Ultimate Wildlife Encounters!Get up close and personal with a gentle giant in Baja!
Is swimming with gigantic sharks on your "must do" list yet? What if they were docile filter feeders and only ate plankton and tiny fish?
The whale shark grows to lengths over 40' (12.2m) long, has an average weight of 20.6 tons, and "might be the largest animal on the planet that you can be close to in its natural environment and not be in any danger whatsoever," says Robert Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory.
These enormous open sea sharks migrate thousands of miles and gather to feast in warm, nutrient rich water for six months. The gentle giants largely remain a mystery, as scientists have yet to discover where they go when they leave their feeding grounds!
Fortunately for us, the bay in La Paz, Baja California is part of their mysterious migration route, and is easily accessed by a short boat ride from the city shore. Local tour operators offer inexpensive trips to swim with these rare sea creatures and are experts at spotting them (some companies even hire spotter planes to guide their boats to the whale sharks).*
Additional boat trips that leave the bay are also available and offer another incredible opportunity to swim with sea life; snorkeling or scuba diving at the sea lion colony near the islands of Espiritu Santo. As you don your gear and jump off the boat, playful pups and curious adult sea lions weighing in at 300 kg (660 lb) take a break from basking in the sun and slide into the ocean to swim by and gawk at you. In this wildlife experience, you'll be interacting with a creature that grows to about 8 ft (2.4 m) long in their natural habitat.
During the boat ride, keep an eye out for Mobula Rays leaping up to 6 feet (2m) out of the water in their puzzling but flashy exhibition!
The Green Tortoise visits La Paz on the Gold Coast Loop, Baja Whale Watching and the Baja Beach Daze 14 day trips.
*Reservations are required. As migrations vary from year to year, it's recommended to check ahead of time to see if the whale sharks are in La Paz bay.