The thought of getting into the water and swimming with sharks is probably not high on the list for most voyagers. That's exactly what the Cancun Convention and Visitor's Bureau is suggesting you come to Cancun to do, however. If you are within sailing distance of Cancun, you might want to sail on down by June 21 and hop in the water with the sharks. In this case, though, we're not talking great whites or tiger sharks. The sharks in question here are whale sharks, 15- to 50-foot filter feeders that eat plankton — nothing like their carnivorous cousins.
From the press release: The Cancun Convention & Visitor’s Bureau welcomes the world’s largest fish and celebrates Isla Mujeres’ culture and beauty with the sixth annual Whale Shark Festival held June 21 – 23. The destination will also celebrate International Whale Shark Day on August 30.
Every May through September, travelers come from all over the world to visit Cancun for an opportunity to encounter these gentle and giant creatures. Whale Sharks, known locally as Dominos, measure between 15 to 50 feet in length and weigh as much as 15 tons, making swimming alongside them a thrilling experience. The area’s nutrient-rich water provides plenty of plankton, a whale shark’s main food source, and makes Cancun’s coast home to a more abundant number of Dominos than anywhere else in the world.
The Whale Shark Festival was created in an effort to raise awareness to the preservation of the marine ecosystem and of this particular species. Festivities are geared towards visitors and local children and focus on the importance of whale sharks and what they mean to the city and the environment. Celebrations during this event include interactive activities and raffle tickets to swim with these gentle giants.
Whale shark protection has been a priority of the local government to ensure the safety of these creatures, as they continue their migration patterns to the area. Specific procedures are provided to local guides to guarantee safety measures are taken for both whale sharks and visitors.
International Whale Shark Day was established during the International Whale Shark conference in 2008 in Holbox Island. Representatives from over 40 countries gathered during this symposium to share their research about these magnificent animals, and declared August 30 as the official day to celebrate whale sharks, promote their conservation and to educate the public about the species.
Swimming with whale sharks is an example of world-class eco-tourism, as tourists can enjoy this amazing experience in a sustainable and safe way, while contributing to the local economies of Isla Mujeres, Cancun and Holbox.
The Cancun CVB looks forward to welcoming all visitors who wish to take part in a unique and unforgettable experience this summer.