Snorkeler in front of a whale shark

Snorkeling with Whale sharks

The whale shark owes its name to its immense size of up to 12m in length and weighing up to 21 tons. His large size most clearly associates whale sharks with whales, but they are actually part of the shark family. The whale shark is not a hunter but one of the filter animals. He is the only surviving specimen of the genus Rhincodon, whose origins date back to 60 million years ago. The whale shark is the largest living fish and the largest, non-lactating vertebrate in the world. He lives in tropical, warm waters near the equator.

He is a travel animal that usually stays in the open sea and can dive to depths of 1,200 m.Whale sharks have a white belly and a gray back with pale, yellowish dots and stripes. This pattern on the back is unique and can be used as an identification, like a fingerprint, of each animal. The whale shark reaches a size of 12m or more and the skin is up to 15 cm thick. He has a broad, flat head with a 1.5 m wide mouth with about 3,000 teeth in 300 rows of teeth and 10 filter pads. The mouth and small eyes are located on the front of the head and behind it are located on each side 5 large gill slits. The whale shark has two dorsal fins, thoracic and anal fins and a large tail fin. Whale sharks are virtually harmless and there are reports where juveniles have even played with divers and swimmers. In 2011, more than 400 whale sharks have been sighted off the coast of Yucatan.

The whale shark moves slowly and uses his entire body for motion. To eat he filters large quantities of water in search of macro-algae, krill, plankton and small fish. He or she may swim by simply opening their huge mouth and letting the water flow through or opening and closing the mouth to suck in large amounts of water. When eating, the approximately 3,000 small teeth of the whale shark collect food in the filter pads. Little is known about the mating behavior of this giant. Whale sharks have a life expectancy between 70-100 years and reach sexual maturity after 30 years. A whale shark can carry up to 300 juveniles with a size between 40-60cm. The eggs of whale sharks reach a size of about 35cm, making them the largest eggs in the world.

The whale shark snorkeling trip

The excursion starts at about 6am at your hotel. With the mini-van we go to Cancun for private investors in the harbor of Puerto Juarez. Here your guide will be waiting for you with a light breakfast and all the important information for the day. After the briefing, you will go via speedboat in the marine park to the whale sharks. The journey time is approximately 45 minutes. Once in the Marine Park, you can go swimming with the whale sharks, always two people plus a guide. We have plenty of time to relax here; no time pressure. In addition to the whale sharks, it is not uncommon to see manta rays, dolphins and turtles.

After snorkeling we offer a small lunch of shrimp ceviche, water, soft drinks and beer. The boat is at 1p.m. or 2p.m. back at Puerto Juarez and from there it goes back to your hotel, hopefully with unforgettable memories and photos. Tip: When you snorkel with the whale sharks it is required that you wear a life jacket or a shorty. On board there is only life jackets, if you prefer to swim with a shorty we offer them for rent from our shop for 5 USD.

Snorkeling with whale sharks

Per person 180 USD Full day excursion with little breakfast, snack lunch, water and soft drinks.
  • All prices are in US Dollar and subject to change without notice.