Isla Mujeres, Mexico – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
From June 21 to 24, 2012, the charming island of Isla Mujeres, just off of Mexico’s eastern Quintana Roo shores, will host its fifth Whale Shark Festival. The annual celebration of these majestic creatures—affectionately known as “dominoes” for their spotted skin—will feature local cuisine, art, dance and, of course, the awe-inspiring opportunity to snorkel alongside the whale sharks.
In addition to immersing participants in the cultural traditions and stunning natural environs of this magical Mexican locale, the festival raises awareness of sustainable tourism, ocean conservation and wildlife protection. A portion of the festival proceeds will be donated to environmental non-profit organizations, and eco-focused activities for kids will be on offer through festival sponsor Amigos de Isla Contoy, A.C.
“Sustainable ecotourism engages guests in the effort to preserve the culture of Isla Mujeres, their way of life and the marine environment,” said John Vater, who co-founded Ceviche Tours, an ecotourism travel agency, with his wife Adriana and longtime friend and Isla Mujeres native Luis “Cuco” Refugio and his family.
As many as 1,400 whale sharks make their way through the waters north of Isla Mujeres every summer, and the festival is the perfect opportunity to witness, marvel at and celebrate the graceful animals. For the scientifically minded, the event offers various fascinating presentations delivered by experts in marine biology, the ecosystem and Mayan culture.