Best time to visit Mexico

Swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico

This huge fish might look frightening, but, fortunately, it prefers plankton to meat

Best time: March–September

Swimming with Whale Sharks
Swimming with Whale Sharks

Whale sharks are among the largest fish species on the planet. They grow up to 20 m (65 ft) in length. Imagine what it’s like to swim side by side with a fish 10 times bigger than you— it's thrilling and totally safe! Paradoxically enough, the largest fish feeds on the smallest microorganisms, like plankton, so you have nothing to worry about.

Mexico is one of the world’s best destinations to swim with whale sharks, as hundreds of these huge fish remain in the waters of the Yucatan Peninsula. The season runs from June through September. This is when the sharks are abundant in waters around Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy, and Isla Holbox. The peak months are July and August.

In the spring whale sharks also flock to the nutritious waters of the Sea of Cortez along the Pacific coast of Mexico. In Baja California, you can also see whale sharks from November to May. Whale watching tours are offered in Los Cabos. One of the best places to go snorkeling with gentle giants is fish-rich Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park. The season runs from November to May, with spring month being the peak time.

Practical info

When is the best time to swim with whale sharks in Mexico?

You can swim with whale sharks in Mexico from June to September, with the best months being July and August. Alternatively, from November to May, the Pacific coast off Sea of Cortez is frequented with whale sharks. While March to May is also a popular whale shark season. Show more

Where can I see whale sharks in Mexico besides the Yucatan Peninsula?

In Baja California, Los Cabos offers whale watching tours from November to May. Another great spot is Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, where you can go snorkeling along with whale sharks and other sea creatures like sea turtles and colorful reef fish. Show more

How big can whale sharks grow?

The largest fish species in the world is the whale shark, which can reach up to 20 meters (65 feet) in length and weigh up to 11 tons. Their distinctive white spot pattern on a dark surface is their striking feature, and they create a spectacular sight while swimming alongside them. Show more

What do whale sharks eat?

Whale sharks feed on plankton and fish eggs despite their size. With an average consumption of 21 kg (46 pounds) of food per day during migration times, they are filter feeders and have a unique way of consuming food by opening their mouths wide and filtering water through their gills, thus capturing tiny fish and plankton. Show more

What are some other marine creatures I can see while swimming with whale sharks in Mexico?

Along with whale sharks, you can come across other marine creatures like sea turtles, colorful reef fish, stingrays, and a range of corals while swimming in the waters of Mexico's coasts. You may even spot manta rays, sailfish or orcas whales and even big pods of dolphins if you are lucky. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin