A bucket list experience you can't miss when visiting Cancun
Okay guys, I recently went to Cancun and ticked one serious moment off my bucket list.
One you should add to yours, if it’s not already there!
I went swimming with freakin' Whale Sharks!
O-M-G. Is right! Here’s everything you want to know…
Quickly, I’ll explain how this opportunity came about…
In partnership with Adventure with Purpose tours
If you haven’t heard of Adventure with Purpose, they’re a Calgary based tour company, offering a variety of adventures abroad. They focus on creating memorable experiences, while educating in responsible tourism. Each of their partners from across seas are carefully hand-picked to ensure they share the same vision. Which is, to provide ethical and sustainable tours. Rather than just picking the most popular options, across the tourism market today.
I honestly believe the tourism industry has the potential to minimize the effects of our global footprints, simply by supporting more ethical tours.
Thanks to the incredible team at Adventure with Purpose and their partners in Cancun. I had a magical time learning, and discovering each natural wonder that was apart of this tour.
This is the side to Cancun I bet you had zero clue was even out there!
When is whale shark season?
Whale Shark 101
What is a whale shark you might ask?
Only the largest fish in the ocean!
Whales or sharks? Having both words in their name, it’s a hard guess. Looking at their size, many would assume they are whales. But they aren’t whales at all. They’re sharks! In spite of their thousands of teeth (I know right) they’re not actually a threat to humans (like, at all)
They are distinctly identified by the white spots on their backs.
Now, you might be wondering are the whale sharks friendly? Can you be harmed? Is it safe?
Yes, yes and yes! They are not harmful creatures.
With a diet consisting of tiny micro-organisms, you in your wet suit is definitely not on their menu.
What brings them to Cancun?
Whale sharks spend their entire life chasing their food (hungry fellas right?!) That’s why each year between Mexico’s Holbox Island in the Gulf of Mexico, and Isla Mujeres (off the coast of Cancun) they’re in town, feasting on plankton and, other marine-based snacks.
Fun Fact: The largest “get together” of whale sharks in the world happens off the coast of Cancun
Will the Whale Sharks touch you?
No, and you can’t touch them. Certain rules help to conserve the species. It’s prohibited to touch a whale shark, and wear sunscreen in the sea while you’re swimming with them.
I thought Cancun was a party destination?
So did I!
Fact:This is not your typical vacation in Cancun where you drink all day by the beach and go to the bar at night.
This is a serious outdoor adventure!
While you can party at night (having the evening free to do as you please, I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND) very early morning rises and, out on the sea as well (risky combo)
Helpful Tip: Bring your own snorkel if sharing one is something that may bother you. You’ll be using one every day.
Is this Whale Shark tour ethical?
Yes! The partnered company in Cancun is called Eco Colour Tours and they follow all regulations to preserve the environment for the Whale Sharks.
Everything the tour package included…
Swimming with sea turtles
Educated tour guides (All were amazing)
Swimming with Whale sharks (twice)
Snorkelling the reef at Isla Mujeres
Exploring two Cenotes (underwater caves)
Breakfast every day
Transfers everyday to activities. Including airport pick up & drop off.
Food + Drinks
Breakfast was buffet style with everything from omelettes, pancakes, waffles, burritos, pastries, and fruit (you get the picture) It was included in the tour package with Adventure with Purpose.
The only food I was responsible for buying was lunch and dinner.
Snacks were provided most days on tour (ceviche and guacamole, so yum!) Especially with this view…
Helpful Tip: The tours start quite early for pick-up times, your hotel breakfast might not start till after your pick up time. If this is the case, you can request a packed breakfast the night prior.
Also, before you board the boat to see the Whale Sharks, there is a small continental breakfast available (for free) It includes pastries, coffee and fruit.
Helpful Money Saving Tip: You can find a very nice grocery store called; Chedraui in Cancun hotel zone centre. It has everything you may need from fresh produce, alcohol, salad + food bar, SIM cards for phone plans, and pharmacy…. Literally everything you may need.
Helpful Tip: Buy snacks! You’ll be out all day, from 7A.M- 3P.M No one likes a hangry traveller!
Transfers from the airport to our accommodation was arranged with Adventure with Purpose, the entire experience was seamless.
Breakdown of what the week would look like
Day 1: Check in day, relax, unwind,
Day 2: 2 days swimming out with Whale Sharks
Day 3: 1 day snorkelling with sea turtles at Akzul Bay & under water swimming in Cenote cave
Day 4: Swimming with whale sharks again!
Day 5: 1 day snorkelling the reef and swimming in a different Cenote cave
Day 6: Last day relaxing, beach time and explore Cancun city on your own
6:30am: Wake up call! 8:30am: Arrive at destination 11:00am: Arrive at second destination 12:30pm: Snack/Relax 2pm: Back to your hotel 3:00pm: Enjoy the rest of your afternoon/evening (I would use this time to hang by the beach, walk into Cancun town, and watch sunset)
Where did I stay?
The accommodation that was chosen by Adventure with Purpose was so perfect. Right on a gorgeous beach, the rooms were clean and spacious.
Located just a 10 minute walk from the centre where you can find souvenir shops, bars, restaurants and, a fantastic supermarket (Chedraui)
Adventure with purpose gave myself and the others on the tour with a tipping fund. I provided to my guide at the end of the day (Every day is a different guide, most likely) All of them were beyond fantastic. I think the proper tip for a guide on a day long trip is anywhere between 20-30$ USD.
You guys all know how I feel about insurance! Buy it no matter what, because you seriously need it! What if you slip and break your leg!
A great option for international travel insurance is this company here.
American dollars/ cash
Snorkel Mask (if you want to use your own)
Underwater camera (you’ll regret it if you don’t)
4-5 Active wear outfits
If you’re interested in doing this tour, you can book directly with AWP tours here.