The gigantic ‘Whale Sharks’ have gained the reputation of being not only the largest fish in the world but also gentle to the humans. Swimming alongside these ‘gentle giants’ as they are often referred as, is probably one of the most breathtaking experiences you can ever get. These massive creatures can grow up to 40 feet & can weigh more than 47000 pounds!
Although, these amazing species can be found in all tropical & warm water seas, their migration pattern is still seldom understood. But luckily, there are certain places in the world where they make guaranteed seasonal appearance. The destinations listed below are highly rated for providing the best opportunities to come face-to-face with these generous swimmers. These are so called ‘The Best Place To Swim With Whale Sharks‘.
- Gladden Spit, Belize:
‘Gladden Spit’ offer you the best opportunity to swim along with the magnificent Whale shark. The mass spawning of Cubera snappers & other fishes attract the whale sharks to ‘Belize barrier reef’ region. The ‘Gladden Spit’ & ‘Silk Cayes Marine Reserve’, situated roughly at 40 km southeast of the town ‘Palencia’ are all equipped to provide the best atmosphere for snorkeling & diving.
Best Season: April-May; Few days after the full moon is the best duration to spot the giants.
Tour Operators:-Palencia’s Sea Horse Dive Shop, The Isla Marisol Resort, Splash Dive Center.
Tour Expenses: snorkeling- $100, diving- $185.
- Utila, Honduras:
‘Utila’ is one of the luckiest places in the world which are most favored by the majestic whale sharks as they show up here all year round. On top of that, being one of the cheapest diving places, this destination is considered as the diving paradise for experienced as well as rookie divers. Adjacent Caribbean Islands are also renowned for year round sighting of this huge fish.
Best Season: March-April sees the best congregation whereas, September to December, the fish can be seen in smaller herds.
Tour Operators: Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center, Utila Dive Lodge or instead, straightaway hop in a daily dive boat headed to north of the island.
Tour Expenses: Approx. $50.
- Ningaloo Reef, Australia:
Located at 1200 km north of the western coastal city of Perth, ‘Ningaloo Reef’ is Australia’s largest thriving coral reef that provides shelter to more than 500 species of fish. Declared as ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ in 2011, a 300 km long extension of this mesmerizing coral reef is considered as an outstanding destination for catching up not only the ‘gentle giants’ but also various other colorful sea creatures at the same time!
Best Season: mid-March to July.
Tour Operators: Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim, Ningaloo Blue Dive, Ningaloo Dreaming.
Tour Expenses: approx. $300 – $350.
- Donsol Bay & Honda Bay, Philippines:
‘Donsol Bay’ is the tourist hotspot of the Philippines, which is often flocked by the diving & snorkeling enthusiasts. As ‘Donsol Bay’ is hugely famous, it often pulls big crowd during the season.
‘Honda Bay’, situated in the Palawan’s Puerto Princesa region towards south of Donsol Bay, on the other hand, is acquiring the new fame as a less crowded but equally spectacular diving spot in the Philippines. Cheaper rates for the diving & snorkeling are also the major reason why tourists love these places.
Best Season: Whale sharks head towards Philippines from December till May, although April-May is the best duration to spot them as their number reaches to the peak.
Tour Operators: Donsol Eco Tour, Whale Shark Adventure & Tours.
Tour Expenses: Starts from $30; multi-day, all-inclusive standard packages are available from $300.
- South Ari Atoll, Maldives:
This Maldives based ‘Atoll’ is another year round abode of whale sharks. They are observed to favor the western part of the Indian Ocean archipelago between May to December & post December, they move towards the eastern coast. The year–round snorkeling trips organized on weekly basis by the local ‘Maldives Whale Shark Research Program’ (MWSRP) tend to be an excellent opportunity to get closer to the whale sharks.
Best Season: entire year, depending upon the snorkeling schedules organized by ‘MWSRP’.
Tour Operators: MWSRP, Conrad Rengali Island.
Tour Expenses: $200.
- South Mahé, Seychelles:
‘Seychelles’ Islands are renowned for being among the earliest places where a movement for the conservation of this elegant spotted giant took place. This destination had also started recording the scientific information on this endangered species. ‘South Mahé’ offers the best opportunities to locate the whale sharks roaming around in the soothing waters of the Indian Ocean.
Best Season: Whale sharks pass along the Mahé coastal region during their migration between August & November. October can be reckoned as the best time to visit Mahé.
Tour Operators: Snorkeling trips organized by ‘Marine Conservation Society Seychelles’ during the month of October are the way to go.
Tour Expenses: $160.
- Tofo Beach, Mozambique:
‘Tofo beach’ situated 400 km north of the capital ‘Maputo’ is Africa’s best destination to spot this amazing species of the fish. Whale sharks gather here in big numbers to devour the extravagant bounty of plankton.
Best Season: October to March.
Tour Operators: diving centers like TofoScuba & Diversity Scuba arrange for snorkeling trips in season.
Tour Expenses:-approx. $50.
Although, these enormous creatures are known for their tamed behavior, it is always advisable to maintain a generous distance from them as a cozy approach from your side may get read as an offensive behavior which may end up spoiling your party on a severely disastrous note. Also, refrain yourself from using flash photography underwater as such behavior may provoke the unfriendly attention from these untamed beasts!