Swim with Whale Sharks at Isla Mujeres, Mexico

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About This Trip

Photograph hundreds of whale sharks and giant mantas in the warm blue water off the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula as they feed and gather in the largest aggregation in the world. Photographer Gregory Sweeney is your escort for this photography tour on our private 36ft charter that leaves daily from the docks of Isla Mujeres. We leave early and stay later for a full days snorkeling with whale sharks. This gives you for maximum time in the water photographing and enjoying this incredible encounter with more intimate encounters than possible with single day large group charters. The whale sharks feed at the surface making the photo opportunities spectacular and easy. Only snorkeling gear is required. As we are in blue water, visits by other pelagic species such as sailfish and manta rays are possible. This is a NON SCUBA and suitable for those who are comfortable with a snorkel in open water.

Key Information


  1. Mexico
  2. Isla Mujeres and the Gulf of Mexico


  1. Small Group
  2. Larger family groups can be arranged


  1. 4 days on a private charter leaving from Isla Mujeres early morning and returning mid afternoon
  2. Each day will be spent locating and swimming with whale sharks or mantas and moving with the aggregation.
  3. Unlimited turns in the water with whale sharks or mantas

2025 Dates

  1. July 14 -19 2025
  3. Contact us now for custom Group Dates in 2025

2024 Price $2,600 +$300 single room

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swim with and photograph whale sharks


  1. 4 days on the water in our chartered boat
  2. 5 night in an upscale beachside resort with swimming pool and shared room equipped with tv, free wifi, phone, AC. Located conveniently close to the dock, shops and restaurants
  3. A shared golf cart or taxi to help move equipment and people to/from the boat
  4. Snacks and water on boat, bottled water at hotel
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Not Included

  1. Airfare to Cancun, Mexico (CUN)
  2. Ferry to Isla Mujeres (around $20 round trip)
  3. Breakfast, dinners, drinks,and food except as listed under Included
  4. Taxi to/from ferry terminal and airport
  5. Gratuity for boat captain and crew
  6. Single Room supplement

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Travel Planning

  1. Guests should arrange to fly into Cancum (CUN) airport
  2. Guests will need to take a taxi and travel the 1/2 - 1 hour drive to the ferry. This can be arranged beforehand or at arrival in Cancun
  3. The ferry (Puerto Juarez) to Isla Mujeres departs on the 1/2 hour then hourly in the evening until 9pm. The trips takes about 20 minutes. The first ferry to leave Isla Mujeres in the morning is 7am - please check current Ultramar Ferry schedule for any changes
  4. Guests should arrange to depart CUN at the end of the trip no earlier than mid morning allowing time for the ferry and taxi ride. If this is not possible guests should consider staying an extra day so as not to miss any time on the boat. Boat returns to the dock around 3:30pm each day.


A typical day begins when we depart at 7am sharp. Our expert crew can find the whale shark quickly each morning. If the whale sharks are aggregating in a consistent location, we are hopefully in the water by 8am. Chances are there will be many whale sharks in the area and you can have many encounters in one place in a short time frame.

We comply with the current government mandated rules for the wildlife encounters and boat operations. These rules can change without notice.

The water is very warm but consider sun protective clothing while in the water. Be prepared to do alot of swimming and bring mask, fins, and snorkel. Bring plenty of sun lotion with high SP. Long fins or closed heel fins are recommended: full foot fins are the easiest to take on and off.

This trip is designed for photographers and those that love marine life. We make every effort to share the best encounters during this trip, but we are dealing with nature and there are no guarantees of animal encounters and no guarantees (or refunds) in regards to the weather. We have encountered whale sharks on each day of our trips for all the years we have offered this trip, but it is possible to not be able to locate the animals or they may stay deep for a day. We have encountered manta rays frequently in the last years at least once during the trips, but they are not guaranteed.


More About this Adventure

Swimming with the whale sharks and mantas is an activity eveyone can enjoy from those new to snorkeling to experienced freedivers. This is a great family activity for children 9 and older who enjoy boats and marine wildlife. The whale sharks are harmless and mostly ignore us. They swim on the surface so they are easy to find and follow. Imagine warm water, sunny days spent on a boat then late afternoons by the pool or on the beach. The food on Isla Mujeres is excellent and moderately priced. Travel is easy with flights to Cancun then the ferry which runs about every 30 minutes all day and evenings.

the best place to get underwater photography of whale sharks

We will have full days to spend swimming with the whale sharks with unlimited sessions in the water

close up encounters with whale shark while snorkeling

We get close to the whale shark who are unfazed by our presence in the water while they feed at the surface

private boat for whale shark snorkel

We work with the best and most experienced captains who have many years experience finding the whale sharks and are experts about whale sharks

Mexico eco tour whale sharks swim

Our boats are comfortable for our small groups and have toilets, shade, snacks, and crew to help us in and out of the water

family snorkel trips to Mexico for whale sharks

Fun, safe, and distinctive Isla Mujeres is our home base. It is a town from another time with shops, restaurants, artists, beaches, and music

Isla Mujeres Mexico best eco friendly wildlife holidays

Guests can explore the park and the southern end of Isla Mujeres

Beachside hotel for whale shark snorkel

Our hotel is on the beach, a short walk to shops and food, and has a pool, bar, and amenities such as AC, drinking water, and WiFi

snorkel with mantas and whale sharks conservation trip

Because our guests are keen about marine wildlife, we spend the extra time to find the giant manta rays. Guests have donated photos to the Manta Trust or thier tracking database.

Best Whale shark encounters conservation trip

The whale shark aggregation is the largest and most predictable in the world. We will have multiple whale sharks around our boat while we snorkel

Family conservation and eco tours with snorkeling

We educate our guests about the agreed protocols for whale shark encounters


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About Us

Our photo safaris are for photographers and non photographers who want to get up close to large marine life. All of our trips are to destinations proven to be reliable for great encounters. Gregory Sweeney is on hand to help guests with camera gear and techniques before and during the trips. We have been hosting underwater trips for over 15  years.