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6 Best Whale Shark Tours from Cancun [2024]

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 very best tours.

The Riviera Maya boasts an impressive amount of natural wonders, both on land and in the water. It’s hard to keep up! This is one of the reasons people keep going back over and over.

Every year, from May through September, the Caribbean Sea welcomes 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.”

Man swimming with whale sharks. This image is added in a list of whale shark tours from Cancun.

Whale sharks visit the coast of Yucatan every year to feed on plankton for a few months. This provides a unique opportunity to snorkel and swim with them! With their tranquil character, 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. So let’s dive into the best whale shark excursions from Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

⚠️ Since 2016, whale sharks are considered an endangered species. It’s of paramount importance that, when booking Cancun whale shark tours, you do your research and hire only responsible tour operators.

Make sure to choose a company that cares about the well-being of the animals and takes care of the environment as a whole. And please be a responsible traveler yourself (only eco-friendly sunscreen!)

The whale shark experiences from Cancun I recommend are handled by responsible tour operators.They also take you to great locations to enjoy a whale sharks swim!

All the tours I recommend here are by Viator, because it is a trusted company that has 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.

In a rush? These are the very best tours 👇

THE BEST TOURSmall-Group Eco-Friendly: Whale Sharks Tour in Cancun
PRIVATE TOUR Eco-Friendly Private Whale Shark Tour from Cancun

OUR PICK: The BEST Whale Shark Tour from Cancun

Cancun whale shark season goes from mid-June to mid-September. You’ll see more tours than you could count during this time! This is my top pick among them all.

The Small-Group Eco-Friendly: Whale Sharks Tour in Cancun is a full-day experience. The trip starts with pick-up at your hotel, and a boat ride to find the largest fish in the sea.

You’ll go whale shark snorkeling in Cancun’s nearby islands Isla Contoy, Holbox, and Isla Mujeres. These are three stunning locations and a prime whale shark area. With some luck, you’ll also see dolphins, manta rays, and sea turtles.

A naturalist guide will explain everything about the whale sharks, along with tips on how to interact safely with them. You’ll also learn about the natural habitat of the animals, and their migration patterns.

After your snorkeling session, lunch and soft drinks will be served off the coast of Isla Mujeres.

You may be asked not to wear sunscreen to protect the fauna and flora. Wear long sleeves or eco-friendly sunscreen instead!

👉 Why is this the best tour? It’s eco-friendly and guarantees a comprehensive, wholesome experience. You’ll be guided by an expert in marine life, ensuring your swim alongside whale sharks is not only safe but informed. Plus, it offers everything for a hassle-free day – from transfers to lunch and drinks!

Read what the reviews say 👇

Awesome experience! Very kind and friendly staff, who guide you through everything perfectly. They know the spots, they know the procedures, they know it all and you can trust them to show you the best time possible. The Whale Sharks are incredible, and so cooperative with all of us side swimmers. Pretty surreal. All around amazing experience. Would highly recommend.”

Brett_M – Read more reviews

📝 This whale shark watching Cancun tour includes: Hotel pick-up and drop-off, a guide, snorkeling gear, and lunch with soft drinks. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Other GREAT Whale Shark Tours from Cancun

▶️ This Whale Shark Tour from Cancun is an 8-hour trip that starts with hotel pick-up, and breakfast. You’ll then hop aboard a speed boat and travel to a prime location where you’ll swim with whale sharks near Cancun.

A professional guide will monitor the whale shark encounter, as well as explain fascinating details about the animals. On the way, you might also spot dolphins, turtles, and rays.

Cap off the tour with a ceviche lunch and soft drinks. Photos of the experience will be available for purchase as well.

📝 This tour includes: Transfers from Riviera Maya hotels, a guide, snorkel gear, life jackets, breakfast, lunch, and soft drinks. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ The Whale Shark Adventure in Isla Mujeres and Cancun is a great alternative. It’s a slightly shorter trip, lasting only 6 hours, so it’s perfect if you don’t have all day.

Join a small group and an expert guide, and set sail in search of the amazing creatures. You’ll get geared up with snorkeling masks and tubes, and get in the water to swim with whale sharks!

Snacks and lunch will be available to help you refuel after the adventure.

📝 This tour includes: A guide, snorkeling gear, all taxes, snacks, water, and lunch. ➥ 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 the perfect option. 

▶️ This Eco-Friendly Private Whale Shark Tour from Cancun provides a personalized experience for your group of 10.

You’ll get an informative briefing about whale sharks before departing. This way, you’ll be informed about their habits and know how to interact with them.

Then it’s time to go snorkeling with whale sharks, Cancun’s greatest adventure! You’ll have more time in the water than most tours allow, and get to refuel with lunch and soft drinks. It’s a fabulous activity to enjoy with the whole family.

📝 This Cancun whale shark tour includes: Round trip transportation, a guide, snorkel gear, soft drinks, and lunch. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ This Private Whale Shark Tour from Cancun caters to groups of up to 10 people. You’ll embark on a memorable boat trip in the Caribbean Sea as an expert guide tells you all about the activity.

You’ll learn fascinating facts about the whale sharks, and get to jump in the water with them. After an unforgettable experience, get back onboard for a tasty lunch with soft drinks and beer served by the boat crew.

📝 This private tour includes: Hotel pick-up and drop-off, a guide, snorkel gear, lunch, snacks, and drinks. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Cancun Whale Shark Tour with Isla Mujeres Visit

Check out this Whale Shark Sighting & Snorkeling Experience with Isla Mujeres Visit. It combines two of the most astounding activities from Cancun…in a single trip!

Start the day with a speedboat ride to Isla Contoy. Enjoy a light breakfast, and then get in the turquoise waters to swim with whale sharks. A professional guide will be with you to ensure a safe and memorable encounter.

You’ll enjoy two immersions, and then head to Isla Mujeres. Relax on its most beautiful beach, Playa Norte, before it’s time to head back. Fresh ceviche will be served onboard!

📝 This tour includes: Hotel pick-up and drop-off, a guide, boat cruise, snorkel gear, breakfast, and fresh ceviche. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Cancun Whale Sharks Tours FAQ

Can you see whale sharks in Cancun?

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.

What is the best whale shark excursion Cancun?

There are many good tours to see and swim with a whale shark in Cancun and Riviera Maya. I particularly recommend this Small-Group Eco Friendly: Whale Sharks tour in Cancun because of its focus on sustainability. It only operates with small groups, and it’s arguably the best whale shark tour in Cancun.

How much does it cost to swim with whale sharks in Cancun?

To swim with whale sharks 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 – such as this Small-Group Eco Friendly: Whale Sharks Cancun Tour – will cost around USD 150 or more, depending on the service you choose.

What is the best month to swim with whale sharks?

The whale shark season in Cancun is at its best in July and August. However, whale sharks start arriving in mid-May and leave in mid-September, so there are chances to spot them throughout these 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

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.