Swim with Whale Sharks in La Paz

by Edward Mack

Apr 2, 2015

© Krzysztof Odziomek | Dreamstime


Fancy taking in a dip with the largest fish in the sea? Of course you do. That’s why you should head down to the capital of Baja California Sur, La Paz, where whale sharks winter, enjoying the nutrient-rich waters in the Sea of Cortez.


The city of La Paz is a two-hour drive north from the popular tourist destination of Los Cabos, and it is well worth it. It’s a small but vibrant city, and everything from the long, bayfront promenade to the cuisine is based on the sea.


The local captains have an intimate knowledge of the area and follow the whale sharks. Depending on the size of your boat and your captain, you may share the experience with other people, or you may have it all to yourself. Most of the boats are between 15 and 20 feet.


A 30-minute boat ride (depending on the day) will get you to the whale sharks. Your captain will navigate near the fish’s path, hand you a snorkel and fins and tell you to jump out. For a moment you’re disoriented, but then you see a 15-foot whale shark swimming at you with its mouth gaping open and you quickly remember where you are.


Whale Shark © Alexey Stiop | Dreamstime

© Alexey Stiop | Dreamstime


You can swim with the fish for as long as you can keep up; they move surprisingly fast. The animals are friendly but spook easily, so don’t get too close and definitely don’t try to touch one. Spend as long as you wish following the fish; time is little concern to most of the boat captains and you’ve already paid. A trip will cost around $40, but remember, haggling is absolutely accepted and different captains may quote you different prices.


But, whatever the price, after you’ve been in the water with a whale shark, you may never be the same again.



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