swim with whale sharks regulation

Swim with Whale Shark Regulation

Whale Shark Regulation Summary

The season of the whale sharks in the Yucatan Peninsula begins from mid-May and ends close to the mid of September. However, the greatest concentration of whale sharks that you can find in Riviera Maya is between the months of July and August. A whale shark regulation has been set up to protect these giants and promoting sustainable tourism.


Swimming with the largest fish in the ocean world (the largest animal of the world is the blue whale but it is a mammal and not a fish!) could be the most exciting experience without the fear of being eating for one of this majestic fish.


The Whale Shark is a endangered fish due the impacts of fisheries, bycatch losses, and vessel strikes, combined with its long life span and late maturation. For the protection and conservation of the Whale Shark this activity is regulated by the Environment Agency of Mexico (SEMARNAT Acronym in Spanish).


Swimming with whale sharks has been regulated in Mexico since 2007, at first in Baja California (Northern Mexico). Following this initiative, a proper plan of regulation in the Riviera Maya was published on 2015 when they defined the Natural reserve of the whale shark by the SEMARNAT.


The key points of the Whale Shark Regulation are:

  • The timetable for snorkeling with and sighting of whale sharks is from 7 am to 2 pm
  • If less than 5 whale sharks are in the area, it is forbidden to swim with the whale sharks, but you could still see/watch them from the boat.
  • With more than 5 whale sharks, people can go to snorkel by pair with a certified guide. Just 2 people per guide are allowed in the water at the same time.
  • It’s strictly banned to touch or chase any whale sharks.
  • Distance allowed is 15 feet from the whale sharks.
  • Photos are permitted but flash is not allowed.
  • Only biodegradable sunblock is approved.
  • The use of a life jacket, snorkel, mask and fins is mandatory.


Absolute Adventure works closely with captains and crews who are committed to explain, respect and follow the latest Whale Shark Regulation. For the Absolute Adventure team, it is really important to work with people who respect and have the same passion that we have for the ocean.



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