An unforgettable experience — swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Cancun.
One of the best things to do in Cancun is swimming with whale sharks visiting the Mexican Caribbean from June to August, at the height of whale shark season.
Come snorkel and swim with these magnificent creatures who can measure around 40 feet and weigh as much as 10,000 pounds. Despite their enormity, these docile giants calmly roam around the Caribbean Sea looking for plankton and krill, not worrying too much about humans or other animals.
Before you set out to swim with the whale sharks, here are five things you should know about the biggest fish in the world.
1. Where Can I Go Swimming With Whale Sharks?
First of all, the best place to look for them is around the islands neighboring the northern coasts of Cancun and Isla Mujeres — Isla Contoy and Isla Holbox.
During the summer months, it’s possible to find as many as 30 or 40 whale sharks at the same time around Contoy and Holbox’s waters on the northeastern shores of the Yucatan Peninsula. Most noteworthy, 420 whale sharks rubbed fins at one point in this area.
To celebrate the arrival of these incredible fish, the 10th annual Whale Shark Festival in Isla Mujeres will take place from July 20 to 23. Many family-friendly activities are in store, along with the promotion of the protection of whale sharks.
2. How Much Do Whale Sharks Weigh and Measure?
No doubt, the whale shark is the largest fish on the planet. Adults can grow to be between 25 and 40 feet in length, and weigh about 20,000 pounds.
The biggest confirmed whale shark came in at 41.5 feet in length and a weight of about 47,000 pounds.
When you go swimming with the whale sharks, you will be amazed by their sheer magnitude.
3. Do Whale Sharks Protect the Ocean?
In summary, with big size comes big responsibilities for the amazing whale shark.
‘It’s the largest fish in the ocean, and it’s a real representative of healthy marine ecosystems,’ researcher Mike Maslanka, at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., told National Geographic. ‘It can be a real flagship species for protecting the oceans, especially in the band that stretches around the Equator.’
That’s because sharks are apex predators who control the populations below them on the food chain. They keep the ocean’s populations young by eating old, sick and dead fish.
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4. How Long Do Whale Sharks Live?
Not only do whale sharks have a gigantic size, but their life span is also titanic — they can live to about 100 years. Some scientists even estimate the sharks have lived 150 years.
Whale sharks become sexually mature at 30 years old and the females have up to 300 pups per litter. The eggs grow inside the mother and the new fish come out ready to swim. The baby whale sharks are about 15 inches in length.
5. Do Whale Sharks Eat People?
Of course not! Whale sharks actually feed primarily on plankton, krill, fish eggs, and some deep-sea fish.
Whale sharks have 300 to 350 rows of teeth — about 3,000 teeth total — but none of them could help them eat humans. In fact, the largest filter feeder fish in the world come to Cancun during the summer months precisely because the area is rich in plankton at that time.
So come pay them a visit while they’re here in Cancun. Swimming with whale sharks will be an experience to treasure for the rest of your life.
We have limited spaces so booking in advance is a must!