Playa del Carmen
Whale Watching & Dolphin Tours

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Our most recommended Playa del Carmen Dolphin & Whale Watching

Cancún: Swim with Whale Sharks

1. Cancún: Swim with Whale Sharks

Experience the adventure of swimming and snorkeling with the whale shark - the biggest fish in the world! This exciting adventure leaves from Cancun daily during the whale shark season (from May to September) and is limited to 10 people per boat, ensuring an intimate experience. It is guided by naturalists or marine biologists. During the tour, you will travel to the seas surrounding Contoy Island and Holbox, where you will have the opportunity to observe and snorkel with whale sharks. Look out for dolphins, mantas, sea turtles, birds, and many other species that play around the Yucatan coast. 7 AM - Pick-up at your hotel in Cancun (06:00 in Playa del Carmen, 05:00 in Tulum). 7:30 AM - Informative briefing at Puerto Juarez (Marina La Amada). Our certified guides will provide you with all the fascinating information needed to become an expert in whale sharks and the area's ecosystems. 8 AM - Depart from Marina La Amada towards the whale shark reserve in the waters surrounding Isla Contoy. Once located, you will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snorkel with the biggest fish in the world. 12:30 PM - Lunch on the boat just off the coast of Isla Mujeres. Afterwards, cool off with a swim in the clear turquoise waters. 1:30 PM - Arrival at the marina's pier and transfer back to your hotel. 2 PM - Arrival at your hotel in Cancun (15:00 in Playa del Carmen, 14:00 in Tulum).

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Riviera Maya: Whale Shark Encounter

2. Riviera Maya: Whale Shark Encounter

Be picked up from your accommodation at 5:45 AM in Tulum, 6:45 AM in Playa del Carmen, or 7:45 AM in Cancun. During the drive, your guide will explain the itinerary and teach you about whale sharks and their habitat. Upon arriving at the marina, relax and eat breakfast. Depart to the whale shark area and start your search. Once you spot a whale shark, go snorkeling. There is a maximum of 1 ship per whale shark and 2 people per guide. During the trip, your guide will teach you about the fauna of this ecosystem.  Sandwiches, fruit, soft drinks, and water will be served. Then, you will return to Isla Mujeres for lunch: sandwiches and shrimp ceviche or fish with guacamole and fruit. After an hour of relaxing or swimming at the beach Playa Norte in Islas Mujeres, return to the marina at 3:30 PM.

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Swim with Whale Sharks from Playa del Carmen or Cancun

3. Swim with Whale Sharks from Playa del Carmen or Cancun

From early June to mid-September whale shark sighting is guaranteed or you’ll get a refund! Hundreds of whale sharks visit the coastal area near Cancun to feed on plankton. Travel by powerboat from Cancun to a sighting area between Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox. Swim with the whale sharks as many times as you wish during a 3-hour stay in the area. Professional guides will make sure you feel safe and you have the best possible views of the whale sharks – even if you are not an experienced snorkeler. Be on the lookout for dolphins, turtles and manta rays on the way. You can stop to snorkel with manta rays as well.

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Cancun & Riviera Maya: Whale Shark Tour + Playa Norte Beach

4. Cancun & Riviera Maya: Whale Shark Tour + Playa Norte Beach

Experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with the largest concentration of Whale Sharks in the world, just north of Isla Contoy.  Start your tour with early morning pickup from any hotel or Airbnb in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum. Head towards the all-new private marina located at the Punta Sam Ferry Terminal in Cancun for a quick check-in. Before boarding, enjoy pastries with coffee while listening to the instructions and safety briefing.  Once in the boat, get kitted out with mandatory life vests and full snorkeling gear. All boats depart at 8 AM and navigate for approximately 45 minutes to the whale shark area north of Contoy. Once you have found the sharks, begin the swimming and snorkeling. Enjoy 2 to 3 immersions per person always with 2 people and 1 guide in the water. Spend a full 2.5 hours in total with the Whale Sharks, also observing Manta Rays, Dolphins, and Turtles.  After swimming with the sharks, make a final stop in beautiful Playa Norte beach in Isla Mujeres, considered one of the 20 most beautiful beaches in the world. Here, the boats will remain for about 1 hour for you to relax on the beach or do some more snorkeling. Return to Cancun at around 1 PM where the transportation will take you back to your hotel or Airbnb.

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Quintana Roo: Whale Shark Swim, Private Boat Trip, and Lunch

5. Quintana Roo: Whale Shark Swim, Private Boat Trip, and Lunch

Enjoy a private boat tour with plenty of time to swim with whale sharks. Try fresh local food for lunch. Following pickup from your hotel in Cancún, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum, climb aboard the air-conditioned private van to be taken straight to the port. Enjoy a quick breakfast at the marina. Then, listen to your expert guide share the activity briefing and safety rules. Next, set sail to an area popular with whale sharks near Isla Contoy. Swim with these incredible fish. Enjoy the perks of a private tour: more chances to jump in and swim with the sharks and no waiting for other travelers. After your swim, sail to Playa Norte at Isla Mujeres for lunch. Taste fresh fish ceviche and relax on the top-rated beach. Finally, relax on the sail back to Punta Sam Port before taking your van transfer back to your hotel.

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Cancún: Swim with Whale Sharks & Playa Norte Beach

6. Cancún: Swim with Whale Sharks & Playa Norte Beach

Hop on a boat and head for Contoy Island, home to the largest congregation of whale sharks in the world. After a close encounter with these creatures, head for the beach to relax or snorkel. Start your adventure at the marina in Cancun with some coffee and bread. Receive a safety briefing from the crew and board your boat. Life vests and full snorkeling gear will be provided to ensure you have the safest and best experience. Enjoy the boat trip out to Contoy Island, then get ready to jump in and swim with the sharks. Savour the experience of swimming with these incredible creatures. There will be 2 to 3 immersions per person, always with 2 people and the guide in the water at any one time. After swimming with the sharks, enjoy a stop at Playa Norte beach in Isla Mujeres. Either relax on the beach or do some more snorkeling. Enjoy some soft drinks and snacks, before heading back by boat to the marina at Cancun.

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Riviera Maya: Dolphin Encounter, Beach Club Access & Meal

7. Riviera Maya: Dolphin Encounter, Beach Club Access & Meal

Spend some time with some adorable dolphins and learn more about their fascinating behavior. Hug, shake "hands" and high-five your new friend, then enjoy a delicious lunch with access to an exclusive beach club beside picturesque Playa Maroma. Suitable for all ages, enjoy a memorable experience as you interact with playful dolphins while standing on an underwater platform. Learn more about these fascinating creatures with marine mammal specialists who will teach you interesting facts. Learn more about the nursery and reproduction programs on-site, as well as special tips to protect our environment. After your encounter, spend the rest of your day at the Maroma Beach Club, where you can access high-quality facilities. Enjoy lunch at the Cocoteros restaurant, and do some sunbathing or swimming on the white beach of Playa Maroma.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Playa del Carmen

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What people are saying about Playa del Carmen

Overall rating

3.7 / 5

based on 3 reviews

The experience was something amazing. Worth every cent. The animals are majestic and to see them in their natural habitat was epic. I went about a week ago and still talk about it to anyone that will listen. Will definitely go again. Tour guides were great. TAKE THE SEA SICKNESS PILL. We had some guests get sea sick and messed up their experience. Thank you Jose for the info. Very knowledgeable guides.

Having Collin as a guide was already the first main prize that day. The guy does his job more than great, always trying and helpful. This experience to snorkel with the whale shark is a great feeling and luckily nobody can ever take it away from me. I am happy to have seen it !!!

We loved our guide Ricardo. My daughter Brittney was able to have a great experience for her 18th birthday with the whale shark

Very good from the timely pick up in front of your hotel, the kind and helpful guide, swimming with whale sharks is magical.

Great experience. We were even able to swim with a manta ray and dolphins!