Where You Can Find Whale Sharks

Whale sharks can be found in the warm open water of all of the world's tropical oceans.

Where do whale sharks live? 

Whale sharks can be found in the warm open water of all of the world's tropical oceans.

Whale shark found swimming in the open waters of Cancun during Cancun Adventures’ whale shark snorkeling experience

Whale sharks are large saltwater fish that prefer warmer waters and inhabit all of the world's tropical oceans. They are rarely found in waters with temperatures below 21 °C (70 °F). Due to their size and diet, whale sharks usually swim in open water (ocean water that is not above the continental shelf), though they are known to migrate every spring to the continental shelf of the central west coast of Australia. Whale sharks are found off the coast of Cancun, Mexico during part of the year (early June to mid-sept) and are also found the open water off the coasts of the following countries: South Africa, Djibouti, Belize, Australia, India, Honduras, Philippines, Maldives, Indonesia, Papua, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Oman, Israel, and Jordan. 

Where to see whale sharks?

Whale sharks can be seen swimming in warm, open waters in the natural migratory regions.

Whale Shark in Mexico

Thanks to their size, whale sharks aren't difficult to spot. However, unlike actual whales, whale sharks do not breach. As gill-breathing fish, they stay underwater at all times. And as open water fish, they are not usually found close to shore. Thus, to see whale sharks, you'll need to catch a boat out into the open water off the coast of wherever you're staying. You'll also want to be sure you're visiting during the right time of year. Check out the section below on whale shark migratory patterns to find the best time book your whale shark experience in Cancun.

When to see whale sharks in Cancun?

Cancun Adventures guide taking guests on snorkeling tour to swim with whale sharks migrating through Mexico

If you want to have the best chance to see a whale shark in Cancun, you need to plan accordingly. Whale shark season in Cancun typically spans from early June to mid-September. The peak of the whale shark season occurs between July and August. Therefore, if you're looking for the optimal chance to see a whale shark in Cancun, targeting the period from July through August is your best bet. Whale sharks tend to leave Cancun around mid-September.

Where to swim with whale sharks?

Provided you have a guide and the proper equipment, you can swim with whale sharks wherever they are found. 

Whale Shark in Mexico

As one of the ocean's gentlest giants, whale sharks are incredibly safe to swim with. Their natural beauty and sheer size make them one of the ocean's most awe-inspiring spectacles. Anyone can swim with whale sharks, though proper equipment, training, and the supervision of a trained guide are necessary. At Cancun Adventures, we are proud to offer the region's premier whale shark diving experience. Led by our regional experts, our Whale Shark Experience gives you the chance to swim with whale sharks in the warm, tropical waters just off the coast of Cancun. 

Whale shark migration and whale shark migration patterns:

Whale sharks migrate around the world in warm, open water. In most tropical regions, they can only be glimpsed during part of the year.

Whale Shark in Mexico

Though migratory, whale sharks are quite slow-moving and can be found relatively easily in their natural habitats. The trick is choosing the right time of year to spot them. If you are looking to swim with whale sharks in Cancun, you'll want to come to visit during the summer months. Whale sharks' migrations take them to the waters off the coast of Cancun from June to September, which is precisely when our Whale Shark Experience tours here at Cancun Adventures take off. You can learn more about our Whale Shark Experience tour below.

Experience whale sharks like never before

Tourist swimming with a whale shark during Cancun Adventures whale shark snorkeling experience in the Caribbean

If you are looking for a way to see whale sharks, the ocean's breathtaking gentle giants, up close and personal, our trusted team here at Cancun Adventures has the tour for you. Our Whale Shark Experience tour gives you the opportunity to see and swim with whale sharks in their natural habitat. Led by regional experts with decades of diving experience, our tour begins in Cancun, where we take a 60 minute boat ride from the Cancun coastline out to whale shark feeding hotspots. (Don't worry — these gentle giants are only interested in eating plankton and other microscopic ocean life.) Once we've arrived and found our whale sharks, we give you thorough instruction on how to suit up and swim alongside these gentle giants. Then, we dive in! Learn more about our Whale Shark Experience here, and book with our award-winning team today!

Whale Shark Snorkeling Experience | Cancun Adventures

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