Snorkel and Scuba Dive with Whale Sharks in Belize

snorkel and scuba dive with Belize whale sharks

Whale Sharks in Belize

Once a year, the largest fish in the world’s oceans arrive in the waters off of Belize. Gladden Spit and the remote atolls of the southern Belize Barrier Reef serve as a spawning ground for fish and other marine species each spring, drawing in enormous schools of whale sharks.

Whale sharks are somewhat misnamed creatures; giant fish that grow up to 46 feet (14 meters) long and weigh up to 30 tons. Called whales for their enormous size, whale sharks are technically classified as carpet sharks, the largest non-mammalian vertebrate species in the world’s oceans. Despite their gargantuan proportions, whale sharks are filter feeders, using a system similar to that of baleen whales to feed on enormous mouthfuls of microscopic creatures like plankton and fish spawn. Without teeth or any known natural predators, whale sharks are curious and friendly creatures known to frolic and play with human divers and snorkelers.

Whale sharks are highly sensitive to the earth’s magnetic fields and the phases of the moon, using these immutable landmarks to circumnavigate their way around the globe. Every spring between March and June, whale sharks enter the waters of southern Belize to feast on krill, plankton, larvae, and fish eggs. The sheltered waters of Gladden Spit and the nearby islands serve as the breeding grounds for thousands of species of fish and crustaceans, drawing in the weary whale sharks to hungrily feed on this abundance.

Able to cruise at depths over 5,000 feet, it can be difficult to spot whale sharks. But following the phases of the moon every spring, whale sharks rise to the shallow waters of Belize to feed, giving snorkelers and divers a unique opportunity to interact with these gentle giants.

Strict conservation efforts in Belize impose a limit of 10 boats in the vicinity of whale shark schools and all diving must cease by 6:00 PM. Only authorized tour guides are allowed to bring divers and snorkelers to where whale sharks feed in Belize. Roam Belize, a locally-owned and operated company, has whale shark packages that include a chance to see these enormous creatures up close and personal.

Roam Belize also organizes tours to all of the top destinations in Belize, including wildlife expeditions in the interior, bird watching, and exploring ancient Maya sites. Roam Belize also rents vehicles as well as provides private transfer and shuttle service to and from anywhere in the country. Roam Belize can also arrange for accommodations at the top resorts, lodges, and hotels in Belize.

Questions about snorkeling or scuba diving with whale sharks in Belize? Send us an email at info[@]roambelize.com. We’d love to help you plan your Belize vacation.

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