Whale Sharks off the Coast of Quintana Roo

Janine Dávila Madrid

Whale Sharks Off the Coast of Quintana Roo

Whale sharks visit the coast of Holbox Island, in Quintana Roo, from May to October every year to feed and mate. This time of year is perfect to rent a boat to take you close to these enormous animals, where you can then swim with them. The whale shark is the biggest fish in the world, measuring up to 60 feet long. They are grey or dark blue in color, featuring circular markings and horizontal or vertical white or yellow lines on their backs and bellies. The sharks normally swim near the surface of the water.

Tiburón BallenaMexico has classified the whale shark as an endangered migratory species and is committed to their conservation, having implemented strict controls that allow low-impact tourism, which in turn offers the inhabitants of the island a viable income during certain seasons of the year. You can get to Holbox via the federal highway to Merida from Cancun, passing through numerous charming towns before taking the turning that leads to the village of Chiquila, where you can board a boat or ferry to the island. Holbox is a peaceful, picturesque island with numerous hotels and great restaurants.

TiburonesWhen you get to Holbox you'll find numerous tour providers who organize excursions to go and see the sharks. These trips leave at about seven in the morning to take advantage of the wind that will speed up your journey to where they are. Thanks to the animals' non-threatening nature, you can either admire these incredible specimens on board the boat, or take a dive into the water and swim close to them, with nothing to fear. The whale sharks tend to ignore you and just continue feeding as they carry on their way.

Nadando con el tiburón ballena

The excursion lasts about five hours in total. Swimming with whale sharks really is an unforgettable experienced not to be missed, and with luck you might even get to see giant manta rays and playful dolphins as well!