A snorkeler swimming close to a whale shark in clear blue waters.

Swim with Whale Sharks in Isla Mujeres: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience!

Tourists visiting Isla Mujeres, Cancun, and Lázaro Cárdenas will soon have the opportunity to swim with whale sharks. Starting May 15th, the whale shark viewing and swimming season will kick off, offering daily seven-hour interactions with these magnificent creatures.

120 authorized vessels from Isla Mujeres, Benito Juárez, and Lázaro Cárdenas will transport up to 1,200 visitors per day. The Isla Mujeres Port Authority has confirmed that the 70 vessels from this municipality comply with safety measures. These vessels will sail daily from the island's maritime terminals and Punta Sam, starting at 7:00 am and leaving the sighting area at 2:00 pm.

However, it is worth noting that during the initial weeks of the season, only one or two whale sharks typically appear. As a result, only about 30 percent of the fleet will be mobilized during this time, based on estimates from previous years. This pattern is also observed towards the end of the season.

Despite proposals to shorten the viewing and swimming period from four to two months (July to August), officials from the General Directorate of Wildlife and the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas have not endorsed this initiative for the past two decades.

The season is expected to attract 140,000 tourists, generating an estimated revenue of 280 million pesos. Each vessel can accommodate up to 10 visitors, operating over approximately 100 days, taking into account the slower periods at the start and end of the season.

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When there are fewer whale sharks to sight, the activity will be limited to observation from the vessel. The day before each trip, the port authority must be informed of the next day's departures to supervise and monitor the vessels. The number of departing vessels should not exceed 120 per day.