Swimming with these beautiful creatures of the sea is the ultimate bucket list experience! You might be wondering where to go and when to go to have this amazing experience – well we are here to help! Please be mindful of these amazing creatures and respect them and their environment, we urge everyone to keep a respectful distance from these gentle giants as well to resist using flash photography!
1. Isla Holbox, Mexico
When To Go: Tours depart daily from June to September, when the whale sharks arrive to feed and mate. July to August is peak season.
Operators: Willy’s (holboxwhalesharktours.net) is among the most reputable.
2. Utila, Honduras
When To Go: The highest concentration of whale sharks arrive between March and April.
Operators: check in with the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Centre (wsorc.org), or jump on one of the daily dive boats headed to the north side of the island, where most sharks are spotted.
3. Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
When To Go: Whale sharks arrive to feed between mid-March and July following a mass coral spawning.
Operators: Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim (ningaloowhalesharks.com) have their own spotter plane, upping your chances of spotting sharks and spending more time swimming with them than you would on other tours.
4. Gladden Spit, Belize
When To Go: April and May are the most consistent months for sightings; most are spotted a few days after the full moon.
Operators: Placencia’s Sea Horse Dive Shop (belizescuba.com) runs diving and snorkelling tours!
5. Donsol Bay, Philippines
When To Go: Whale sharks generally arrive between November and June, peaking from February to April.
6. Tofo Beach, Mozambique
When To Go: Sightings of 50-strong congregations are not uncommon from October to March.
7. South Mahé, Seychelles
When To Go: Whale sharks migrate past Mahé between August and November, with sightings peaking in October.
Operators: MCSS-run trips are the way to go.
8. Koh Tao,Thailand
When To Go: Whale shark encounters are a pot-luck affair in these parts, but they’ve been spotted year-round, especially from April to June.
Operators: Dedicated snorkelling trips aren’t the norm, so if you’re not a diver, ask if you can tag along with a dive boat headed to a whale shark hotspot.
9. South Ari Atoll, Maldives
When To Go: Operators in the area run weekly, year-round snorkelling trips to South Ari.
Operators: contact the MWSRP or TME Retreats for more information.