Whale sharks are mysterious creatures. Considered the largest fish in the world, we know that they come to an area near Holbox to feed from the abundant plankton. We don’t know exactly where they come from or where they go afterwards.
We also know that they are noble and solitary animals. As long as you are respectful, you can safely swim close to them, most of the time they won’t react in any way. You can hire a tour from Holbox to sail and meet these fascinating animals.
We talked to Gustavo Morett, from VIP Holbox, who told us what the whale shark experience is like, from beginning to end:
It all starts at 7 AM in restaurant LUUMA. There, while you have a light breakfast of fruit, yogurt, bread, and coffee, the guides give you an explanation of the tour, they talk about the rules and the consequences of breaking them.
At 7:30, the group walks to the pier, where they hop on a boat and sail to the spot where the whale sharks were seen the day before. The sharks move at a maximum speed of 3 miles per day, so they are relatively easy to find, even if they are not at the exact same spot from the day before.
The trip to the whale sharks area is about 90 to 150 minutes long, depending on the location of the sharks. After one or two immersions per couple, the boat heads to Cabo Catoche.
In Cabo Catoche, you get to snorkel alongside sea turtles, stingrays, parrotfish and many other species. Meanwhile, the VIP Holbox team cooks delicious and fresh ceviche.
Next stop is at some peaceful beach where the group can eat and chill, usually the one known as Santa Paula.
On the way back, a final stop is made at Punta Mosquitos to spot some of the flamingos that gather there.
We give you some highlights regarding the rules of the whale shark experience:
- During the tour, you must wear the live vest at all times.
- You must keep at a 6.5 ft distance from the sharks. You should not touch them under any circumstance.
- No swimming under the sharks.
- No jumping into the water. All immersions must be done smoothly.
- Flash photography is not allowed.
- Only biodegradable sunscreen is allowed, but it has to be applied at least 30 minutes before immersing.
- Respecting the instructions of the captain and tour guides is mandatory.
VIP Holbox offers the whale shark experience at a $130 USD fee, which covers everything. This company is certified by the federal government as nature-oriented tourism operators. They are trained in first aid, water rescue and group management.
In the words of Gustavo, “anything that I can say about this experience falls short in comparison to actually living it”. If you visit Holbox in the summer, don’t miss this expedition!