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Whale shark tours

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May 30th, 2011, 09:13 AM
  #1
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Whale shark tours

My wife and i are spending our 20th anniversary at Secrets Capri and I have asked her for the Whale Shark tour as my anniversary present. Does anyone have any recommendations which tour gives the most bang for the bucks?
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Jun 3rd, 2011, 05:21 AM
  #3
 
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I just did this from Playa Del Carmen this week (on Monday). My boat left from Cancun. Here is my input.

There were 7 boats leaving that morning at 8 am from Cancun. Each had about 6 to 9 people on board plus a captain and a guide. They are pretty small boats. The day we went there were high swells, and the captain told me it was a typical day. Lots of up and down action on the boat w/the swells. 4 of us on the boat got seasick, me included. The seasisckness was worse once we got to where the whale sharks were (which took about 50 min to an hr on the boat). Once the captain slowed the engines on the boat, we were going in circles to find and keep up w/the whale sharks. That is when we were all haning over the side of the boat puking. Sorry, but it was reality.

I felt better after that. But I must say that once you get in the water, the whale sharks are swimming pretty fast and the swells are pretty big, so this is not like swimming in a pool or in shallow water w/them. You are in the ocean and it is deep and the swells are high. I (and others on our boat) found it difficult to swim to keep up w/the whale sharks. We jumped in the water and started out near them, but then they took off and it was almost impossible to keep up w/them for any distance.

We were all offered multiple swimming times w/the whale sharks. But several of us only went once. Only two couples (out of 9 people) went out twice.

I paid $130. Many vendors in PDC wanted $150 to 195. I am glad I got it for $130.

A nice part was the snorkeling on the reef off of Isla Contoy, where we went after the whale sharks. There is a shallow reef (I believe it is a continuation of the reef off of Cozumel) and the snorkeling was pretty good there.

We had lunch on the boat (shrimp ceviche, guacamole, sandwiches, all made by the guide prior to the trip). I was able to eat and then promptly got sick when we headed back into the swells again to get back to Cancun. Up and down, up and down, green faces on the boat, you get the picture.

It was an experience. I much preferred snorkeling right off the beach in Akumal, where we swam in calm shallow waters and snorkeled with big sea turtles. That was a lot nicer than spending so much time on a boat in high swells and trying to swim in the swells to keep up w/the whale sharks. The reef off the beach in Akumal also had better snorkeling than the reef at Isla Contoy where we went after the whale sharks.

The buzz on my boat was the same form other passengers. Long boat ride out there and back, hard to swim w/the whale sharks, and lots of sea sickness. The captain was good and it had nothing to do with him or the guide who swam w/us w/the whale sharks. It is just the environemt- it is deep ocean out there, lots of big swells. It did make me gald I have never been lost at sea, bouncing up an down w/those swells.

Just seeing the whale sharks from the boat was pretty cool. They are lovely creatures.
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Jun 3rd, 2011, 02:01 PM
  #4
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Thanks for the detailed info.
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Jun 4th, 2011, 08:30 PM
  #5
 
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We took a tour last June from Islas Mujeres. It sounded similar to the review above except that the waves were not choppy at all and no one came anywhere near to being seasick. We took turns swimming near the whale shark and it is very difficult to keep up with them. Our guide would drop us off in front of the shark so we could spend a bit of time in the area with it before it swam on. It's quite a thrilling experience. I can't remember what we paid, but it was under $100 pp.
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Jun 5th, 2011, 04:44 PM
  #6
 
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rpowell, all the other people on my boat came form Isla Mujeres also. They came to Cancun to pick me up. I offered to have them all dropped off at Isal Mujeres before dropping me off at Cancun, but the captain said the currents were better for taking me back to Cancun first.

Were the whales closer to Isla Holbox when you saw them? They were nearer to Isla Contoy the day we were there. I wonder if it makes a difference between the location of the two islands regarding the currents and swells. How I wish we had not had such a roller coaster ride and those high swells.

I'd love to hear from others about this as we have just bought a condo in Playa del Carmen and I am going back again with my 20 yr old son this summer during whale shark season. He wants to go on this excursion.
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Jun 5th, 2011, 04:47 PM
  #7
 
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Oh, and mersingary, HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY!!!! We are celebrating our 25th this fall by going to Oaxaca for Dia de Los Muertos and then on to Playa del Carmen and Chichen Itza from there. Mexico is a great place to celebrate, esp. a big anniversary like these.
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