CANCUN, Mexico – Cancun is set to celebrate the next Whale Shark Festival, taking place 18th – 24th July on Isla Mujeres. Created in an effort to raise awareness for the preservation of the marine ecosystem, the event is specially geared towards visitors, local children and families and aims to highlight the importance of these species and what they mean to the city and the environment.
Whale Shark season officially begins on 1st June and will last until mid-September. These fish, known locally as Dominos, measure between 15 to 50 feet in length and weigh as much as 15 tonnes, making swimming alongside them a thrilling experience!
These bus-sized creatures gather off the coast of Cancun in very large numbers during this time, becoming quite a spectacle for locals and tourists alike. It is estimated that 1,400 whale sharks pass through the waters of Isla Mujeres every year, making the island a hot spot for whale watching.
The festival, now in its 8th year, is expected to attract 5,000 visitors and kicks off with a parade on Saturday 18th July. As well as opportunities to swim with Whale Sharks the festival will also include an exhibition showcasing the beauty of the island, traditional dancing, local food, and snorkelling and diving opportunities on the nearby reefs. There’s also plenty to keep the little ones entertained with sand sculpting, kids crafting events and visits to a local turtle farm.
Proceeds from the festival will go to The Blue Realm Project, an organisation dedicated to the monitoring, study and conservation of the pelagic organisms in the Mexican Atlantic; and Amigos de Isla Contoy, a charity working to advance education on sustainable marine conservation and ecotourism in the region.