The one thing that I never thought I would ever be able to check off my bucket list was swimming with whale sharks. It’s been something that I had wanted to do since I was a teenager and thought that you could only experience it when traveling to Australia until recently when I went to La Paz, Mexico.
It has only been a couple of years since swimming with whale sharks has been allowed in La Paz because the people are very protective of the ecosystem and animals living in the waters surrounding the small beach town. While visitors are now allowed to swim with the sharks, tour guides are limited to only allowing a small amount of people in the water.
When I went to La Paz last month, I found out a couple of days before leaving that I was going to have the unique opportunity of getting to swim with the whale sharks. I was traveling at the end of the season, and since the experience happens in the open ocean, it is not always a guarantee that guests visiting the area will get to swim with the whale sharks.
As we boarded the boat, I was overwhelmed with excitement, and slightly nervous. It had been on my bucket list for such a long time, and I couldn’t believe that it was going to happen. The whale shark is the largest fish in the sea, and can be as big as 40 feet long (about the size of a school bus). They are massive!
The captain of our boat was watching the surface of the water looking to see if he could spot a shark, and he did. Our boat slowly went to the area where the whale shark was swimming. I got my snorkel gear on and almost chickened out. I saw the beautiful sea creature swimming in the deep dark sea, and even though I was scared, I wasn’t going to let this once in a lifetime opportunity pass, so I jumped into the water.
I swam behind the guide who brought us within inches of the beautiful creature. I could feel my heart racing as it made direct eye contact with me, and I squealed with delight under the water while it slowly swam past me. After the shark had passed, I stuck my head out of the water, and couldn’t hold back my emotions. It a life-changing experience, and I couldn’t believe that I had done it.
I swam back to the boat and joined the rest of our group who were swimming with other sharks in the area. I was going to jump back into the water with another whale shark when they spotted the blow hole of a blue whale, which is rare to see in the La Paz waters at this time of year. Our captain took off in search of the blue whale before taking us to swim with the sea lions at Los Islotes.
When traveling to La Paz, Mexico, Red Travel is the best company to help your family experience swimming the whale sharks. They take their time to educate guests on the animals and ensure that tourism does not impact the ecosystem in La Paz.
The experience is seasonal to when the whale sharks are in the area, so I recommend calling in advance to see if the experience is available.