Normally each year hundreds of Whale Sharks gather off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Holbox, Mexico (pronounced Hol-Bosh).
This phenomenon happens every summer (June-August) when there is a large plankton bloom in specific areas of the ocean around Holbox. The Whale Sharks gather over dozens to hundres of square miles in more murky waters.
Recently the Whale Sharks have been in concentrated areas, and in more clear water, roughly in an area as small as a football field. Can you imagine snorkeling near them in that scenario!?!
Some scientist believe that this is happening because of another in-ocean event that has to do with Tuna. Every year in the same areas off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, a large number of Tunny (a member of the Tuna family), spawn in the masses. This event leaves tiny eggs to drift amongst the currents, leaving some scientist to believe that all this is tied with the concentrated areas of Whale Sharks. Whale Sharks typically don't eat fish eggs, this actually the second documented event of Whale Sharks eating fish eggs, the first being in Belize in 1998.
Tourism has increased over the years in Holbox and now you can even get day trips from Cancun.
Getting to Holbox takes a 3 hours bus ride North of Cancun, then your take a 30 minute boat ride, there are also small planes that run from Cancun as well as boat charters.
Here you can see some All-In-One Air & Whale Shark Packages/Information: Generally Includes: Round air transportation , the whale shark tour boat tour, lunch on board, soft drinks, snorquel equipment, buffete meal with 2 drinks per person at the hotel faro Viejo. ** As stated on their website
The top 5 Hotels as rated on Trip Advisor are:
- Holbox Hotel Mawimbi
- La Palapa Ethno Boutique Hotel by Xperience Hotels
- Casa las Tortugas - Petit Beach Hotel & Spa
- Holbox Dream Hotel
- Casa BlatHa
- holboxwhalesharktours.com (Great reviews on Trip Advisor)
You definitely wont' be scuba diving with the Whale Sharks, as it's not allowed. There are many tour companies that will take you out for a nice snorkel with the Whale Sharks. This is pretty standard across the world when it comes to Whale Sharks.
Many scuba diving companies in Cancun will take you scuba diving in Cancun, Cozumel and then for a swim with the Whale Sharks in Holbox. You can make
your trip very worthwhile!
Below you can see some photos from National Geographic, capturing some of these beautiful gatherings.