There are many reasons tourists come to Cancun each year in droves – sunny beaches,the Mexican Caribbean Sea,a lively nightlife scene,world-class shopping,fabulous cuisine – but according to Reuters,one of the region’s biggest draws remains the nearly 1,500 whale sharks that migrate through the coastal waters each year just offshore.
From May through September,these gentle giants come to feed on plankton located in the waters near the Yucatan Peninsula,offering humans the opportunity to snorkel and swim alongside these amazing creatures. Although whale sharks can reach up to 50 feet in length,they pose no threat to humans,which provides a thrilling but safe experience and a truly unforgettable opportunity.
“Swimming with the biggest fish in the world is certainly something unique,” shared Kenneth Johnson,a marine biologist living in Mexico. “They won’t hurt you. They don’t care if you swim alongside them. And if you happen to get in front of them,they’ll just turn and go the other way.”
Nicknamed “domino” for the many spots on their backs,whale sharks have been gathering in increasingly large numbers around Cancun real estate in recent years,according to the Smithsonian Institute. In fact,Mexico’s whale shark season brings more than 50 boats carrying travelers who are eager to see these majestic creatures out into the Caribbean every day and it is not uncommon for swimmers to be in the water with 100 to 200 whale sharks at one time.
“It’s a very different experience,so if you’re going to be in Cancun during the whale shark season,going on an excursion is a must-do,” Marina Colunga of the JW and CasaMagna Marriott resort told Reuters. “There aren’t many places in the world where you can do this.”
Amazingly,swimming with whale sharks is done in the open waters of the Caribbean Sea,unlike many excursions that allow close interactions with dolphins,which typically occur in enclosed areas.
“We don’t own them,” added Colunga. “The sharks decide to come here and they will decide when to leave. Those who experience them will never forget it for the rest of their lives.”