Timing Your Whale Shark Tour: Read this before booking your plane ticket (updated for 2024)

Whale shark tours are a breathtaking way to experience one of nature’s most remarkable spectacles. But like many things in life, timing is everything. So, when is the best time to embark on this unforgettable adventure? Let’s dive into the details.

The whale shark season technically runs from May 15 to September 15. However, at Isla Whale Sharks, we prioritize responsible tourism and the well-being of these majestic creatures. Therefore, we choose not to start our tours until June 1 or later, to ensure there is an adequate number of sharks for a meaningful experience for our guests and not to add additional stress to the whale sharks. Our commitment to conservation and a quality experience also means that we are willing to cancel tours if the number of sharks present does not meet our standards.

The prime months to encounter these gentle giants in their natural habitat are July and August. During these months, the area can have many hundred whale sharks, offering an immersive experience that is truly second to none. The very best times to plan your tour are one week before and one week after the full moon during these two months. Why? The moon’s phases affect the marine life, and we’ve found that this timeframe is when the whale sharks are most active. Specifically the fish eggs that make up the main attraction for the sharks are generally spawned around the full moon so the food is plenty.

 

In 2024, the full moons fall on June 22, July 21 and August 19. Booking your tour around these dates will increase your chances of having a spectacular whale shark encounter.

As we move into September, the experience can be a bit more unpredictable. The first two weeks of September are usually hit-or-miss as the whale sharks start to leave the area.

However, as is the nature of wild animals living in the open seas, we cannot always predict the behaviors of the whale sharks. While we use our experience and knowledge to provide the best guidelines for booking your tour, it’s important to remember that these creatures have their own rhythms and patterns. Some days, their presence might be abundant, while on others, they might be scarce.

 

Planning a whale shark tour is a bit like preparing for a grand performance; we can set the stage, but ultimately, the stars of the show – the whale sharks – decide when to appear. It’s this unpredictability, this dance with the whims of nature, that makes each tour a unique adventure.

So, if you’re dreaming of swimming alongside these amazing creatures, consider planning your trip in line with the moon’s cycles during July and August. Witnessing these awe-inspiring creatures in their natural habitat is an experience like no other. Get ready to dive into an adventure that you will remember for a lifetime.

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