Whale shark encounters rank near the top of any diving bucket list. With a flatted head ,bewildering dots and tiny eyes incoherent with its sheer mass, this gentle animal is the ocean’s largest fish. If you’re looking to scratch whale sharks off your bucket list, Belize is among the best spots to come face-to-face with these extraordinary creatures.
Gladden Spit, Belize
The blue waters around Gladden Spit and the Silk Cayes Marine Reserve near Placencia in Southern Belize welcome whale sharks every year as the fish are attracted to the enormous amount of fish spawn in the area between March and June.
When to Come
Whale sharks are a migratory species that circumnavigate the globe every year. They do not hew to a precise schedule for their arrival in Belize but generally are in the area between April and May. Whale sharks may arrive in the waters off of Belize starting in March, but dive tours will not operate until their presence has been confirmed.
Belize Whale Shark Season
Whale sharks first begin arriving in the waters off of Belize in March, continuing to feed on juvenile fish and spawn through the month of June, only entering shallow waters suitable for scuba diving during full moon periods.
Belize Whale Shark Tour
Due to the sensitive nature of the whale sharks, only strictly controlled tour groups are allowed to dive with the whale sharks. The best place to encounter whale sharks is around 30 miles offshore of Placencia, Belize.
Few experiences in the world can compare to witnessing and interacting with the largest fish that inhabit the planet’s oceans. Besides making your eyes explode in surprise to their enormous size, whale sharks pose no direct risk to humans as they feed on tiny fish and spawn.
From the Placencia Peninsula, the boat ride to where the whale sharks congregate takes approximately half an hour to 45 minutes depending on water conditions.
Great care is taken to not disturb the migratory patterns of the whale sharks, therefore dive tours are limited to 12 divers in the water no deeper than 80 feet (24 meters). The interaction period with the whale sharks is done in open water in close proximity to the animals, but divers are not allowed to touch, chase, ride, or otherwise disturb the whale sharks.
Laru Beya’s Whale Shark Diving Package
Laru Beya resort offers visitors a complete whale shark diving package that includes a licensed expedition to where the whale sharks are feeding during their time in Belize.
The package includes two days of diving with the whale sharks and one day on the reef with the 5 days/4 nights package and three days diving with the whale sharks and two days on the reef with the 8 days/7 nights package. Meals, ground transportation, fees, and all dive equipment are included in the package.