Mexico Family Travel

6 Best Tours To Book For Seeing Whale Sharks In La Paz, Mexico

March 5, 2022
Astrid Vinje

Seeing whale sharks has become a popular activity for travelers in recent years. And there's no better place for a whale shark adventure than in La Paz, Mexico. Seeing whale sharks in La Paz is a perfect way for families to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures.

There is no doubt that one of the best ways to see whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez is by boat. These six boat tours will take you right up close and personal with these gentle giants. So grab your family and friends and get ready for an adventure you'll never forget!


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Table of Contents

What is a whale shark? Basic information for you to know

The whale shark is the largest fish in the world. Measuring between 18 to 32 feet, these fish are no minnows. Even juvenile whale sharks are huge! 

Yet, despite their size, they are one of the gentlest creatures in the ocean. Whale sharks are filter feeders. This means they eat plankton. They also eat small creatures like krill and tiny crustaceans. So they’re virtually harmless to humans.

Baja California whale sharks in Mexico are protected creatures. In the past, tourists who visited La Paz often hired boats to engage in swim with whale sharks Sea of Cortez experiences. However, despite it being such a popular tourist activity, there was essentially no regulation in the number of boats doing whale shark Mexico tours. As a result, swimming with whale sharks Baja excursions began to have a negative impact on the whale sharks’ habits.

These days, the shark tour operators who do these types of swimming with whale sharks La Paz experiences are tracked by GPS. This monitors their speed and limits the number of boats who come to see the whale sharks. Certain rules are in place to also limit the number of people who swim with the whale sharks. All these regulations help to ensure that these creatures are able to enjoy their lives with relatively little disturbance and influence from humans.

Where to swim with whale sharks in Baja California

Swimming with whale sharks is a popular activity in many parts of the world. You can do this type of activity in the Philippines, the Maldives, Indonesia, Australia, and also the Caribbean. 

In North America, you can find whale sharks in Mexico, around the Baja peninsula in the west. You can also find whale sharks in the Yucatan peninsula in the east.

Whale sharks love warm water. And they tend to go where there is an abundance of the type of food that they love to eat. If you’re wondering where can you snorkel with whale sharks in the Baja, the best location happens to be in the shallow waters of the Sea of Cortez.

When is the best time to see whale sharks in La Paz?

Believe it or not, there’s actually a whale shark season in Baja. The La Paz whale shark season in Sea of Cortez runs between October to April. This is the time when plankton is most abundant in the water. 

Plankton is what attracts the whale sharks to the area. However, take caution when doing your swim with whale sharks Baja California tour in November, as the winds in the area can often make the water too strong for swimming.

Learn about other great destinations to visit along the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

Tips for making your whale sharks in La Paz tour enjoyable 

Taking a tour to see whale sharks in La Paz is truly a bucket list item for many people. These gentle giant creatures are amazing to see in real life!

While the swim with whale sharks La Paz experience is likely to be memorable in and of itself, there are several ways you can make it even more enjoyable for you and your family. As you get ready for your whale sharks in La Paz tour, here are our tips for making the most of this unforgettable experience. 

Give yourself plenty of time to do the La Paz whale sharks tour

Since whale sharks are a protected species, there are certain regulations that tour operators need to follow. One of the regulations is that there are time windows that boats are given for visiting the whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez. 

If you’re on a whale shark snorkeling excursion, you may have to wait for your time slot to open up. Be patient, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time in your day, in case there are delays during your swim with whale sharks in Baja California Mexico experience.

Practice proper water safety 

Doing a swimming with whale sharks La Paz experience in Mexico means that you’ll be riding in a boat and swimming in open water. If you’re doing this experience with kids, it’s important that they know proper ways to stay safe in a boat and in the water. 

For starters, make sure your kids wear life jackets. When the boat is moving, make sure to stay seated and hold on to something. 

The waters in the Sea of Cortez can get really choppy and bumpy! Even if you’re a confident swimmer, it’s helpful to wear a life jacket while you’re swimming in the water, to help you stay afloat.

Bring a set of warm and dry clothes

Riding around in a boat can get pretty windy. Since whale shark season falls around the North American fall to spring, the wind can get pretty cold during your Baja whale shark tours. 

Also, you’ll be going in and out of the water frequently, so you might end up freezing during the boat ride! You’ll also likely be pretty soaked by the end of the day, from all the spray from the waves. 

If you’re planning to go out and see La Paz whale sharks, bring a warm waterproof jacket. Long pants and socks are also helpful to stay warm in the boat. If you want, you can also bring a big, thick towel to wrap around your body and block the wind.

Be prepared for you whale shark tour with some helpful supplies

The waters in Baja Sur can get pretty choppy. All that rocking back and forth can send your stomach into somersaults during your La Paz swimming with whale sharks experience! If you’re prone to motion sickness, take along some medication to prevent you from getting sick on the boat.

Swimming with whale sharks is a memorable experience, and you want to be able to capture that experience, both above and below the water. Before going out on your whale shark excursion, purchase a waterproof case for your camera. Alternatively, you can get a waterproof camera to take underwater photos of the whale shark.

Keep a safe distance from the whale sharks

One of the most important rules for swimming with whale sharks is to keep a safe distance. These giant fish are docile and gentle, but their size also makes them very strong. 

A flick of their tail or a nudge from their head can send you tumbling through the water. When swimming in the water with whale sharks, make sure you keep a safe distance. Also, make sure your children maintain a safe distance as well.

Practice leaving no trace on your excursion

One of the wonderful things about swimming with whale sharks in Mexico is getting to experience the beauty of Mexico itself. Baja Sur, and its surrounding waters, is absolutely beautiful! 

As a visitor, you need to remember to leave nature just as you found it. That’s why it’s best to adhere to a “leave no trace” philosophy when you’re doing your whale shark excursion. Whether you’re swimming in the water with the sharks, or having a picnic on the beaches of Isla Espiritu Santo, remember to leave no trace.

Prepare for your trip Mexico with these Mexico family vacation tips.

The best tours for seeing whale sharks in La Paz

Countless tour companies exist in Baja Sur advertising experiences with whale shark snorkeling. When looking for a tour company to take you on a whale shark excursion, look for a company that cares about preserving the habitat and the habits of the whale sharks, rather than just looking to make a quick buck. Ask them about their philosophy towards preservation and conservation.

Also, look for tour companies that are family friendly. Since you’ll be doing this experience with your kids, you want to make sure that the company cares about the safety of you and your family. 

Many of the tours are conducted in English. However, it might be helpful to brush up on your basic Spanish phrases for travel just in case.

Here are our top picks for whale sharks in La Paz tours to book for your next Mexico family vacation.

1. Marine Mania - Sea of Cortez (Todos Santos Eco Adventures)

Todos Santos Eco Adventure (TOSEA) is a family owned eco-adventure company based in Baja California Sur. In operation since 2002, TOSEA offers boutique style tours and accommodations with a focus on conservation.

Their Marine Mania - Sea of Cortez tour takes visitors to the Bay of La Paz, where they can observe and snorkel with whale sharks. From there, the tour continues north to Isla Gaviota to observe Blue-footed Boobies, and then to San Rafaelito to snorkel with sea lions. The whale shark and sea lions La Paz tour ends at Balandra Bay with a picnic lunch. 

The Marine Mania tour is a full day tour, inclusive of snorkel gear and lunch. TOSEA can arrange for pick up at your location, but most tours begin in Todos Santos.

Book your whale sharks in La Paz tour with TOSEA here:

Marine Mania Sea of Cortez Tour

2. Whale Shark snorkeling at La Paz guided by a local marine biologist (MeXplore)

MeXplore is a Mexican business that offers snorkeling experiences, including snorkeling with whale sharks in La Paz. They strive to build awareness of local wildlife, while offering a memorable tour experience to travelers.

Their 2-3 hour whale sharks in La Paz tours are led by a marine biologist. Snorkeling gear and wetsuits are included in the tour. And you can also get a donation bracelet that helps support whale shark conservation. 

Book your whale sharks in La Paz tour with MeXplore here: 

Whale Shark Snorkeling At La Paz

3. Reduced Group Whale Shark Snorkel (La Paz Whale Sharks VIP Tours)

For those wanting a more intimate whale sharks in La Paz experience, consider VIP Tours. They are a Mexican company staffed by ocean specialists who offer customized tours for travelers.

The 2-3 hour whale sharks in La Paz tour offered by VIP Tours begins at Marina La Paz, and takes travelers by boat to the area where the whale sharks swim. Tour groups are capped at 6 people, and only 2 people are in the water to swim with the whale sharks at any time. This is aimed to minimize the disturbance to the whale sharks.

VIP tours cares about environmental conservation. Each whale sharks Baja Mexico tour includes a quick educational briefing about whale shark biology. And they make sure they’re in compliance with required certifications and registrations.

Book you whale sharks in La Paz tour with VIP Tours here: 

Group Whale Shark Snorkel Tour

4. Whale-Shark Snorkeling Excursion to La Paz (Cabo Trek)

CaboTrek is an ecotourism company that aims to encourage a connection with nature in a responsible way. They offer tours with a focus on conservation.

For their whale sharks in La Paz tours, they partner with a nonprofit called Whale Shark Research Project, who works towards whale shark conservation. The all day tours allow visitors to snorkel with these giant creatures. These tours are offered from December to March.

Book your whale sharks in La Paz tour with Cabo Trek here:

Whale Shark Snorkeling Excursion

5. Whale Shark Swim Adventure in La Paz (Sun Rider Tours)

Sun Rider Tours has been offering tours throughout Baja California for over 25 years. They focus on providing safe, informative, and sheltered tours to travelers.

Their whale sharks in La Paz tours run from October to April. Leaving from Marina La Paz, the tour takes you on a catamaran to see the giant fish. The catamaran is wheelchair accessible and has fresh water showers. Food and drinks will be available in the catamaran.

The tour lasts all day, and transportation can be arranged as well. Snorkeling gear will be provided.

Book your whale sharks in La Paz tour with Sun Rider Tours here:

Whale Shark Swim Adventure In La Paz

6. 7-Day Marine Wildlife Eco-Expedition in Baja California (Blue Religion)

If you’re looking for a more in-depth whale sharks in La Paz experience, consider booking with Blue Religion. This company is dedicated to teaching travelers about the issues facing marine ecosystems through multi-day expeditions. Each expedition focuses on sustainable tourism and education.

During the 7 day expedition, travelers get to snorkel, dive and sail through the waters of the Sea of Cortez to see marine life. Departing from Cabo San Lucas, the trip offers opportunities to observe mobula rays, wild dolphins, blue sharks, mako sharks, hammerhead sharks, and sea lions. Travelers can also swim with whale sharks. You’ll also have an opportunity to see bull sharks and humpback whales.

Each whale, shark, ray, whale shark and sea lions La Paz expedition is led by a knowledgeable guide, giving you a chance to learn in depth information about the animals you encounter. While this swim with whale sharks Cabo San Lucas experience is on the higher end of price, the depth of experience is well worth it.

Book your marine animals and whale sharks in La Paz tour with Blue Religion here: 

Marine Wildlife Eco-Expedition in Baja

Want more scuba diving and kayak experiences in Mexico? Check out our post on Cozumel.

Making unforgettable memories on your whale sharks in La Paz tour

Whatever whale sharks in La Paz tour you choose to take, it will undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience for you and your family. These amazing creatures will leave you in awe of the wonders of nature.

So grab your swimsuit, bring a towel and jacket, and get your family ready for an adventure of a lifetime!

Have you taken a whale sharks in La Paz tour? What was your favorite part of the experience? Head over to our Facebook page and share your experience.

6 Best Tours To Book For Seeing Whale Sharks in Mexico | Mexico Family Travel

Pinterest image of a whale shark with fish and text overlay

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