March 3, 2016

Whale Shark Tour

Join our whale shark tour in La Paz, Mexico to swim with whale sharks whilst directly contributing to the conservation of this endangered species.

Combine your whale shark tour with comfortable accommodation in the heart of La Paz. Info here.

 

La Paz Bay is home to a seasonal feeding aggregation of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus.

Just minutes from the city it is possible to locate and swim with these gentle giants on the surface using basic snorkeling equipment.

Join a marine biologist on our whale shark tour to swim with the whale sharks in their natural habitat in La Paz Bay where you will learn about the biology, life history and conservation status of this endangered species whilst directly supporting their conservation.

Enjoy a responsible and 100% wild interaction with whale sharks.

You will have an unforgettable experience!

We use a seven meter Panga boat, which allows a maximum of 6 – 7 guests on board. We have another larger boat for groups up to 10 people, the maximum permitted on a boat. The guide and captain are both government certified whale shark tour operators. Our tour guides are marine biologists / naturalists and have first aid and water rescue training.

  • Contribution to scientific research:

During your whale shark tour, you will have the opportunity to learn about how we collect data to contribute to global scientific research. Where possible, we collect photos of each individual whale shark we encounter and share them to the world’s largest global database of whale shark sightings, The Wildbook for Whale Sharks.

  • Community awareness and educational activities:

Whale Shark Diaries has a project called ‘Environmental education for kids initiative’. We visit local schools, colleges and orphanages here in La Paz, with the goal of raising awareness regarding environmental conservation, plastic pollution and threats to the local whale shark populations.

WHALE SHARK TOUR

Trip Duration: All trips are limited to two hours by the Mexican authorities. The round trip takes around 3 hours including transit to the whale shark area.

Start Time: VARIES AND IS GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED

$115.00 usd per personIncludes mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit.

Location/Meeting Place: On the beach in front of Restaurante Estrella del Mar beside Marina Cortez.

Season: October 1 – May 31 (there are no whale shark trips in La Paz outside of this season)

COMBINE YOUR WHALE SHARK TOUR IN LA PAZ WITH ACCOMMODATION AT OUR COMFORTABLE BNB. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.

Who can join the trip: anyone can join our trip. People who want to enter the water with the whale sharks must know how to snorkel and swim. People that do not want to enter in the water can stay on the boat and enjoy the whale sharks while watching them swimming or feeding on the surface. Families are welcome on our boat as well! If your kids are capable of swimming and snorkeling they can join us in the water to observe these beautiful animals (we can provide life jackets for children). However, please always ensure that you or your partner are always directly supervising your child/children at all times during the tour.

If conditions allow, the team will try to take PHOTOS and VIDEOS of you when swimming with these animals. These will be FREE OF CHARGE. We cannot guarantee the quality of photos and videos as visibility and opportunity vary.

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HOW ABOUT COMBINING YOUR WHALE SHARK TRIP WITH A VISIT TO A SEA LION COLONY AT SAN RAFAELITO AND LUNCH IN BALANDRA BAY?

WHALE SHARK TOUR, SEA LIONS and BALANDRA BEACH COMBO TRIP 

Trip Duration: Approximately 6 hours

Start Time: 9:00am – (8:00am during peak times).

What to expect: the first stop is in the whale shark area, for roughly 2 hours, where you can swim and observe these gentle giants. We will then proceed to San Rafaelito, where you will meet the friendly sea lions. Here you will also have the opportunity to snorkel around the young coral reef! Our last stop is Balandra Bay, a series of wonderful sandy beaches well known for its crystal clear turquoise water and the home of mushroom rock.

$165.00 USD per person Includes mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuits.

Because this trip is extended to around five hours, we also include a ceviche and burritos lunch on a paradise beach.

Location/Meeting Place: On the beach in front of Restaurante Estrella del Mar beside Marina Cortez.

Season: October 1 – May 31 (there are no whale shark trips in La Paz outside of this season but the sea lions are open year-round)

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HOW ABOUT COMBINING YOUR WHALE SHARK TRIP WITH A VISIT TO THE MAIN SEA LION COLONY IN THE ESPIRITU SANTO NATIONAL PARK?

The main attraction of Espiritu Santo is the LARGE sea lion colony at the northern-most point known as Los Islotes where over 800 sea lions congregate. After swimming with the playful juveniles we will continue to explore other parts of the marine park for snorkeling and sight-seeing.

sea lion los islotes, espiritu santo, la paz, mexicoPrice is $195 USD per person and includes a licensed boat with certified captain, marine biologist guide, snorkel gear, wetsuit, a whale shark sanctuary entry permit, National Park permit, and ceviche and burritos lunch on a paradise beach.

For whale sharks and 2 tank dive combo the price is $250 USD per person. Dive equipment rental is extra.

 

 

 

View our promo video here …..

More info.

Sustainable wildlife tourism raises awareness about threatened species

La Paz Bay lies within the western Gulf of California (aka. Sea of Cortez) and is situated on the south-eastern coast of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. The bay is an important seasonal shelter and feeding aggregation area for a population of juvenile whale sharks.

The whale sharks visit the site at predictable times of the year, typically between September and May. Sometimes the sharks return annually to the area, however each year is considerably variable. It is believed that some individuals may reside here year-round, taking full advantage of the protection from predators and enjoying the plankton-rich water. The population feeds close to the city of La Paz in the shallows along the mogote, a large sand spit that forms a natural harbour protecting the inner-most part of the bay.

Just 45 minutes into the bay, another aggregation of whale sharks occurs. Located around Espiritu Santo Island, several pregnant sharks can be found from May through June. Very little is known about their movements or where they give birth.

The presence of both juvenile and pregnant whale sharks suggests the importance of the La Paz region to this species.

La Paz emerged as a popular whale shark tourism destination in 2007. Since then, the industry has provided an alternative livelihood to commercial fishermen by providing sustainable jobs as tour guides or boat operators.

ws-from-boat-2000pxCurrently, restrictions to the number of permits issued allows for tourism to stay within the carrying capacity of the population of sharks. A community vigilance committee authorised by the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) is in place to monitor the activity and report any negative tourism practices back to the authorities.

In order to secure sustainability of the industry, it is necessary for continued research into whale shark behaviour and population dynamics. Further study of the surrounding tourism industry and other habitat functions are vital to the survival of the species.

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