Looking for the best whale shark tours in Cancun? These friendly and docile creatures are a pleasure to swim with! Check out this list of the best tours to see whale sharks.
The Riviera Maya boasts an impressive amount of natural wonders, both on land and in the water. It’s hard to keep up! And it’s one of the reasons people keep going back over and over.
Every year, from May through September, the waters of this part of the Caribbean welcome hundreds of the biggest fish species out there: whale sharks.
Now, before you freak out, you should know that, when it comes to behavior, whale sharks are more whale than shark. They are indeed harmless to humans and widely considered one of the most docile species of fish, so much so that they are often referred to as “gentle giants.”
Whale sharks visit the coast of Yucatan every year to feed on plankton for a few months. This provides you with a unique opportunity for you to snorkel and swim with them! With their tranquil character and docile nature, they make for great swimming companions.
If you have a chance to live this incredible experience, go for it! It’s indeed one of the best things to do in Cancun.
⚠️ Since 2016, whale sharks are considered an endangered species, so it’s of paramount importance that, when booking Cancun whale shark tours, you do your research and hire only responsible tour operators that care about the wellbeing of the animals and take care of the environment as a whole. And please be a responsible traveler yourself (only eco-friendly sunscreen please!).
All the tours I recommend here are by Viator, because it is a trusted company and they have an excellent cancellation policy. If you book a tour and your travel plans change, you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
Now check out the best whale shark excursions from Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
The BEST Whale Shark Tours from Cancun
Cancun whale shark season goes from mid-June to mid-September and, during this time, you’ll see more tour offers than you can count.
With so many options, it might be hard to choose the best tours. The two whale shark experiences from Cancun I recommend below are handled by responsible tour operators and take you to great locations to see and swim with these gentle giants.
➤ This Small-Group Eco-Friendly Whale Sharks Tour takes you on a full day of whale shark snorkeling in Cancun’s nearby islands Isla Contoy, Holbox, and Isla Mujeres, where you’ll also search for dolphins, manta rays, and turtles.
A naturalist guide will explain everything about these gentle giants and the natural environments you’ll see on your trip. You may be asked not to wear sunscreen to protect the fauna and flora. Wear long sleeves or eco-friendly sunscreen instead!
This whale shark watching Cancun tour also includes: Round transportation with A/C from your hotel in Playa del Carmen, Cancun, or Tulum; lunch on the boat; water and soft drinks; snorkeling equipment; and a professional biologist guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ This Whale Shark Snorkeling Tour from Cancun takes you on a speed boat to a prime location to swim with whale sharks near Cancun. On the way, you might also spot dolphins, turtles, and manta rays.
This tour also includes: Round transportation with A/C from Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Tulum, and the Riviera Maya; continental breakfast, lunch, snacks, and unlimited beverages while onboard; and snorkeling equipment (including a life jacket). ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Private Whale Sharks Tour from Cancun
If you would rather go solo and have the boat and guide all to yourself, here’s a good option.
This Eco-Friendly Private Whale Shark Tour provides a personalized experience for snorkeling with whale sharks, Cancun’s greatest adventure. You’ll get an informative briefing about whale sharks before you depart, so you are well acquainted with them when you find them in the Caribbean waters!
This tour also gives you more time than most to snorkel and swim with them.
This Cancun whale shark tour also includes: Round transportation with A/C from Cancun Hotel Zone, bilingual naturalist guide, lunch, water and soft drinks, and snorkeling equipment. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
7- Day Eco-Friendly Tours in the Cancun Area with Whale Sharks Cruise
If you’re fully invested in exploring the Yucatan Peninsula, and doing so in an eco-friendly way, you’ll appreciate these tours. They will take you to some of the absolute highlights of the region on immersive trips through its wild nature and fascinating history. Check them out.
➤ The 7-Day Yucatan Eco-Adventure Tour provides an action-packed week that will take you back in time to the ancient Mayan cities of Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba.
You’ll also explore the untamed nature of Yucatan in the most adventurous way, swimming with whale sharks in Cancun, hiking in the jungle and kayaking through wetlands on a Biosphere Reserve, and snorkeling in cenotes, among many other things.
This tour also includes: Hotel or airport pickup in Cancun, 6 nights of accommodation in a 3-star hotel, breakfast every day, snorkeling equipment, professional driver and guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ If you prefer to focus fully on nature, then this 7 Day- Whale Shark Ecofriendly Tour will provide. With this tour, you will see the highlights of the beautiful nature and wildlife around Cancun, with 2 whole days to discover everything about whale sharks and swim with them.
You’ll also get to snorkel in a coral reef, and explore biosphere reserves, cenotes, lagoons and the Yucatan jungle!
This tour also includes: Transportation with A/C from Cancun, 6 nights of lodging in 3 & 4 stars hotels, bilingual guide, breakfast every day, snacks, and bottled water. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Cancun Whale Sharks Tours FAQ
Yes! Cancun and the surrounding area are great places to see whale sharks and swim with them. Whale shark season in Cancun falls between mid-June and mid-September.
There are many good tours to see and swim with a whale shark in Cancun and Riviera Maya. I particularly recommend this tour because of its focus on sustainability. It only operates with small groups, and it’s arguably the best whale shark tour in Cancun.
To swim with whale shark in Cancun, you’ll need someone who knows the area and can take you where these giant fish live, so you’ll have to hire a tour. Tour prices vary, but a good tour with a reliable operator will cost around USD 150 or more, depending on the service you choose.
The best months to swim with whale sharks are July and August, when their presence peaks, but they start arriving in mid-May and start leaving in mid-September, so there are chances to spot them throughout those months.
👉 If you’re spending a few more days in Cancun, you’ve got time to enjoy a few more activities in the area. Here are a few activities in Cancun that you should consider.
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12 Best Cancun Snorkeling Tours & Experiences