For the adventure traveller, interacting with the great species of the world is always an exciting option, and swimming with the whale sharks in Mexico is a popular choice.
Don't be intimidated by the name - the whale sharks are quite tame and will often allow you to even touch them (though the practice is discouraged). Don't worry about getting bitten... they prefer to dine on plankton.
The whale sharks head to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico every year around May and spend the summer relaxing in the crystal waters of the Caribbean, usually accompanied by the imposing manta rays and gentle dolphins. The whale sharks have a communication all their own and make it clear, in a very mild way, when they wish to be left alone, but they are curious creatures and rarely shy. Many people who have experienced this event have claimed to feel a sense of serenity when in the company of the whale sharks, and never felt threatened by them.
Whale shark tours often take you to flamingo-populated lagoons and around the island of Holbox where all sorts of tropical birds line the shores.
Of course, when entering a species' habitat, it's important to respect a few simple rules to maintain the sanctity of the animal's home and health, and ensure your own safety.
- Avoid tour options employing the use of boats with diesel or gas engines - this is harmful to the habitat and poor practice for any tour operator!
- Use only biodegradable and environmentally-safe sunblocks and lotions before entering the water.
- Don't feed the marine life unless it is authorized by your tour guide.
- Avoid purposely touching the animal life.
- Be mindful of the plant life (as well as the animal life) under the water ... be careful not to damage the corals.
- Don't remove anything from the water (animals, plants, rocks, etc.)
- Wear a life preserver vest while on the boat and in the water.
- Put your garbage where it belongs - not in the water!