Cancun Whale Shark Snorkeling

written in collaboration with AbsoluteAdventure (4 spots)

Whale shark encounters rank near the top of any snorkeling bucket list. Coming face to face with the largest fish in the oceans, is always a sensational experience. Whale shark can be observed in many tropical destinations, but nowhere else in the world do so many come together at once like off the coast of Cancun. Each year, from June to September, hundreds of whale sharks take home off the Yucatan Peninsula to feed on plankton. Swimming with whale sharks is a not-to-be-missed experience for snorkeling lovers, and quite simply one of the Riviera Maya prime attractions.
How to get there?

To go snorkeling with whale sharks, you will need to book a boat tour from a local agency. Most of tours leave from Cancun, and pick-up from all hotels of the Riviera Maya can be organized. Average price for a day tour, including snorkeling with whale sharks, is about $190 per person. It is mandatory to wear a wet suit or a life jacket. It takes approximately 1:30 to 2 hours to reach the area. Whale shark can be observed from mid-May to Mid-September, but it is strongly recommended to visit the area between mid-June to August, since there is a higher possibility to see whale sharks.

Water entrance

You will snorkel with whale sharks under the direction of a guide. Once a whale shark is spotted from the boat, you will immerse yourself in the water and start swimming along this fascinating fish.

Aerial view


In order to ensure you safety and to conserve the species, certain rules have to be respected for whale shark’s observation. It is for instance prohibited to touch a whale shark, and you should always maintain at least a two-meter distance from the head and four meters from the tail. It is prohibited to use sun lotion or tan lotion when swimming with the whale sharks. Make sure you follow all the instructions provided by your guide. You can learn more about best practices for swimming with whale sharks in Mexico on WWF website.

Snorkeling with whale sharks Cancun Mexico
Snorkeling with whale sharks in Cancun


Although the tour focus is on whale sharks, an amazing variety of ocean life such as manta rays, turtles, dolphins and whales may be sighted during the excursion.

This snorkeling tour is not recommended for beginners: snorkelers have to swim pretty fast to follow the whale sharks, and the currents can be strong. Long boat trips are usually unavoidable to find the sharks, and persons suffering of sea sickness should also avoid participating to this tour.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

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