Scuba Dive & Snorkel with Whale Sharks in Belize
Few diving or snorkeling experiences can compare to coming up close with whale sharks, the largest fish species on the planet. Although these creatures are truly enormous, they feed on very small fish eggs and spawn, thus posing no risk to humans. When whale sharks rise to the surface to feed in Belizean waters, divers and snorkelers have a unique opportunity to interact with these playful giants of the deep.
Why You Have to Scuba Dive and Snorkel With Whale Sharks in Belize
Until you see a whale shark up close, it is impossible to realize just how large these gentle creatures area. Measuring up to 40 feet long and weighing up to 20 tons, whale sharks are a migratory species that circumnavigate the globe annually. The Belize Barrier Reef acts as a nursery for thousands of marine species, and the location is the only place in the world where whale sharks congregate in large numbers near the surface as they rise to feed.
Where in Belize Can You Scuba Dive and Snorkel With Whale Sharks?
The best place to encounter migrating whale sharks in Belize is at the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, measuring almost 26,000 acres in size and located approximately 22 miles (36 km) off the coast of Placencia and other locations in Stann Creek District.
When is the Best Time to Scuba Dive and Snorkel With Whale Sharks
Because whale sharks are a migratory species, they are only in Belizean waters a short time every year. Whale sharks arrive in the area in April and May and rise to the surface waters to feed when the moon is in its full phase.
The Best Way to Get to Gladden Spit Marine Reserve
This protected marine reserve has no airport so all transportation to and from the area is by water taxi or private boat. From Placencia and other coastal locations in the southeast of the country it takes about one hour to get to Gladden Spit.
Best Way to Experience the Scuba Diving and Snorkeling With Whale Shark Tour in Belize
Although there is little risk from the whale sharks themselves, it is important to prepare beforehand to get the best possible experience. Understand that no flash photography is permitted and that strict rules in place prohibit diving or snorkeling after 5:00 pm, and only six total boats are allowed in the area at one time.