wild, no one feeds them, so they let themselves be approached by divers. Its majestic bus-sized underwater animals have been living in the oceans for over 60 million years and can reach over 50 feet long and 25 tons. In this area, they appear in groups for the happiness of tourists and mainly divers. They will delight your eyes when you see their radiantly patterned skin underwater. There are several types of boats of all sizes that can take you there and the trips at sea last about 2 to 3 hours, the time to search for whale sharks 🦈 is quite short as they are so numerous.
Season: October to April
Swim or Snorkel
5 - BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES
It's one of the best place to swim whit whale sharks Bahia de Los Angeles is a pretty little village. Located in Mexico north of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). Every summer, from July to September hundreds of whale sharks gather south of this bay. It is with this filter feeding monster that feeds mainly on plankton, shrimp and small fish that you can snorkel with this magnificent fish, an incredible experience. You will also be able to see an incredible number of sea lions that make this place even more beautiful. When the sea is calm it is quite easy to find them but if the sea is rough it becomes rather hard on if you are in a small boat.
In order to protect the ecosystem of the region. The Mexican President Felipe Calderon in cooperation with non-governmental organizations, the GCF World Conservation Fund and Pronatura Noroeste created the Bahia de Los Angeles Reserve which protects a diverse marine population including many threatened or endangered species such as the whale shark and California sea lions.
This list is obviously not exhaustive. And is a good top 5 for those who wish to swim with whale sharks, there are a number of dive centers that offer their services in each of these places to offer you a unique and unforgettable experience. 🤩
Season: July to September
Share with us your best spot to dive with whale sharks?