Best time to visit Honduras

Whale Shark Season around Utila in Honduras

This interesting phenomenon of whale shark aggregation gives a chance to see a few of these huge creatures at the same time

Best time: March–April | June–September

Whale Shark Season around Utila

Utila is home to numerous giant whale sharks. Most often they are found in the deep waters near the northern tip of the island. It is one of the few places in the world where whale sharks can be observed all year round. The main season runs from the end of March to April, and from October to December. At that time whale sharks are usually solitary. However, during the annual migration, from June till September, they can be seen in small groups. This period is famous as “whale shark season."

The whale shark is the largest fish of the world's oceans. The size of its gigantic body can amaze anyone who has not previously met with this gentle giant. The whale shark has a relatively small head and huge gill slits on each side. The body is usually painted in a dark grey or brown colour, and covered with numerous spots of a white or yellowish hue, which in places are lined up like stripes. Despite the menacing look and very large size, this predator doesn't carry any danger to humans and other creatures. It feeds exclusively on small ocean creatures—plankton, crustaceans, and small schooling fish.

Practical info

When should someone plan a trip to Utila to increase their chances of seeing whale sharks?

To increase the chances of seeing whale sharks, it is recommended to plan a trip to Utila between the end of March to April and from June to September during the 'whale shark season.' During these months, the chances of spotting these magnificent creatures in small groups are higher. It is worth noting that whale sharks can be found around the northern tip of Utila all year long. Planning to swim with these gigantic yet gentle giants is a unique experience worth considering during your visit to Utila. Show more

Where is the best location to find giant whale sharks around Utila?

Giant whale sharks can be found in the deep waters around the northern tip of Utila island. Although these gentle creatures tend to be solitary throughout the year, during the annual migration from June to September, they can be spotted in small groups. Utila is one of the few places in the world where tourists can experience swimming with whale sharks in their natural habitat all year long. In addition to unforgettable diving and snorkeling experiences, Utila offers mesmerizing beaches and turquoise waters for tourists to enjoy. Show more

What distinguishes whale sharks from other shark breeds?

Whale sharks, the largest fish species worldwide, can grow up to 40 feet in length. They have a flat, wide head, 5 large gill slits, and 300-350 rows of small teeth. Whale sharks are unique when it comes to feeding, as they are filter feeders. This means that they consume microscopic plants and small organisms by passing water through their gills and catching the food in their gill raker as the water passes. Moreover, whale sharks are known for their serene demeanor, making them ideal for swimming with and observing up close. Show more

What is the type of food that whale sharks consume, and what is their feeding process?

Whale sharks feed on plankton, small fish, and squid, with the help of their filter feeding mechanism. The feeding process is initiated when the whale shark swims, causing water to fill its mouth and pass through its gills, catching and filtering nutritious plankton and other small organisms in their gill raker. Whale sharks can filter up to 1,500 gallons of water per hour in this way. Their feeding behavior takes place on the water surface, providing an excellent opportunity for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts to observe these mesmerizing creatures up close. Show more

What is the size of a whale shark, and are they safe for swimming with humans?

Whale sharks can grow up to a massive 40 feet in length and weigh over 20 tons, making them the world's most massive fish species. Despite their massive size, they pose no threat to humans, which makes swimming with them a unique and tranquil experience. Whale sharks are filter feeders and mainly consume plankton, small fish, and squid, and have no interest in attacking humans or other animals. Nonetheless, it is vital to maintain caution and ensure no interference in the natural habitat of these colossal yet gentle creatures for the safety and benefit of both the tourists and whale sharks. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin