Whale shark snorkelling

Swim with the biggest fish in the ocean!

An incredible day out. These gentle giants and beautiful and graceful in the water.

1 day snorkelling excursion: $200

10% discount when diving with us for three or more days.

260mxn / 15us marine park and dock fee to be paid in cash on the day of the tour.

Snorkelers with whale shark



Early morning departures every day 1 June to 15 September
Trip duration: Approximately 10 hours
The excursion is unavailable on the 30th of each month.


No dive certification required
Comfortable in the water
Good level of physical fitness
Good swimmer and experienced snorkeller to keep up with the whale shark


Hotel pickup and breakfast
(for hotels based in Playa del Carmen to Cancun)
Multi-lingual, PADI Professional guide
Reef snorkelling and
freshly prepared lunch at Isla Mujeres
Snorkel equipment
Pickups from south of Playa del Carmen to Tulum are also available (+10usd)


Required: 260mxn / 15usd marine park and dock fee
Optional: Photos and video services available from the guide

Dive info

Book now…

Start your booking by selecting the date you would like to go

$200 per person
(260mxn / 15usd marine park and dock fee to be paid).

10% discount available if you book 3 or more days with us.

Let us know the name of each participant you would like to book for.
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If you would like to add of remove participants to your booking please adjust the quantity next to the "Add to cart" button.
If you would prefer to book a private trip then we can arrange this for you. You'll notice that the cost of the private trip decreases when you add more participants alongside you in the group.
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Pay a deposit of $150.00 per item

Snorkelers with whale sharkWhale sharks are the biggest fish in the ocean and normally very elusive. Many people comment on having spent years exploring different parts of the ocean yet never spotting a whale shark. Fortunately here in Mexico June to mid-September is whale shark season. We often see whale sharks in large numbers and off the North East coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Recognizing the important and fragile ecosystem these huge fish thrive in, the Mexican government has designated the area as a National Marine Park. Although diving is not permitted in this park, snorkeling alongside these gentle giants is a once in a lifetime experience for many people.

What is a whale shark?

Whale shark gills
These gills are used by the whale shark to trap small plankton which is how this huge fish feeds

Don’t be fooled by the name, a whale shark is a shark, not a whale. They earn their “whale” name due to their size and feeding behaviour. Whale sharks are filter feeders and eat plankton, just like some whales. To feed, they swim close to the surface, allowing water to flow into their mouths before it leaves through a series of filter pads.

Scientists estimate that they may live between 80-130 years, with males only reaching sexual maturity at 25. Whale sharks usually grow up to 9m/30ft, although larger ones have been found.

Are they dangerous?

Whale shark
Whale sharks are gentle giants

Many people hear the word shark or look at the size of the mouth and have concerns. In reality, their large mouth is used only to allow water to flow past their filter feeds pads. By filtering the water they can eat a huge amount of tiny plankton (copepods, krill, fish eggs and larvae).

We stay away from the whale sharks at all times in order to protect them from us. As with most animals we pose a much greater threat to them than they do to us. To specifically answer the question we hear a lot… No – You’re not going to get sucked in to the mouth of the whale shark.

How does it work?

People on a boat
The boat on the way to the whale sharks. Shaded areas are available.

The Whale Shark tour includes an early morning pick-up from your hotel with a multi-lingual PADI Professional onboard the van who will be your guide for the day. A light breakfast is provided at a private marina in Cancun. The boat will have two crew members and the maximum group size is ten people. Your snorkel equipment (including a life vest*) will be provided.

*Re-introduced in 2024, a life vest is no longer compulsory. If you wear a wetsuit and can demonstrate strong buoyancy and swimming skills then you may be permitted to swim without a life vest. Please note, for safety reasons due to boat traffic, any form of free-diving or duck-diving is strictly prohibited and if this happens the entire boat is subject o immediate removal from the area and will need to return directly to Cancun.

You will head out on the boat and travel for approximately one hour to find the whale sharks. The boat will remain in this area while you snorkel with them in groups of two with a guide. Ocean temperatures are around 30C/86F.

People eating in the ocean
Lunch in the shallows of Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres. Who knew lifejackets make for such great floating tables?!

Once everyone is finished with the sharks, you will come back towards Isla Mujeres for a little snorkelling and a freshly prepared lunch. After lunch, we will return to the marina for your transport back to your hotel.

Is this for me?

To make the most of this activity you should be physically fit and comfortable snorkelling. You will be able to observe many whale sharks from the boat and the crew will do their best to position you in a great position to see the whale sharks in the water.

This is what is looks like from the surface. It all looks very tranquil, but you need to swim hard to keep up with the whale shark!

However, in order to have the maximum amount of time with a whale shark you will need to be able to swim reasonably fast while snorkelling and using fins.

Whale sharks are huge, so although they can look slow and graceful you may find it challenging to stay next to them in the water.

You should also remember that this activity takes place in the middle of the ocean, over 1 hour from land so the ocean can be wavey and you may wish to take anti-seasickness medication prior to departure (dramamine will be available free of charge during your transportation from your hotel to the marina in Cancun).

The following conditions are not recommended for swimming with the whale sharks…

  • limited physical mobility
  • cardiac, respiratory or back problems
  • ailments that can lead to loss of consciousness
  • fear of water or no basic swimming skills
  • pregnancy

More information

We generally try our best to provide the opportunity for each pair of snorkelers to swim at least two times with the Whale Sharks, but of course they are a wild animal, so unfortunately we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to see or swim with the Whale Sharks. Ocean conditions and recent reports of sightings are a very good indicator of how successful the trip is likely to be. We monitor this very closely and will always try our best to update you in the days prior to your tour. However, if you have any concerns or would like to verify the latest conditions, you are welcome to contact us directly.

In recent years, to protect the sharks, the government have enhanced rules regarding the ratios of boats to sharks and this can sometimes mean that if the number of sharks is limited we may not be able to complete the swims.


We know there is a problem witht he medical questionnaire. We are actively working to fix it. For now, you can check eligibility by visiting ScubaMedical.com

Medical Questionnaire

These are the core medical questions associated with PADI Discover Scuba Diving. If you need to answer YES to any of these questions you would need medical sign-off from a doctor.

This is only a quick check to help you right now. Before booking any training you should check the full medical and liability statements associated with the course.

  • Do you currently have an ear infection?
  • Do you have a history of ear disease, hearing loss or problems with balance?
  • Do you have a history of ear or sinus surgery?
  • Are you currently suffering from a cold, congestion, sinusitis or bronchitis?
  • Do you have a history of respiratory problems, severe attacks of hayfever or allergies, or lung disease?
  • Have you had a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) or history of chest surgery?
  • Do you have active asthma or history of emphysema or tuberculosis?
  • Are you currently taking medication that carries a warning about any impairment of your physical or mental abilities?
  • Do you have behavioral health, mental or psychological problems or a nervous system disorder?
  • Are you or could you be pregnant?
  • Do you have a history of colostomy?
  • Do you have a history of heart disease or heart attack, heart surgery or blood vessel surgery?
  • Do you have a history of high blood pressure, angina, or take medication to control blood pressure?
  • Are you over 45 and have a family history of heart attack or stroke?
  • Do you have a history of bleeding or other blood disorders?
  • Do you have a history of diabetes?
  • Do you have a history of seizures, blackouts or fainting, convulsions or epilepsy or take medications to prevent them?
  • Do you have a history of back, arm or leg problems following an injury, fracture or surgery?
  • Do you have a history of fear of closed or open spaces or panic attacks (claustrophobia or agoraphobia)?

Small group = big fun

We proudly take our divers in small groups to provide the best service.

Small groups allow us to focus our time and attention on you to make sure you have the safest and most enjoyable experience possible.

Discover Scuba Diving / Open Water
Maxiumum 4 divers per Instructor

Playa del Carmen / Cozumel dives
Maximum 5 divers per Instructor

Maximum 4 divers per Instructor

We believe in quality

We consistently invest in new equipment and maintaining our equipment in excellent condition.

We are proud major-brand equipment we provide. Our standard equipment rental items are:

  • Regulator: Apeks ATA-40 (some with Suunto dive computers)
  • BCD: Zeagle Resort (with weight pockets)
  • Wetsuit: Cressi 2.5mm (ocean)
    or 5mm (cenotes)
  • Mask: 5 models available from Cressi, Beauchat, IST
  • Fins: Cressi branded, full-foot fins