If you haven’t added this to your travel bucket list for 2017 yet, do it now. Whale sharks might have a terrifying name, but really they’re passive sea creatures that feed on plankton. The Sea of Cortez in Baja California Sur is a place whale sharks like to congregate, which gives snorkelers and free divers an opportunity to look in the eye of a magnificent beast of the ocean.
Whale sharks aren’t whales, and though they technically are part of the shark family (Rhincodon typus), they don’t remind you of a shark at all in their behavior or lack of teeth. Being filter feeders, they take in lots of water to filter out their main source of food; microscopic plankton (not humans!).
“A shark the size of a whale might sound like a science-fiction nightmare, but whale sharks, which are three times the size of the biggest great white shark, are peaceable creatures unperturbed by visits from curious humans.”
Why might the adventurous traveler seek out a whale shark? Because of the incredible rush to swim alongside the largest fish in the ocean. It can be a little intimidating the first time, because you can actually see a fin sticking out of the water, and the body of a huge fish underneath the surface. But once you jump in the water, your eyes will behold one of the gentlest creatures of the sea.
Whale sharks are known to migrate to the Sea of Cortez in winter and spring, mostly between October and February. Two places you can find licensed tour companies are in La Paz and Cabo Pulmo, both a reasonable drive from Travel Raintree’s Club Regina Los Cabos.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- It is safe to swim with whale sharks, but always follow the tour guide’s directions.
- Whale sharks are endangered, so private boats are not allowed to offer tours. Be sure to find a licensed company like Cabo Expeditions.
- Don’t touch the whale sharks; human touch could expose the whale shark to infection.
- Wear a wetsuit for warmth. Water temperatures could be chilly.
- Take an underwater camera for both pictures and video. Check out this promotional video from Los Cabos Whale Shark Eco Experience.
Whale sharks are an animal to be seen to be believed. When you’re traveling this year, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more exhilarating experience.
Where to Stay
Club Regina Los Cabos is located just an easy fifteen-minute drive away from the heart of Cabo San Lucas, and even closer to San Juan del Cabo! The resort rises above the shoreline where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. Every unit faces the ocean and you can enjoy colorful sunsets and sunrises from many of the terraces.