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July 15, 2009

Best Time to Swim with Whale Sharks in Cancun? Now!

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Don’t let the summer heat in Mexico scare you – it’s the ideal time to be in the water and swimming with giants. While all kinds of large marine life reside in the waters around the country – from Great Whites to sea turtles – one of the best times to see whale sharks is right now.

In the waters just off Cancun, near the islands of Holbox and Isla Contoy, whale sharks, the biggest fish in the world, gather to feed and mate from May until September. Growing up to 50 feet and weighting as much as 10 tons, whale sharks are gentle giants that roam the waters sucking up microscopic plankton. Since they feed just below the surface, snorkelers and divers alike can get up close and personal with the massive creatures.

Cancun, home to the world’s second largest barrier reef, has been one of the government’s priority areas for protection of the whale shark. As part of Mexico’s library of biosphere reserves, the waters off Cancun offer one of the safest ways to swim with whale sharks. Local guides have been trained in development and execution of tours that won’t harm the animals. The preservation of the whale shark has also helped protect other local species, including dolphin, mantees, manta rays, and sea turtles, making Cancun a one-stop shop for viewing some of the ocean’s most popular creatures.

Visit cancun.travel for more information and local guides.

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